“We look to the future with responsibility and optimism”
The Government of the Republic of Croatia and UNICEF reviewed the results of their cooperation at their Annual Review Meeting
ZAGREB, February 8, 2023 – Organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the UNICEF Office in Croatia, an annual meeting was held on Wednesday, February 8, during which representatives of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and UNICEF, together with many partners, reflected on the jointly achieved results in the past year and the entire Programme cooperation cycle from 2017 to 2022, and announced the priorities for the new cooperation cycle from 2023 to 2027.
UNICEF is continuously operating through five-year programme mandates, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, ensuring structural and long-term changes for children. Due to the pandemic, the last country programme period exceptionally lasted six years, and some of the most important results for children achieved with the support of UNICEF in the period 2017-2022 relate to support to children with disabilities and their families, health care, support and protection of families and children and young people, access to quality education, support to children without adequate parental care, support to children in the justice system and participation and development of adolescents and young people.
During the coronavirus pandemic, UNICEF provided, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, support to all key sectors involved in the health, education and protection of children. Following the devastating earthquakes in 2020, UNICEF provided support to children and families, protective and medical equipment, and funds to continue providing key services. With the escalation of the war in Ukraine and the growing number of refugees from Ukraine in Croatia, UNICEF provided support to unaccompanied or separated children, psychosocial support and educational materials and training and education for experts from various sectors.
In cooperation with the local community, relevant Ministries and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, UNICEF implements the EU Child Guarantee pilot-programme, funded by the European Union, with the aim of breaking the cycle of child poverty and social exclusion by ensuring access to health care, education, child protection and family support services, adequate housing, and quality nutrition for the most vulnerable children.
The Programme of Cooperation between UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Croatia for the period from 2023 to 2027 contributes directly to the Croatian National Development Strategy 2030, and other key strategies, such as the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the National Child Rights Plan, and the National Action Plan for Child Guarantee. The cooperation of UNICEF and the Croatian Government includes programs and activities aimed at further developing and strengthening the protection, health care, education and skills development of children and adolescents, with a special focus on the most vulnerable and those who are growing up at risk of social exclusion, such as children in alternative care, children of the Roma national minority, migrant children, children with developmental disabilities, children with behavioral problems and children living in poverty.
"The successful cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Croatia and UNICEF in the past six years is reflected by systematic investments for the benefit of children and youth, but also readiness to innovate and step forward even in the most challenging circumstances. Together with UNICEF and numerous partners, we are strategically investing in the protection and better conditions for the development of children and youth in Croatia. At the same time, we are helping other countries through development cooperation and humanitarian assistance and have an active role in modeling solutions that can change the lives of the most vulnerable children at the Level of the European Union", said Frano Matušić, State Secretary for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
“The goal of UNICEF is to ensure that every child realizes his or her rights to health care, education, protection and equality. Whoever that child might be and wherever he or she lives. We shall never give up on this, because every child deserves a childhood and an opportunity to fulfil his or her rights. Great changes for children are not possible without the strong cooperation with partners, which is why UNICEF is building partnerships as an important prerequisite for achieving systematic changes for the wellbeing of every child. The cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, local Governments, civil society and business partners is extremely important in achieving long-term changes and important results for children, young people and their families, and we take our role as a partner very seriously and responsibly. We thank all partners especially the Government of Croatia for their commitment to children and look forward to the next five years“, said Regina M. Castillo, Representative of UNICEF Office for Croatia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.