More children growing up in urban areas excluded from essential services – UNICEF Report

Over a billion children around the world are growing up in cities and towns, and those living in poor communities are deprived and excluded from essential services, according to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report released February 28, 2012.

The UN agency, in its annual flagship publication, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012’, says one in three urban dwellers worldwide live in slums and many children do not have access to clean water, electricity or health care.

“Almost half the world’s children now live in urban areas,” it said

“Increasingly people are being born into existing urban environments, and what is alarming to us is that, for far too many children, those environments are extremely harsh,” said the report’s editor, Abid Aslam.

“When we think of poverty, the image that traditionally comes to mind is that of a child in a rural village…but today, an increasing number of children living in slums and shantytowns are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the world, deprived of the most basic services and denied the right to thrive,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a statement.

Spokesperson of UNICEF Peter Smerdon, according to an audio from the UN Radio, said “When you think of poverty, most people think of a child growing up in a rural area, and think opportunities are much better for children in urban areas because they have access to schools, clinics and that kind of thing. But in many ways, for the urban poor, it can be harder in urban settings, it can be harder to grow up in a city or town- especially in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.”

The agency has therefore called for greater emphasis on identifying and meeting the needs of children.

By Ekow Quandzie

[audio:http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/c-unicef-smerdon.mp3|titles=c-unicef-smerdon]

Watch The State of the World’s Children 2012

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