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Message from the Executive Director

Message from the Executive Director

Since 2004, the Progress for Children series has published important data and analyses on global progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The monitoring that UNICEF and its partners have undertaken reveals some remarkable progress. For the first time, annual global deaths of children under age five fell below the 10 million mark, to 9.7 million. This represents a 60 per cent reduction in the under-five mortality rate since 1960.

Major improvements in the coverage of a number of key child survival interventions, including measles immunization, vitamin A supplementation, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and breastfeeding, are also highlighted.

This edition of Progress for Children contains data on these and other child-specific targets that were set by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002 and were articulated in its outcome document, A World Fit for Children.

This edition also provides comprehensive information on such indicators as birth registration, child labour, female genital mutilation/cutting, child marriage and children affected by war, which offer a snapshot of the state of child protection.

It reveals that the number of primary-school-age children who are not in school has declined from 115 million at the time of the 2002 Special Session to 93 million in 2005–2006, and that new evidence suggests declining HIV prevalence in some sub-Saharan African countries, although these trends are not yet widespread or strong enough to turn the tide.

Overall, its findings reinforce UNICEF’s conviction that the combined efforts of governments, international organizations, civil society, local communities and the private sector are making a difference and delivering results for children.

Yet it also reveals that much more must be done. The 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching. We need to accelerate progress towards these goals and approach them with a collective sense of urgency.

If we do so, we can help create a better world for girls and boys, and for generations to come.

Ann M. Veneman
Executive Director, UNICEF