The World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Lancet Commission have released a paper called A future for the world’s children? In the study, they ranked countries on the likelihood of a child being able to “flourish”. The “flourishing” number was based on health and wellbeing factors such as education, nutrition and child mortality.
Norway, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, Iceland and the UK made the Top 10.
Canada ranked #20 on the Flourishing index. The USA ranked #39, below Boznia-Herzogovina (#38), Latvia (#37) and Saudi Arabia (#35). Costa Rica landed at #75 and Jamaica at #92.
But that’s not the whole story. The countries also received a ranking based on their Carbon Emissions. The report points out that any advances made for children may be damaged by greenhouse gas emissions and the impact in the future.
“For example, Norway, South Korea, and the Netherlands are ranked number 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on current child flourishing, but these countries are 156th (Norway), 166th (South Korea), and 160th (the Netherlands) on global sustainability list, all of them with per capita carbon emissions more than 210% higher than the sustainability target for 2030. Therefore, the two country ranks provide us with our child flourishing and futures profile, a combination of a country’s achievement on surviving and thriving today, with the damage they might cause through greenhouse gas emissions to children in future” (page 38, emphasis added.)
Canada is ranked #170 on the carbon emissions list, with 15. 64 CO2 per capita and currently an excess of 477% the carbon emissions of the 2030 target.
The USA ranks at #174 on that list. Jamaica is at #97 and Costa Rica at #76.
“Wealthy countries generally have better child health and development outcomes, but their historic and current greenhouse gas emissions threaten the lives of all children. The ecological damage unleashed today endangers the future of children’s lives on our planet, their only home. As a result, our understanding of progress on child health and wellbeing must give priority to measures of ecological sustainability and equity to ensure we protect all children, including the most vulnerable. ” (page 2)