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Poverty and Economics

The 2010 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group will be held from 9-11 October.

Underdevelopment can have hugely negative effects on children across the globe. It leads to extreme poverty and can limit access to education, health care and food. The impact on children is shocking:

  • Worldwide 600 million children are living in absolute poverty
  • 30,000 children die each day due to poverty
  • Over 300 million children go to bed hungry every day
  • The cost of eradicating world poverty is estimated at 1% of global income

Childhood poverty is a huge constraint to growth. By investing in children the obstacles facing developing countries can be lessened, partly by creating a healthy, educated generation that can effectively contribute to the economy. Countries need to focus budgets on the needs and the rights of children.

The right economic policies can lift poor children out of poverty, by ensuring access to services, providing public goods, and creating a stable macroeconomic environment. Conversely, many economic policies, if poorly designed or implemented, can also push large numbers of people further below the poverty line. For example, policies that could reduce access to services, like a water privatisation, or those that could reduce the amount of social spending, like rapidly reducing inflation might negatively impact the poor. Most economic policies are likely to have both positive and negative effects for different groups of people at different points in time. The international development community and developing countries must ensure that they adequately assess the impact of economic policies and attempt to reduce or avert negative impacts on the poor and increase the positive impacts.

Economics and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The CRC contains several articles that influence a child's ability to enjoy his or her economic rights, including the articles mentioned here. States have the obligation to do all it can to realise a child's economic, cultural and social rights (article 4). Linked to this is the right of a child to achieve an adequate standard of living. parents have primary responsibility to provide for this, but are entitled to assistence from the State when necessary under article 27. Furthermore, article 26 states a child's right to benifit from social security, including social insurance.

For more information

CRIN Newsletter edition 13 is on Children and Macroeconomics. Available in English, French and Spanish. [pdf format]

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