UNICEF Executive Board Endorses Programmes for Children in 'Difficult Circumstances', Including 'Street Children' and War Victims

Article excerpt

UNICEF Executive Board endorses programmes for children in "difficult circumstances', including "street children' and war victims

Programmes to help children affected by armed conflicts, exploitation and other difficult circumstances were endorsed by the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at its 1986 annual meeting (New York, 14-25 April). The Board decided that UNICEF, in collaboration with concerned agencies, should play a major role within the United Nations system in promoting programmes to benefit "street children'.

The Fund's 41-nation governing body also re-endorsed priority for implementing UNICEF's Child Survival and Development Revolution, adopted as policy in 1983, in the context of primary health care and community-based services and approved programme expenditures of $84.5 million.

It also approved a commitment of $232.54 million for the 1986-1987 biennial budget, and endorsed the emergency appeal--made in April by UNICEF Executive Director James P. Grant--for an additional $102 million for the agency's increased activities in Africa and recommended that in the future such appeals be reviewed by the Board.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, in addressing the Board, said that UNICEF must remain in the vanguard of efforts to reduce infant mortality as called for in the International Development Strategy of the Third Development Decade. UNICEF's Child Survival and Development Revolution, based on a "creative, practical approach' to sustaining and accelerating progress for children even in conditions of economic stress and constructed resources, "vividly demonstrated the innovative potential of international co-operation and the essentiality of the United Nations system for responding to the emerging needs of a changing world', he said.

In the short time since the Revolution was launched, it had accomplished much more than was expected. There had been an increase in the use and awareness of oral rehydration thereapy (ORT) and the once receding dream of universal child immunization was now moving closer, he said.

Fortieth anniversary: Mr. Grant reviewed the Fund's 40-year history, stressing there had been extraordinary progress for children in certain basic respects: infant and child mortality rates had been halved since 1950; literacy rates had soared. The agency had acted to make itself more efficient, to make its programmes more effective and to secure new means of raising new resources for children.

Although UNICEF would continue to emphasize oral rehydration therapy and universal child immunization by 1990 as the "cutting edge' of its programmes to reduce infant and child mortality, within the overall strengthening of primary health care systems in the countries concerned, the Board emphasized that equal emphasis should be placed on child development, with programmes stressing nutrition, food security, water supply and sanitation, and education. Increased attention should also be given to the importance of women in development, the Board stated.

The Fund was asked to promote at the international level awareness of and disseminate information about children in especially difficult circumstances, including residents of areas of violent conflict, working children, street children and victims of abuse and neglect. …