|© UNICEF/HQ07-1067/ Das|
|Three boys displaced by flooding peer from beneath a UNICEF-supplied tent at a temporary camp in Madhubani Village in Bihar State, India.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 5 September 2007 – UNICEF's Executive Board opened its second regular session of 2007 in New York today. Meeting through 7 September, board members will examine existing programmes in a total of 17 countries in order to define focus areas and create a framework for progress over the next five years.
Executive Director Ann M. Veneman delivered opening remarks, looking back at UNICEF's swift response to the many disasters that occurred this summer.
“In the past several weeks, UNICEF has helped respond to several emergencies, including severe flooding in South Asia, the devastating earthquake in Peru and of course, the hurricanes that are severely impacting Central America just this week, ” said Ms. Veneman. “These examples remind us of the importance of our work this week on behalf of the world’s children.”
Disasters in South Asia and the Americas
The seasonal monsoon flooding this year has proven to be some of the worst in South Asia’s history. At least 30 million people have been affected in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. In collaboration with UN agency partners and non-governmental organizations, UNICEF’s field offices on the ground have provided vital emergency response services to the most vulnerable children and their families – including assistance with health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, and education.
Meanwhile, a powerful earthquake shook Peru on 15 August, killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands homeless. UNICEF is supporting the government’s effort to bring more than 220,000 children in earthquake-affected regions back to school. Children and adolescents make up over a third of the population in the affected areas.
Country programmes are central
Beyond reviewing recent crisis response efforts, Executive Board members this week will look into country programme documents from nations throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as Nepal, and will examine a multi-country programme for the Pacific Islands.
“UNICEF’s country programmes are central to our work,” said Ms. Veneman. “Providing aid, advice and assistance; coordinating immunization campaigns; addressing undernutrition and empowering communities and families to build healthy environments makes a difference in the lives of millions of children around the world.”