Most often, the poorest people, especially children suffer the most from violent conflict. It destroys their livelihoods while discouraging further investment in their communities. The Global Coalition to End Child poverty records that children living in fragile contexts are at greatest risk of being left behind and not meeting the targets of the SDGs, 76% of children living in extreme poverty globally live in fragile contexts.
For instance, data shows that the extreme poverty rates nearly doubled between 2015 and 2018 in Middle East and North Africa, spurred by the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. For children, conflict means that they can barely attend school. In addition, the ripple effects of conflict results in violence against children, diseases and hunger, all of which cause children to live in poverty.
Further, the increase in fragility in many regions caused by increased levels of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a major concern, the numbers of people living close to a conflict has risen steadily and doubled in the past 10 years. Furthermore, the number of forcibly displaced people has more than doubled since 2017, exceeding 70 million in 2017. The OECD estimate that in 2020, 222.7 million primary school-age children were out of school in fragile contexts – 107.5 million of them girls – and projections suggest that 36 million more children were living in households in fragile contexts by the end of 2020, unable to make ends meet.
By focusing on fragile states in our response to end child poverty, we contribute to alleviating the most vulnerable children from poverty. We have in the past and ongoing programmes supported Rohingyian refugee children (affected by the conflict in Myanmar), and children in Sudan and Uganda.