|A drought-affected woman and her children sit outside their temporary home in the semi-arid region of North-Eastern Province, Kenya. UNICEF’s country programme in Kenya has made strides in arid and semi-arid areas.|
By Roshni Karwal
NEW YORK, USA, 16 September 2008 – On the second day of its current session at United Nations headquarters here today, UNICEF’s Executive Board focused on the successes and challenges of the organization’s country programmes around the globe.
The meeting took an in-depth look at proposals for greater UNICEF programme cooperation with governments and other partners at the country level. Members of the board, UNICEF’s governing body, also reviewed and made recommendations to approve additional resources for specific country programmes.
UNICEF operates programmes in 155 developing countries.
“This is an opportunity for them to really assess and hear directly from those who are running these country programmes on what the experiences have been,” said Kenya’s Minister of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Dr. Edward Sambili. (Vision 2030 is the country’s long-term strategic development plan.)
“What are the lessons learned, what is the way forward out of these experiences?” he asked.
MDG progress in Kenya
Dr. Sambili pointed to the successes of the UNICEF country programme in Kenya.
“The programme has contributed to the welfare of children – especially those in arid and semi-arid areas,” he said. “It has supported the development of a national policy on orphans and vulnerable children, and a national action plan on children.”
Kenya is on track to meet, at least in part, the Millennium Development Goals on universal primary education, HIV/AIDS and gender disparities, Dr. Sambili said. The outlook is less positive for the MDG targets on child mortality and maternal health, he noted.
It is in these areas that more work needs to be done by all stakeholders in Kenyan child rights, Dr. Sambili said in an appeal to the audience at the Executive Board.
Attending this week’s board session are 45 observer countries, three United Nations bodies, three non-governmental organizations, four UNICEF National Committees and one intergovernmental organization.