“The next steps of our journey will depend on our willingness to adapt to the changing world around us… to infuse equity throughout our programmes… and to find new ways to realize the rights – and brighten the futures – of the most disadvantaged children around the world”. Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and well being 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.
In all of its work, UNICEF takes a life-cycle based approach, recognizing the particular importance of early childhood development and adolescence. UNICEF programmes focus on the most disadvantaged children, including those living in fragile contexts, those with disabilities, those who are affected by rapid urbanization and those affected by environmental degradation.
UNICEF was created with a distinct purpose in mind: to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.
We promote girls’ education – ensuring that they complete primary education as a minimum – because it benefits all children, both girls and boys. Girls who are educated grow up to become better thinkers, better citizens, and better parents to their own children. We act so that all children are immunized against common childhood diseases, and are well nourished: no child should suffer or die from a preventable illness. We work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people because it is right to keep them from harm and enable them to protect others. We help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity.
We involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. We are present to relieve suffering during emergencies, and wherever children are threatened, because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.
UNICEF upholds the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We work to assure equality for those who are discriminated against, girls and women in particular. We work for the Millennium Development Goals and for the progress promised in the United Nations Charter. We strive for peace and security. We work to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.
We are part of the Global Movement for Children – a broad coalition dedicated to improving the life of every child. Through this movement, and events such as the United Nations Special Session on Children, we encourage young people to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
We are active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees.