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UNICEF: Reaching children in the Least Developed Countries


ISTANBUL -- On the occasion of the 4th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), UNICEF says reaching the most vulnerable children in the poorest countries is critical.

The conference, which is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9-13 May, brings together heads of state, UN officials, parliamentarians, civil society and private sector representatives in an effort to evaluate progress and expedite sustainable development of the 48 countries that make up the LDCs.*

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake will participate in a special event on under-nutrition and a debate on resource mobilization for LDCs, spotlighting UNICEF’s commitment to programming with equity – directing resources to reaching the children who are most at risk, especially because of climbing food prices and the economic crisis.
The special event, “Equitable Human Development: Investing in Nutrition in the LDCs” organized by UNICEF, the governments of Nepal and the USA and the World Food Programme will be held on Tuesday, 10 May.

Under-nutrition and malnutrition constitute a silent emergency in the LDCs. More than 30 million children in LDCs are underweight - their weight is too low for their age. Approximately 55 million children suffer from stunting, meaning that they have a low height for their age. A stunted child is more at risk of dying from infectious disease, less likely to perform well in school and will often earn less in adult life, further exacerbating deprivation and inequity. But ample evidence shows that simple interventions that are highly cost-effective can prevent the waste of human life.

Lake will also be one of the lead speakers in an interactive thematic debate on resource mobilization for LDCs – focusing on how to achieve results in the poorest countries with the most cost effective programmes – on Tuesday, 10 May.

Funding programmes to support the hardest to reach, most vulnerable children is a cost-effective investment that helps break the cycles of poverty and inequity. Strong investments into the poorest communities helps LDCs lift themselves out of poverty through sustainable development.

*Of the 48 countries, 33 are in Africa, 14 in Asia and the Pacific, and one is in Latin America. Cape Verde graduated from the list of LDCs at the end of 2007 and Maldives on 1 January 2011.

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:


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