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UNICEF Executive Director praises Ecuador for increased investment in children

Also calls on government to create monitoring system for working children

UNICEF Executive Director Praises Ecuador
for Increased Investment in Children

Also Calls on Government to Create Monitoring System for Working Children

QUITO, ECUADOR/ NEW YORK, 5 August 2003 –  UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy today applauded the commitment of Ecuador’s government to improving children’s lives through increased social spending, but said that more investment is necessary to reach all children with basic services.

“Basic education and health for all children are principal concerns for UNICEF in Ecuador,” Bellamy said on the first day of an official visit to the country. “By investing in services for children, Ecuador’s government is making an investment in its future – one that will pay huge dividends.  UNICEF applauds this commitment, and we hope it grows.”  

Bellamy praised the new Ecuadorian Code for Children and Adolescents that legally guarantees the welfare of children. 

She said the government must now  take all the necessary steps to enable the full implementation of the Code.  “The Ecuadorian budget must guarantee sufficient resources to allow fulfilment of social goals for children,” Bellamy said.  “I am confident that the current Ecuadorian administration also considers this an urgent priority. “

Since the onset of a regional economic crisis in 1998, conditions for children and adolescents have gradually deteriorated. Among other things, UNICEF has been supporting a citizen surveillance initiative that monitors the effects of crisis on children, especially indigenous children, whose health and education indicators are substantially below the national average. 

Bellamy praised the partnership between the Government and UNICEF in protecting and monitoring the well-being of children. She highlighted the Citizens’ Observatory, which is designed to monitor the country’s progress in implementing the rights of children.  “This is a project that should be replicated in other countries,” she said.  The Observatory helps the government tailor policies and legislation to better address the needs of children, and helps set concrete goals for improving child well-being.

But Bellamy called on the government to do more for working children, including the establishment of a system to monitor child labouras mandated by the new Code.  

Bellamy’s visit to Ecuador includes meetings with President Lucio Gutierrez, the First Lady, the Vice President, the Minister of Economy and Finance, and representatives of Congress to discuss a number of issues related to children.  She will also meet with the General Paco Moncayo, mayor of Quito, to discuss the implementation of the Code on Children.


  For further information, please contact:

Gabriela Malo, UNICEF Ecuador, 593-2-2460330,ext. 1511, cell.  593-9-714126
Mohammad Jalloh, UNICEF Media, New York, 212 326 7516
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York,  212 326 7452

Some key facts about the situation of children in Ecuador: 

  • Ecuador has a population of 4.8 million children under 18 years of age, which is about 40% of total population.
  • Child immunization coverage has improved greatly over the past years -  89 per cent of children, one year old, are immunized against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, 90.2 per cent are immunized against polio and 82.5 per cent against measles.
  • School enrolment has also improved with 92% of boys, 92% of girls in school closing the gender gap between boys and girls.
  • Working children constitute up to 16% of children 5-14 years, posing a serious challenge for the government and partners. 
  • The new law for children and adolescents, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was approved by the Ecuadorian Congress in December 2002 and entered into effect in early January 2003. The Code encompasses social protection areas such as childhood disabilities, sexual abuse, physical mistreatment at home and educational institutions, the children of incarcerated parents, and children removed from their home environment. 

For further information, please contact:
Gabriela Malo, UNICEF Ecuador, 593-2-2460330,ext. 1511, cell.  593-9-714126
Mohammad Jalloh, UNICEF Media, New York, 212 326 7516
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York,   212 326 7452




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