Policy Brief

Putting Children First: A Policy Agenda To End Child Poverty

Global Coalition to End Child Poverty
End Child Poverty
Publication Year:
April 30, 2020
  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

This briefing, which draws on the evidence and the experience of over 20 organisations in the fight against child poverty, outlines building blocks for how countries can address and tackle child poverty successfully. According to experience, these key national building blocks are: improving access to quality public services, particularly for children living in poverty; expanding child-sensitive social protection systems; promoting a decent work and inclusive growth agenda to reach children and families in poverty; and, finally, building national support by ensuring that reducing child poverty is an explicit national priority.

Global Coalition to End Child Poverty


Tackling child poverty is an urgent priority for sustainable development

There is a clear imperative for action to eradicate child poverty. To tackle child poverty is to invest to fulfil human potential. It is to promote child rights and wellbeing and to address the needs of fast changing societies. It is to intervene to prevent the intergenerational disadvantages that cost societies dearly. The Sustainable Development Goals make global and national commitments to eradicate extreme poverty. The agreement to disaggregate poverty by age will highlight the scale of child poverty. And since many disparities in human development arise early in life, to ‘leave no one behind’, as envisaged in the SDGs, requires action in childhood. Goal 1, End poverty in all its forms, is the heart of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. For the first time, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include an explicit commitment to address child poverty. By 2030 the SDG Target 1.1 is to eradicate extreme poverty and target 1.2 aims to reduce by at least half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions. The scale and depth are different, but the impacts of child poverty are alike across the globe. Children living in income and multidimensional poverty experience a range of deprivations including in nutrition, learning and health. Poverty in childhood can lead to greater exposure to violence and exploitation, and is often accompanied by bullying and stigma. It undermines education and so later life chances.

This briefing draws on evidence and the experience of over 20 organisations working together in the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty. A Joint Statement1 from these organisations shows why addressing child poverty is critical. This briefing outlines key building blocks for how countries can address child poverty. These building blocks represent key domains that shape the life chances of children living in poverty, from early childhood through adolescence. They are discussed here as an entry point to identify the types of policies that can help overcome child poverty and its impacts. A separate report under preparation identifies milestones towards implementing greater action. Strategies to eradicate child poverty need to be nationally designed and owned. The aim of this brief is to offer evidence and experience to support national discussion on the best policy options for children.


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