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Food to Europe

After World War II, European children face famine and disease. UNICEF is created in December 1946 by the United Nations to provide food, clothing and health care to them.


© UNICEF/ICEF-3895/Jack Ling


UNICEF becomes permanent part of the UN

The UN General Assembly extends UNICEF’s mandate indefinitely. UNICEF begins a successful global campaign against yaws, a disfiguring disease affecting millions of children, and one that can be cured with penicillin.


Danny Kaye

The movie star Danny Kaye becomes UNICEF’s “Ambassador at Large.” His film Assignment Children, about UNICEF’s work in Asia, is seen by more than 100 million people.

© UNICEF/HQ54-001



Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which defines children’s rights to protection, education, health care, shelter and good nutrition.



Following more than a decade of focus on child health issues, UNICEF expands its interests to address the needs of the whole child. Thus begins an abiding concern with education, starting with support to teacher training and classroom equipment in newly independent countries.

© UNICEF/ICEF-4771/M & E Bernheim

© UNICEF/HQ65-0002


Nobel Peace Prize

UNICEF is awarded the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize “for the promotion of brotherhood among nations.”


International Year of the Child

Marked by celebrations around the world, people and organisations reaffirm their commitment to children’s rights.

© UNICEF/HQ93-1868/Charton

© UNICEF/HQ93-1616/Lemoyne


Breastfeeding Code approved

The World Health Assembly adopts the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in order to encourage breastfeeding, and in so doing diminish the threats to infant health.


Child Survival and Development Revolution

UNICEF launches a drive to save the lives of millions of children each year. The ‘revolution’ is based on four simple, low-cost techniques: growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, breastfeeding and immunisation.

© UNICEF/C43-12/McCloskey

© UNICEF/HQ91-0241/Toutounji


Landmark UNICEF study

UNICEF’s study Adjustment with a Human Face prompts a global debate on how to protect children and women from the malign effects of the economic adjustments and reforms taken to reduce national debt in poor countries.


Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Convention is adopted by the UN General Assembly. It enters into force in September 1990. It becomes the most widely- and rapidly-accepted human rights treaty in history.

© UNICEF/HQ94-1385/Little

© UNICEF/HQ90-0117/Mera


World Summit for Children

An unprecedented summit of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations in New York City sets 10-year goals for children’s health, nutrition and education.


Children and conflict

War’s effect on children receives serious attention in the Machel Report: The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, a study supported by UNICEF.

© UNICEF/HQ95-0986/Chalasani

© UNICEF/HQ95-0492/Lemoyne


United Nations Security Council debates children and conflict

The Council’s first open debate on the subject reflects the strength of international concern over the effects of war on children.


Say Yes for Children campaign launched

The Global Movement for Children begins mobilising every citizen of every nation to change the world with children. The Say Yes for Children campaign builds on this momentum, with millions of children and adults around the world pledging their support for critical actions to improve children’s lives.

© UNICEF/HQ02-0148/Markisz


Special Session on Children

A landmark Special Session of the UN General Assembly was convened to review progress since the World Summit for Children in 1990 and re-energize global commitment to children's rights. It was the first such Session devoted exclusively to children and the first to include them as official delegates.


Unite for Children,
Unite against AIDS

UNICEF launches its global AIDS campaign, anchored on prevention, protection and paediatric treatment, to mobilise leaders, communities and individuals to unite for an AIDS-free generation.

© Charlie Liddall

© UNICEF Montenegro/2011/Sevaljevic


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The first human rights treaty of the 21st Century, the Convention comes to force to protect the rights of all people with disabilities and to give more leverage to governments to enact laws to help them.


Development with equity

UNICEF’s report Narrowing the Gap highlights that the most practical, cost-effective and fastest way to reduce disparities and realise the Millennium Development Goals is to focus first on the most disadvantaged children.

© UNICEF/HQ95-0986/Chalasani



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