Contact us


Press releases & statements

© AI Ishitobi/2011/SOWC LAUNCH
UNICEF Pacific Representative Dr Isyie Ndombi Launches "The State of the World's Children Report 2011" looking on is UNICEF'S new regional ambassador Merewalesi Nailatikau

UNICEF:  Investing in adolescents can break cycles of poverty and inequity

Suva Fiji 26 February 2011 – UNICEF today called for urgent commitment and targeted investment by governments, partners and key stakeholders to break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequity faced by more than 1 billion adolescents aged 10-19 in the world.

Highlighting key global findings in UNICEF’s flagship publication, The 2011 State of the World’s Children report, entitled ‘Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity’, UNICEF Representative in the Pacific, Dr. Isiye Ndombi urged partners to create a protective and supportive environment for adolescents by investing in vital areas such as improved data collection and analysis, education and training, expanding opportunities for youth participation so that their concerns can be heard and stepping up the fight to tackle poverty and inequity.

“This report calls for urgent action to create a supportive environment that will encourage adolescents’ rights to be fulfilled and enable them to improve their own lives,” Dr. Ndombi reiterated.

The report highlights that while enormous gains were made in the last two decades for early and middle childhood due to strong investments, young people in the second decade of their lives were not given enough consideration in international and national development contexts. Globally, millions of adolescents standing at the crossroads between childhood and the adult world are seriously disadvantaged because they lack the knowledge and skills required to deal with issues of exploitation, abuse and violence.

Dr. Ndombi said available data showed that the rights of millions of adolescents were not fulfilled. “Many are denied access to quality education, basic, sexual and reproductive health care, support for mental health issues and disability. Millions have no protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and no forums for active participation”.

He added that today’s young people faced a unique set of collective global challenges such as an uncertain global economic outlook, high levels of youth unemployment, an increasing number of humanitarian crisis and conflicts, rapid urbanization and climate change.

Drawing attention to the Pacific, Dr. Ndombi painted a grim picture of a generation of young people who faced a future of great uncertainty due to the impact of climate change and the accelerating deterioration of the environment.

The Pacific comes under the spotlight through an essay written by the President of the Republic of Kiribati, Mr. Anote Tong that is featured in the report. President Tong underscored the long term harmful consequences of climate related disruptions on the lives and prospects of young people in his country.

Kiribati, at the frontline of climate change, is among the most vulnerable globally to the impacts of climate change and will be among the first to be affected by sea level rise. Half of Kiribati’s 93,000 people are children and young people who will bear the brunt of economic disruption and the cost of mitigating and adapting to climate change in the years to come.

Dr. Ndombi echoed President Tong’s sentiments and those of other Pacific island states by warning that failure to react to climate change now would result in high cultural, social and financial costs where economic disruptions could be catastrophic, even requiring populations to relocate to other countries.

“Climate change as a development challenge requires collective action that brings together sustainable development, energy security and actions to safeguard the health and well being of children and adolescent. Young people in the Pacific, like anywhere else in the world are deeply concerned about how climate change will affect their future and are calling for urgent action,” Dr. Ndombi emphasized.

UNICEF also formally announced the engagement of former Miss South Pacific and youth activist, Merewalesi Nailatikau as the Regional Ambassador for the Pacific Island Countries.

This is the first time UNICEF is formally engaging a young Pacific islander to join a growing list of well-known and highly respected personalities throughout the world from sports, music, and performing and film arts and many other specialist fields play an important advocacy role in helping us promote UNICEF’s work.

Mere represents a positive role model for young people in particular. Her genuine interest in issues that concern UNICEF and her active involvement already in some of these causes will add to making her a great ambassador for the Pacific. Through UNICEF’s regional reach in the Pacific, Mere will be offered unique access to young people to help promote UNICEF’s messages.

“As a Regional Ambassador for the Pacific, Mere will help us in our advocacy and programme efforts in communicating to a broad public, young people in particular, the vision and values that guide UNICEF’s work for the children and further promote public awareness of the rights of children, women and young people and of UNICEF’s work protecting those rights”, said Dr. Ndombi.



Note to the editor
As part of its commitment to reaching out to adolescents worldwide, UNICEF re-launched Voices of Youth (VOY), a youth website on global themes. The platform is youth driven and allows young people to learn, discuss and take action on matters that affect their lives. For more information on VOY visit: .
In the Pacific, Kiribati and Fiji youths have been using the Unite for Climate website and UNICEF Pacific’s Facebook page to dialogue about climate change. Anyone can comment and share ideas or photos on UNICEF Pacific’s Facebook page:

Attention broadcasters:
Video footage produced by young people in Kiribati and President Anote Tong on climate change will be available on 26 February through the UNICEF Pacific website: . Please contact Joseph Hing: to obtain broadcast quality footage.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

For further information, to arrange an interview or to obtain a copy of the report, please contact:

Samantha Cocco-Klein, UNICEF Pacific, +679-323-6141,
Noreen Chambers, UNICEF Pacific, +679-330-0439 Ext 111,


UNICEF focuses attention on water in Tanna
PORT VILA, VANUATU, 9 FEBRUARY 2011–Approximately 4,000 people in the hardest hit communities of Vanuatu’s Tafea Province, following the passage of tropical cyclone Vania last month, now have access to safe drinking water.

TC Vania destroys crops and livelihoods in Tanna
UNICEF and partners responding to prevent hunger and disease

Making Clean Hands a Priority for More than Just a Day, Global Handwashing Day Partners Lather Up with Millions Around the World
NEW YORK/GENEVA 15 October 2010 - For the third annual Global Handwashing Day, more than 200 million schoolchildren, parents, teachers, celebrities and government officials around the world will lather up, but at the end of the day, they aim to have more

Not Just Representatives from Health but Finance and Planning Involved in 6th PIPS Meeting
NADI, 01 October 2010 -- For the first time since PIPS was held in 2004, workshop organisers invited not only health practitioners and partners but representatives from Ministries of Finance and Planning from the region.

Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII) Focus of Day 4
NADI, 30 September 2010 – Discussions on Day 4 of the 6th Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening (PIPS) Workshop was dedicated to the Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII).

Several Immunisations Developed in the 21st Century to Stop Childhood Deaths and Cervical Cancer
NADI, 29 September 2010 – “The first decade of the 21st century can be described as the golden years for immunisation history with the licensure of vaccines against major diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis and cervical cancer.”

More Developing countries show universal access to HIV and AIDS services in possible
Sustained commitments necessary to secure future progress

“We Need Your Samples” – Fiji National Public Health Laboratory Seek Pacific Support in Provision of Samples
NADI, 28 September 2010 – Pacific Island health practitioners at the 6th Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening (PIPS) Workshop were asked to consider the Fiji National Public Health Laboratory which received World Health Organisation (WHO) accredit

New Countries Endorse the Paris Commitments to End the Use of Child Combatants
NEW YORK, 27 September 2010 – New countries today endorsed the ‘Paris Commitments’ to end the use of child soldiers, joining a growing list of States that have pledged to protect children from recruitment and use by armed forces and groups.

Partnerships Critical to Continue Success of Immunisation Programme in Pacific
NADI, 27 September 2010 – Representatives of regional and international agencies continued to praise the efforts of the Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening partnership in keeping the Pacific polio-free, near elimination of measles and reducing he

Media Training on Development Ends with Awards
Suva, August 27 2010-- A weeklong training for journalists on the importance of Development with linkages to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other regional commitments like the Cairns Compact, Outcomes of the Global Economic Crisis and Pacific

Young of Central Asia and Eastern Europe Suffering Blame and Banishment
VIENNA, 19 July 2010 - An underground HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is intensifying at an alarming pace, fueled by drug use, high-risk sexual behavior and high levels of social stigma that discourage people from seeking prevention...

Historic Pacific Gathering agrees regional way forward for improving security
PORT VILA, VANUATU, 9 FEBRUARY 2011–Approximately 4,000 people in the hardest hit communities of Vanuatu’s Tafea Province, following the passage of tropical cyclone Vania last month, now have access to safe drinking water.

No food security without protecting our land and our poor
Boosting agriculture, creating viable local food systems and protecting the vulnerable will have measurable impacts on improving Pacific food security.

We are what we eat
A radical rethink is needed on food if the Pacific is going to secure access to healthy, safe, high quality and nutritious food for all.

“Protect me with Love and Care” Children Say
SUVA, 13 April 2009 – The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pacific office today released the Child Protection Baseline Reports - “Protect me with Love and Care” for Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu...

Facts for life saves lives
SUVA, 8 April 2009 – The 4th edition of Facts for Life which provides practical advice on pregnancy, childbirth, childhood illnesses, child development and the care of children, was launched and made available on the internet today.

Pacific conference on the Human Face of the global economic crisis
[Port Vila – February 12] The human face of the vulnerable in the Pacific could be a young girl in Tokelau straining her eyes to read her school books by the light of a kerosene lamp. Another human face of the vulnerable in the Pacific could be an elderly

Young Solomon Islander to recieve prize from UNDP administrator Helen Clark
Port Vila, February 6, 2010 – University of the South Pacific student, Miss June Atomea is the winner of the Human Face story competition. Twenty-two year old, Ms Atomea, who is from Northern Malaita in the Solomon Islands submitted her essay titled ‘Sile

Three high-level UN meeting in Vanuatu put spotlight on development in the Pacific
Port Vila, February 5, 2010 – Three high-level United Nations meetings will take place in Vanuatu next week, bringing together top UN officials, other development partners and leaders from the Pacific to assess the challenges faced by the region and to map out strategies to spur development amid the current global economic crisis.

Schools to Open Despite Emergency
SUVA, 15 January 2010 – Widespread landslides, flash floods, damaged schools, water contamination and reports of diarrhoea, red eye, psychological trauma, coughing and the ‘flu’ were cited in the assessment conducted by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and other partners (OXFAM, Red Cross, Save the Children, ADRA and World Vision).

Second tsunami in three years hits Solomon Islands
Gizo, 5 January 2009 – UNICEF Pacific is providing immediate support to the victims of a tsunami that hit Rendova and Tetepare Islands in the Solomon Islands on 4 January.

UNICEF Ready to Support People Affected in the Rewa River Delta
SUVA, 18 December 2009 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is focusing on ensuring support to people living in informal settlements in the Rewa River Delta.

Under-Nutrition Causes Poverty However Solutions Exist
PORT VILA, 12 November 2009 – Under-nutrition is both a consequence and a cause of poverty. Childhood under-nutrition makes learning more difficult and ill health more likely, which hinders a child’s capacity to secure a job as an adult...

Preparations Underway for Pacific Conference on Global Economic Crisis
Suva – November 4] Preparations are underway in the Pacific for a major meeting to map ways to protect the region’s vulnerable from the impacts of the Global Economic and Financial Crisis.

Pacific Disasters Prompts Education in Emergencies Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu
PORT VILA, 7 September, 2009 – The Pacific region faces a number of risks from natural disasters and is particularly vulnerable to cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Emergency Safe Water Actions for Nadroga Navosa
UNICEF Pacific partners with European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to respond to the flood affected schools and communities in Fiji.

Partnerships between Community, National and Provincial Governments and UNICEF produces sustainable results for children in Western Province.
GIZO, 27 July, 2009

Fiji hospitals are all baby-friendly
SUVA, 18 May, 2009

Pandemic Preparedness Essential Despite Uncertainties
JAPAN, 13 May, 2009

Immunization Workshop Timely as the World Deals with Influenza A H1N1
JAPAN, 11 May, 2009

United Nations strengthens operations in Tuvalu - More support for meeting MDG targets
FUNAFUTI, 8 May 2009



 Email this article

unite for children