Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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UNICEF and European Commission put children first in emergencies

unicef-euThe European Commission will continue to prioritise funding for children in humanitarian emergencies, despite the economic challenges, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, assured UNICEF’s Executive Board. 

Her speech marked the first time a European Commissioner has addressed the UNICEF Executive Board. The European Commission is one of UNICEF’s key partners working together in 27 countries affected by emergencies or in post-crisis.  The partnership between UNICEF and European Commission dates to 1992 and last year the EC provided more than €70 million to UNICEF for its humanitarian work worldwide.

The Commissioner emphasized that European citizens support funding programmes to assist the most vulnerable children, citing a recent poll that revealed nine out of 10 respondents consider humanitarian aid vital.

“It is encouraging to note that even when so many European citizens themselves are facing economic challenges, their commitment to children in crises remains firm,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “We share with the EU the importance of investing in children and their communities, to assist when disaster strikes and help prepare for future emergencies.”

Globally UNICEF is the EC’s largest partner for nutrition-related programmes. This support has helped stave off the worst effects of child malnutrition in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.

"Thanks to our working together these last twenty years the lives of millions of children around the world have been saved while the health and well-being of many more have been improved,” said Ms. Georgieva. “At this moment in Yemen, for instance, together we are helping more than 100,000 severely malnourished children and more than a million pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their young ones. Results like these are what count for the citizens of the European Union and that's why our solidarity in Europe with those less fortunate in the world remains unwavering."
 
In the past week the EC and UNICEF signed the following three funding agreements:

  • For the Ivory Coast, in the hardest hit areas, €6.4 million will go to health clinics and  purchasing medicines to treat children under five for life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria;
  • In Niger, €600,000 for the  emergency treatment of cholera;
  • Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will receive  €750,000 to mitigate disasters for children;

The new UNICEF/EU partnership web portal will be a multi-media site for new content on development and humanitarian work and common goals. Visit http://www.unicef.org/eu/



Source: UNICEF Press Release

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