The Science

The Commission report

The WHO–UNICEF–Lancet Commission report A future for the world’s children?, published in February 2020, was a landmark report calling for a new global movement to put the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents at the centre of national and global efforts to achieve sustainable development.

The Commission, chaired by the Right Honourable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Minister of State in Senegal, brought together 40 experts on child health to make a scientific and political argument about how to put the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and future generations at the centre of a healthier, more equitable and more sustainable world.


Data: The Child Flourishing Index

The Commission report called for measuring and ranking country progress on two separate measures – one on Child Flourishing, and one on excess CO2 emissions relative to 2030 targets.

The “Child Flourishing Index” is a composite measure that uses readily available SDG data to illustrate whether children in each country are getting what they need to survive and thrive. The “Futures profile” uses excess CO2 as a proxy measure for sustainability.
Some countries have a long way to go towards enabling children to live healthy lives, and some wealthier countries threaten the future of all children through carbon pollution, on course to cause runaway climate change and environmental disaster. No country does well on both

Citation: These visualisations were created by The Lancet to accompany “A future for the world’s children? A WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission” by Helen Clark, Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Anshu Banerjee, at al, published February 2020

Children and COVID-19

Children are less affected clinically by COVID-19 than adults, however they have been among the pandemic’s biggest victims.

Children’s needs have not been prioritised – in many countries, children and adolescents have missed out on education and social contact with peers, gone hungry, missed immunisations, or been exposed to violence or abuse, with potentially adverse impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.

Country leaders should put child health and well-being at the centre of recovery plans, and ask children and adolescents what changes they would like to see.


Watch WHO-UNICEF-LANCET Documentary Film

Today’s children face an uncertain future.

The climate emergency, conflict and migration, pervasive inequalities, and predatory commercial practices threaten the health and future of children everywhere; with COVID-19 and a global economic downturn only adding to these issues.

In this film, WHO present the key findings of the seminal WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report A future for the world’s children? to help governments, communities and industry make real change for the world’s children.

“Children are children…they grow up under the same sky and they all have the right to a safe and meaningful life. Let us, as adults, give them the best possible conditions.”

At the November, 2020 Swedish launch of the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report A future for the world’s children?, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden called for adults to provide the best possible conditions for children. Read more 

“There are no excuses and there is no time to lose”

Footage: Victor Ericsson, The Royal Court of Sweden.

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