UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia calls on the Foreign Affairs and Finance Advisers
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/Salma
Dhaka, 13 April 2008: Mr. Daniel Toole, UNICEF’s newly appointed Regional Director for South Asia, on his first visit to Bangladesh today called on Mr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, the Adviser for Foreign Affairs and Mr. A B Mirza M Azizul Islam, Adviser for Planning and Finance. Mr. Toole was accompanied by Dr. Iyorlumun Uhaa, Acting Representative of UNICEF Bangladesh.
In the meeting, Mr. Toole discussed with the Advisers, among other things, UNICEF’s plan to hold an All Asia Meeting on Neonatal, Child and Maternal Health in Dhaka later in the year. Child health continues to pose a major challenge in the region with 3.1 million children dying before their fifth birthday in South Asia alone.
The UNICEF Regional Director praised the Government for keeping Bangladesh on track to reach important MDGs targets such as the reduction of child mortality, the reduction of under nutrition and enrollment in primary education. He also urged the Government to invest greater efforts in other sectors such as maternal mortality, gender disparity and access to safe water and sanitation, where progress towards meeting the MDGs remain slow. Indeed, without significant progress in South Asia, the world will fail to achieve the MDGs.
Referring to UNICEF’s long standing relationship with the Government of Bangladesh, the Regional Director thanked the Advisers for Foreign Affairs and Planning & Finance for the continued support and leadership UNICEF received in implementing programmes for improving the lives of children and women.
Mr. Toole said, “UNICEF is deeply concerned on the short and longer term impact of recurring emergencies Bangladesh had to endure in 2007 on children’s health, education and protection. Children and women often bear the worst brunt of emergencies. I would like to express UNICEF’s solidarity with the flood and cyclone affected people. I also want to reiterate that UNICEF is always ready to support the government to provide the best possible opportunities for children especially in time of emergencies.”
Mr. Daniel Toole will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the Regional Policy-Makers’ Symposium on Social Protection organized by UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia from 15 to 17 April in Dhaka. About seventy participants from eight countries – including senior Government officials, representatives of international NGOs and cooperation agencies, leading academic institutions researchers and experts - are expected to take part in this high-level forum.
An American national, Mr. Daniel Toole took office as UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia in December 2007. Based in Kathmandu, he is responsible for oversight, policy and programme coherence and regional as well as global advocacy for UNICEF in South Asia. Before coming to South Asia, Mr. Toole served four years as Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes in UNICEF Headquarters in New York. In this position he was responsible for ensuring UNICEF’s global response and coordination to both natural and man-made emergencies and disasters. He also served in many senior positions over the years including Deputy Executive Director a.i. and UNICEF Representative in Mali and Rwanda.
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