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On 20th November, the world’s attention is on child policy - Universal Children's Day


In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day be devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The date 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

The changing face of global population raises challenges for child policy

On this day, international organisations call attention to challenges facing children and child policy in the near future. Overall, the main difficulties facing children worldwide will likely continue to be related to providing access to health and education to the growing numbers of children in developing countries (as also captured in the UN Millennium Development Goals), as well as preventing that the ageing population globally shifts resources away from children. 

Demographic changes – an increasingly rapid balance shift towards the developing world

A UNICEF paperpdf looking at the global context of childhood in 2025 emphasizes that global population growth, happening mostly in developing countries, will mean that the next billion of global inhabitants will still be children by 2025 and 90 per cent of them will have been born in less developed regions. However, in developed countries the proportion of children as part of the population will decline: the only high-income country projected to have an increasing proportion of children by 2025 is the United States, which will be among the top five countries for births in the next 15 years.

Given these shifts, it is vital that governments take into account the evidence base for these national and global shifts when planning essential social services for children to ensure that the fight against child poverty and to increase the well-being of the youngest yields effective results.