High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice- President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore held their first ever meeting today in Brussels, to discuss further cooperation between the European Union and UNICEF in providing assistance to children trapped by conflict, poverty and exclusion around the world.
For more than thirty years, the European Union and UNICEF have been working side by side to promote and protect children's rights. Among United Nations agencies, UNICEF is a leading recipient of EU funding: in 2017 alone, the EU has contributed EURO 458 million to UNICEF programmes.
The EU invests heavily in providing children worldwide with education, safe drinking water, sanitation, health services, and in protecting them from all forms of violence and exploitation. The strategic partnership between the European Union and UNICEF has contributed to improving the wellbeing and protection of children in 133 countries and territories. Since 2012, European Union funds have helped UNICEF provide education to more than 2.5 million refugees and displaced children caught up in emergencies around the world.
In Lebanon and Jordan, hundreds of thousands of Syrian and host community children are learning new skills and given the opportunity to become agents of change in their communities. A similar programme is happening in Ukraine.
In Nigeria, some 1.4 million children are now able to access strengthened health services, while in Sudan, the EU and UNICEF are supporting efforts to secure the release of children associated with armed forces and groups and ensure their reintegration into society.
In Cambodia, over 2.5 million children benefit from an improved primary education system, while in Bangladesh, emergency child protection and support to victims of gender-based violence was provided to the Rohingya population. Following last year’s earthquake in Mexico, the EU-UNICEF partnership provided emergency support to the affected population.
The EU and UNICEF look forward to further strengthening their relationship in the future to support youth and children’s rights in the world. Improving the resilience of the younger generations at a local level contributes to peace and security at a global level.
The EU reaffirms its support to the wider UN system, including UNICEF, and will continue to strengthen multilateralism, UN reform and global governance, and to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Cooperation is the only way to effectively address global challenges and to make the younger generations benefit from global opportunities.