Despite the good intentions and heroic efforts of many organisations and individuals, the fact that this session was necessary at all speaks volumes about the selfishness of Mankind and the ineptitude of world governments to address issues of basic human rights.
The session was called because the objectives of the 1990 World Summit on Children were far from reached. 30,000 children die, every day, from causes which have a simple treatment, such as simple inoculation programmes. 12 million children of primary school age do not receive any education at all.
10,950,000 children under the age of five die every year, without exception, despite the objectives stipulated by the World Summit on Children twelve years ago, when the primary objective was to reduce infant mortality by 33% by the year 2000. In fact, the figure today shows a reduction by just 11%. Figures released in the current session show that while 60 countries reached the 33% mark, a further 100 countries only managed 20% and in 14, the figures deteriorated.
34 million babies around the world are not receiving the DPT 3 vaccine (Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis and Tetanus). In the last 12 years, there has not been any improvement in maternal mortality rates and anaemia among pregnant women is still prevalent.
It was in tended in 1990 to reduce the number of undernourished under-five-year-olds by half. Instead of this, the figure shows that the situation has got worse by four percentage points in Less Developed Countries. 48% of under-fives born in southern Asia and 30% of those born in sub-Saharan Africa are under-nourished.
Neither has there been a redistribution of wealth, with 1,200,000,000 people now living on one USD or less per day.
The good intentions of twelve years ago were translated into 27 projects with specific objectives in survival of children, health, nutrition, education and child protection schemes. In only six cases were there any improvements and in the others, the results show a mark of insufficient, or zero improvement.
Twelve years ago, the year 2,000 was stipulated as the date by which poliomyelitis would be eradicated. It is still endemic in tem countries.
Neonatal tetanus was supposed to have been wiped out by 1995, but instead, it continues to be one of the main causes of infant mortality.
One of the few areas in which there has been significant progress is in the treatment of diarrhoea, in which case the death rate has been halved from 3,000,000 deaths per year to 1,500,000).
In this time, countless probes have been sent into space, one of which smashed into the Mars polar cap, a telescope has been sent into orbit, numerous people have performed space walks, some paying tens of millions of dollars to see how it feels to be weightless for a few days and to experience “space sickness”, not to mention the billions that have been spent on weapons of mass destruction.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru