UNICEF報告發現嶄新指標量度貧困對兒童的影響 東亞及太平洋地區兒童生活飽受多重剝削

 

UNICEF報告發現嶄新指標量度貧困對兒童的影響 東亞及太平洋地區兒童生活飽受多重剝削

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曼谷/香港,2011年11月22日——聯合國兒童基金會(UNICEF)最新發表的《東亞及太平洋地區貧困兒童:生活匱乏與發展差距》(Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities)研究報告,內容闡述貧困對成年人與兒童所造成的影響大相徑庭,藉以呼籲決策者在評估貧困對兒童的影響時,不應單從家庭入息水平作考量,必須以多角度全面了解兒童所面對的貧困問題,及他們生活條件匱乏的情況。

研究指出,家境貧困直接影響兒童獲取居所、食水、公共衞生設施、教育、醫療保健服務和資訊的機會,而當兒童在上述的生活必需條件中,有一項甚至多於一項被剝奪時,他們的貧困情況肯定更為嚴峻。

報告審視了在2007至2010年間,於柬埔寨、老撾、蒙古、菲律賓、泰國、瓦努阿圖和越南就貧困對當地兒童影響所進行的研究,分析了在這7個國家超過9,300萬名兒童的生活狀況。報告發現逾3,000萬名兒童至少嚴重缺乏一項基本生活條件,例如:接受教育、基本醫療保健服務、安全食水、衞生廁所、足夠營養攝取等,當中逾1,300萬名兒童更缺乏兩項或以上的生活條件。

「研究顯示,即使在中等收入的經濟體系國家,兒童並未能受惠於國家整體收入增加,從而改善兒童的生活條件。」UNICEF東亞及太平洋區域辦事處社會政策顧問Mahesh Patel先生直言:「國家若要均衡發展,收窄貧富差距,就必先從紓緩兒童貧困問題著手。」

Literature showing the impact of AIDS lying on their desks, adolescent girls and boys listen to a presentation on AIDS awareness and prevention, part of a student-to-student education exchange initiative supported by UNICEF, in a village in the south-eastern province of Svay Rieng. In 2000 in Cambodia, after more than a decade of intermittent peace, the country is continuing its recovery from 30 years of conflict, including genocide. Despite progress in health and nutrition, maternal and infant mortality rates are the highest in south-east Asia, most of the predominantly rural population still lacks access to essential services, and problems of ongoing violence, displacement and landmines continue to take their toll. HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly, accelerated by a growing commercial sex industry, with an estimated 35 per cent of sex workers under 18 years of age, almost half of whom are presumed to be HIV positive. With half of the country's population under 18 years of age, these indicators represent a major threat to their future, including increased rates of mother-to-child transmission. UNICEF programmes to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS include support for prevention and awareness programmes to all social sectors, including student-to-student education exchanges, the provision of testing and counselling services, and improved access to recovery and care for affected children and families.
Accompanied by a toddler, a woman stokes a cooking fire in a village in the south-eastern province of Svay Rieng. In 2000 in Cambodia, after more than a decade of intermittent peace, the country is continuing its recovery from 30 years of conflict, including genocide. Despite progress in health and nutrition, maternal and infant mortality rates are the highest in south-east Asia, most of the predominantly rural population still lacks access to essential services, and problems of ongoing violence, displacement and landmines continue to take their toll. HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly, accelerated by a growing commercial sex industry, with an estimated 35 per cent of sex workers under 18 years of age, almost half of whom are presumed to be HIV positive. With half of the country's population under 18 years of age, these indicators represent a major threat to their future, including increased rates of mother-to-child transmission. UNICEF programmes to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS include support for prevention and awareness programmes to all social sectors, including student-to-student education exchanges, the provision of testing and counselling services, and improved access to recovery and care for affected children and families.

UNICEF東亞及太平洋區域辦事處主任Anupama Rao Singh女士表示:「此報告全面剖析了相關國家的國內貧窮情況,有助各國制訂項目及政策,更有效分配資源,改善國內最弱勢社群的生活。」

計及是次研究中的7個亞太區國家,全球至今已有53個國家參與了UNICEF全球兒童貧窮狀況與發展差距研究,並成功引起國際間關注兒童日常生活條件匱乏情況,及此對國家發展所構成的負面影響。

舉例說,在老撾,倘僅以收入的角度來看,當地貧困兒童約佔38%,但若以上文提及較全面的指標進行量度,則發現該國多達75%兒童正承受貧困所帶來的負面結果。而這套量度貧困的指標的認受性亦愈來愈高。

至於在越南,相比其他兒童,少數族裔兒童缺乏生活必需條件的機會足可高出11倍,情況在其他國家亦非常普遍。另外,在瓦努阿圖,每5名兒童,則差不多有1名兒童嚴重缺乏醫療保健服務。

研究亦指出,要收窄東亞及太平洋地區的貧富懸殊問題,改善現時大量兒童發展受阻的情況,各界需要付出更大努力。即使過去10年,上述7個國家的國內生產總值均見明顯增長,但國內收入不均衡的情況卻未有改善,部分國家的比率甚至不跌反升,不均衡問題持續蔓延。紓緩兒童基本生活條件匱乏與發展差距的問題,必須納入國家整體發展及扶貧規劃之中,政府亦應公開資源分配的情況。一套關注兒童的社會保障政策,回應最脆弱兒童的訴求,亦是改善兒童生活匱乏的必要條件。

Children wash their face and hands at an outdoor tap at Ban Pho Preschool in Bac Han District in remote Lao Cai Province. The UNICEF-supported school promotes hygiene education and other child-friendly activities in a safe learning environment and includes classes taught in the childrens indigenous language. In March 2009 in Viet Nam, UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to provide bilingual education to ethnic minority children in Vietnamese and their indigenous language and to improve adolescent learning, especially among minority ethnic girls. The Norwegian Government and IKEA, the Swedish home-furnishings retailer, are major UNICEF funding partners. Norway has committed US $1.6 million, and IKEA has contributed more than US $1 million for these projects. Although 95 per cent of all eligible children attend primary school, an estimated 20 per cent of the children of the 11 million members of ethnic minorities do not have access to basic education. Additionally, drop-out rates among ethnic minorities are high due to the lack of trained bilingual teachers, limited bilingual texts and curricula and inadequate infrastructure. Adolescent girls are especially at risk because of poverty, cultural biases against gender equity in education and the lack of properly equipped child-friendly schools. UNICEF has worked with MOET since 2007 to research and implement educational models that support bilingual education for indigenous minorities, now benefiting some 5,000 students (including preschoolers) from the Hmong, Jrai and Khmer ethnic groups in the provinces of Lao Cai, Gia Lai and Tra Vinh. The programme to improve adolescent education, adding critical life skills, reaches an estimated 120,000 students and 3,000 out-of-school adolescents, in eight provinces. IKEA is UNICEFs largest corporate funding partner, supporting UNICEF education, child protection and health programmes for children in Asia, Africa and Europe. Unnamed boy waks from a ramshackle shared latrine that is in poor condition. Not a UNICEF project. This is an area inhabited by Kazakh families that have a very different set of traditions to most Mongolians. UNICEF is working with local authoriities to expand itís presence in the are to assist remote communities as part of the CBSS programme, this includes increased access to better services and schools. Bayan Ulgii Aimag centre, western Mongolia, 2007.
兒童來自鄉村或市區、不同學歷水平的家庭、不同的種族和不同的區份,是促成這7個地區的兒童生活質素與發展存在差異最明顯的因素。

Anupama Rao Singh女士續指:「研究報告首次清楚揭示了東亞及太平洋地區貧困兒童最需要解決的問題,並明確指出一國的兒童貧窮問題,不但會窒礙,甚至拖累國家整體的經濟增長。」

報告亦揭露了以下各範疇存在的兒童貧窮情況差異:

鄉村和市區——各地鄉村的兒童貧窮比率較市區的比率均要高,在柬埔寨、泰國、菲律賓和越南,所錄得的比率分別高出30%、60%、130%和180%。

區域性差距——某些情況下,國內地區性的差距比中等與低收入國家之間的差距來得更要顯著。例如,越南西北部地區生活條件嚴重不足的兒童數目比當地紅河三角洲地區的數目高出6倍有多,而泰國南部比北部的就高出一半。

種族性差距——7個受訪地區少數族裔兒童的貧困和生活條件不足的比率均異常地高。例如,在老撾和蒙古的少數族裔兒童嚴重缺乏基本生活條件的數目比一般兒童的高出60%,在菲律賓和泰國的比率分別更高出9倍和近15倍。

父母教育水平——父母只有小學或以下教育水平的家庭嚴重缺乏基本生活條件的比率,較父母受過中學或高等教育的家庭高出逾1倍。

家庭人數——在蒙古和越南,7人或以上家庭基本生活條件出現嚴重不足的機會,比4人以下的家庭高出近1倍。同樣的比率在泰國高出2倍有多。