|UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman (centre) speaks about child protection, flanked by Deputy Directors Saad Houry, Hilde Johnson and Omar Abdi, and Executive Board President Anders Lidén, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN.|
By Anwulika Okafor
NEW YORK, USA, 31 January 2008 – Safeguarding the rights of children to health, education and a protective environment is at the heart of UNICEF’s work. It therefore came as no surprise that issues of child protection strategy dominated the second day of the UNICEF Executive Board’s first regular session of 2008, which is being held at UN headquarters this week.
The board spent several hours yesterday discussing the proposed final draft of UNICEF’s comprehensive child-protection strategy, which was created in consultation with member states and integrates recommendations from the landmark UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.
Prevention and rehabilitation
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said the organization was committed to strengthening its efforts to protect child rights. While prevention of abuse is the main goal of the proposed strategy, she noted, the rehabilitation of children affected by violence, exploitation and neglect will remain a significant part UNICEF’s work.
The draft strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships as well as the integration of children themselves in the development of protection programmes.
|A representative from Sudan addresses the UNICEF Executive Board meeting held in the Economic and Social Council chamber at the United Nations on 30 January 2008.|
The strategy also calls for the incorporation of child-protection strategies into national agendas, and support for increased efforts to change societal perceptions about the rights of children.
Partnerships for development
Executive Board President Anders Lidén, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN, opened the day’s session with comments on UNICEF’s budget and partnerships.
To help support the work of 10,000 UNICEF staff members in more than 150 countries, the board unveiled plans to strengthen public and private partnerships – through which UNICEF will continue to address the development needs of children, families and communities worldwide.
UNICEF relies on donations from governments and the private sector to maintain its programmes. As UNICEF’s work continues to expand, so does the need for strengthened partnerships to ensure effectiveness. The Executive Board plans to build on existing partnership agreements – such as agreements with the World Bank and World Health Organization – in addition to exploring new cooperative opportunities.
UNICEF Executive Board 2008
Board wraps up field visit to Lao PDR