UNICEF interview and media opportunities during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

13 September 2023

NEW YORK, 13 September 2023 – As world leaders gather for the High-level Week of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, UNICEF will advocate for the rights and well-being of children with a focus on the halfway mark of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), and call on countries to put child rights at the heart of their agendas to accelerate progress.

The following UNICEF spokespeople and youth activists are available for pre-recorded or live interviews in and around High-level Week from New York.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, schedule permitting.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and climate activist Vanessa Nakate, who recently attended the Africa Climate Summit, where she called for an urgent acceleration of climate action to protect children. In her UNICEF role, Vanessa also recently visited Rwanda, where she attended the Women Deliver conference and met girls who had benefitted from new solar-powered water facilities. In 2022, Vanessa visited the Horn of Africa, where she met children on the frontlines of the climate crisis suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Vanessa will be attending COP28 in Dubai in November.

UNICEF USA Ambassador, actor, and singer Sofia Carson, who focuses on girls' education and empowerment, can discuss the growing need to ensure equitable access to education.

UNICEF Youth Advocates are participating as speakers and moderators at key events during UNGA in front of government leaders, high-level individuals, UN Representatives, and others.

  • Francisco Vera Manzanares is a 14-year-old UNICEF Youth Advocate for Climate from Colombia who works to defend the right to a healthy environment and founded the ‘Guardian for Life’ movement to promote environmental awareness.
  • Pallavi Karn is a 22-year-old UNICEF Youth Advocate for Nutrition from Nepal who advocates the importance of healthy eating amongst her peers and volunteered as a dietary advisor for COVID-19 patients and nutritional awareness programmes.
  • Catherine Mantswe is an 18-year-old UNICEF Youth Advocate for Education from Botswana. Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, an incurable brittle bone disease that makes walking difficult, she advocates for children with disabilities, the right to education, and child protection issues.
  • Other UNICEF Global Youth Advocates are also available, including from Argentina, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ireland, Jamaica, Mozambique, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United States of America.

Other media opportunities include:

Tuesday 12 September

New analysis from UNICEF and the World Bank that looked at trends in extreme child poverty between 2013 and 2022, reveals that an estimated 333 million children globally – or 1 in 6 – currently live in extreme poverty. It warns that, at current reduction rates, the SDG goal of ending extreme child poverty by 2030 will not be met. Spokespeople are available.

10:00-13:30 and 15:00-18:00 EDT on Wednesday 13 September

A photo exhibition, A Decade of Dreams: Education for All Children and Youth, celebrates the achievements of a decade-long partnership between UNICEF and Education Above All. Together, they’ve reached over 5 million children and youth worldwide with learning opportunities and access to quality education, especially the most marginalised.
Exhibit is open to media with RSVP.
Location: Danny Kaye Visitor Center, UNICEF House

15:00-16:30 EDT on Wednesday 13 September

A commemorative high-level conversation marks the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, which emphasises the centrality of the right to education and its impact on long-term peace and stability, critical to achieving the SDGs. It aims to raise awareness and collective action on the part of the international community and call for justice for victims. This year, specifically, it hopes to mobilise young people to engage on the agenda. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell will participate in the panel discussion.
Event is open to media with UNGA accreditation.
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters

20:01 EDT on Sunday, 17 September

UNICEF will release a new report ahead of UNGA that provides a snapshot of progress on child-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The analysis weaves together more than 20 years of data across 190 countries, comparing where countries stand today against where they aim to be in the next seven years and identifying the challenges and opportunities for accelerated action. The findings show a mixed picture of both progress and backsliding against the global goals. Spokespeople are available.

11:30-12.30 EDT on Tuesday, 19 September

The Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of Bhutan, along with WHO, UNICEF and partners, are co-hosting a side event, Mental Health for All: Leaving No One Behind, aimed at determining and driving action and investment in mental health across all government policies and reaffirming the highest level of political commitment and action for universal access to mental health and well-being for everyone, everywhere. This comes at an important moment as the world finds its footing post-COVID whilst grappling with the triple planetary crisis and a global economic slowdown.
Event is open to media with RSVP.
Location: Danny Kaye Visitor Center, UNICEF House


Media contacts

Sara Alhattab
Tel: +1 917 957 6536


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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