|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy at her final press conference at UN headquarters.|
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By Chris Niles
NEW YORK, 27 April 2005 – UNICEF has made important progress for children in the last decade but much more work needs to be done, according to outgoing Executive Director Carol Bellamy.
Speaking at her final press briefing at UN headquarters in New York, Bellamy said global child mortality dropped by 16 per cent in the last ten years – and 34 per cent if sub-Saharan Africa is excluded. Deaths from diarrhoea have fallen by half and measles deaths have declined by more than a third since 1999. The number of children out of school has been reduced to fewer than 100 million for the first time.
Yet at the same time Bellamy said that more than a billion children are being robbed of their childhood by the threats of HIV/AIDS, poverty and conflict.
“I am the first to say that I wish we had accomplished more for children over the past ten years,” Bellamy said.
Child survival, child protection and girls’ education are areas, Bellamy said, UNICEF had made significant progress but where more work is needed to achieve the progress for children laid out in the Millennium Development Goals.
“Protecting children from abuse is not only a moral imperative in itself but fundamental to achieving the world’s long-term development goals,” she said.
“It is my most central conviction from ten years at UNICEF that nothing will turn the tide against poverty the way that education can, especially for girls. There is no more sure an investment for nations than investment in a quality basic education for all boys and girls. With girls especially, the returns with respect to the next generation of children are striking,” Ms Bellamy said.
Bellamy leaves UNICEF to take up a post as CEO and President of World Learning, a private, non-profit international educational organization.
Her successor to UNICEF is Ann Veneman, formerly United States Secretary of Agriculture.
27 April 2005:
Outgoing Executive Director Carol Bellamy talks about the progress UNICEF has made in the last ten years.