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Sustainable Development Goals and children in Norway

A discussion paper on the SDGs indicators

Forfatter(e): NOVA Notat 1/17

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The project’s goal is to review Norway’s ability to report statistics to the United Nations according to the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators for children and youth. This discussion paper reports on 18 indicators chosen by UNICEF Norway for 8 goals and 12 targets. Indicators of child poverty, health, education, and experienced violence are discussed, using examples from Norwegian statistics and research knowledge. Even though most children in Norway have excellent living conditions according to international overviews, a proportion of children in Norway experience considerable challenges on some of the indicators.

Sammendrag av publikasjonen

Sammendrag av publikasjonen

UNICEF Norway initiated this project in order to follow up The United Nation’s Report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Deve­lopment Goal Indicators(United Nations, 2016) for children and youth aged 18 or younger.

The project’s goal is to review Norway’s ability to report statistics to the UNITED NATIONs according to the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators for children and youth on a few selected SDGs and targets within those SDGs, using statistics and research published before 15 November 2016. The basis for the study is the UN Report mentioned above, a discussion- paper from 2015 about the more general questions to be addressed (Grønningsæter & Stave, 2015) and some of the indicators launched in July 2016 with specific focus on the indicators suggested by UNICEF Norway.

This paper reviews 18 indicators chosen for 8 goals and 12 targets (see table 1) of the total 17 goals. The method used was reviews of relevant literature, documents and published statistics.

The chosen goals are:

  • Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere,
  • Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
  • Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,
  • Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,
  • Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all,
  • Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and
  • Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable deve­lopment, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

The chosen indicators on poverty indicatethat child poverty increases. We recommend continued use of the European indicators, instead of a national poverty line. As previous research in Norway has suggested, a price adjusted increase in the universal child benefit could be one solution to partly solve the problem with child poverty. The measure has not been adjusted since 1996.

Regarding the indicators on health, our conclusion is that the com­municable diseases AIDS/HIV and tuberculosis are rare in Norway, although the incidence rates of tuberculosis have not been reduced in later years. The register as well as the research potential seems suitable for communicable diseases in Norway.

Mental health problems and suicide behavior seems to be a challenge in Norway. Research conducted in recent years, show lacks in management of mental health problems in children and young people, especially among the more disadvantaged groups. The suicide rate among youth seems to have been stable in recent years, but there is a need for more specified analyses and updated research.

The indicators on education: In Norway a very large part of the child population learns how to read, write and do mathematics. They also often learn two-three languages. However, some children leave compulsory school (10 school years in Norway) without adequate reading, writing and mathematical skills. Many young people start university studies, and a large part succeed with academic degrees and relevant jobs. However, an increasing part encounter difficulties in the transition from youth to adulthood: to carry out the ‘right education’ and having a job.

When it comes to domestic violence, Norway has good surveys about 18 year olds experience of domestic violence during their upbringing. But we lack good data for children and younger persons. Research has been planned and conducted for younger age groups. But one survey was denied from both the Norwegian Data Protection Authority and from The Data Protection Tribunal Norway. To improve the knowledge of violence against children, we suggest that the Norwegian legislation in various areas (when it comes to allowing children to take part in research) should be better harmonized. Today one state authority denies the type of research (without consent from parents) that another state authority allows.

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