We have created a world unfit for our children and the future seems equally dim. A landmark WHO-Unicef-Lancet commission report found that the future of every child on the planet is under immediate threat of climate change, ecological degradation, pervasive inequalities, and conflict. Predatory commercial practices that push unhealthy products further endanger their health.
The commission took a critical look at the progress made on Sustainable Development Goals as agreed by the world’s countries in 2015. It reported little progress on these goals, with none of the countries taking adequate measures to protect the health of its children, their future and the environment. The commission was composed of over 40 child and adolescent experts from across the world.
The report included a global index of 180 countries with information on child survival, education, health, nutrition, well-being, and child flourishing. It also included data on sustainable practices, income inequalities, and greenhouse gas emissions. Even high-income countries were found severely lacking. The US, for instance, comes in the bottom 10 countries when it comes to providing a healthy environment for the future.
While the poor countries needed to work on creating a healthy life for their children, wealthy countries threaten their future with their excessively high carbon emissions. For instance, Norway scored high on survival and well-being, but per capita CO2 emissions put it at 156. The report also raised concerns about exposure to commercial advertisements. The report asked for placing children and adolescents at the center of policymaking. It asked for urgency in stopping CO2 emissions, invest in child health and rights, and tighten regulations on harmful commercial marketing.