|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy at her farewell party at UN Headquarters|
By Chris Niles
NEW YORK 28 April 2005 – “I have no intention of giving up the fight. I will continue,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said at her farewell party at United Nations Headquarters in New York Thursday night.
Ms Bellamy is leaving UNICEF after ten years at the helm - a period she described as ‘the most extraordinary days of my life.’ But she promised she would not stop pushing for the rights of children.
“Not enough is being done in the world,” she told a gathering which included Louise Fréchette, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Mark Malloch Brown, UN Chief of Staff. “We have to stop talking and start doing.”
Ms Bellamy guided UNICEF through the challenges of the post-Cold War period, the rising HIV/AIDS epidemic and the growing numbers of countries suffering from conflict.
While continuing UNICEF’s traditional work with child immunization and nutrition, Ms Bellamy put child exploitation on the global agenda. She broke taboos on speaking about issues like child sex tourism, child labour and the trafficking of children to industrialized countries.
And she pushed for girls’ education, believing it to be the key to healthier more prosperous families.
Because she placed a strong emphasis on emergency response, UNICEF was able to respond quickly and efficiently when the tsunami struck the Indian Ocean region – a disaster that was unprecedented in the organization’s history.
During her farewell speech Ms Bellamy selected the 2002 UN Special Session on Children as one of her personal highlights. She had encouraged the General Assembly to allow children to take part in the session, meeting heads of state to discuss issues affecting their lives. “It was like opening the windows and letting the air in,” Ms Bellamy said.
And despite the problems she still sees in the world she believes there is reason for optimism.
“UNICEF is fundamentally an optimistic institution,” she said this week. “ It was created with hope and optimism, and it is continually renewed by the hope and optimism that children bring into the world.”
28 April 2005:
UNICEF says farewell to Carol Bellamy.