|Carol Bellamy (left) with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman (right) and Director of Emergency Programmes Dan Toole unveiling a commemorative plaque.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 18 January 2006 – In honour of former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy’s extraordinary contribution to the initial creation and nurturing of the organization’s emergency programming focus, UNICEF today unveiled a new, completely renovated communication facility, renaming it the ‘Carol Bellamy Operations Centre’.
“Carol Bellamy deserves enormous credit for her commitment and foresight in positioning UNICEF as an effective and high-profile leader in global emergency response,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman at the dedication ceremony. “Her tireless work and travel in the field came to symbolize the work and dedication of many other staff members who were racing to prevent needless additional deaths – and, they earned UNICEF enormous admiration from around the world.
“This evening we recognize the enduring contributions of Carol Bellamy, and what she has done for UNCIEF, and in particular, to our capacity to prepare for and respond to crisis situations.”
Emergency response takes ‘100 per cent of everyone’
The Operations Centre was formally established in January 1996 as part of the Office of Emergency Programmes. It has the capacity to provide instantaneous global telephone service and videoconferencing for UNICEF staff members working around the world. Many staff members in ‘OPSCEN’, as it is known, are multilingual, and a total of 12 languages are spoken.
|Carol Bellamy speaking to friends and colleagues at the dedication ceremony, held on 18 January at UNICEF House.|
“The Operations Centre is a unique structure in UNICEF. It’s also unique in the United Nations,” explained Dan Toole, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes. “It is the only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week centre that tracks not just a few countries, but the entire world, to watch what’s happening, and how to respond.
“Carol was the person who created the Operations Centre, and she saw it grow. One of the things I remember is she went there everyday for her first cup of coffee when she came to the office at 5:30 in the morning,” recalled Mr. Toole.
Ms. Bellamy was greeted by many former colleagues and friends at UNICEF House. As she toured the new Operations Centre, she was impressed by the many improvements and its state of the art capacities. She then unveiled a plaque, along with Ms. Veneman, Mr. Toole, and various friends and colleagues in attendance.
“The work of emergency response takes 100 per cent of everyone, starting with the Executive Director, so let me congratulate Ms. Veneman on her strong leadership in this area,” said Ms. Bellamy.
“Whether it’s a circumstance of conflict, whether it’s a circumstance of natural disaster, whether it’s a circumstance of pandemic – the rights of children are not anything that should take second place to conditions of the moment.
“UNICEF is there for children everywhere, at all times, in all circumstances,” remarked Ms. Bellamy, summing up the importance of the Operations Centre’s mission.