UNICEF East Asia & Pacific
UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific
The East Asia and Pacific region encompasses one-third of the world’s population – or around 2 billion people. It also contains over one-quarter of the world’s children – around 580 million children in total. The region stretches from Mongolia in the north to Tonga in the south, and from Western China to the Cook Islands. The smallest country in East Asia and the Pacific, Niue, has 1,700 people while the largest, China, has 1.3 billion people. There are around 30 million children born in the region every year.
The region has significant diversity – in peoples, cultures, environments, economies, political systems and potential. It includes some of the fastest-growing economies in the world as well as ten of the least-developed countries – six in the Pacific and four in East Asia. The Pacific is a distinct subregion within the wider region, with its unique characteristics, dynamics and challenges.
This website provides information on what UNICEF does to advance the rights and well-being of children across East Asia and the Pacific. It also captures some of the highlights of the work being carried out by UNICEF’s 14 Country Offices in the region.
What is the role of the Regional Office?
Specialist advisers based in Bangkok help develop programmes in health and nutrition, child protection, HIV and AIDS, education, water and sanitation, early childhood development, social policy and emergency preparedness.
Specialist staff also provide technical oversight and support for financial management, communications, planning and programme monitoring and evaluation.
The Regional Office advocates for national investment in children and child-centred social policies. It liaises with major intergovernmental bodies, such as other United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, bilateral and multilateral institutions, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and donors. Part of our current mission is to build and strengthen regional partnerships for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Fit for Children goals and the realization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF EAPRO also coordinates region-wide activities in support of children’s rights, such as the November 2010 High-Level Meeting on Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region, hosted by the Government of China in Beijing, with backing from UNICEF offices in East Asia and the Pacific and in South Asia. UNICEF is working with the 28 nations that participated in the Beijing meeting, along with other regional partners, to strengthen children’s rights through closer South-South cooperation across Asia and the Pacific.
An overarching objective for UNICEF EAPRO is to provide a resource for all those working to make life better and safer for children in East Asia and the Pacific.
Internationally, UNICEF is the leading children’s organization, working with local communities, organizations and governments to make a lasting difference in children’s lives. The organization's global reach allows it to share knowledge across borders while its local presence – over 85 per cent of UNICEF staff work in developing countries – means it delivers assistance where it is needed most. With its worldwide presence, UNICEF responds rapidly wherever disaster strikes, delivering life-saving help for children.
In 1948, what was then called the UNICEF Asia Regional Office was established to support work in post-war Burma, Ceylon, China, India, Indo-China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Siam and the UK Territories. In 1962, that Office separated into the South Central Asia Regional Office and the East Asia and Pakistan Regional Office. In 1989, Pakistan and Bangladesh became part of the South Asia region, with the regional office in Bangkok renamed as the East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.
EAPRO programming in the 1950s concentrated on food distribution and immunization. In the 1960s, these programmes shifted to long-term planning, focused on development, and by the 1970s the emphasis grew to entail basic services. In the 1980s, UNICEF expanded its focus globally to counter what was then called a ‘silent emergency’ in which some 15 million children were dying of easily treatable and preventable diseases. The GOBI approach, an acronym for growth monitoring, oral rehydration, breastfeeding and immunization, became the basis of the child survival and development revolution that characterizes UNICEF’s work today.