New York / Brussels, 11 September 2012: UNICEF and EU put children first in emergencies
Launch of EU-UNICEF website portal on UNICEF.org on common goals
NEW YORK / BRUSSELS, 11 September 2012 – The European Union will continue to prioritise funding for children in humanitarian emergencies, despite the economic challenges, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, assured UNICEF’s Executive Board today.
Her speech marked the first time an EU Commissioner has addressed the UNICEF Executive Board. The EU Commission is one of UNICEF’s key partners working together in 27 countries affected by emergencies or in post-crisis. The partnership between UNICEF and ECHO dates to 1992 and last year ECHO provided more than € 70 million to UNICEF for its humanitarian work worldwide.
The EU Commissioner emphasized that European citizens support funding programmes to assist the most vulnerable children, citing a recent poll that revealed nine out of 10 respondents consider humanitarian aid vital.
“It is encouraging to note that even when so many European citizens themselves are facing economic challenges, their commitment to children in crises remains firm,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “We share with the EU the importance of investing in children and their communities, to assist when disaster strikes and help prepare for future emergencies.”
Globally UNICEF is ECHO's largest partner for nutrition-related programmes. This support has helped stave off the worst effects of child malnutrition in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.
"Thanks to our working together these last twenty years the lives of millions of children around the world have been saved while the health and wellbeing of many more has been improved,” said Ms. Georgieva. “At this moment in Yemen, for instance, together we are helping more than 100,000 severely malnourished children and more than a million pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their young ones. Results like these are what count for the citizens of the European Union and that's why our solidarity in Europe with those less fortunate in the world remains unwavering."
In the past week ECHO and UNICEF signed the following four funding agreements:
- For the Ivory Coast, in the hardest hit areas, 6.4 million will go to health clinics and purchasing medicines to treat children under five for life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria;
- In Niger, 600,000 for the emergency treatment of cholera;
- Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will receive 750,000 to mitigate disasters for children;
- In Yemen, where an estimated one million children under 5 are suffering from malnutrition, the support of ECHO allowed UNICEF to substantially improve the nutrition response.
The new UNICEF/EU partnership web portal will be a multi-media site for new content on development and humanitarian work and common goals. Visit http://www.unicef.org/eu/
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Sarah Crowe, Spokesperson, UNICEF New York,
Mobile + 1 646 209 1590,
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7452, Mobile + 1 917 378 2128,
David Sharrock, Spokesman for the EU,
Tel + 32 4 607 50628,