Young child survival and development

Leaders at Clinton Global Initiative renew commitments to health and education

UNICEF Image
© The Clinton Global Initiative
Angelina Jolie speaks as UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman looks on during the Clinton Global Initiative announcement of new education funding for children affected by conflict.

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, USA, 26 September 2007 – A $30 million pledge to help educate children affected by conflict, especially in Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and a pledge of $1 billion to help improve maternal and child health worldwide were announced at the Clinton Global Initiative today.

The contributions were highlighted at two separate events in New York during the annual meeting organized by the William J. Clinton Foundation to address serious global issues. (Click here to watch the Clinton Global Initiative live webcast.)

The education grant was announced late this afternoon as part of the Clinton initiative’s Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, co-chaired by economist Gene Sperling and actress and advocate Angelina Jolie. “Over 20 million children of conflict are out of school,” said Ms. Jolie. “Education is often forgotten.”

With this support, UNICEF is working with Microsoft, the International Rescue Committee and Hewlett Packard to help 150,000 children through a distance-learning project in conflict areas.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2007/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former US President Bill Clinton at the event on child health.

Support for development goals

At a news conference earlier in the day, the Government of Norway unveiled a major pledge to reduce maternal and child deaths.

“These people have done a great thing today,” said former US President Bill Clinton as he announced the commitment in front of a group of world leaders.

Mr. Clinton was referring to Norway’s promise of $1 billion over the next 10 years to help meet Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which aim to reduce child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015. The Netherlands has also pledged $176 million for the effort.

Maternal and newborn health

“Today we launch a campaign to save millions of lives,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference launching the pledge.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2007/Susan Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman urges “a collective sense of urgency” to reach the Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health.

Also on hand for the announcement were UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, President Youdhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan and British Minister of State Mark Malloch Brown.

The new commitment will focus on the survival of newborn babies and their mothers, and will promote increased awareness of women’s and children’s health issues.

Filling ‘a critical gap’

Mr. Stoltenberg said the initiative has the support so far of five presidents and three prime ministers, and will build a network of global leaders – including those from the private sector – to give high priority to women’s and children’s health.

“It fills a critical gap in the health care agenda,” said Mr. Zoellick. “Some aid is short-term and unpredictable, and basic needs have suffered.”

“It’s very important to get added resources,” said Ms. Veneman. “It’s also important to recognize that the right policies are needed to access people in the poorest areas. With strong leadership locally and shared efforts globally – with a collective sense of urgency – we can create a better world for mothers, boys and girls, and generations to come.”


 

 

Video

26 September 2007:
Former US President Bill Clinton, joined by Angelina Jolie, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and other leaders and advocates, announces a pledge of $30 million in education funding for children affected by conflict.
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Bill Clinton joins Ann M. Veneman and world leaders to announce $1 billion in support for maternal and child health.
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28 September 2007:
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman speaks to delegates at the Clinton Global Initiative about the progress UNICEF is making in child nutrition.
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