By Ahlam Ben Saga
Child marriage has globally decreased by 15 percent as 25 million children under the age of 18 have been protected from entering wedlock in the last ten years, according to the UNICEF report.
Child marriage saw reductions by an estimated 30 to 50 percent in South Asia over the past ten years, with marked increase in girls’ education in India.
Meanwhile, child marriage decreased by a third in Ethiopia, one of the five Sub-Saharan African countries that experienced a significant reduction.
Still, twelve million girls are married before the age of 18 each year worldwide.
UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor, Anju Malhotra, acknowledged the good news regarding the decrease in child marriage in many parts of the globe, but also reminded the public that more progress needs to be made.
“Given the life-altering impact child marriage has on a young girl’s life, any reduction is welcome news, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Malhotra concluded.
UNICEF has taken into account the necessity of accelerating the efforts to end child marriage completely by 2030. Without increased efforts,“150 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030,” UNICEF emphasized.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) resolved to put an end to child marriage by 2030 through a global programme initiated on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, which also aims to support millions of girls who were already married at a young age in different parts of the world.
“As part of this global programme, we will work with governments of countries with a high prevalence of child marriage to uphold the rights of adolescent girls, so that girls can reach their potential and countries can attain their social and economic development goals,” the United Nations stated, in line with the announcement of its initiative in 2016.