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UNICEF’s mission is to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social and economic development of their communities.
UNICEF recognizes the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination as central to the consideration of gender equality and believes that gender-based discrimination is one of the most ubiquitous forms of discrimination that children face. The organization promotes equal outcomes for girls and boys, and its policies, programmes, partnerships and advocacy efforts seek to contribute to poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs through result-oriented, effective and well-coordinated action that achieves the protection, survival and development of girls and boys on an equal basis. The organization seeks to engage boys and men in transforming gender relations towards more gender-equal societies. UNICEF strives to mainstream gender equality in all of its work for children, with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as a principal reference, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as the other important underpinning of the organization’s mandate and mission. UNICEF recognizes the mutually supportive relationship between the CRC and CEDAW.
The importance of mainstreaming gender in humanitarian programming to ensure an effective response is increasingly reflected in UNICEF’s policies and guidance for humanitarian action. The Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies (CCCs) guides the work of UNICEF in its humanitarian response.
Following up on an evaluation of the gender policy implementation in UNICEF completed in 2008, UNICEF carried out a one-year plan as an immediate response to its findings and to lay the foundation for longer-term transformation towards achieving excellence in promoting gender equality. The momentum generated by the one-year plan was further built on in 2010, a pivotal year for gender mainstreaming in UNICEF. UNICEF issued its new Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Girls and Women. A Global Consultation was held in February 2010 in Istanbul to take stock of progress realized in the context of the one-year plan. The Global Consultation marked the beginning of the second phase of transformation in UNICEF. A three-year Strategic Priority Action Plan for Gender Equality: 2010-2012 (SPAP) was drafted by participants, building on lessons learned, and outlining organizational priorities, activities and benchmarks to advance UNICEF’s gender equality efforts. The SPAP, launched globally in June 2010, operationalizes the new gender policy. It forms the basis for gender mainstreaming efforts in UNICEF from 2010 to 2012, laying out eight areas of change: accountability and strategic framework; capacity and knowledge; leadership, influence and advocacy; programming; ‘doing what we advocate’; partnership; financial resources; and communications. Both the Policy and the SPAP can be found on this site -- please take a look!