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Uniting for the most disadvantaged children since 1946

UNICEF is Created

1946

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.

1947–1965

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

1947

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

1953

UNICEF becomes a permanent agency in the United Nations system.

1954

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

1959

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

1965–1979

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.”

1975

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

1978

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

1979

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

1980–1995

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

1982

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

1984

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

1988

UNICEF supports children affected by war and HIV/AIDS.

1989

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

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn laughs with girls.

‘Recognizing Children’s Rights’

1989

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.

1990

The first-ever World Summit for Children is held.

1994

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

1995–2005

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

Girl

The Millennium Development Goals

2002

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

2004

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

2005–2010

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

2005

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.

Children

The Equity Agenda

2010–PRESENT

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...”

2010

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

2011–2013

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.

2012

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

2014

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.

2015

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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