The lives of millions of vulnerable children are at risk because the majority of the world's nations have failed to renew their commitment to children's rights, Joining Forces, a coalition of six international child rights agencies, has warned.
The alliance, comprising ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children's Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation and World Vision International, came up with the warning on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on Wednesday.
They expressed dismay that only a handful of countries have made concrete commitments to advance children's rights to mark the anniversary.
A report titled A Second Revolution: 30 Years of Child Rights, and the Unfinished Agenda by the forces showed commitments made three decades ago to protect the rights of children remain unfulfilled for millions.
The report says most countries fall well short of spending the 5-6% of GDP needed to ensure universal coverage of essential health care.
Foreign aid, which many lower income countries rely on, is falling short in areas such as child care and child protection.
Another factor, the report said, is the lack of quality data. Government tends to rely on data that reflects national averages, making it difficult to identify the needs of specific children and to monitor progress.
Comprehensive data collection and disaggregation of data by gender, age, disability and locality, are increasingly important as rights violations disproportionally affect disadvantaged children.
Existing statistics show that poverty is still the single greatest determinant of outcomes for a child. Children in the poorest 20% of households are 40% more likely than average to die before their fifth birthday.
Young children in the poorest families, as well as in rural and remote areas, are two to three times more likely to suffer stunted physical growth. And children worldwide are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty.
"It is imperative that states work with renewed vigour and urgency to realize the rights of all children," said Meg Gardinier, secretary general of ChildFund Alliance and chair of the Joining Forces.
The six agencies urged governments to make specific policy commitments for children or pledge increased investments in areas such as education, health or social protection.
President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International Andrew Morley said, "Shocking numbers continue to die from preventable causes, with millions more missing school or facing heart-breaking abuse. An estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married each year."
At the invitation of UNICEF and the United Nations, less than half of all countries have so far adopted the global pledge "For every child, every right" to redouble action for children.
However, less than 50 countries have submitted national pledges and almost none of the countries with the highest rates of child poverty and deprivation have made any commitments.