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Uniting for the most disadvantaged children since 1946

UNICEF is Created


11 December

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund is created by the General Assembly to provide supplies and assistance to children after World War II.


UNICEF’s first Executive Director, Maurice Pate: “There are no enemy children.”


The first UNICEF National Committee is established, and UNICEF prints its first greeting card.


UNICEF becomes a permanent agency in the United Nations system.


American entertainer Danny Kaye becomes UNICEF’s ‘Ambassador at Large’.


The United Nations adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Nurse-Midwife Emilia Akogveram (right), checks a pregnant woman's blood pressure at a UNICEF-assisted clinic.

The Development Decades


UNICEF Executive Director Henry Labouisse accepts UNICEF's 1965 Nobel Peace Prize: “The welfare of today’s children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow’s world.”


The Mark II water pump is invented, transforming village life.


World leaders vow ‘Health for All’ through the delivery of primary health care.


The United Nations declares the International Year of the Child to increase awareness and spur action on children’s rights.

Carrying his toddler son, a man smiles as he hands a health card to a nurse at a UNICEF-assisted health centre.

Child Survival and Development


UNICEF Executive Director James Grant:“We need to give children’s essential needs a ‘first call’ on society’s resources.”


The Child Survival Revolution is launched with GOBI: ‘G’ for growth monitoring, ‘O’ for oral rehydration therapy, ‘B’ for breastfeeding and ‘I’ for immunization.


UNICEF and partners work to fight famine in the Horn of Africa and Sahel regions.


UNICEF supports children affected by war and HIV/AIDS.


‘Education for All’ means girls as well as boys.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn laughs with girls.

‘Recognizing Children’s Rights’


The Convention on the Rights of the Child is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, enters into force in 1990 and becomes the most widely and rapidly accepted human rights treaty in history.


The first-ever World Summit for Children is held.


UNICEF and UNESCO invent the ‘school-in-a-box’.


UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy: “When the lives and rights of children are at stake, there must be no silent witnesses.”


The Millennium Development Goals


At the United Nations Special Session on Children, child delegates address the General Assembly for the first time.


UNICEF and partners organize a record-breaking humanitarian response to the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.


UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman: Building results-based programming and partnerships to “unite for children”.


UNICEF launches the “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS” campaign to put children and their needs at the forefront of the global fight against the disease.


The Equity Agenda


UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake: “The next steps of our journey will depend on our willingness to adapt to the changing world around us … to infuse equity throughout our programs and the post-2015 targets...”


UNICEF takes a lead role in the international response to earthquake devastation in Haiti, focusing on child health and nutrition in the aftermath.


The turmoil of the Arab Spring, the outbreak of extreme hunger in the Horn of Africa and the crisis in Syria pose major challenges for UNICEF and other humanitarian actors.


UNICEF hosts the first Forum of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities, to mainstream disability rights into child-focused policies and programs.


UNICEF celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and activates its 2014–2017 Strategic plan, a road map for realizing the rights of every child, particularly the most disadvantaged.


The era of the Millennium Development Goals comes to an end and the Sustainable Development Goals become the centre piece of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

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