Editorial from Director Alberto Minujin
The name Equity for Children was propelled by research that I conducted with Enrique Delamonica in early 2000 for a publication entitled: “Mind the Gap! Widening Child Mortality Disparities”.
Based on a sample of 24 developing countries, the study showed that a child from a family belonging to the bottom quintile of the wealth distribution is three times more likely to die before age five than a child in the top quintile. Our trend analysis showed that most of the countries follow a ‘top-down’ approach. The policies rarely trickle down to the poor. Poorest households are queuing to benefit from policies and interventions in order to reduce their “under-five mortality rate” (U5MR) and fulfill their rights.
In that paper, Enrique and I called for more ‘equitable’ or ‘egalitarian approach’ policies that would avert millions of deaths. A recent study by Save the Children found that “if countries had taken an egalitarian approach to child mortality, there would have been dramatic benefits for the poorest children and a massive increase in the number of lives saved: four million child deaths could have been prevented across 42 countries over a ten-year period” (click here to read more). The implications for the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are striking: Under the top-down approach, only six of the 24 countries would reach the goal. Under more ‘equitable’ policies, however, 16 countries would reach the goal and reduce inequities as well.
As we are beginnig the year 2011, let’s celebrate the fact that equity has become central to the agenda of multilateral, bilateral and UN Agencies, including UNICEF, UNRISD, ECLAC and others.
However, child poverty remains the most extensive and tangible expression of inequity and child rights violations, with lasting effects on children’s lives. Our research continues, and we will provide postings and articles in the coming months that address these important issues. Stay tuned for news briefs that range from income inequality in Latin America, by Giovanni Andrea Cornia to my latest child poverty analysis for seven East Asia countries.
I welcome your comments and questions.
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