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UNICEF: Key dates


UNICEF is established on 11 December by unanimous decision of the first session of the United Nations General Assembly. The first UNICEF programmes provided emergency relief for millions of children in postwar Europe, the Middle East and China.


UNICEF becomes a permanent part of the United Nations system with a broadened role -- to respond to the long-term needs of children living in poverty in developing countries. The focus during the decade: controlling or eradicating diseases such as yaws, trachoma and tuberculosis.


Danny Kaye is appointed UNICEF's first 'Ambassador at large', charged with "making known the needs of children throughout the world."


UNICEF joins the World Health Organization (WHO) in a worldwide campaign to eradicate malaria, a leading child killer. The campaign saved many lives, but failed to reach its main goal.


The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child forerunner of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.


UNICEF receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. "Even the most reluctant person is bound to admit that in action UNICEF has proved that compassion knows no boundaries. Aid is given to all children without any distinction of race, creed, nationality or political conviction." states the award Citation.


The International Year of the Child focuses global attention on the needs of children, and the UN General Assembly designates UNICEF the lead agency in the United Nations system to coordinate the Year's activities.


UNICEF launches the 'child survival and development revolution' to reduce the prevailing high child mortality rates through low-cost techniques such as breastfeeding, immunization and oral rehydration therapy.


The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- a Magna Carta for the world's children and the following year it becomes international law.


Children's issues reach a high point on the international agenda at the World Summit for Children in New York, where representatives of more than 150 countries, including 71 Heads of State or Government, make an extraordinary commitment to child survival and development. They endorse a World Declaration and Plan of Action, which includes 7 major and 20 supporting goals for children for the year 2000.


More than 100 countries have adopted national plans of action to achieve the World Summit for Children goals, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- with 181 ratifications as of November 1995 -- is the most rapidly accepted human rights convention in history, with universal ratification near.

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