UNFPA, UNICEF launched Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage

Mar 9, 2016 15:32 IST

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on 8 March 2016 jointly launched the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.

It is a multi-country initiative and is part of a global effort to prevent girls from marrying too young.

Features of the Programme

• It will help protect the rights of millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls by involving families, communities, governments and young people.

• It will support those already married as girls in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East where child marriage rates are high.

• As part of this global programme, both the agencies will work with governments of countries with a high prevalence of child marriage

• It seeks to uphold the rights of adolescent girls, so that girls can reach their potential and countries can attain their social and economic development goals.

• It will focus on proven strategies, including increasing girls’ access to education and health care services, educating parents and communities on the dangers of child marriage.

• It will strive towards increasing economic support to families and strengthening and enforcing laws that establish 18 as the minimum age of marriage.

• It will emphasize the importance of using robust data to inform policies related to adolescent girls.

• It is being supported by Canada, the European Union, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK.

Significance of the Programme

• Child marriage is a violation of the rights of girls and women.

• Girls who are married as children are more likely to be out of school, suffer domestic violence, contract HIV/AIDS and die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

• The successful execution of the programme is critical because it affects 15 million girls a year.

• If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030.

• Child marriage hurts economies and leads to intergenerational cycles of poverty.

• The programme supports the Target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals that vouches for elimination of child marriage by 2030.

• The Target 5.3 mandates elimination of all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations.

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