The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, addressed the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 11 September.
Commissioner Georgieva was the first EU commissioner to address the governing body of the world's premier children's relief organisation.
During her speech, Commissioner Georgieva said that the European Commission (EC) will continue to prioritise funding for children in humanitarian emergencies, despite the economic challenges.
In addition, she highlighted that European citizens supported funding programmes to assist the most vulnerable children, citing a recent poll revealing that nine out of 10 respondents considered humanitarian aid vital.
The Commissioner highlighted that it was paramount to make the fight against hunger, especially among children under the age of five, priority number one. She added that this required putting the necessary policies and resources in place.
New Europe reminds that at the end of May, UNICEF published its ‘State of the world’s children 2012’ report which warned that the highest under-five mortality rates in the world were measured in Africa. The top three countries with highest U5MRs were Somalia, Mali and Burkina Faso. Other countries which found place in the black top ten statistics included Sierra Leone, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Angola.
UNICEF is the EC’s largest partner for nutrition-related programmes. Only in the course of the previous week, the two organisations signed three funding agreements, including one providing €6.4 million to health clinics and for purchasing medicines to treat children under five for life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria in Ivory Coast; an agreement for €600,000 for emergency treatment of cholera in Niger, as well as one providing €750,000 which will be used to mitigate disasters for children in Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
The EC and UNICEF also jointly launched a new partnership web portal to contain information on development and humanitarian work, as well as present the partnership and the mutual achievements.