HOME  OVERVIEW            

UNICEF Milestones

1946-1956   1957-1966   1967-1976
1977-1986   1987-1996   1997-200

see also
Thematic Overview

Year Notes
1977 Board decides that aid for education should continue to be mainly for qualitative improvements in primary schooling and for non-formal education, especially as eventual components in basic services. Agrees to expand aid which helps countries build up their national
capacities in services benefiting children

Board agrees that co-operation in expanded immunization programme should be a main UNICEF priority with provisions of vaccines, drugs
and other materials continuing sufficiently long to have a lasting impact. Reaffirms its conviction that UNICEF should continue to derive its revenues entirely from voluntary contributions with the mainstay being contributions from governments for general resources;
also reaffirms the importance UNICEF attaches to special purpose contributions and to contributions from the general public.
1978 Board increases flexibility of aid to benefit children in the least developed and other low income countries. Agrees to improve forward planning of UNICEF’s programme of work. Sends message to the tenth special session of the General Assembly, devoted to disarmament, with an appeal that a portion of the savings from a reduction in armaments be used to meet the minimum requirements of children.

Alma Ata Conference on Health for All (WHO/UNICEF), promotes holistic concept of primary health care with prioritization of community-based approaches.

Working group established by GA within the Human Rights Commission to draft Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF helps facilitate NGO input and influences inclusion of survival and development rights in addition to protection rights.

UNICEF revenue is $211 million, exceeding the $200 million target. Considerable support is voiced for Executive Director’s proposal that UNICEF set a $500 million target by the mid-1980s, to help meet
higher national goals for children set during the International Year of the Child.
1979 Observance of the International Year of the Child generates greatly expanded concern with the problems of children and much new activity. There is also a growing recognition among governments of the need for a regular review of the situation of children and of the policies and programmes affecting them.

At the end of the Year the United Nations General Assembly designates UNICEF as the “lead agency” of the United Nations system responsible for coordinating the development aspects of the follow-up activities of the Year.

Executive Board meets for the second time in Latin America - in Mexico City. This is preceded by the Special Meeting on Children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Board approves for the first time a rolling medium-term work plan (for the period 1978-1982) which is intended to achieve firmer long-term planning of UNICEF’s work, lead to more long-term country programming and be helpful to donors. Board agrees on a revenue
target of $250 million for 1980.

Board approves recommendations by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Committee on Health Policy which set forth a number of specific ways for more support by UNICEF for primary health care (including expanded programmes on immunization, provision of essential drugs and control of diarrhoeal disease); drinking water in rural and certain types of urban areas and for excreta disposal and environmental sanitation. In addition, Board agrees that UNICEF could help promote and safeguard child mental health through community-oriented approaches,
using primary health care and other existing services.

In September, the Secretary-General designates UNICEF the “lead agency” of the United Nations system in relief operations in Kampuchea. In October, UNICEF - jointly with the International Committee of the Red Cross - and in association with the World Food Programme - begins a major relief and rehabilitation programme in Kampuchea.

UNICEF total contributions reached $253 million, including $31 million for Kampuchean relief.
1980 On 1 January, Mr. James P. Grant succeeds Hr. Henry R. Labouisse as Executive Director. Richard Jolly is appointed Deputy Executive Director for programmes, bringing expertise as development economist with anti-poverty focus.

Executive Board holds special session on Kampuchean relief operations in February and endorses the lines of action set out by the Executive Director to be followed by UNICEF in the relief operation during 1980.

At its regular session in May, the Board decides that UNICEF’s follow-up of IYC should be integrated with the Fund’s ongoing work, promoting a wider global perspective regarding all children and involving more extensive co-operation in developing countries in
policies and services relate related to child development;
complementing those directed to the physical well-being of children.

The Board hears preliminary views of the Executive Director on how changing demands on UNICEF to accelerate progress in the well-being of children might be met; discusses the main objectives and general
strategy of UNICEF’s work
; and agrees on general directions over the next few years in a number of fields, including planning and programming at the country level. Board focuses on UNICEF co-operation in formal and non-formal education, in national and local services affecting women and girls and in the prevention and
rehabilitation of childhood disability as part of community-based services.

Board endorses UNICEF/WHO joint efforts to develop an international code of marketing infant formula products.

Board also discusses relief operations in Kampuchea and other “loud” emergency situations in Africa and Asia.

Income in 1980 is estimated at $311 million, including $61 million for Kampuchean relief. UNICEF aid is now going to 110 countries and territories, including new programmes in China and Zimbabwe.

Total contributions reached US$313 million.
1981 A special Executive Board session in January increases assistance to nine African nations stricken by drought and civil strife. At its regular session in May the Board agrees that this extra effort continue over the next few years.

Also at the January session, an initiative by Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud towards the creation of what later in the year becomes the Arab Gulf Programme for the United Nations Development Organizations is outlined. The Programme, comprised of seven States: Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has the objective of supporting the social and humanitarian activities of the United Nations in developing countries. It pledges to UNICEF for 1981-82 a total of $40 million, $25 million from governmental sources plus an additional $15 million from the private sector.

At the Secretary-General’s request, UNICEF continues to be the "lead agency" for the United Nations system in the humanitarian relief operation for the Kampuchean people through 1981. At its regular session in May, the Executive Board considers UNICEF’s involvement in emergencies; there is general agreement that while
UNICEF has an important special role to play in emergency relief, this should not be to the detriment of the long-term development work benefiting children which constitutes UNICEF’s primary mandate.

In discussing UNICEF’s co-operation in the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP), the Board sets the highest priority on prevention, including immunization, training for community health workers and midwives, and the education of future mothers.

Joint WHO/UNICEF efforts to develop an international code of marketing for breast milk substitutes provide the basis for an international code adopted at the World Health Assembly in May. UNICEF and WHO continue to co-operate in national efforts to support breastfeeding and appropriate weaning practices.

Total contributions reached US$291 million.
1982 Launch of Child Survival and Development (CSD) Revolution (in the annual State of the World’s Children Report 1982-83) to accelerate actions to promote child health and survival by concentrating on effective, low-cost health measures based on GOBI-FFF (growth monitoring, oral rehydration; breastfeeding; immunization; family planning; food supplementation; female education. Immunization and oral rehydration become the ‘twin engines’ of the revolution.

Following agreement reached at a special Board session in April, membership of the Executive Board is enlarged from 30 to 41 seats, to be elected by rotation for three-year terms by the UN Economic and Social Council and to include nine members from Africa, nine from Asia, six from Latin America, 12 from Western Europe and other areas, and four from Eastern Europe. The 41st seat is to rotate among these regional groups.

The Board approves a broad-based integrated approach to the problems of urban children through community participation, with special emphasis on childhood malnutrition, the situation of women, pre-school and day-care services, responsible parenthood and family
planning, abandoned and disabled children, and the provision of adequate water supply and sanitation. It also recommends that this strategy be continued and supported in additional countries, as well as expanded in countries where this approach is now operational

The Board strongly endorses the continuing efforts to introduce and strengthen institutions and services benefiting children at the intermediate and local levels, with community participation being a part of this effort wherever possible.

The Board approves a five-year initiative under which UNICEF will collaborate with WHO to help reduce hunger and malnutrition among children and mothers, (the Joint Nutrition Support Programme - JNSP).

In some countries, the value of private sector fundraising exceeds government contributions.

In a message addressed to the Second Special Session on Disarmament at UN Headquarters, 7 June to 9 July, the Executive Board appeals to the UN General Assembly to take whatever steps it can to ensure a reduction in armaments “so that a part of the savings can be
channeled through national or multinational programmes" to meet the minimum requirements of adequate nutrition, safe water, primary health care and suitable education for all children.

A benefit soccer game for UNICEF is attended by almost 77,000 people and watched on television in more than 60 countries by a viewing audience estimated to total one billion people. The FIFA All-Star Soccer Game at Giants Stadium, New Jersey, in the U.S.A., is played
by 36 of the world’s greatest players; honorary captains were Franz Beckenbauer - for “Europe” - and Pele - for “the Rest of the World”.

The emphasis on low-cost measures capable of widespread  implementation without high levels of technical expertise is seen as particularly appropriate in the current state of the global economy.

UNICEF adopts a broad-base integrated approach to the problem of urban children through community participation.

Xavier Perez de Cuellar (Peru) takes office as Secretary-General of UN, serving until December 1991.

Total contributions reached US$378 million.
1983 The Board approves broad UNICEF objectives for the five-year medium-term. These are: to promote child survival and reduce infant and child mortality; to help improve the situation and welfare of children; and to help improve the situation and welfare of women, especially mothers and poorer women.

On the subject of alternative programme approaches in different socio-economic situations, the Board approves the systematic use of the infant mortality rate (IMR) along with, notably, GNP per capita and child population, both to guide content and to fix levels of UNICEF assistance. A wider selection of indicators, including
morbidity, maternal death rates, and literacy, are also to be used. In this way, UNICEF is to respond more effectively to the changing pattern of children’s needs in the various countries, taking account differences in levels of infant mortality as well as of a country’s economic development.

The child survival and development revolution cannot be achieved and sustained without advances in women’s literacy, children’s primary education and a community’s general level of education; the Board endorses the aims of a programme to be undertaken jointly with UNESCO, to foster universal primary education and literacy (UPEL). The first phase of this initiative involves five-year assistance programmes in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nicaragua and Peru.

The Board gives special attention to the concept of women as economic providers since it more accurately reflects the multiplicity of women's potential as key partners in development. UNICEF's support to the development of income-earning skills now involves training in management and marketing, and guidance in how to obtain access to credit.

The Board welcomes continued expansion of UNICEF urban activities and calls for more comprehensive support for urban children including: special shelter facilities; sanitation and nutrition programrnes; job preparation; organized community involvement; action
against child exploitation; prevention of juvenile delinquency; and help for abandoned children

The Board adopts a resolution making Hr. Danny Kaye an Honorary Delegate as a token of “its gratitude and respect for his contributions and leadership as the Number One Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF”. In 1983, Mr. Kaye, whose example has been emulated by
others in the public eye as well as inspiring millions of citizen volunteers, completed his thirtieth year with UNICEF as an untiring advocate for children.

Total contributions reached US$342 million.
1984 UNICEF responds to growing crisis of African drought and famine by launching an international appeal for assistance to 21 affected countries, strengthening field office capacity, and publishing (in 1985) Within human reach: a future for Africa’s children.  A special meeting at the United Nations draws attention to the situation of African mothers and children resulting from the drought and the global recession.

UNICEF’s goodwill ambassadors are mobilized: Liv Ullmann visits Africa and draws the attention of the media to the growing crisis in West Africa; Tetsuko Kuroyanagi visits East Africa, which results in
widespread attention in Japan to the crisis as well as raising funds.

In Ethiopia UNICEF helps pioneer a cash-for-food community work scheme with far-reaching implications for approaches to emergency relief and rehabilitation in the future. Provision of cash support allows food to be bought in local markets and ensures that villagers
are not forced to abandon homes and productive employment to seek food in distant towns and relief centres.

The UNICEF Executive Board endorses a comprehensive approach to early childhood development that includes attention to the child’s cognitive and psychological development, particularly through early childhood stimulation, as well as health and physical growth. Such
broader efforts are expected to buttress the “leading edge” intervention of UNICEF’s child survival and development programme, aimed at direct and specific effect on infant and young child mortality and morbidity.

The global effort to promote oral dehydration therapy (ORT), the most effective treatment for diarrhoeal dehydration in young children, gathers momentum. Along with WHO, UNICEF supports research and development of improved oral dehydration solutions.
UNICEF directly provides over 65 million packets of oral dehydration salts, and helps more than 20 countries produce the salts locally.

First ‘Bellagio Conference’ brings together Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, and UNDP to discuss major expansion of immunization, fostering the creation of an influential Task Force for Child Survival and Development meeting periodically thereafter to discuss policy and programmes. The Task Force is a key example of successful alliance-building and partnerships for children which periodically brought together health ministers, senior officials from developing countries, and leaders of major bilateral and other multilateral aid organizations.

Accelerating immunization activity dramatically increases
demand for vaccines. UNICEF supplies vaccines worth a total of $7.5 million to some 8O countries. as well as supporting logistical systems, particularly the “cold chain”, which ensure their effectiveness to the point of use.

UNICEF played a leading role in negotiations leading to an agreement by the Nestle Company to abide by the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and a consequent lifting of the Nestle boycott.

UNICEF, with WHO and UNDP, sponsors an interregional seminar in Sri Lanka on “Health for All” , attended by 28 ministers and senior decision makers from 13 countries.

The new UNICEF Procurement and Assembly Centre (UNIPAC) in Copenhagen is inaugurated by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe. Rent on the $7 million facility is waived by the Danish Government.

The Executive Board authorizes the lease of office space built to the particular requirements of UNICEF and will be known as UNICEF House.

The Executive Board reappoints James P. Grant to a second five-year term as Executive Director beginning in 1985.

The total UNICEF income for the year is $332 million.
1985 Launch of drive for universal child immunization (UCI) 1990 with highest endorsement from the Secretary-General who appeals to all Heads of State to provide the necessary leadership needed.

The Executive Board reviews UNICEF’s response to women’s concerns, and reaffirms UNICEF’s commitment to strengthening the social, health and economic conditions of women. living in poverty. Women’s 1iteracy and education programmed are emphasized both as a means to improve women’s lives and to support child survival and development.

Cease fire in El Salvador’s civil war based on UNICEF-supported promotion of the concept of ‘children as a zone of peace’ and ‘periods of tranquility’ for humanitarian assistance, allowing for three days of mass immunization of children under the age of five.  This approach was later applied successfully in Lebanon (1987); Sudan (1989); Iraq (1991) and elsewhere, with increasing frequency in the 1990s.

Half a million children are saved during the year through the use of oral dehydration therapy.

The total UNICEF income for the year is $362 million.
1986 Total of developing countries seriously engaged in accelerated efforts to achieve universal  child immunization approaches 100. 78 Heads of State or Government from both developing and industrialized
nations personally pledge their active support, and 400 non-governmental organizations (NCOS) commit themselves to the success of those programmes. UNICEF contributes US$57 million to immunization activities, 17 per cent of its total programme expenditures.

Vaccine distribution increases 24 per cent with an 80 per cent increase in the
usage of the most difficult to deliver measles vaccine and an increase of nearly 100 per cent in the use of tetanus/toxoid vaccine. Total of doses delivered: 500 million.

Oral rehydration salts global supply increases to nearly six times the amount produced in 1982
and is available to roughly half of the 487 million children under five years of age in the developing world. As a result of universal child immunization and oral rehydration therapy one and a half million children are still alive in December of 1986 who would not have been had these efforts not been underway throughout the year.

Importance of combining these health techniques with social mobilization at all levels of society is acknowledged, including other Child Survival and Development Revolution (CSDR) measures of growth monitoring, breast-feeding, promotion of female literacy, family spacing and food supplementation.

Sport Aid mobilizes public concern over the critical situation in Africa and garners a net contribution of more than US$30 million for emergency and poverty-related efforts, more than half of which goes to UNICEF.

UNICEF adopts formally revised logo of mother and child with lower case acronym.

Programme concept "Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances" is conceived, opening up child protection issues.

The first Conference on "Technical Co-operation in Implementation of the Strategies for the Child Survival and Development Programme and Health for All by the Year 2000" is held in Zagreb. 

Child nutrition activities include: co-operating in nutrition programmes in 98 countries: 37 in Africa, 22 in the Americas, 29 in Asia, and 10 in the Middle East and North Africa region; helping to expand applied nutrition programmes in 18,300 villages, equipping nutrition centres and demonstration areas, community and school orchards and gardens, fish and poultry hatcheries; providing stipends to train 9,000 village-level nutrition workers; delivering some 15,460 metric tons of donated foods (including grain mixtures, nonfat dry milk, special weaning foods and nutrition supplements) for distribution
through nutrition and emergency feeding programmes.

Child health
activities include: co-operating in child health programmes in 113 countries: 42 in Africa, 24 in the Americas, 34 in Asia and 13 in the Middle East and
North Africa region; providing grants for training, orientation and refresher courses for 410,900 health
workers: doctors, nurses, public health workers, medical assistants, midwives and traditional birth attendants;
providing technical supplies and equipment for 61,500
health centres of various kinds — especially rural health
centres and subcentres; supplying medicines and
vaccines against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, measles, polio and other diseases.

Water supply and sanitation activities include: co-operating in programmes to supply safe water and
improved sanitation in 93 countries: 36 in Africa, 21 in
the Americas, 25 in Asia and 11 in the Middle East and
North Africa region: completed approximately 83,468 water supply systems, including 71,341 open/dug wells with handpumps, 1,203 piped systems, with 567 motordriven pumps and 10,357 other systems such as spring protection, rain water collection and water treatment plants; benefited some 18.7 million persons from its rural water supply systems; completed 293,404 excreta disposal installations benefiting some 2,483,100

UNICEF cooperates with the Ministry of Education, the AIDS Control Programme, the Ministry of Health and WHO in Uganda since 1986 to combat the deadly AIDS virus through education.

Total income reached US$463 million.

Online Holdings

Historical Publications
UNICEF Milestones
UNICEF Leadership
Special Exhibits

UNICEF Celebrities
Research Requests

Using the Archives


UNICEF Documents Guides

UNICEF History
UNICEF 60th Anniversary
UNICEF Publications
Innocenti Research Centre

UN/UN Agency Links

UN Archives
Archives Worldwide


The views expressed or information presented do NOT 
necessarily represent the official position of any person
or organization.