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UNICEF Milestones

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

see also Thematic Overview

Year Notes
1987 Two million child deaths averted through the efforts of the Child Survival and Development Revolution (CSDR).

The momentum towards UCI/1990 accelerates, with all regions reporting increased levels of activity. WHO  estimates global coverage for BCG, DPT and polio to be more than 50 per cent, while measles coverage is
about 45 per cent.

Ninety-seven per cent of the children in the developing world live in countries with operational programmes
to control diarrhoea! diseases (CDD).

By promoting  CSDR, UNICEF encourages countries to move to national scale in expanding low-cost approaches for reducing mortality and improving child health and welfare on a broad front.

Adjustment with a human face published as a landmark study and prime example of UNICEF’s knowledge-based advocacy prompting global debate on how to protect children and women from the adverse affects of economic adjustment and reform. UNICEF tries to show how low-cost CSDR approaches need to be accompanied by economic and social actions  to protect basic human needs and a country's human resource potential while coping with the economic crisis. Existing expenditures need to be restructured towards low-cost interventions with high-effectiveness impact, and other available but often under-utilized resources also need mobilizing.

'Debt Relief for Child Survival' proposal is put forward: i.e.  converting part of the developing countries' foreign debt to commercial banks and governments into national funds which can be used locally by the debtor governments and UNICEF for CSD programmes.

Call for 'Grand Alliance for Children' uniting leaders and institutions and organizations and other social structures as vital allies with parents for child survival and development initiatives.

Efforts are expanded for child labour issues and children in especially difficult circumstances that include street children, children affected by armed conflict, by national disasters and abused children. UNICEF offices in all regions step up their advocacy, and often complex negotiations, for 'Zones of Peace' and 'Days of Tranquillity' to accelerate child survival and development
initiatives in war-torn areas.

Move to UNICEF HOUSE,  the first independent  NYHQ premises, on 44th Street.

Establishment of International Child Development Centre (ICDC) at Innocenti Hospice in Florence, Italy

Launch of "Change for Good" fund-raising.

Total contributions reached US$576 million.
1988 The 'Bamako Initiative' is launched by WHO and UNICEF, combining increased international finance with domestic resource mobilization to achieve universal primary health care (PHC) and maternal and child health care. African nations will join forces to make low-cost bulk purchases and then distribute them through community outlets. Prices to the consumers will be much lower than present retail costs, but will allow enough 'profit' to pay for their replenishment and to finance the development of community and district health services.

International Child Development Centre (ICDC), later known as the Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) established in Florence, Italy for policy analysis and applied research and as a forum for international professional exchange of experience; dissemination of research findings (with a focus on child rights, child protection, economic policy and impact of socio-economic policies on women, children and other vulnerable groups)

Talloires Declaration on “Protecting the world’s children: an agenda for the 1990’s” issued by the Task Force for Child Survival (see above) at its third meeting in March. The Talloires Declaration is the basis for the initial list of WHO/UNICEF common goals for the health development of women and children by the year 2000 endorsed in 1989 by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Committee on Health Policy as well as by the Executive Boards of both UNICEF and WHO. The goals were later refined and expanded (with the addition of goals for child protection and education) in the Talloires Affirmation emanating from the forth Task Force meeting in Bangkok (March 1990) and endorsed by the WSC (September 1990).

The momentum for CSD continues to accelerate
with the expansion of low-cost  UCI and ORT programmes, and UNICEF goes beyond traditional programme concerns to address the fundamental issue of poverty.  The momentum also highlights the inadequacy of data bases and management information systems without which it is difficult to measure progress or regression, programme effectiveness or impact.

UNICEF proposes the idea of a 'Global Summit for Children' to rally leaders from all points of the geographic, political and economic compass, to a more
constructive economic dialogue 'for mutual survival'.

Child-related issues appear on the political agenda of several major events during the year: President Ronald Reagan and General-Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called for an accelerated effort to reduce childhood deaths at the conclusion of their May Summit. The 25th Anniversary Summit of OAU in Addis Ababa in May passed resolutions on African Child Survival and
Development, UCI, the Bamako Initiative and AIDS prevention.

A global trend towards operational linkages between education and communication for CSD emerges in
many countries. The focus is on sustainability through strategies to change behaviour and popularize CSD approaches,

All regions reported progress with child immunization in 1988, encouraging belief that the global target of 80 per
cent coverage by the end of next year could be achieved. Rapid gains in the coverage levels of the 25 most populous developing nations spurs optimism for UCI in 1990.

Because of increasing levels of immunization coverage an estimated 1.9 million child deaths from measles, whooping cough and neonatal tetanus are now being prevented each year. Improved delivery of polio vaccines is sparing another 240,000 children each
year from the crippling effects of this disease.

Ninety-six countries now have operational
CDD programmes (control of diarrhoeal diseases) covering an estimated 98 per cent of Third World

JNSP (WHO/UNICEF Joint Nutrition Programme) is in its fifth year of operation. Experiences drawn from 18 country projects have demonstrated that an explicit nutritional focus and monitoring system must also exist in order to make a nutrition programme effective.

UNICEF expands response to AIDS pandemic to other African nations aside from Uganda.
The Executive Board approves policy and programme directions in AIDS prevention, and approves special Aids prevention projects for supplementary funding.

UN Peace-keeping Forces receive Nobel Peace Prize.

Total contributions reached US$711 million.
1989 On 20 November, after 10 years of negotiation, the 159 UN Member States unanimously endorse the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), entering into force on 2 September 1990 – representing the most rapid entry-into-force of any human rights treaty. The CRC sets minimum standards of protection for children everywhere against exploitation, abuse and neglect. UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar announces World Summit for Children to be held at UN Headquarters in September of 1990 as a follow-up. 

Fall of Berlin Wall marks the end of the Cold War and opens up new perspectives for development based on a hoped for ‘peace dividend’ and leading to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union (1991). This ushers in a period of transition in countries of the CEE/CIS and Baltic states, opening up new perspectives for UNICEF programmes in the region.

Strategies for Children in the 1990s (E/ICEF/1989/ L.5, 7 February 1989) discussed at the April 1989 Executive Board meeting – the product of more than a year of consultations within UNICEF and with UN partners – primarily WHO and others in the international public health community. Quantifiable goals as centrepiece of the document and of an attempt to apply ‘management by objective’ ideas to the international agenda

World Summit for Children (WSC) formally proposed; given green light and preparations get underway: Proposal put forward by heads of state of the 6 ‘initiating’ countries (Canada, Egypt, Mali, Mexico, Pakistan, Sweden) in November; SG Perez de Cuellar gives permission for Summit to be held at UN HQ NY; and a Special meeting of the UNICEF Executive Board is held (December) to discuss the summit.

Formulation of strategies for 4th development decade underway within the wider UN community, formally adopted by GA on 21 December 1990 (Res 45/199). UNICEF’s perspectives for children and development were articulated within this wider framework, and conceptualized as a clear contribution to the overall development strategy.

Immunization coverage increased from less than 10 per cent in 1980 to 70 per cent, saving at least two million under five-year-olds each year. ORT prevented one million deaths of diarrhoeal dehydration.  Breast-feeding makes a spectacular comeback. 700 million people gain access to safe drinking water. 99 per cent of the population in 112 countries have CDD programmes, and 60 per cent of the under-five population have access to ORT. New programmes are launched for AIDS and ARI (acute respiratory infections). The Board approves Guinea worm disease study and national plans for eradication are developed.

UNICEF co-sponsors the international conference "The Implications of AIDS on Mothers and Children" in Paris.

A significant social mobilization initiative, Facts for Life is officially launched with WHO and UNESCO, highlighting messages in 10 areas of maternal and child health in print, video and radio. FFL is integrated in every UNICEF region and involving NGOs governments in dissemination.

Interest in the Bamako Initiative expands beyond Africa into Asia.

Phase one of JNSP ends. Conclusion is reached that there can be no pre-determined set of interventions which will result in improved nutrition. Nutrition programmes are more likely to succeed if there is a community-based nutrition-system in place that mobilizes action and provides a tool to monitor success.

The growing sustainability of community management in Water supply and sanitation (WATSAN), the linkage with CDD programmes and a trend towards greater cost-effectiveness at the field level leads to overall improvement. UNICEF cooperates with 90 countries in WATSON activities.

The girl-child become special focus of ROSA and Mena regions.

Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) is launched addressing the needs of thousands of victims of flooding, drought, food shortages, epidemics and prolonged conflict which had displaced a large segment of the population, destroyed infrastructure and impeded relief delivery.

UNICEF Executive Director James Grant leads UN delegation in Khartoum at a joint Government/UN high-level meeting in March and is appointed by the Secretary-General as his Personal Representative for OLS.  "Corridors of tranquility" are opened so that relief convoys can pass through contested territory.

Total contributions reached US$667 million.
1990 Development goals and strategies for children in the 1990s is articulated by UNICEF in A UNICEF Policy Review (also E/ICEF/1990/L.5, 13 February 1990)

World Conference on Education for All, is held in Jomtien, Thailand in March 5-9, 1990, organized by UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO and the World Bank. The resulting World Declaration on Education for All and Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs sets out concrete goals and targets for education – elements of which were incorporated into the WSC Plan of Action. UNICEF previous programme cooperation in basic education had been mostly catalytic (with emphasis on education for girls and women; early childhood development, and non-formal education for those who cannot go to school); but after World Conference and Summit, activities in many countries have facilitated some reordering of priorities in country programmes for the next cycle. Establishment of education for development posts in NY and Geneva. Collaboration among sponsoring agencies of EFA Conference strengthened, with all 4 agencies agreeing to increase financial support for the principal Conference objectives.

Bangkok Affirmation” issued by Child Survival Task Force at its March 1-3 meeting in Thailand, recommends modification and expansion of initial set of goals beyond the health sector in order to include child rights and protection of children in especially difficult circumstances, as well as the goals for education, literacy and early child development endorsed by the World Conference on Education for All.

Consultative group on child rights appointed by UNICEF Executive Director in 1990 to review and advise on policy matters, and to facilitate ratification and implementation of convention (made up of Regional Directors,, Executive staff, divisional directors, ICDC, special advisors and child rights section).

UNICEF Nutrition Strategy approved by the Executive Board in April (Strategy for Improved Nutrition of Children and Women in Developing Countries” E/ICEF/1990/L.6, March 1990). A dual focus on the control of PEM and micronutrient deficiencies (iron, Iodine, and Vitamin A) to be achieved through a strategy to empower households, communities and managers at both district and national level to implement improved nutrition through the Triple A method of assessment, analysis and action. This in turn was based on a conceptual framework of multiple causal levels of malnutrition, and a recognition of the importance three elements of care, food and health for improved nutrition.

Children’s Vaccine Initiative launched jointly by UNICEF and WHO in September, as broad-based coalition of organizations and scientists committed to improving children’s health through development and sustainable delivery of existing and new vaccines. The initiative was backed by CSD Task Force members Rockefeller Foundation, UNDP, and the World Bank and the declaration of NY strongly endorsed at the Summit.

World Summit for Children, UN, NY, Sept.29-30 starts a ten-year campaign of progress for children. Galvanizes world leaders around the cause of children and establishes concrete end-decade goals for them to achieve: Adopts World Declaration on Survival, Protection, Development of Children and a Plan of Action for Implementing the Declaration, with 27 measurable goals. Together these documents set forth a vision of a ‘first call’ for children. The Summit has been described as ‘the high point of a four-decade effort by UNICEF to place children’s needs at the top of the world’s agenda”. Leaders from 152 countries representing 99 per cent of the world's population — 71 of them presidents, prime
ministers or kings, and 81 senior representatives and plenipotentiaries — from North and South, East and West, took part. By the year 2000 polio nearly eradicated, and around 75 per cent of school-age children are completing a basic education.

Throughout the year, the international community moved steadily towards a staggering achievement: immunization, by the end of 1990, of 80 per cent of the developing world's children against the major child-killing and -crippling diseases. Just over 10 years ago less than 15 per cent had the protection of vaccines, and about five million children a year were dying from preventable diseases and another 500,000 were being crippled by polio. Achieving the 1990 goal means that some 100 million infants are being reached with vaccines four or five times during their first year of life — a total of 500 million contacts every year between children and organized delivery systems — now saving the lives of
about 8,000 children a day. That is 12million lives since the campaign began and more than two and a half million young lives saved in 1990 alone.

GA res 45.217 of 21 December 1990 welcomed adoption of World Declaration and Plan of Action and urged all states and international community to work for achievement of goals and objectives endorsed therein.

Greenwich Consultation, December: A UNICEF HQ consultation convened directly after the Summit to consider how UNICEF could take fullest advantage of the unprecedented leverage on behalf of children and – particularly – how UNICEF could provide both leadership and support in helping partners, allies and constituents work together to keep the promises of the Summit.

Innocenti Declaration on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding issued – becomes basis for UNICEF policy and action in 1991 - also adopted by WHO as operational policy and strategy to support programmes for attainment of goals.

Board approves a priority focus on the girl child in all country programmes. Decade of the Girl Child declared by SAARC (1990s). Many national plans of action (NPAs) for children in the region focus on gender-specific data collection and analysis.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child adopted by the OAU, coming into force on 29 November 1999.

Global consultation on CDD held in NY in April to discuss trends and propose strategies as part of a larger effort to improve and expand assistance to CDD.

UNICEF study of AIDS-related mortality among children in 10 seriously affected African countries concludes that between 1.4 and 2.7 million children will die from AIDS during the 1990s and estimated there could be 3-5 million AIDS orphans in central and east Africa alone by the year 2000. UNICEF AIDS prevention programme working closely with WHO Global Programme on AIDS, focusing on education and awareness studies of impact, and care for AIDS orphans.

4 celebrated UNICEF Goodwill ambassadors received special honours: Liv Ullmann received UNICEF Distinguished service award after 19 years of service; Audrey Hepburn awarded Golden Globe Award in Hollywood; Harry Belafonte received Nelson Mandela Courage Award; and Sir Peter Ustinov became Knight of the British Empire.

Appointment of UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children (Vitit Muntarbhorn).

UNDP issues first Human Development Report – under Mahbub ul Haq: Marks move towards greater integration of social concerns into international development efforts, with such social concerns highlighted in the strategy developed for the 4th UN Development decade.

World Bank’s World Development Report takes poverty as its central theme.

Total contributions reached US$821 million.
1991 Need to galvanize follow-up to WSC spurs a year of unprecedented mobilization for children. Announcement of UCI generates extensive media coverage; ICDC publication on Children and the Transition to the Market Economy: Safety Nets and Social Policies in Central and Eastern Europe draws attention to the needs of children in this region, as UNICEF begins operations in Romania ;

Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is launched, Hospitals and maternity centres around the world adopt “Ten Steps to Successful breastfeeding” advocated by UNICEF and WHO. The 10 steps underpin the BFHI to promote breastfeeding. By 2000, more than 15,000 hospitals and maternity centres in 136 countries had joined the initiative and received certification as ‘baby-friendly’. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), created to mobilize technical and human resources for implementation of the Innocenti Declaration, becomes the focal point for NGO support of BFHI. By 2000, more than 15,000 hospitals and maternity centres in 136 countries have the joined the Initiative and become certified as 'baby-friendly'.

Action on micronutrients intensifies.

Build-up to Earth Summit generates environmental activity.

Grant’s challenge to media representatives is part of an effort to broaden the support base for UNICEF in the broadcast industry and sparked a move to hold an annual International Children's Day of Broadcasting (ICDB).

UNICEF also joined multi-million dollar project to strengthen TV programming for children. Global Communication Support Fund, approved by 1990 Executive Board, started activities in 1991. New emphasis on use of public opinion polls to monitor and evaluate UNICEF advocacy and education efforts.

Major new publication ‘First Call for Children’ launched as a forum for UNICEF experience and advocacy.

An increasingly important aspect of UNICEF advocacy is collaboration with political leaders and inter-governmental organizations and other partners.

UNICEF formulates plans and directives for WSC follow-up including guidelines for the preparation of National Programmes of Action (NPAs); instructions on the intended relationship between UNICEF country programmes and NPAs; encouragement of inter-agency cooperation in WSC follow-up; information on development of strategies field-level monitoring of progress towards the goals; and guidelines for the preparation of progress reports on WSC implementation.

Role of UNICEF in implementation of the CRC is set out, with Board decision that UNICEF should continue to support CRC as an integral part of its ongoing country programmes and global advocacy. 10-member Committee on the Rights of the Child is established to monitor implementation of the Convention.

The State of the World’s Children 1991 tackles situation of children in industrialized world for the first time.

UNICEF’s first experiments (in Sudan) with debt swapping for children. By late 1995 UNICEF had carried out a number of such debt conversions – mostly in Africa, Latin America, and one in Philippines

UCI goal announcement; UNICEF and WHO officially advise UN Secretary-General de Cuellar in October that the UCI goal of 80% immunization coverage reached. The success of the global immunization programme gave new impetus to set new targets in WSC.

Many nations are now using the infrastructure developed to immunize their children for add-on services including vitamin A supplements, iron supplementation and other prenatal services. UNICEF launched vaccine independence initiative aimed at improving national vaccine procurement capacity by using high quality, low-cost vaccines through UNIPAC (reimbursable procurement).

First International Consultation on the Control of ARI (Acute Respiratory Infection) co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP and WHO.

International policy conference on ‘Ending Hidden Hunger’ in Montreal organized by the Child Survival and Development Task Force, initiated by UNICEF and WHO, with co-sponsorship of FAO, UNDP, WB, CIDA, and USAID. Lays groundwork for broad alliance of governments, agencies, institutions and industries to accelerate action on micronutrient goals.

Water and Sanitation Collaborative Council established (in response to UN res 45/181 of 3 December 1990) to provide global coordination and a forum for discussion of sector issues and advance the retargeted goals of the International Drinking Water and sanitation decade. First meeting is held in September in Oslo and a UNICEF/WHO joint monitoring programme was established to track progress. Within UNICEF, the focus in WATSAN  is shifting from hardware to ‘software’; from vertical to intersectoral programmes; and from technical to social concerns – with emphasis on people behaviours, motivations, and management capacities.

Conference on humanitarian cease-fires; peacebuilding for children held in Ottawa.

Follow-up to EFA: UNICEF Education cluster created in 1990, with 5 senior advisers; 4-phase action framework developed to promote EFA goals over the decade; with capacity-building within UNICEF. Heads of the sponsoring Jomtien agencies – UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF and WB met on the first anniversary of the conference. UNICEF and UNESCO signed a formal agreement for the development of indicators to monitor EFA and the analysis and dissemination of innovations in basic education. UNICEF also involved in African Education Task Force.

UN Task Force on Disabled Children and Women established under the direct auspices of UNICEF (at close of UN decade of disabled persons – 1983-1992); reaffirms UNICEF commitments to prevention; early detection/intervention; and community/family-based rehabilitation. Task Force to be a sustainable implementing mechanism for the remainder of the decade – to function on the model of the task Force for Child Survival

Dramatic jump in UNICEF emergency assistance from 26 countries in 1990 to over 40 in 1991 (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle east and CEE). Main focus the Persian Gulf crisis; but other high profile natural and man-made emergencies. Also participated in inter-agency and inter-governmental discussions on improved coordination and response. In aftermath of Gulf War, UNICEF designated, under the UN relief plan for Iraq, to be the lead agency for humanitarian assistance in 3 northern governorates.

OAU Summit adopted landmark resolution on implementation of the African Decade for Child Survival, Protection and Development and confirmed 16 June as the Day of the African child

An expanding ‘grand alliance’:
• 85th Interparliamentary Union conference adopted resolution for ratification of CRC and adoption of WSC goals; Religious leaders participating in pre-summit support conference-‘The World’s religions for the World’s Children’ in July 1990 - reaffirmed commitment in 1991 at the World Conference on Religion and Peace, in Italy in June.

Mayors becoming active partners in Grand Alliance for survival, protection and development – with global launch being prepared for Dakar in January 1992 (honorary committee included mayors of Dakar, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Riaydh, Rome and the governor of Tokyo).

• NGO forum in Kadoma, Zimbabwe one of several major meetings in 1991 focusing on Summit goals and priority support for Africa – resulting Kadoma Declaration affirmed NGO commitment to WSC, CRC, and OAU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child. Major humanitarian and development NGOs – with final report of meeting to be distributed as a mobilization booklet (‘World Summit for Children: Moving from Words to Actions’) to 600 NGOs that signed the joint NGO Summit statement in 1990. See also write-up on National Committees.

International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) launched by ILO (with backing from Germany) as direct follow-up to Summit.

Total contributions reached US$807 million.
1992 Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt) takes office as Secretary- General of UN, serving until December 1996.

Multi-donor evaluation of UNICEF
identifies four key strategic thrusts of UNICEF programmes: service delivery, capacity-building, social mobilization and empowerment, noting the importance of a strategic mix for the most effective programmes.

Launch of first International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, created by UNICEF and partners in broadcasting to promote high-quality radio and television programming both for and with children. By 2000, more than 2,000 media organizations were participating in this annual event, including Universal Studios, Sesame Workshop and Brazil's TV Cultura, which helps maintain a high profile for children’s issues. Children in countries around the world take to the airwaves as producers, reports and technical assistants.

UN Conference on Environment and Development (The Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro, from 3-14 June, 20 years after the first Global environment conference, as the climax of a process begun in December 1989 of negotiations leading to adoption of Agenda 21 as a wide-ranging blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development. The Rio conference endorsed the Summit goals, affirming their validity within Agenda 21. Children’s interests were to be taken into account – in participatory processes for sustainable development and environmental improvement. In preparations for the Earth Summit and with WSC emphasis on environment, UNICEF had reviewed its environment strategy and prepared studies for advocacy and policy guidance. Emphasis was to be placed on linkages between child-related concerns, sustainable development and the environment, promoting the concept of primary environmental care (PEC) – an approach that already informed many of UNICEF community initiatives. PEC emphasized the need for basic services (including urban basic services); a healthy physical environment; community participation and the empowerment of communities with knowledge and information. It also promoted the environmental components of CSD; environmental education; and integrated approach to water and sanitation.

BFHI: UNICEF and WHO launch a major drive on BFHI as a means of attaining the objectives of the Innocenti Declaration of 1990 on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding and the WSC goal. Involves appointment of national coordinators; hospital based initiations; application of the Code; and enactment on laws to protect breastfeeding rights of working women. First World Forum on Breastfeeding held in Bangkok by the World Alliance, and Cracking the Code published.

Launch of UNICEF’s International Child Development Centre (ICDC) MONEE project to monitor the effects of transition in the CEE/CIS and Baltic states region on women, children and youths and vulnerable groups, with regular reports beginning in 1993. At same time, UNICEF starts to strengthen and expand presence in countries in the region.

International Conference on Assistance to African Children, co-sponsored by UNICEF and OAU in Dakar, Senegal to solicit new international resources and energize national political will behind policy reorientation towards children and women – also as a spur to development of NPAs with hoped-for funding of activities by donors. Adopted Consensus of Dakar, recommitting to year 2000 global goals, and agreeing to a number of intermediate health and nutritional goals by mid-decade. Helped catalyze NPA development`. Part and parcel of UNICEF’s approach to the needs of children in developing countries has been advocacy for substantial debt relief – forgiveness where possible and innovative debt swaps for CSD activities (estimated cost of meeting the 27 goals an additional $20 billion per year over the decade.

International Conference on Nutrition (December, Rome): Annexed to its conference declaration the list of goals endorsed at the WSC, adding a new goal on the elimination of famine, and committing governments to preparation of national plans of action coordinated, as appropriate, with WSC follow-up.

Data collection, analysis and use further strengthened: New method of estimating IMR and U5MR developed; UNICEF for first time publishes a regional SOWC (in Latin America)

Joint UNICEF WHO consultative group – focus on strengthening integrated primary health care services– particularly at district level – building on success of EPI, multiplying contacts with health services; and Bamako Initiative.

Mayors Defenders of Children’ Initiative launched by International Colloquium of Mayors in Dakar, with participating mayors adopting summit goals

International Conference on Water and Environment (Ireland) adopts guiding principles for advance of water and sanitation goals.

Total contributions reached US$938 million.
1993 Twenty-five years after UNICEF and WHO first introduced oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in 1968, one million children in developing countries are being saved each year by this simple solution of sugar, salt and water to treat diarrhoeal dehydration.

UNICEF calls for total ban on the production, stockpiling, sale, export and use of land-mines. The UN General Assembly approves four resolutions on land-mines at its 1993 regular session. The toll on children by these hidden horrors long after wars have ended mounts.

UNICEF calls for urgent action to contain and reverse the vicious cycle of poverty, high population growth and environmental degradation, the PPE spiral.

Mid-decade goals
, emerging from a series of regional meetings including those organized by OAU, SAARC (Southeast Asia Association Regional Conference), League of Arab States, East Asia and Pacific Ministerial Consultation, adopted at round table meeting in NY, endorsed by UNICEF Executive Board in 1993 . Round-table meeting on ‘Keeping the Promise to Children’ held in NY in September on the 3rd anniversary of the Summit (heads of state or governments, ministers and representatives of 77 countries and many UN agencies reiterated commitment to goals and adopted 10 mid-decade goals selected as stepping-stones towards achievement of the year 2000 goals.

Funding strategy conceived: 20/20 concept - achieving universal access to basic social services - and endorsed at WSSD. A compact between developing and industrialized countries, 20/20 calls for the allocation of, on average, 20 per cent of the budget in developing countries and 20 per cent of official development assistance (ODA) to these basic social services. It also aims to ensure that these resources are used with greater efficiency and equity.

First issue of UNICEF flagship publication The Progress of Nations intended as a global annual “report card” on achievement of the goals. States that a nation's progress should be measured by the well-being of its people, rather than by the size of its gross national product (GNP) or military might.

World Bank annual World Development Report focuses on health/education/human resources.

World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna from 14-15 June, endorses the WSC mid-decade goal of universal ratification by 1995 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as its founding principle that economic, social and cultural rights are inseparable from civil and political rights.

UNICEF focuses on the 'silent emergencies' that claim 35,000 child lives every day, as opposed to the 'loud emergencies' created by natural disasters and armed conflict.

Issues related to children and armed conflict receive growing attention.

UNICEF's reputation for effective delivery in the field, from relief to rehabilitation, places the organization in the forefront of global efforts to meet the needs of families in emergency situations in Europe and Africa.

42 million people are driven from their homes by military conflict, but only 18 million considered refugees and eligible for international assistance, the remainder 'displaced.'  UNICEF seeks to address the issue so that no child suffer this contradiction.

15,000 children's lives are claimed by ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia over a three-year period and 600,000 children are refugees. To help them overcome their trauma, children in dozens of schools and refugee camps are asked to express their feelings in words and drawings. The children's yearning amid death and destruction is poignantly captured in the book I Dream
of Peace
, commercially published in 1994 for greater distribution.

UNICEF responds to situations of increasing complexity that strain resources and place staff at great risk. Three UNICEF staff members are killed in the line of duty.

UNICEF emergency handbook revised, with a view to integrating emergency preparedness more fully into country programming.

GA calls on SG to prepare report on children in armed conflict; Machel study started in 1994; resulting in 1996 report.

Tarzie Vittachi, UNICEF publishes “Between the Guns: Children as a Zone of Peace”.

On the occasion of Human Rights day, GA awarded one of the annual human rights prizes to Grant for his work in child survival, development and rights over the past two decades; issue of Child Neglect in Right Nations addressed for the first time; internal UNICEF consultative group on rights identifies need to link CRC/CEDAW; intensify advocacy against sexual exploitation, with UNICEF to become more vocal in situations of flagrant violations).

UNICEF revises its urban policy to emphasize mid-decade goals and public participation – focuses on poverty reduction, PEC, rehabilitation and prevention approaches for urban children in especially difficult circumstances (CEDC); advocacy and technical plans. Mayors an important part, with municipal plans promoted.

Education for all Summit, hosted in India (UNICEF/UNESCO/UNFPA) to rally political commitment of leaders from 9 high population countries.

Women’s empowerment and equality (WEEF) framework developed by UNICEF for gender training.

Total contributions reached US$866 million.
1994 Over 500,000 Rwandese are massacred in ethnic uprising of mass genocide and 5 million people flee to safe havens. 14 UNICEF national staff lose their lives. UNICEF raises US$58.7 million for the children of Rwanda, just a tiny fraction of what is needed. UNICEF is designated as the lead UN Agency to protect some 114,000 unaccompanied children separated from family.  Thousands of photos are distributed of these 'lost' children in camps and neighboring countries. Helps maintain schooling in refugee camps and displaced persons settlements by paying teachers' salaries and delivering education materials. Mine sweepers declare safe areas and schools. A massive cholera epidemic plagues Rwandan refugees in Zaire.

In Liberia, UNICEF-assisted programmes support orphanages, women and girl victims of abuse and provide counselling to former child soldiers.

Fighting intensifies in Angola, 400,000 children under five and 490,000 women of child-bearing age are vaccinated against measles and tetanus.

Violence returns to Somalia hindering humanitarian assistance after withdrawal of foreign forces. UNICEF continues to support efforts to reach the most vulnerable, and provides vaccines, foods, nutritional supplements and educational programmes. Emergency supplies are pre-positioned in the event of further civil conflict. Outbreak of cholera epidemic lasts for five months.

UNICEF distributes 82,000 materials to Croatian school children as well as videos and 150,000 flyers about land-mines planted in their communities. UNICEF focuses on emergency needs in UN Protected Areas and near the front line and to refugees and displaced persons and the supply of essential drugs.

Human rights abuses aimed at women and children continue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the general collapse of the economy severely restricts all access to social services. UNICEF concentrates on health, expanded programme of immunization (EPI), nutrition, WATSAN, education, care for children in especially difficult circumstances. Winter clothing is provided for 20,000 children.

UNICEF supplies the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with paediatric drugs, vaccines, supplementary food, winter clothing and blankets, school supplies and textbooks, and technical assistance and training for health workers, teachers, school psychologists and social workers.

UNICEF coordinates water supplies and sanitation and education programmes in Afghanistan.

UNICEF campaigns for the demobilization of child soldiers and raises awareness of disproportionate impact of trade sanctions on children and women in Haiti and Iraq.

South Africa
holds its first democratic elections.

UNICEF Management Study
, Booz-Allen-&Hamilton Inc. (New York, NY, Dec. 30, 1994). (requested by Executive Board in 1993) Four final documents include: UNICEF Management Study; Executive Summary; Management Study Workshops Report; Delphi Panel Report: constituting the report of a management review requested by UNICEF’s Executive Board in March 1994. On the basis of its findings, UNICEF follow-up takes the form of the management excellence programme.

International Year of the Family observed. UNICEF considers the family the 'smallest democracy at the heart of society'. Attention is given to the often ignored role of fathers in family life and parenting.

A low-cost, fast and reliable household survey system is introduced to help assess countries' progress towards a achieving the World Summit for Children goals called Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).

International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Cairo, September 1994 adopts a programme of action that builds on the outcome of other global conferences, including the WSC, underscoring the linkages between development and population, focusing on reproductive rights and people-centred services. It recognizes that efforts to slow population growth, eliminate gender inequality, reduce poverty, achieve economic progress and protect the environment are mutually reinforcing. Prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity has been a primary focus of UNICEF-supported activities related to ICPD follow-up, focusing on increasing the age of marriage or first pregnancy among adolescent and young women; improving health and nutrition of girls and women; and improving the care and services available to pregnant women. UNICEF follow-up on Safe Motherhood included support for inter-agency working groups tracking child and maternal mortality; women’s empowerment; reproductive health and education; elaboration of programme guidelines for elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). UNICEF follow-up on Safe Motherhood includes support for inter-agency working groups tracking child and maternal mortality; women’s empowerment; reproductive health and education; and the elaboration of programme guidelines for the elimination of FGM.

Support to war-affected youth programme (SWAY) begins in 7 West African countries, with funding from UNICEF and USAID.

Separate item on children’s rights included for the first time on the agenda of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural), with resolutions on the CRC, children affected by armed conflict (CAC), street children, and the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography. Resolution asked UNICEF to be more active in providing information and reports. In his final public speech, Grant spoke on need for special protection issues – child labour, trafficking, sexual exploitation, within CEDC and called on universal ratification of the CRC by 1995 – followed by a telephone call to Clinton seeking US signature. With universal ratification close at hand, the consultative group on child rights established at UNICEF HQ in 1990 shifted focus from promotion of ratification towards specific protection issues, including revisions of policy and programme guidelines to address child labour, prostitution and other flagrant child rights violations. CRC a rallying point for programmes addressing the needs of children in especially difficult circumstances (CEDC.

Intensive follow-up on WSC continues: Between 1990 and the end of 1994. 0ver 100 meetings with presidents and prime ministers to promote summit goals are held.
UN Girls’ Education Initiative in Africa launched, led by UNICEF and implemented with partners in more than 60 countries as a major step forward toward achieving the goal of education for all.

Since the Summit, more than 100 developing nations, with over 90 per cent of the developing world's children, manage to reduce crippling effects of malnutrition and to roll back child death rates. Some 2.5 million fewer children will die in 1996 than in 1990, and 750,000 will be spared mental retardation, blindness and the consequences of malnutrition. Still, some 13 million die in 1994 for lack of immunization, oral rehydration and affordable interventions. The 20/20 initiative intensifies to redress government minimal spending on basic social services. UNICEF continues to focus on the 'silent emergencies' and long-term needs of children.

By year's end more than 120 developing countries drafted national programmes of action to achieve their World Summit goals for children, and more than 160 Heads of State or Government signed the Summit Declaration.

Joint UNICEF/WHO strategy to combat Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) endorsed by joint UNICEF/WHO committee on health policy

US becomes last of 178 of World Health Assembly to endorse 1981 International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, ending 13 years of opposition.

Global consultation on water and environmental sanitation, Bangalore, India, agrees that more emphasis is to be placed on the health and development aspects and to be linked to environmental protection. Focus on empowerment of communities (particularly women); capacity-building; intersectoral linkages; hygiene education. Primary environmental care programmes aim to reduce household work and exploit alternative energy sources.

1994 Year of the Family preparations: UNICEF considers the family “the smallest democracy at the heart of society” which needs sustained support
1995 Death of UNICEF Executive Director Jim Grant, January 1995; Richard Jolly appointed by Boutros-Ghali as Acting Executive Director; appointment of Carol Bellamy in May.

Extreme poverty and the violation of children's human rights continue to kill over 12 million children each year, three quarters of them from preventabl causes. One hundred and forty-three million children still do not attend school. UNICEF prepares to renew its commitment to put children first on the world's agenda, under the slogan 'Children First' for its 50th anniversary in 1996.

Serious drought causes severe shortage of drinking water as well as disease outbreaks in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. UNICEF contributes towards relief efforts.

Great Lakes region (Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire) harbours over 2.5 million refugees from Burundi and Rwanda. Conflicts in Somalia hamper UNICEF efforts, and civil war continues in Sudan.

Devastating impact of AIDS pandemic spreads throughout Africa. Child mortality rates rise. Aid programmes generally lack sufficient political support and resources.  UNICEF in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) work with national statistical agencies to incorporate social indicators and together publish the Atlas of the African Child.

UNICEF introduces gender development index in 1995 as a means of consolidating statistical data on social developments affecting women, and used in preparation for the Beijing Fourth Conferenc on Women.

Urbanization increases in West and Central Africa. UNICEF intensifies advocacy for special protection of neglected and abused children, focusing particularly on child workers, child prostitutes, street children, young girls working as domestic servants and boys forced into begging. 20 per cent of children in Africa work, and the number rises because of increased poverty, population growth and failure of schools to meet basic education.
Performance for mid-decade goals mixed with only 45 per cent average immunization coverage.

Middle East and North Africa make progress towards mid-decade goals.  Agreements with groups in southern Sudan enable UNICEF to maintain child protection services.  UNICEF collaboration with OAU, The League of Arab States and individual governments helps generate a greater commitment to children's needs. More than half of the MENARO countries meet the goals of immunization, neonatal tetanus, measles, polio and water supply. Almost half meet the ORT and sanitation goals.

East Asia and the Pacific maintain strong overall record of economic growth and human development. Just 16 per cent of the rural population now live in absolute poverty, the lowest rate in the developing world, and more than 95 per cent of school age children enroll in primary school.

A quarter of the world's children live in South Asia, with 37 million new births per year. 3.5 million under-fives die from poverty. The main obstacles to child survival and development -- malnutrition, poor sanitation and hygiene -- are not simple fixes. UNICEF works towards reducing maternal mortality rates.

Child labour become a major UNICEF focus with tens of millions of children employed, many in exploitative and dangerous situations.

Poverty increases in Latin America and the Caribbean but progress is still made towards mid-decade goals. Education goal achieved regionally, neonatal tetanus eliminated. Three quarters of the countries reach the immunization goal for DPT, polio and measles, and a large majority of countries iodize all salt supplies. Many make significant progress for Vitamin A fortification.

Social and economic turmoil in much of Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States continues hampering progress towards the mid-decade goals. Diptheria epidemic spreads beyond the CIS as UNICEF works with WHO on emergency interventions. Polio however is in the decline.

Save havens in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia cause thousands to flee. Accelerated rehabilitation efforts get underway after the Dayton accords.

Level of conflict in the world explodes in 1990s. UNICEF and partners provide emergency needs of civilians while continuing to attempt to foster long-term development. When conflict erupts, threatening to derail UNICEF's work, the challenge is to adapt to changed circumstances in order to maintain programme priorities. UNICEF spends 25 per cent of its total programme expenditures on the needs of women and children in 21 countries torn by armed conflict and 10 affected by natural disasters. Six UNICEF staff members lose the lives in the line oif duty in Africa. UNICEF focuses on monitoring and evaluation of fragile situations, development of local capacity to cope with emergencies, child survival, protection and development and physical and psychological rehabilitation of child victims.

Pollution in the Aral Sea create disaster in Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan leading to skin diseases, acute respiratory infections and pollution-driven health problems. UNICEF, WHO and partners launch the Aral Sea Project for Environmental and Regional Assistance.

Abuse of alchohol, tobacco and drugs leads to doubling of diseases among newborns in the Russian Federation. A 1995 state decree specifying World Summit and country-specific goals to be achieved by 2000.  84 regions and republics can now apply for funding from their own goverments.

CRC is ratified by 185 countries, just short of 8 for universal ratification, and surpasses the record for any other human rights treaty.
Launch of Management Excellence Programme (in response to Management Review). The programme was designed to clarify UNICEF’s mission; enhance its capacity for renewal to ensure future effectiveness in response to rapid external changes; strengthen accountability at all levels of the organization; institutionalize the best management practices and standards of behavior for all UNICEF staff; make systems improvements to support oversight and control.

Preparations for mid-decade review underway:

1995 Mid-Decade Goals reader, issued by UNICEF, 5 August 1994 (as collaborative efforts by PD, DOP, with specific involvement of the advisory clusters and training and staff development section, Child rights section, DPA and publications section (DOI);

• A number of global assessments/reports/study papers, including on: NPAs; sustainability of the goals and links between CRC and NPAs.

Consultation on UNICEF programme priorities to year 2000 and beyond helps establish corporate priorities for the future. A process of programme policy review and revision underway.

Revision of UNICEF health strategy: continued emphasis on the reduction of child illness and death (through immunization, breastfeeding, nutrition, and sound illness management); greater stress on protection of children in the 2nd decade of life and on reproductive health; a sharpened focus on the needs of adolescents aligns UNICEF health policy more closely with the Convention and recognizes that the health, attitudes and behaviours of teenagers profoundly affects their capacities as adults. New emphasis on maternal mortality.

World Summit for Social Development  (WSSD), Copenhagen, March 1995 representing a landmark shift by governments to support policies that promote a people-centred framework for social development and justice, with a focus on the eradication of poverty, expansion of productive employment, and promotion of social integration, resulting in Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action endorsed by over 180 leaders. Among the 10 key commitments endorsed at the summit, a number are directly related to UNICEF’s concerns, including promotion of gender equality and promotion of universal and equitable access to quality education and health care, rectifying inequities affecting women, children and vulnerable social groups. Other commitments were also central to UNICEF’s advocacy efforts at the time, such as commitment for greater and more efficient allocation of resources to social development; a focus on social dimensions of structural adjustment programmes; and heightened international cooperation.

ECOSOC underscores strong linkages and common themes among programmes of action emanating from global conferences and stresses need for coordinated/integrated follow-up.

For WSSD, ACC established 4 task forces in basic services; creation of enabling environment for development; advancement of women; sustainable livelihoods, with UNICEF participation in the basic social services task force. A key aspect of UNICEF support for follow-up to the WSSD is the 20/20 initiative, for which UNICEF is the lead agency within the UN system. 20/20 initiative, developed under the auspices of UNDP was strongly promoted during the Summit by UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, WHO and a number of NGOs. UNICEF issued Profiles in Success, detailing social progress achieved by countries through appropriately-targeted human development priorities.

Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, 4-15 September 1995, renews global commitment to uphold the rights of women, focusing on cross-cutting concerns for equality, development and peace, and resulting in a Platform of Action specific actions and targets aimed at enhancing the social, economic and political empowerment of women, improving their health and access to relevant education, and promoting reproductive rights. Twelve critical areas for action served as the basis for the Platform of action, including women in relation to; poverty; education; health; violence; conflict; economic participation; power and decision-making; institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women; awareness of and commitment to women’s human rights; mass media; environment; and the girl child. Advances include insistence on women’s rights as human rights; call to review laws on illegal abortion; key focus on the family; closer look at culture and religion as means of realizing potential of both men and women, and recognition of rape as a war crime. ACC Inter-agency Committee on women and gender equality was thereafter established. UNICEF lobbied successfully for inclusion of girl child on the broader agenda, and articulated 3 priority areas endorsed by the Executive Board for its own programmatic follow-up in implementation of the Platform of Action. These included: girls’ education, the health of girls, adolescent girls and women; and children and women’s rights, with action in the field often complementing follow-up to other conferences (ICPD; WSSD). A renewed emphasis within UNICEF on gender mainstreaming in programme processes was built around lifecycle perspective, with heightened advocacy for CEDAW based on the complementarity between children’s rights and women’s rights. Gender training within UNICEF continues as a priority.

New approach to estimating maternal mortality developed by Johns Hopkins/WHO/UNICEF and published in the 1996 PON, in a powerful and hard-hitting focus on maternal mortality and morbidity. The new estimates provoke wide debate and discussion on the issue of maternal mortality, leading increased awareness and renewed efforts.

Joint WHO/UNICEF document on “Action for children affected by AIDS: Programming profiles and lessons learned”.

Facts for Life: Lessons from experience: Documents experiences with FFL around the world, with enthusiastic suggestions to extend scope to attain a wider and younger readership and to strengthen link between knowledge transmission and positive behavioural change.’

Animation for Development consortium.

Beginning of extensive review of collaboration with NGOs – to be completed in 1996. Recommendations from a series of joint UNICEF/NGO workshops as a basis for new cooperation strategies to better reflect the growing strength of NGOs over the last 10 years (growing in numbers and influence and power – becoming articulate voice for promoting child rights, particularly in ratifying and implementing CRC and achieving goals).

Child Rights Information network (CRIN) launched, linking UN agencies, academic institutions, NGOs to gather and other information on child rights activities globally. UNICEF worked with the NGO group for CRC which published the guide and helped identify agencies for the CRIN network.

UNICEF supported GA in development and adoption of omnibus resolution on the rights of the child – also a resolution on the girl child for Beijing follow-up; 1995 session of GA requests SG, in cooperation with ILO, UNICEF and others to report on child labour issues and initiatives.

World Conference on Religions and Peace, supported by UNICEF, established two committees in support of children: Inter-religious leadership council for children (advocacy); and Children’s Action committee (relief and development programmes).

Narino Accord, signed by 28 governments of the Americas, reaffirming WSC commitments and MDGs and identifying new areas of concern, including early pregnancy, disabilities and civil rights. Convention now regarded in the region as the basic framework for developing social policies concerning women.

UNICEF champions the 20/20 Initiative to help reduce poverty, which encourages developing and donor nations to allocate 20 per cent of their budgets and development assistance, respectively, to basic social services.
1996 UNICEF's 50th anniversary year. Children's survival rates are twice those of 1946. Immunization rates, covering 15 per cent of children or less in many parts of the world just over a decade ago, now average 80 per cent worldwide, and some countries have rates of 90 per cent and higher. In developing countries, approximately 82 per cent of all children old enough for primary school are now enrolled.  In most regions, enrollment rates are 30 percentage points higher than the 1960s.

The legal impact of the CRC is being felt in many countries. The Convention has helped shaped constitutions in Angola, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa as well as major legislation affecting children in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Nepal and Tunisia. The Convention also propels progress in children's nutrition, in strengthening local health systems and in efforts to enroll and keep more girls in school.

Mid-decade Review: Extensive efforts were made to review progress towards the WSC goals at mid-decade and to draw lessons learned. UNICEF, in collaboration with others, developed the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and supported training for its application in the field, leading to a significant improvement in data collection and analysis (60 countries implemented stand-along MICS; 40 others used DHS or MICS modules in other surveys). National mid-decade reviews were carried out in some 98 countries. The UNICEF-WHO Joint Committee on Health Policy Special Session, Geneva, May 1996 makes a joint review of progress on health-related goals at mid-decade and preparation for the year 2000 . The SG reports to 51st session of GA on progress towards mid-decade and end-decade goals (A/51/256). The review at mid-decade, para 299, stressed that the Assembly should consider holding a special session to examine how far the world’s nations have managed to fulfil their promises to children and implement the Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit. GA welcomes report and decides (in res 51/186, 16 December 1996) to convene a Special Session in 2001 to review achievements at end-decade.

Children’s participation: UNICEF supported 1st mini summit of children during OAU summit – with 100 children from 10 countries in conflict submitting suggestions; Youth/Children Opinion Polls later pioneered in Latin America. Also, a referendum in Colombia with 2 million children voting on rights and peace, organized by UNICEF, the NGO network for peace, and other organizations. UNICEF launches “Voices of Youth” website ( as interactive site where young people from around the world can exchange views on a variety of topics.

Adoption of UNICEF Mission Statement (issued as part of management reform process – also as a means of taking stock after 50 years of what has been accomplished, where we are today, and what we must do, with “development of mission statement to remind the world what we stand for”, adopted by Executive Board in January 1996. UNICEF, redefining its mission after 50 years of operation and drawing on lessons learned. Confirms the centrality of the CRC. Point is “CRC holds perhaps the greatest potential for positive changes for children, reflecting a watershed in the way the world looks at children – from objects to subjects of law”. Now that the Convention ratified by almost all countries in the world, UNICEF can turn towards its application as the ‘spearhead’ (fer de lance) of programmes. Adopting a rights based approach considerably transforms programming strategies. “With the satisfaction of basic needs considered as a fundamental right for each child, UNICEF has adopted a more integrated approach to satisfy these needs, taking into consideration the full range of rights guaranteed by the Convention”. The goals and objectives covering the basic sectors – improving access to basic social services – represents the most tangible and effective strategy to break the vicious circle of poverty, over-population and environmental degradation. The MDR showed the need to redouble efforts to achieve the goals. UNICEF Executive Board adopts CRC as programmatic framework for all UNICEF actions.

50th anniversary of UNICEF: occasion for numerous activities to promote children’s cause, around the world, under slogan ‘Children First”.

World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, the first-ever international gathering dedicated to combating this problem, held in Stockholm from 27 to 31 August 1996, hosted by the Government of Sweden and co-sponsored by the End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, raised awareness and resulted in a number of initiatives, including establishment of a global NGO support group and enhanced cooperation with the UN, including through the Special Rapporteur and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. A total of 1,880 participants attended the Congress, comprising 718 government representatives from 120 countries, 100 delegates from UN and other intergovernmental agencies, 470 NGO representatives, 47 delegates from youth organizations and the organizing bodies, and 540 journalists from all over the world. As UNICEF Executive Director reported to Board in 1996 (E/ICEF/1996/12/Rev.1) this mix of people reflected not only the wide reach of the problem of commercial exploitation of children, but also the dynamics of the solutions. Public awareness-raising, mobilization, networking and international cooperation will underpin the future of the work in this area. Many UNICEF programmes were already part of the gamut of activities necessary to reduce vulnerability in this area. Board members saw UNICEF support in this area as a key component of activities related to child protection measures specified in the CRC and they endorsed UNICEF focus on prevention, including a special emphasis on girls’ education.

Launch and presentation to the GA of ground-breaking Graca Machel study on ‘The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”, with UNICEF support, after an unprecedented survey of over 2 years involving an international team, traveling to 8 conflict zones, with regional consultations and consultations with child victims. GA adopts resolution A/RES/51/77 on respect for child rights, demobilization of child soldiers, elimination of land mines, halt to sexual violence and exploitation, physical and psychological healing and reintegration. Also foresaw the creation of the post of Special Representative for children and armed conflict, asking UNICEF, along with the Centre for Human Rights and UNHCR, to support his work. Also called on UNICEF to use the report as a framework for future action.

UNICEF announces its ‘anti-war agenda’ in The State of the World’s Children 1996, setting out a set of concrete measures to alleviate the impact of warfare on children, in line with the recommendations of the Machel study. SOWC traces shift in UNICEF focus from emergency relief to long-term development and charted the ongoing struggle to place children at top of the agenda: “To an organization born among the detritus of war, it sometimes seems as if the historical wheel has come full circle.”

Creation of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to coordinate research and action on the epidemic, of which UNICEF is a part, and expansion of UNICEF programmes in AIDS awareness and prevention, providing assistance to children and families. UNICEF had started to address AIDS in the mid-80s, with a focus on prevention and care, as well as behavioural causes. UNICEF priorities in participation in UNAIDS focus on limiting transmission; fostering responsible behaviour based on precise information; improving health and reproductive health services; protecting children against sexual exploitation; MTCT; support to orphans and families. Joint UNICEF/UNAIDS publication “Children and families affected by AIDS; Guidelines for action”. UNICEF concern for AIDS back in late 80s; most consistent programme development since 1992 (youth health and development; sexual and reproductive health; family and community care; school-based interventions; mass communications and mobilization). By 2000, UNICEF-supported prevention programmes are in place in 20 of the worst-affected countries.

Habitat II – the Second UN Conference on Human Settlements was held in Istanbul from 3-14 June 1996, with a focus on problems of urbanization resulting in the Habitat Agenda concerning environment, human rights, social development, women and population in the specific context of urbanization. Recognition of the right to adequate housing as a universal human right was one of the most contentious issues, with some delegates seeing it as rather subsumed under the more general right to adequate standard of living, and final consensus reached on its ‘progressive realization’. Children incorporated into 45 of the 241 articles of the programme, thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and NGOs. UNICEF helped ensure inclusion of relevant CRC principles.

The Mayors Defenders of Children Initiative took on new members. Support for disaggregated data on urban/rural differences important.

World Food Summit, in Rome, 13-17 November 1996 adopted by consensus the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action (earlier 1974 World Food Conference had proclaimed that every man, woman and child has inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental facilities; and in December 1992 the FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition also recognized “that access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is a right of each individual”.

1996/97 UNICEF and the Government of Iraq worked with WFP to carry out major surveys to assess the impact on children of both the 1991 Gulf War and international sanctions. Results showed U5 underweight rose from 9% to 26% since 1991. Nearly 1/3 of U5s were chronically malnourished or stunted and more than 1/10 acutely malnourished – an increase of almost 300% since 1991. Results of the surveys spurred international media attention and focused greater attention in the UN and elsewhere on the negative impact of sanctions on children.

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative launched by World Bank and IMF designed to assist poor countries to achieve sustainable levels of debt based on an established track record of implementing social and economic reform and on the condition that additional resources are channeled to basic social services.

Expansion of programme assistance in CEE/CIS and Baltic States: UNICEF assistance for 1st time supports needs of children throughout CEE/CIS/Baltic States region.

Growing attention to poverty: Designation of 1996 as Year of Poverty Alleviation and announcement of the First UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2001).

Total contributions reached US$944 million.

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