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Ethiopia, 5 April 2013: 1000 Days to reach the most vulnerable children - UNICEF calls on accelerating development results with equity

Addis Ababa, 05 April 2013 – As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) enter their last 1000 days, UNICEF today commended Ethiopia’s progress, but called on the Government, its people and development partners to accelerate results for children, particularly for the most marginalised and vulnerable.

“Ethiopia should be proud of its progress so far. It has halved child deaths, trebled the number of children in school and improved access to safe water. These last 1000 days should consolidate gains made, but also refocus attention on the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. 

Ethiopia has recorded huge development progress in the last decade. The country has seen the proportion of people living below the poverty line decline from 44.5 per cent in 1995 to 29.6 per cent in 2011. More children are now in school than a decade ago, as general enrolment rates trebled from as low as 32 per cent in 1990s to 96.4 per cent. Access to safe water is at its highest in years, with 54 per cent of the population having safe water. While the number of children dying before their fifth birthday has reduced by nearly half from 166 per 1000 live births to 88 per 1000 live births. 

However, the national progress masks immense disparities across the country. For instance, a mere 31 per cent of children in the pastoralist region of Afar are enrolled in school. In addition, social indicators in Ethiopia’s Developing Regional States of Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Somali lag behind. Regional disparities in under five deaths are significant - from 53 per 1,000 live births in Addis Ababa to 127 in the region of Afar and 169 in Benishangul-Gumuz. 

UNICEF in Ethiopia will use the last 1000 days to mobilise development partners, galvanise communities and build public awareness on the MDGs to ensure that no child is left behind. UNICEF will use its presence in the country’s nine Regional States to reach the most marginalised and vulnerable children. UNICEF will ensure that vital services in education, health and nutrition reach ‘hard-to-reach’ children and community leaders are kept accountable. 

“If Ethiopia’s final push at achieving the MDGs is to be successful, there should be targeted action to reach every last child, areas of the greatest need should be prioritised and no child should be left behind,” said Dr. Salama.

The 1000-day initiative seeks to build momentum on the MDGs as the 2015 mark approaches. The MDGs, which are a collective pledge made by world leaders in the year 2000 seek to achieve measurable improvements in the most critical areas of human development by 2015. Children are at the heart of these global development benchmarks. 

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UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. 

UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: 

In June 2012, the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States with UNICEF launched a global roadmap to end preventable deaths of children under the age of five. Since then, under the banner of Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, more than half the world’s governments have signed up and renewed their commitment to child survival. 

For further information, please contact: 

Alexandra (Sacha) Westerbeek, Communication Manager, UNICEF Ethiopia
Tel.: +251 11 518 4039, Mobile: +251 911 255109, email: 

Wossen Mulatu, Communication Officer, UNICEF Ethiopia,
Tel.: +251 115 184028, Mobile: +251 911 308483, email:



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