An estimated 385 million children globally are living in extreme poverty today.
In addition, 665 million children are living in multidimensionally poor household, deprived in the immediate aspects of their lives – in areas including nutrition, health, water, education, protection and shelter.
Despite its lifelong negative consequences on children and society children more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. The time for a renewed focus on Universal Child Grants (UCGs) – cash benefits paid to all families with children – is now.
The UCG conference is bringing together national governments and UNICEF country offices working on social protection for children, leading researchers, policy practitioners, and other members of the international community for an informed policy debate on UCGs.
Every child has the right to social protection as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Child and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNICEF has long advocated for the progressive realization of universal social protection for children. The #USP2030 initiative led by ILO and World Bank has generated the momentum to further this advocacy. With the proven and powerful impact of cash transfers in addressing poverty, and UNICEF’s growing experience on making cash transfers work for children, the conference seeks to answer the question of whether universal approaches to cash transfers can offer the best way to reach the most vulnerable children and adolescents, and fulfill their right to social protection. A new joint ILO-UNICEF report Towards Universal Social Protection for Children will be also be launched at the conference.
The conference is part of a broader initiative, where UNICEF and ODI are gathering and assessing the evidence on when, where and how UCGs – or similar instruments - can be used effectively to reduce child poverty and improve outcomes for children. This includes an in-depth report, which will build on conference conclusions, to be released later in the year.