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Urbanization Leaves Millions Of Children Without Access To Vital Services, UNICEF Report States

“Urbanization leaves hundreds of millions of children in cities and towns excluded from vital services, UNICEF warns in ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World,'” released on Tuesday, the agency reports in a press release (2/28). “Children in slums and poor urban communities lack access to clean water, sanitation and education, as services struggle to keep up with fast urban growth, says” the agency’s flagship report, according to AlertNet (Caspani, 2/28). The report “calls attention to the lack of data on conditions in slums, particularly as it relates to children, and it calls for a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding poverty and inequality in cities and increased political will to improve the lives of the most marginalized,” UNICEF writes in an accompanying article (2/28).

“In a few years, the report said, the majority of children will grow up in towns or cities rather than rural areas,” according to Agence France-Presse (2/27). “One of the report’s editors, Abid Aslam, said it was disturbing that so many children worldwide were being born into ‘extremely harsh’ urban conditions, especially in slums, where homelessness, exploitative labor and gang violence are common,” the U.N. News Centre notes (2/24). “Among its recommendations, UNICEF called for the removal of barriers to inclusion such as poor transport and lack of official documents,” the Guardian writes, and notes, “The report also called for partnerships between all levels of government and the urban poor, including children” (Tran, 2/28).