UNICEF and UNHCR sign a Letter of Understanding to expand cooperation for vulnerable children in Iran

12 February 2024
UNICEF Iran/Sayyari/2024

On 8 February 2024, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU). This will expand joint efforts in Iran to support the Government’s response to the increasing needs of both refugees and the displaced population including children, their families and their host communities in the country.

“Today we take another step forward in strengthening our collaboration to support the Islamic Republic of Iran’s inclusive refugee policies,” said UNHCR Representative in Iran, Dr. Yumiko Takashima in welcoming the signing of the LoU. “This will help maintain essential services provided through the national system, allowing access to all children without discrimination.”

UNHCR / Hossein Eidizadeh
Afghan and Iranian students sitting side by side at a school in Tehran, Iran.

Based on a long history of effective collaboration between the two UN agencies, the LoU will reinforce joint interventions to provide inclusive protection and assistance to the most vulnerable forcibly displaced populations in Iran. This cooperation will focus on joint advocacy in a variety of areas such as child protection, education, health and nutrition, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors.

"We are here today to fortify the collaboration between our agencies, uniting our efforts to ensure that all refugee and displaced children and families, along with their host communities, can consistently access social services. Our shared objective is to uphold the principle of 'leaving no one behind,' as we firmly believe that every child, regardless of their nationality or status, has a right to life with dignity and deserves an equal opportunity to realize their full potential," affirmed the UNICEF Representative, Dr Robin Nandy.

UNHCR and UNICEF work closely under the strategic collaboration framework signed in February 2023 at a global level. Both UN agencies appreciate the generosity and support provided by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran such as access to education and primary healthcare for all children in the country including refugee children. Iran is one of the world’s largest hosting countries with millions of refugees welcomed over four decades.

The cooperation will help leverage UNHCR and UNICEF’s complementary strengths and scale up their joint efforts. This LoU further clarifies roles and responsibilities, enhances operational effectiveness – through a biannual Action Plan – and optimizes resources of each agency to the benefit of vulnerable children, including refugees, in certain agreed areas.

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