|© UNICEF Pakistan/2004|
|Carol Bellamy at a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan|
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 6 December 2004 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, in Pakistan for a three-day visit, spoke about the challenges facing UNICEF. At a press conference here today, she said: “I am proud that UNICEF is an organization that’s making a difference. However, we’re in a time when the world needs to make even more of a difference if children are to survive and thrive,” she said.
Her visit focused on the urgency of accelerating progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
During her keynote address to the ‘International Summit on Volunteerism and the MDGs’, held in Islamabad, Ms. Bellamy spoke about the important role of volunteers: “The challenge of implementing the MDGs is daunting. The obstacles we face have grown more formidable. Without a major infusion of resources, energies, and political will, we will fall short of achieving most, if not all, of the MDGs.
“Investing fully in children today is the starting point of all human development. The spirit of volunteerism permeates UNICEF, whose mission to protect the rights of children and help meet their basic needs...has been enriched over the years by the work of countless volunteers.
“Identifying the resources necessary to enlist the immense skills and energies of the worldwide volunteer movement in the drive to achieve the MDGs is an unparalleled opportunity,” said Ms. Bellamy.
Meeting with Prime Minister
In Islamabad today, 6 December 2004, Ms. Bellamy met with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the Ministers for Health and Education. During a press conference, she discussed how goals for child survival, as well as enrolment rates for primary education, in particular for girls, are unlikely to be met in Pakistan if current trends continue.
Ms. Bellamy was encouraging about the way in which Pakistan is addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She noted that as long as the prevalence rate remains low in the country, there is a precious “window of opportunity” to promote prevention, particularly by focusing on the needs of young people for information about how to protect themselves.
In discussions with Prime Minister Aziz, Ms. Bellamy said that Pakistan’s economic advances should rightfully be reflected in greater investment in the social sectors. Where delivery is currently poor – for example in services for routine immunization – additional resources are urgently needed, specifically directed to children in families living below the poverty level.
Ms. Bellamy will conclude her visit this afternoon in Lahore, where she will meet with senior members of the Punjab provincial government, and with the Adviser for Child Rights and Welfare for the newly created Bureau for Child Protection and Welfare.