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Belgium eighth best country for children growing up

09:20 19/02/2020

Belgium is the eighth best country in the world to bring up children, according to a new international report published today.

A committee of experts from the World Health Organisation, Unicef and medical journal The Lancet looked at the prospects for the future of young generations in 180 countries worldwide.

The study, "A future for the world's children?", ranked countries according to criteria including health, education, nutrition and income divides.

Belgium, in eighth, ranks ahead of its neighbours the UK (10th), Luxembourg (11th) and Germany (14th).

The best scoring country was Norway, followed by South Korea, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Denmark and Japan. The lowest scoring countries were Central African Republic, Chad and Somalia.

However, in a separate ranking taking into account Belgium's CO2 emissions, the country scored a dismal 158th out of 180 for sustainability.

Belgium consumes an estimated 8.7 tonnes of CO2 per person per year - more than double the limit set to reach the United Nations' 2030 sustainable development goals.

"The health and wellbeing of children now and in the future depends on overcoming new challenges that are escalating at such speed as to threaten the progress and successes of the past two decades in child health," the study's authors wrote.

"The climate emergency is rapidly undermining the future survival of all species, and the likelihood of a world in which all children enjoy their right to health appears increasingly out of reach.

"A second existential threat that is more insidious has emerged: predatory commercial exploitation that is encouraging harmful and addictive activities that are extremely deleterious to young people's health."

Written by The Bulletin