Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)



© UNICEF/NYHQ 2007-2877/Pirozzi

Updated 28 May, 2011.

This region, spanning 22 countries and territory, is highly diverse. Extreme poverty is rare but huge disparities remain. Its young people are dynamic, resourceful, eager to shake off their past legacies and influence global trends. UNICEF works with governments, civil society and the private sector to ensure a more equitable future for children.

Remarkable progress was achieved on the poverty front during the 2000 - 2008 period of vibrant economic growth and there are signs of a bounceback from the transition recessession and financial crisis. Dramatic changes two decades ago splintered eight countries and opened the path to nationhood to dozens more. Once fragile freedoms are now becoming more entrenched: the right to vote, to express opinions, and to influence those who make decisions that affects their lives.

But millions of families are still struggling to make ends meet. And they face growing dangers such as HIV and AIDS and soaring drug use. Rising poverty and falls in social spending exclude vast numbers of children from the benefits of economic progress.

This is a region where the gap between the `haves` and `have nots` appears to be widening, rather than closing. Too many children are being excluded from national progress towards, for example, the Millenium Development Goals because of who they are and where they live.

Time and again, the same groups of children are denied their most basic rights: the poorest, the ethnic minorities, including the Roma children; the refugees and displaced, children with disabilities or with HIV and AIDS and, very often, girls.

We aim to tackle that exclusion.

Our goal: Leave no child out. Building equity across the region.




Map of the region




 Email this article

unite for children