UNICEF in ActionHighlightsInformation ResourcesDonations, Greeting Cards, & GiftsFor the MediaVoices of YouthAbout UNICEF
Unicef Home      

World Summit on Sustainable Development


UNICEF in action

In India

In Zimbabwe

Say Yes for children!

Stop the cycle of poverty

Protect the environment

Provide health care to all children

Work for a World without HIV/AIDS

Provide education for all

End exploitation, abuse, violence and war


In Southern Africa


Invest in children: Advance sustainable development

Invest in children -- advance sustainable development

Press release
Statements at the Summit
Speeches by Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund:
New Urgent action for children on the brink
Plenary statement
Statement on HIV/AIDS

Speech by Nelson Mandela:
Call to action on orphans and vulnerable children
Official website
Visit the United Nations website for the World Summit:
Johannesburg Summit 2002.
What children think
New Children's speech to the World Leaders at Johannesburg
Access coverage of the Summit by youth reporters on EarthYouth.net
Hear what young people are saying about sustainable development and join in the discussion at Voices of Youth
New publication
Children in the New Millennium: Environmental Impact on Health

Learning from Experience: Water and Environmental Sanitation in India

As the world meets on the critical issues of sustainable development, six countries in southern Africa are reeling from cumulative shocks and crises that have put nearly 13 million people at risk of dying. More than half of those at risk are children and 2.4 million of those children are under the age of five.


The disaster's multiple facets include searing drought and crop failures, entrenched poverty and the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The result is a food crisis, a water crisis, a health crisis and an education crisis all at once, with each element feeding on the others.

UNICEF is responding to save children's lives and safeguard their rights, and appealing for funds to address the interlocking emergencies. Support is needed for various measures, including therapeutic feeding centres, immunization efforts, vitamin A distribution, new wells and water purification equipment, school lunches to keep children in school and help for families and children affected by HIV/AIDS, especially those at risk of exploitation.

Investing in children is a crucial way to prevent such crises and advance sustainable development.


"Ensuring the rights and well-being of children is the key to sustained development in a country and to peace and security in the world," says Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. "Meeting this responsibility, fully, consistently and at any cost, is the essence of leadership. Heads of State and Government hold the lion's share of this responsibility but commitment and action are also called for across the board."

Every aspect of UNICEF's work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world's most widely embraced human rights treaty. Every aspect of UNICEF's work promotes sustainable development.

Yesterday's Dreams, Today's Actions, Tomorrow's Realities

Sustainable development compels us to preserve the planet for our children while harnessing its resources. But poverty - of income, health, education and natural resources - stands in the way. As a formidable enemy of both the well-being of children and the health of the planet, poverty must be eradicated. Children are the future. Our actions today will determine their world of tomorrow. We must overcome the challenges to sustainable development not only for our children but also with our children.


At the United Nations Special Session on Children, held in New York from 8 May through 10 May 2002, the global community endorsed a new agenda for young people - 'A World Fit for Children'. The document focuses on four key areas: promoting healthy lives, promoting quality education for all, protecting children from abuse, exploitation and violence, and combating HIV/AIDS.

Prior to the Special Session, young people met at the Children's Forum and envisioned their future - 'A World Fit for Us'. They recognized that what's good for children is good for the world.

Leading up to the Special Session, the Global Movement for Children, a group comprised of people of all ages and organizations from around the world dedicated to promoting the rights of children and to changing the world with children, sponsored the Say Yes for Children campaign. More than 94 million pledges to the Say Yes actions to improve and protect children were delivered during the UN Special Session.

Next: UNICEF in action: In India