Cheaper than wine or beer

Published: Friday 15 January 1993

A UNICEF report, The State of the World's Children 1993, which has been adopted by 150 countries including India, says US$ 25 billion is the annual cost of ending malnutrition, preventable diseases and illiteracy for all the world's. children. To put the figure in perspective, the report says "the amount is considerably less than the amount the Japanese government has allocated to a new highway from Tokyo to Kobi" and it is significantly less than what the Europeans will spend this year on wine or the Americans on beer. UNICEF wants every child to be assured adequate nutrition, clean water, basic health care and primary education by the end of the decade. The report cautions that these goals will remain "paper promises" unless the signatories accord sufficiently high priority to them.

UNICEF estimates that two-thirds of the cost could be met by the developing nations themselves, with onethird coming in as development assistance. Even with present resources, says the report, such sums could be made available if 20 per cent of government spending in developing countries and 20 per cent of all international aid were to be allotted to basic services for the poorest.

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