UNICEF’s 2012 annual report celebrates a year of successes for children amidst a challenging climate. The report recognizes an important year of ‘firsts’ – from one year polio-free in India to important new global partnerships that tackled such issues as preventable child deaths and affordable medicines. As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, UNICEF has seen important gains in preventing child mortality, lower levels of child poverty, increased immunization coverage and more girls in school.
However, too many children continue to struggle. 2012 was a year of extra effort to reach them.
UNICEF trained health workers to help communities meet their basic health needs. Community health workers treated more than 1.9 million acutely malnourished children under 5 in 65 countries.
The global movement Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed launched in June. By the end of 2012, 168 governments and 400 civil society and faith-based organizations had committed to ending preventable child deaths.
The United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, a partnership between UNICEF and UNFPA, was launched in March. Its goal is to ensure that the most vulnerable don’t die for the want of cheap, easily available medicines.
UNICEF and partners responded to 286 emergencies in 79 countries – providing therapeutic feeding for 2.11 million severely malnourished children aged 6–59 months. Nearly 44 million children aged 6 months to 15 years were vaccinated against measles.
One of the most prominent emergencies was in the Sahel, where recurrent drought threatened the lives of millions across nine countries. Conflict in places such as Mali added to the burdens of families who were struggling to feed themselves.
“The target was to try to reach one million children, and we reached some 800,000 children. It was an extremely important intervention, and it was a big success,” said UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes Ted Chaiban.
As the violent conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic dragged on, millions of families were driven from their homes. An estimated five million people in and outside the country were in dire need of help. Among other assistance, UNICEF and its partners responded with measles vaccinations for 1.4 million children and access to an uninterrupted education for 79,000 children.
Donors continue to trust that UNICEF will deliver results for children – they gave 8 per cent more in 2012 than in the previous year, despite the ongoing global economic downturn.
UNICEF continued its efforts to become more accountable and more transparent in its work, streamlining decision-making and monitoring programmes more closely. We joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) as part of our commitment to being more open and to continue to do the very best for the most disadvantaged.
“Our goal is to reach every child, everywhere, no matter how distant or remote, no matter what barriers stand in the way,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.