Author(s): Andrew West, Neha Karkara, Denise Stuckenbruck, Lotta Sterky, Roberta Cecchetti
During the second half of the 20th century the process of urbanisation has accelerated in developing countries. Over half of the world’s population – including a billion children – are now estimated to live in urban areas. This recent change from a predominantly rural to a majority urban population has implications for the protection of children from all forms of violence. Rising urban poverty deprives hundreds of millions of children of even basic services, particularly education, healthcare and child protection services. But to date, this has not been a priority on the migration, urbanisation and development agenda of local governments, international agencies or organisations focused on children’s welfare. This discussion paper focuses on urbanisation and its consequences for children’s right to be protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence, and the importance of mainstreaming children’s needs into the routine practices of local governments. It highlights some of Save the Children’s child protection work in the context of urbanisation, notably in Ethiopia, South Africa, Romania, China, Bangladesh, Colombia, Libya, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Vietnam, and Latin America & the Caribbean. The paper also makes some important conclusions and points to the way forward.