UNICEF Executive Director calls on reaching the poorest, the most disadvantaged, to meet MDG goals for children
TOKYO, - UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake today joined world leaders at a meeting hosted by the Government of Japan to discuss how focusing investment on the most vulnerable can improve human security and accelerate global progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
In a Plenary session, Lake and others discussed the disturbing evidence that disparities between the richest and poorest children have widened, even as the world has made progress since the 2000 Millennium Declaration.
“Progress, measured by national averages, can conceal huge local disparities, and statistical success can mask moral failure,” said Lake. “We need to come together as a global community and fully commit ourselves to reaching the hardest to reach,” said Lake.
UNICEF and other agencies are increasingly focused on equity programming that targets the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities. A recent study shows that in low-income, high mortality countries, every additional $1 million invested in such an equity-focused approach can save up to 60 percent more lives than the current path. This is more important than ever in a time of continued financial constraint. At the MDGs Follow-Up Meeting in Tokyo, equity was highlighted by many participants representing various countries and organizations.
“With the 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs fast approaching, we must find new ways to do more with the resources we have, achieving not only more money for development, but also more development for the money,” said Lake.
Lake also discussed UNICEF’s long and successful partnership with Japan, which began in 1949. Today, annual contributions from both the government and the Japan Committee for UNICEF rank them among the organization’s most generous supporters.
This was Lake’s second trip to Japan as UNICEF Executive Director. His five-day visit also includes traveling to the Miyagi Prefecture, which was the epicenter of the Great East Japan earthquake. Thanks to a strong network of volunteers already in place, the Japan Committee for UNICEF distributed water, educational materials, clothing and medical supplies in the affected regions. In Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures, more than 200,000 children received school supplies. To date, donations to UNICEF from within Japan total approximately $16 million, while other UNICEF National Committees have raised more than $13 million, in solidarity with Japan.
Lake noted Japan’s resilience in the face of such an immense catastrophe, and thanked the government for its sustained commitment to the world’s neediest people, at a time when it was still working to rebuild.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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