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The political economy of development
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The Progress of Nations 1997

The day will come  when nations will be judged  not by their
military or economic strength,  nor by the splendour of
their capital  cities and public buildings,  but by the
well-being of their peoples:  by their levels of health,
nutrition and education; by their opportunities to earn a
fair reward for their labours; by their ability to
participate in the decisions that affect their lives; by the
respect that is shown for their civil and political
liberties;  by the provision that is made for those who are
vulnerable and disadvantaged;  and by the protection that is
afforded to the  growing minds and bodies of their children.
The Progress of Nations, published annually  by the United
Nations Childrens Fund, is  a contribution towards that day.

                           * * * *
1. Foreword by Kofi A. Anan, Secretary-General United Nations

2. Charting progress for children:  Introduction by Carol Bellamy,
   UNICEF Executive Director

3. Water and Sanitation
   Commentary - The Sanitation gap: Development's deadly menace
   3.1 Sanitation League Table
   3.2 Water/sanitation gap widening
   3.3 79% of all guinea worm cases occurring in Sudan
   3.4 Grading school sanitation: Few high marks
   3.5 Making ORT a household habit

4. Nutrition 
   Commentary - Putting babies before business
   4.1 Nutrition League Table
   4.2 Exclusive breastfeeding: A chance for survival
   4.3 One in five babies too small at birth
   4.4 Stunting: A scar and a wound
   4.5 Slow starters catching up in salt iodization

5. Health
   Commentary - Fighting AIDS together
   5.1 Gauging AIDS' terrible toll
   5.2 Health League Table
   5.3 Pneumonia: K=Little progress on a big killer
   5.4 52 countries falling short on immunization goal for DPT
   5.5 Neonatal deaths: 5 million each year
   5.6 Malaria's death toll: A child every 30 seconds

6. Education
   Commentary - Quality education: One answer for many
   6.1 Doing more with less
   6.2 Girls' education: Commitment or neglect?
   6.3 Maths and science: Some developing countries score high
   6.4 Do teachers make the grade?
   6.5 Rural kids short-changed

7. Women
   Commentary - The intolerable status quo: Violence against
                women and girls
   7.1 Women's League Table
   7.2 Outlawing violence against women: A first step
   7.3 Risk of death in childbirth can be as high as 1 in 7
   7.4 A bill of rights for women, but with reservations
   7.5 Help wanted: Skilled birth attendants

8. Special Protections
   Commentary - No age of innocence: Justice for children
   8.1 Old enough to be a criminal?
   8.2 Over 7 million children are refugees
   8.3 Hidden killers
   8.4 The cost of war: Billions for development diverted to

9. Industrialized Countries
   Commentary - Healthy cities, healthy children
   9.1 Youth unemployment rate highest in Spain, lowest in Austria
       and Switzerland
   9.2 Teens at risk: Drinking and bullying
   9.3 Sharing the wealth? Aid at lowest level in 45 years

10 Statistical Tables
    Social Indicators for Less Populous Countries

    Statistical Profiles for 149 countries
    The age of the data
    Other Statistical tables are available at the UNICEF website
                      * * * *


The Progress of Nations charts the advances made since the
1990 World Summit for Children, at which governments pledged
to take specific steps to improve the lives of their

Each year, the report challenges - even provokes - countries
to fulfil those promises, and the 1997 edition is no
exception. It assesses such fundamental areas as the quality
of basic education, peoples access to hygienic sanitation
and the effect of AIDS on child death rates. It also
highlights issues that have been less visible on the
development agenda, such as violence against women and
girls, how justice systems handle young offenders and the
protection of breastfeeding from unethical practices to
market infant formula. 

In detailing a broad range of both achievements made and
challenges remaining, the report calls on every country not
just to fulfil the pledges explicit in the goals established
at the Summit, but to maintain children at the very top of
their national agenda.  

I am proud to commend The Progress of Nations 1997 to you.   

Kofi A. Annan
United Nations

                                 * * * *


Charting progress for children

The Progress of Nations, an annual scorecard of the social
health of nations, records achievements in the form of
statistics that measure fulfilment of minimum human needs.
The knowledge it unearths is fundamental to solving
problems, because information is the first ingredient needed
by those with the will and the means to make change.

The Progress of Nations 1997 tells both good news and bad,
and some news that is both. For example, mortality rates
among children under 5 have declined impressively over the
past 15 years - but HIV/AIDS is undermining that success in
about 30 countries. A code is in place to protect
breastfeeding from unethical infant formula marketing
practices - but enforcement of the code is spotty. Safe
water supplies have expanded dramatically in recent years -
but access to sanitation is falling. 

This year's edition takes a broad view, assessing not only
basic social conditions but also progress and disparity in
areas that are more difficult to measure. Many of these have
a profound impact on children's lives. No statistic can
capture the impact of violence that is directed against
girls and women simply because they are female, yet that
violence thwarts their development as well as that of their

And as for children who come into conflict with the law, few
nations keep track of how many young people are in custody,
for how long and why. Though some countries in both the
developing and the industrialized worlds are reforming their
juvenile justice systems, too many young people still suffer
harsh treatment and enjoy fewer legal protections than do

Recognition of the importance of such topics has grown as
the concept of child rights has taken hold in the world
community. With all but two nations (as of June 1997) having
ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the idea
is gaining ground that bettering children's lives is not a
matter of government largesse but a fundamental legal
requirement. Legislation upholding the rights pledged in the
Convention is being enacted at all levels of government, and
children throughout the world are learning to claim their
rights. For some young people, implementation of the
Convention will guarantee a birth certificate or a seat in
the classroom. For others, including those in industrialized
countries where 'over' development brings its own problems,
the Convention will back efforts to improve the physical and
social environment. 

This year's Progress of Nations, the fifth, presents another
indicator of development: improved statistics. When we
conceived the publication, we hoped that the report in
itself would inspire governments to sharpen their
statistical self-knowledge. That has proved correct. The
Progress of Nations 1997 is filled with evidence of
improvements in both the quality and the quantity of the
data, revealing both the advances and the declines in
children's well-being. 

It is clear that, buoyed by knowledge, committed governments
have a far better opportunity to achieve the goals agreed to
at the 1990 World Summit for Children. Fulfilment of these
goals will ensure that all children, especially the least
advantaged, have a real chance to survive, grow up healthy
and well-nourished, go to school and achieve their full

Carol Bellamy 
Executive Director 
                                 * * * *

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              Section 5  Section 4  Section 3  Introduction