UNICEF Papua New Guinea
UNICEF has been operational in Papua New Guinea since 1986, assisting children and women in key social development issues. The current UNICEF Country Programme 2008-12 is human rights and results-based, with a focus on adopting a program approach (rather than executing projects) and working in full alignment with the government. Full integration with, and support for, Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs) is therefore a key strategy. UNICEF advocates strongly for children’s rights and seeks to leverage resources of the Papua New Guinea Government and other development partners and stakeholders. The UNICEF Country Programme is focused on four outcome areas where UNICEF has a comparative advantage in programming and as a development partner. Those four areas are:
Papua New Guinea has made progress against a number of these social indicators during the first 15 years after independence in 1975. Life expectancy increased from 40 years in 1971 to nearly 50 years in 1980, while the under-five mortality rate declined from 93 per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 75 per 1,000 live births in 2006.
Despite these early advances progress has slowed dramatically in the last two decades. Endemic poverty, declining health services, an increase in the rate of HIV and AIDS infection are all escalating problems affecting the development of children in Papua New Guinea. The Government initiated the necessary steps to providing a strengthened legal foundation for programme development for children by acceding to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1993. In 1995, Papua New Guinea also acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All form of Discrimination (CEDAW). Progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been made with the formation of Papua New Guinea’s Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2005-2010. Papua New Guinea’s 2004 MDG report concluded that there was potential to achieve the MTDS targets for Goals 1 to 5, but less progress has been made with Goals 6 and 7.