Where we work
UNICEF has 14 Country Offices that manage and implement programmes supporting children’s rights in 28 countries in East Asia and the Pacific. The 14 Country Offices are located in Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Korea DPR, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam.
Click on a country marker on the map below to find out more about UNICEF's work in the East Asia and Pacific region.
Note: This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.Click to view larger map.
UNICEF country offices in East Asia & Pacific region:
UNICEF works closely with the Royal Government of Cambodia to address the major challenges affecting women and children, including alleviating poverty, reducing maternal, infant and child deaths, achieving education for all and strengthening protection for children. Disparities also remain a major concern. While new economic opportunities have improved the lives of many – urban people, in particular – only one in every two Cambodians has access to safe drinking water and less than one in four has access to a toilet. Key data on women and children reveal alarming social disparities between children who live in rural and urban areas in terms of access to basic health services, education, clean water and sanitation, and protective services. Persistent poverty for rural residents remains a significant national challenge.
For more than 30 years, UNICEF has worked in partnership with the Chinese Government to protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable children in China. UNICEF works in the poorest counties in almost all provinces on maternal and child health, basic education, child protection, water and sanitation, HIV and AIDS, social policy and emergency preparedness. The increase in prosperity resulting from China’s rapid economic growth in recent years has not yet reached the poorest children and communities, with stark disparities existing between east and west, and urban and rural parts of China.
UNICEF’s five priorities in China are 1) early childhood care (good health care and nutrition, clean water, decent hygiene, and proper maternal care), 2) immunization, 3) education (especially for girls, who make up most of the 110 million children not enrolled in school today), 4) preventing the spread of HIV and 5) protecting children from exploitation and violence.
UNICEF works closely with the Government of Indonesia, local organizations, the private sector and communities to protect children's most basic rights – with a special focus on the most vulnerable. UNICEF programmes in Indonesia focus on helping to reduce child malnutrition and improve maternal health, increasing access to basic education and improving education quality, child protection, combating HIV and AIDS, and providing better, more accessible water and sanitation facilities for children and their families. UNICEF is also committed to working with the Government and other partners to address significant social and geographic inequities. While poverty levels have fallen consistently since 1998, as many as half the population are estimated to still live below, or close to, the national poverty line.
UNICEF has been working in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1985 through projects in health, nutrition, hygiene and education as well as through planning and advocacy. UNICEF's nutrition projects in DPR Korea help facilitate the optimal growth and development of young children. According to the most recent nutrition assessment (in 2002), the prevalence of wasting and stunting in children under seven is 9% and 42% respectively. An estimated 70,000 children are severely wasted and require hospitalization. UNICEF also works to strengthen the health system's capacity to address the most common causes of mortality in children (diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections – with half of these deaths believed to result from malnutrition), to maintain participation in and improve the quality of the country's system of free and compulsory education, and to strengthen information-based planning systems responsive to the situation of children and women. UNICEF's water, environment and sanitation projects in DPR Korea focus on improvements to the physical environment to prevent common diseases such as diarrhoea and skin infections.
Having initiated small-scale projects in Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1952 and opened a Country Office in Vientiane in 1973, UNICEF is now a partner in supporting national efforts to reduce infant and under-five mortality rates and to achieve other MDG targets. The main UNICEF programmes are in health, education, water and sanitation. Other programmes cover child protection, HIV and AIDS, and policy support (advocacy and communication). Recent programme highlights include support for the adoption and implementation in nearly 1,500 primary schools of the National Schools of Quality (Child Friendly Schools) policy; a 2007 measles immunization campaign that reached 95 per cent of target-age children; support for the development of an effective response to Avian Influenza and H1N1, passage of the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Children; and the joint response to the Mekong River floods in 2008, helping communities restore their clean water supply after Laos’ worst natural disaster in decades.
UNICEF Malaysia supports national efforts to meet the rights of children and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, with programmes focused on combating the spread of HIV, child protection and improving education and health services for the country’s most vulnerable children. Despite Malaysia’s overall achievements in health and education, tens of thousands of children living in urban slums and remote, rural communities continue to endure difficult childhoods due to economic, social and rural-urban disparities. UNICEF is working with the Government of Malaysia to realise the aspirations of the Ninth Malaysia Plan through grassroots programmes designed to boost early childhood development, promote breastfeeding, address deficiencies in nutrition, support children with special needs, and promote child participation in civil rights. UNICEF’s Malaysia Country Office, located in Kuala Lumpur, has responsibility for both Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.
UNICEF cooperation with the Government of Mongolia began in 1963, with a UNICEF Country Office opening in Ulaanbaatar in 1991. Over the past 15 years, Mongolia has made significant socio-economic progress, with the MDGs for child mortality and universal primary education having been achieved. However, serious challenges remain including widening urban-rural disparities and poverty, with more than a third of population living below the poverty line. Among the major challenges for children in Mongolia include school attendance, abandoned and street children, child labour, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children and trafficking of young women.
UNICEF’s major programmes in Mongolia include support for government policy analysis to inform national planning and programming on issues affecting children, and a child health and nutrition programme that aims to sustain immunization coverage, address problems in child and maternal mortality and micronutrient deficiencies, promote exclusive breastfeeding and improve water quality at community level. UNICEF is also working to improve access to basic education, including quality early learning opportunities, with a focus on children who are out of school, and to protect children from abuse, exploitation and neglect and promote child-friendly approaches to juvenile justice. UNICEF is also working to improve the delivery of pro-poor essential services for families and children, help combat the spread of HIV and to promote and advocate for children’s rights.
UNICEF has worked in Myanmar since 1950, helping develop rural health services, basic education for children and community water supply and sanitation systems, partnering to prevent the spread of HIV and more recently advocating for stronger child protection programmes. UNICEF supports immunization throughout the country, malaria prevention in high-risk areas and an integrated package of health, education, water supply and sanitation programmes in 61 of the most vulnerable townships.
Pacific Islands (UNICEF’s Multi-Country Office for the Pacific, based in Suva, Fiji, covers 14 Pacific Island countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Pacific is a distinct sub-region with its unique characteristics, dynamics and challenges)
Across the 14 Pacific island countries (covering more than 30 million square kilometres of ocean), UNICEF is emphasizing policy analysis and advocacy to influence the development and application of laws and services that recognize children’s rights and address inequalities. Of particular concern to UNICEF is the constrained social and economic development due to geographic isolation, frequent natural disasters, limited domestic markets, inadequate infrastructure and undeveloped capacity. Persisting households problems relate to cash poverty, poverty of opportunity, social isolation and inequality.
Papua New Guinea
Working in the country since 1986, UNICEF collaborates with partners to increase immunization coverage, reduce micronutrient deficiency in children younger than 5 years, improve maternal mortality and improve the population’s access to safe water, sanitation, medical supplies and trained health workers. Early childhood care and development is promoted to prepare children for learning.
An estimated 40 per cent of the population lives in absolute poverty, and traditional culture is being eroded as more people drift to the cities, with many young people unable to find jobs. High levels of frustration lead to crime and violence, while many children are exposed to abuse and sexual exploitation. UNICEF is committed to improving the protection of all children, especially those most vulnerable from abuse, violence and commercial sexual exploitation through the use of the Child Protection Act. UNICEF helps the Government improve the collection of data on child protection indicators, execute plans that address exploitation and strengthen the juvenile justice system. And UNICEF’s support to the Government’s national HIV response focuses on preventing HIV transmission from parent to child, among youth, and providing quality paediatric AIDS services.
In 19 provinces and five cities, UNICEF supports local governments to ensure the delivery of basic services for children and women and to model innovative programmes to find solutions to problems facing children. UNICEF supports and advocates for a culture of breastfeeding and health campaigns to help address preventable diseases and malnutrition among young children. UNICEF provides vaccines, cold chain equipment and syringes to help expand immunization coverage, and trains health workers to respond to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Other priority areas include constructing water and sanitation facilities for public elementary schools.
UNICEF works to provide a safe and protective environment for children by educating families to prevent abuse, violence and exploitation and enabling children-at-risk to protect themselves through rescue, healing and recovery services. UNICEF assists in establishing Child Protection Units, child-friendly investigation studios and specialized courts to help victims of child abuse and exploitation. Children at risk and children victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking receive a range of services, from access to educational opportunities, life skills training, vocational training, and HIV and AIDS prevention education, to health services and psychosocial interventions. For children in conflict areas, we work to provide basic social, health and psychological services.
Although Thailand is a middle-income country, it is one of 15 countries in the world that together account for more than half of the world’s out-of-school primary school age children. Quality of education is also a major concern. Among the 65 countries participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2009, students in Thailand ranked 50th in reading, 50th in mathematics and 49th in science. UNICEF programmes focus on getting more children into school and ensuring that schools are safe, clean and provide a high-quality, relevant education that will prepare children for their adult lives.
An estimated 2 million stateless people are living in Thailand, many of whom are children; more than 60,000 children live in the nine refugee camps along Thai-Myanmar border, and about 7,400 of them are separated from their family. More than 4,000 children have been orphaned due to the violence in the southern border provinces. More children and women from neighbouring countries are being trafficked or exploited in Thailand or through Thailand to other countries. UNICEF thus works to keep children safe from abuse, neglect, trafficking, child labour and exploitation and to ensure that children are protected and treated sensitively by the law. Other priorities include prevention of new HIV infections. This is especially important as HIV prevalence rates are rising among young people and populations in parts of the South and that more young people are becoming sexually active at an earlier age.
UNICEF has focused on the Government’s priorities of establishing justice and security systems, social protection, addressing the needs of youth, improving opportunities for employment and income generation and improving social service delivery. UNICEF also advocates with the Government to develop policies and laws that recognize children’s rights and address disparities and provides support for improving the Government’s capability to deliver and monitor services. Additionally, there is emphasis on communication to create demand for and stimulate the use of services by children, youth, women and families. UNICEF engages strongly in emergency preparedness and response, including disaster risk reduction strategies.
UNICEF promotes innovative approaches to making children’s environments safer in schools and communities and works to improve the functions of national and local bodies to help young people become functionally literate and learn life skills they can apply in their daily lives and remain safe from violence.
Because Viet Nam is now considered a lower middle-income country, UNICEF is working with the Government at different levels to help ensure vulnerable children are not left behind and to sustain past achievements in realizing children’s rights. Despite the country’s prosperity, more than 26 million children, or about 30% of the population, are not benefitting equally – gaps between the rich and the poor, between male and female and between the majority ethnic Kinh and the country’s many minority populations are clear and are widening. UNICEF work concentrates on improving social services while providing support to policy development and legal reform, building the country’s capacity to draft and implement child-sensitive laws, quality service delivery and improving the quality of data and how it is used.
Innovations on the ground through the Provincial Child Friendly Programme in six provinces of the country provide a comprehensive response to children’s needs, incorporating work in education, child survival and development that includes components to support health and nutrition, child injury prevention, water and sanitation, HIV prevention and child protection and social policy, integrated services and the corresponding need to build local capacity to deliver them.
UNICEF National Committees in this region: