The United Nations and Children

The United Nations, it is an international organization with its bodies which is known for its worldwide aid. One of those bodies is UNICEF, known for its development aid for children in developing countries. This is seen in sources A-E. How far do these sources support the view that the 1980s was the most successful decade for the UN’s assistance for the world’s children? Source A supports this view fully, since it talks about the decision of UNICEF to provide essential drugs for children in Africa.

UNICEF states that the economic crisis in the 1980s ‘had reversed hard-won gains in social progress’ and that this had an ‘adverse impact’ on the children in that area. Since they suffered the most, UNICEF came with the idea to help the children in that area, so they prevent the situation from escalating. If UNICEF doesn’t take any action, the gap will widen and ‘the situation will be worse in 2000 than it was in 1980’.

This source is also a primary source from 1988 written by the UN Chronicle, which makes it reliable, because it originates from the time itself; in the 1980s. Source B also supports the view that the 1980s was the most successful decade for the UN’s assistance for the world’s children completely, since the General Assembly, a body within the United Nations, proclaimed the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. This declaration focuses on the world’s children that they ‘should have a happy childhood’.

This declaration was effective because all national governments were called to recognize these rights for all children that needed it and because thirty years later it was ‘translated into a legally binding international agreement’, the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1987, another reason which fully supports the view. Source B is also a primary source from the UN Chronicle, originating from 1989, so it makes it a reliable source.

We can link sources A and B, since they both speak positive about the view, both are primary sources and are both written by the United Nations. However, Source C proves otherwise. Source C is about a report by UNICEF which looks at the progress of nations concerning social development. This report does start out positive, with ‘the minimum needs of most people in the Third World are at last being met’, but UNICEF states that the report lacks reliable statistics, that it is a ‘major obstacle’. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, figures are twenty years out of date.

This is an example why Source C does not support the view, in contrary to the previously mentioned sources. However, Source C originates from 1993, which is after the 1980s; not making it a primary source and it is from a US newspaper, so this source could be biased. Source D supports the view, since it talks about the goals that have been set and have been reached by the UN in spite of the ‘major cutbacks in social services caused by the worldwide economic recession’. This source handles the issue of access to safe drinking water.

The percentages of families between 1981 and 1990 with safe drinking water increased from 38% to 66% in South East Asia and from 32% to 45% in Africa, figures that fully support the view that the UN has been successful during the 1980s for the children in the world. Moreover, UNICEF threw its support behind children’s rights in 1987, another example why the UN fully supported children in developing countries. We can link Source D to Sources A and B, because they all speak in favor of the view, and we can link this source to Source B, because they both talk about the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Ninety countries had ratified it, which makes it very successful. This source does come from 1996, which makes it a secondary source, however, this is an official report from UNICEF on the State of the World’s Children, and so this source is very reliable. Source E does not support this view, since it talks negatively about the ignorance of the UNICEF concerning the underground water supply. This source does start out positively, talking about the campaign by UNICEF concerning access to safe drinking water in India.

By the early 1990s, ‘more than 90% of the Bangladesh population benefited’ and infant mortality dropped. This source however changes it view from positive to negative when it says that ‘UNICEF did not know that the underground water supply was contaminated with unsafe levels of naturally occurring poisons’. Later they mention that the plans were at risk, so all of this is an example why it does not support the view of the UN’s success. However, this source was written in 2005, making it a questionable secondary source, and moreover, it is an article published by the Columbia University in the USA, so this source could be biased.

We can link Source E to Source C, because they both talk negatively about the view of the UN’s success. We can also link this source to E to Source D, because they both handle the issue of drinking water. However, Source D talks about this issue in a positive way, whereas Source E talks negatively about it, so we can see a clear contrast between these sources. So the success of the United Nations concerning children in the world does come forward in these sources.

However, sources C and E prove otherwise, since they mention that the gains and goals of the United Nations were at risk and not accurate enough. The 1980s was successful because UNICEF helps out the children in the world and with the international binding agreement – the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an agreement which has been ratified by 90 countries concerning children’s rights, their rights enabling them to develop physically, mentally, morally, and socially, making the 1980’s the most successful decade for the UN’s assistance for the world’s children.