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At a glance: Korea, Republic of

UNICEF Executive Director addresses milestone meeting of National Committees

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© Korean Committee for UNICEF/2010/Hwang Namsu
Republic of Korea Prime Minister Un-Chan Chung greets UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake at the formal opening of the 55th Annual Meeting of National Committees for UNICEF.

By Sarah Hamiduddin and Chulho Hyun

SEOUL, Republic of Korea, 10 May 2010 – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake today joined South Korea’s Prime Minister, Un-Chan Chung, the heads of UNICEF National Committees and other dignitaries to formally open the 55th Annual Meeting of National Committees for UNICEF.

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At his first major meeting since assuming the helm of the organization, Mr. Lake called upon those gathered to work together to advance the best interests of every child and to accelerate progress toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals by the target year of 2015.

“My goal today is to start a dialogue with all of you about how we can best meet our mission and deliver on UNICEF’s historic commitment to protect the rights of all children, especially those most often left behind,” he said.

‘A true lifeline’

Thanking the global network of 36 National Committees – which represent the organization in developed countries and generate nearly one third of UNICEF’s funds – Mr. Lake cited in particular the “massive outpouring” of private-sector support to the Haiti earthquake emergency. That outpouring, and those funds, enabled UNICEF to rapidly address the most immediate needs of children in the worst affected areas.

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© Korean Committee for UNICEF/2010/Hwang Namsu
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake addresses the Annual Meeting of National Committees in Seoul – the first such gathering to be held in the Republic of Korea, which was a recipient of aid during the Korean War but became a donor country with a National Committee in 1994.

“UNICEF’s National Committees are a true lifeline that makes everything we do possible,” he added.

Beyond fundraising, UNICEF’s National Committees promote public awareness and the fulfillment of child rights in their respective countries. 

Unique history

Mr. Lake also congratulated the government and people of South Korea for a history of strong national commitment and international support. The Annual Meeting is the first to be hosted by the Korean Committee, which has a unique experience in UNICEF – having gone from being a recipient of aid during the Korean War (1950-53), to becoming a donor country with a National Committee in 1994. 

The committee has since grown to be the tenth largest contributor of private-sector funds to UNICEF. “Koreans have every reason to be proud of the support they provide to the world’s most vulnerable children,” Mr. Lake said.

Delivering for children

Prime Minister Un-Chan Chung spoke of “investing in children as an important cornerstone” to the development of his own country. He committed his government to increasing its contribution to overseas development aid “to make a better world for everyone, including children.” In 2009, the Republic of Korea was the 19th largest government donor to UNICEF.

At a welcome reception on Sunday, Mr. Lake presented the Aldo Farina Award to Dr. Ian Hassall of the Institute of Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology, in recognition of his leadership and passionate commitment to improving the health and welfare of children in New Zealand. The award is presented biannually for outstanding achievement in child rights advocacy, and is sponsored by the Italian and Spanish Committees for UNICEF.


 

 

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10 May 2010: At the 55th Annual Meeting of National Committees for UNICEF, Executive Director Anthony Lake acknowledges the Korean Committee's historic commitment to children.
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