MANILA, 5 April 2005 --- Carol
Bellamy, outgoing Executive Director of the United Nations
Children's Fund for the last 10 years, received the Order
of the Golden Heart from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
in a simple ceremony in Malacañang Palace.
President Arroyo conferred the award on Bellamy immediately
following the latter's courtesy call to the Chief Executive.
The Order of the Golden Heart gives official recognition
to foreign and local citizens who have rendered distinguished
services or given noteworthy monetary or other material aid,
encouragement to the campaign for the amelioration and improvement
of the moral, social and economic conditions of the Filipino
Bellamy said she was honored by the kind recognition of President
Arrroyo but that the award is really a recognition of the
Child-Friendly Movement in the Philippines: a six-year campaign
– still going strong – that is galvanizing children,
families, churches and governments in an effort to change
the way we value children in the Philippines.
“We have seen a lot of progress in the Philippines
in recent years, in child mortality, gradual expansion of
early childhood care and many excellent projects in child
protection,” she added, “However, there is so
much still to do in the Philippines and I hope we can make
much more progress, especially on the heartless exploitation
of children in various forms.”
Bellamy is currently in Manila to launch a handbook for parliamentarians
on combating child trafficking. She also spoke to delegates
of the 112th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on
the major global threats to childhood today: poverty, armed
conflict and HIV/AIDS.
Currently one out two children lives in poverty. In 55 out
of the 59 wars since 1990, the majority of casualties have
been women and children. Fifteen million children have lost
parents to AIDS, 14 million in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Under Bellamy’s leadership UNICEF has become a champion
of global investment in children, arguing that efforts to
reduce poverty and build a more secure world can only be successful
if they ensure that children have an opportunity to grow to
adulthood in health, peace and dignity. She has challenged
leaders from all walks of life to recognize their moral, social,
and economic responsibility to invest in children –
and to shift national resources accordingly.
Bellamy has visited more than 100 countries, advocating for
children and women with heads of state, cultural icons, corporate
leaders, rebel commanders, and many others.
Bellamy completes her 10-year tenure at UNICEF at the end