Bold plan to halt child marriage in jeopardy, warns new report

World Vision is urging the new International Development Secretary Priti Patel to take a lead in ramping up action to eradicate child marriages by 2030. 

The world’s largest children’s aid agency issued the alert in a new report - Ending Child Marriage by 2030 - Tracking Progress and Identifying Gaps –released on the second anniversary of the Girl Summit. The report is issued in partnership with Girls Not Brides, Plan UK and The Royal Commonwealth Society. 

World Vision says the Department for International Development has made progress in putting child marriage on the international agenda. But it believes a global step-change in child protection is now needed to deliver real change for girls on the ground.

The number of children forcibly married across the world is only slowly declining. Globally, 15 million girls are married under the age of 18 every year - 28 girls every minute.

Rob Henderson, World Vision UK Public Affairs Officer said: “Ministerial change must not lead to loss of momentum. Priti Patel must set out a clear and coherent plan for how the UK will lead the fight against child marriage around the world. There is a now a real risk that the international community will miss its goal of ending child marriage by 2030.”

World Vision recommends the government takes a '3 Ps’ approach to stamp out child marriage:

  • Persuade countries with severe problems to adopt national action plans to end child marriage.
  • Pledge full funding support for evidence-based programmes that cut rates of child marriage.
  • Prioritise child marriage prevention projects as part of the UK’s emergency and humanitarian responses. 

Rob Henderson says: “Current activities on the ground are too small to address the scale of the problem. Child marriage must be at the forefront of every programme we design and implement, especially in fragile contexts, where girls are particularly vulnerable.

“The government can be proud of its track record in encouraging countries such as Tanzania and Gambia to outlaw child marriage. The UK has the clout and influence to encourage others to follow suit. We call on Priti Patel to continue taking a lead and commit to ending child marriage in a generation.”

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