Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 14
On the 70th anniversary of its founding, UNICEF is celebrating the immense progress made for the world’s children – and renews the urgent call to reach millions of children whose lives and futures remain endangered by conflict, crisis, poverty, inequality and discrimination.
“Seventy years after our work began, we have much to celebrate and still much to do for children,” said UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan Edward Carwardine. “Life for children here in Azerbaijan has improved year after year, and we want to see those improvements reach every child, across the country, in all circumstances – as we commemorate our past, that is our vision for the future.”
UNICEF was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East. Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries.
UNICEF began work in Azerbaijan in 1993. Its first programs were devised not only to address national development priorities, but also deal with immediate humanitarian needs. UNICEF’s first country program focused on such urgent needs as immunization, health, rehabilitation, nutrition, education and child protection.
Working together with government and civil society, UNICEF has contributed to significant progress in Azerbaijan, including – amongst other successes – helping to make Azerbaijan a polio-free country, reduce the threat of other preventable diseases, helping to improve educational standards for children and opening up more classrooms to children with disabilities, supporting programs for children living in areas of displacement, helping to initiate child welfare reform, creating opportunities for young people to have more access to sports and recreation, and advocating for enshrining child rights into Azerbaijan’s legislative framework.
Highlights of the 70th anniversary celebration in Azerbaijan will include a commemorative event Dec. 14 with the Ministry of Youth and Sports with participation of young people, as well as a special meeting in the Parliament of Azerbaijan Dec. 15 to discuss progress for children.
“Today, UNICEF’s commitment to the children and young people of Azerbaijan, and to their best possible future, is as strong as ever. We strive for a future where all children have the same opportunities, the same chances in life and the same respect for their rights,” said Carwardine. “By working with our partners in Government, Parliament, in civil society and in the international community to encourage investment for every child, I believe we will see that vision become a reality for all families and communities across Azerbaijan – and that is best birthday gift anyone could ask for.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in Azerbaijan visit: www.unicef.org/azerbaijan