|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF Director of Programmes Alan Court (at right) presents an update on the End Child Hunger and Undernutrition Initiative. Also pictured are UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah and Executive Board President Andrei Dapkiunas.|
By Rachel Bonham Carter
NEW YORK, USA, 7 June 2006 – UNICEF Executive Board members from African countries today called for an integrated approach to child survival that addresses all of the underlying causes of hunger and undernutrition.
Burkina Faso’s Minister of Social Action and National Solidarity, Tamini Pascaline, spoke on behalf of the group in response to a report on UNICEF’s Ending Child Hunger and Undernutrition Initiative. The initiative focuses on Millennium Development Goal number one, target two: to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and undernutrition by 2015.
“We think the Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved in African nations through the realization and participation of communities,” explained Ms. Pascaline. “And of course, this must be accompanied by good policies and good governance.
“With holistic programs and approaches to development and to fighting poverty, we believe that in Africa we will most likely be able to overcome these challenges like malnutrition and all they encompass,” she concluded.
“The intervention from Burkina Faso was very helpful,” said UNICEF Director of Programmes Alan Court. “It underlines the fact that the initiative does integrate the different areas of the National Development Plan – from the agriculture and food production side to the health side to the whole care and caring practices side," he added.
Earlier, Mr. Court had presented the report on the hunger initiative, updating the board on progress made since its first regular session of the year, held in January.
|© UNICEF video|
|Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaks to the Executive Board about UNICEF’s support for the distribution of 20,000 bednets in Ethiopia to fight malaria.|
Country programmes outlined
The Executive Board spent much of the third day of this week’s Annual Session discussing draft Country Programme Documents, which outline UNICEF’s work within individual nations.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman welcomed the new Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Esther Guluma, to her first board meeting in that capacity. Ms. Veneman stressed the importance of the Regional Director’s role in helping to scale up UNICEF’s accelerated child survival program for West Africa.
Introducing the Country Programme Documents for Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, and Sao Tome and Principe, Ms. Guluma described that part of the world as the “make-or-break region for Millennium Development Goals on child mortality.”
UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Per Engebak, introduced documents on four other country programmes – in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda.
‘If spiderwebs unite...’
Ethiopia's Minister of Health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also addressed the board, describing an ambitious, UNICEF-supported project under way to provide insecticide-treated bednets to every Ethiopian home at risk of malaria.
“Although the minimum target is 80 per cent," he said, "we aim to reach 100 per cent of the 10 million households identified. The total target is 20 million bednets by August 2007, so that 10 million households have at least two bednets per household, mainly to be used by children and mothers. One thing that I am really happy about is that UNICEF accepted this challenge.”
UNICEF’s Representative in Ethiopia, Björn Ljungqvist, used an old Ethiopian proverb to describe UNICEF’s approach in that country – but his comment could have referred to all the programmes outlined today. “If spiderwebs unite,” said Mr. Ljungqvist, “they can tie up a lion.”
Draft Country Programme Documents were proposed as well for Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Moldova. Others to be proposed tomorrow include the documents for Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Yemen.
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Post-crisis transition strategy presented