NEW YORK, 23 December 2009 - It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that yesterday I informed the Secretary General that I do not plan to pursue a second term as Executive Director of UNICEF when my current term concludes at the end of April 2010.
I will leave UNICEF knowing that together we have built a stronger, results-driven organization that effectively advances the agenda for children around the world. This is an enduring testament to the dedicated, hard-working staff, which is just one reason why I can truly say that serving as Executive Director has been the most rewarding personal and professional experience of my life.
My passion for the mission of UNICEF will remain with me forever and I will continue to speak out for our causes. Together, we have worked to achieve results for children, focusing on what works to realize their rights and making progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. And we have put a spotlight on the issues of women and children, understanding that it is the children of today who will inherit our world tomorrow.
Having traveled to nearly seventy countries during the past five years, I have seen how UNICEF and its partners are improving and saving lives. I have witnessed the hardships caused by disease, conflict and natural disaster which are constant reminders that more must be done. That so many children continue to lose their lives needlessly, lack access to basic preventative health care and cannot get a quality education is simply unacceptable. That girls and women continue to suffer the crimes of rape, abuse and trafficking is intolerable. And that children are among those most impacted by humanitarian disasters, climate change and inadequate nutrition is why the world must focus on its collective responsibility to future generations.
My sincere thanks to the entire UNICEF staff and all of our partners around the globe whose hard work and dedication are helping save, protect and improve the lives of children. I have the greatest admiration for all that you do.
I am confident that the next Executive Director will advance UNICEF priorities with the same vigor and with the continued support of the committed staff and partners of UNICEF. In the coming months, I look forward to working together with all of you to ensure a smooth, productive transition to my successor.
Ann M. Veneman