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Closing the gaps in Bulgaria: UNICEF urges greater investment in the youngest and most vulnerable children

Executive Director Anthony Lake ends official visit to Bulgaria

© UNICEF/UNI154493/Pirozzi
A young boy at the Ivan Rilski infant home in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

SOFIA, Bulgaria, 4 December 2015 –At the conclusion of a three-day visit to Bulgaria, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake commended the government’s commitment to children. He also discussed with the government the importance of prioritizing investments in early childhood development and in reaching the most disadvantaged and marginalized children.   

“I would like to express my gratitude for UNICEF’s support and I expect that the organization will continue to work with the Government and the civil society in Bulgaria – to guarantee sustainability of the achieved results for children. I assure you that child rights will be a priority in the future National Program for Development that Bulgaria will implement by 2030. The civil society will be a main partner in the construction of this strategic document.“, said Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria has made significant progress for children over the last 25 years, in addressing one of the highest rates of poverty and social exclusion in Europe. For children in institutional care, children with disabilities, and Roma children, these disparities can be especially harsh.
 
During the three-day trip, Lake met with children and foster families and saw evidence of the progress Bulgaria has made in reducing the number of children living in institutional care, which can permanently harm their development.  Since the Bulgarian government launched the Child Care system Reform, approximately 80 per cent fewer children are growing up in residential facilities, from 12,600 children in 2001 to 2,700 at the end of last year.

“Every child deserves to grow up in a caring, supportive home,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “When we invest in giving children a healthy start in life -- including proper nutrition and stimulation, education, and loving care -- we not only put them on the path to reaching their full potential, we also help break intergenerational cycles of inequality.” 

Mr. Lake met with President Rosen Plevneliev and government officials including, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policies Ivaylo Kalfin. He discussed the government’s continuing focus on improving the lives of children, specifically through increased investments in early childhood development as well as the need to accelerate Juvenile Justice Reform, to provide а system with juvenile justice courts and services that helps adolescents re-integrate into society.

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About Mr. Anthony Lake:
Mr. Anthony Lake became UNICEF’s sixth Executive Director on 1st May 2010, bringing to the position more than 45 years of public service. His commitment to tackling inequity and spearheading UNICEF’s progress on delivering results for the most disadvantaged children has been at the forefront of his tenure.  
 
About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit: www.unicef.org
 
Follow UNICEF Bulgaria;
 
www.unicef.bg
https://www.facebook.com/unicef.bulgaria
https://twitter.com/UnicefBulgaria


For further information, please contact:
Jacklin Tzocheva, UNICEF Bulgaria  02/9696207, 0888683231, jtzocheva@unicef.org

 


 

 

 

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