testimony urging Congress to increase the U.S. Government's
voluntary contribution to UNICEF for the next fiscal year
has been submitted to the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations,
Export Financing and Related Programs of the Committee on
Appropriations, United States House of Representatives.
First, I want to thank this Subcommittee
for providing $125 million as the U.S. Government's contribution
to UNICEF for Fiscal Year 2005. The bipartisan leadership of this
Subcommittee on funding for UNICEF and for international children's
issues deserves to be commended.
© U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate this
opportunity to submit testimony regarding the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF). I am Clay Aiken, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Ambassador. On behalf of supporters of UNICEF across the United
States, I respectfully ask the Subcommittee to provide $130
million as the U.S. Government's voluntary contribution to
UNICEF for Fiscal Year 2006.
Supporters of UNICEF's global
work for children are encouraged by the Administration's request
for an overall increase in international affairs funding for Fiscal
Year 2006. We urge you to include an increase for UNICEF's core
activities for children as part of this increase.
The well-being of the world's
children clearly must be a priority of U.S. foreign policy. Nearly
11 million children die each year before their fifth birthday
about 30,000 children a day mostly from preventable causes. Four
million of them die in their first month of life.
More than 30 percent of children
in developing countries about 600 million live on less than $1
a day. About 150 million children under five one in four are malnourished.
At least 30 million children in the developing world are not immunized
against preventable killer childhood diseases such as measles,
polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis and tetanus.
These are among the challenges
that have been targeted by the United Nations Millennium Development
Goals for 2015 and by the United Nations General Assembly's Special
Session on Children of 2002. In response, UNICEF has adopted a
Medium-Term Strategic Plan that commits its resources to securing
results for children in the following five priority areas:
To ensure that every child
is fully immunized and receives essential nutrients that protect
To promote integrated early childhood development, ensuring every
child the best possible start in life;
To ensure that every girl and every boy completes a quality primary
To work to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and to ensure that children
and young people already affected
by the disease are cared for; and
To work to ensure that all children grow up in an environment
that protects them from violence, exploitation, abuse, and discrimination.
Building upon more than 58 years of experience, UNICEF has organized
its programs, partnerships, alliances, advocacy work and internal
operations around these five organizational priorities.
While much work remains to
be done, some impressive gains have been realized:
|Immunization efforts supported
by UNICEF help to save the lives of nearly 3 million children a
Today, three out of four children are immunized before their first
birthday, which is a dramatic increase from the early 1970s when
fewer than 10 percent were vaccinated.
UNICEF is the largest supplier of vaccines to developing countries,
providing 40 percent of the world's doses of vaccines for children
and spending $348 million on vaccines in 2003.
UNICEF-led efforts have helped protect over 41.5 million women from
maternal tetanus, and maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) has been
eliminated in 108 of 158 countries.
In 2002, UNICEF helped protect 10 million Afghan children against
measles, and administered doses of vitamin A which is essential
to the functioning of the immune system and helps prevent blindness.
Spearheaded by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Rotary International,
and other partners, the campaign to eradicate polio vaccinated more
than 500 million children in 2002.
Thanks to global efforts by UNICEF, Kiwanis International and other
partners, 70 percent of the world's households now use iodized salt,
which protects 91 million newborns from iodine deficiency disorders.
In Afghanistan in 2002, UNICEF conducted the largest education campaign
in its history, making it possible for 4 million children to return
to school, including more than one million girls.
In 2002, UNICEF supported programs in 58 countries up from 30 countries
in 2000 to help parents avoid passing HIV/AIDS to their children.
UNICEF, the largest purchaser of mosquito nets in the world, spent
$18 million in 2003 on nets and insecticides to combat malaria.
The appropriations provided by this Subcommittee to UNICEF's core
resources have helped to make this kind of progress possible. The
contributions to UNICEF's regular resources enable UNICEF to be
well-positioned in the field to meet the health, education and protection
needs of vulnerable children. This makes UNICEF an effective partner
for initiatives with the U.S. Government, with other international
partners, with non-governmental organizations and with the private
The U.S. Government's voluntary
contribution to UNICEF's regular or core resources supports the
essential foundation of UNICEF's work and makes it possible for
UNICEF to make a measurable impact on saving children's lives
and improving the quality of those lives. The funding provided
by this Subcommittee is joined by contributions from other donor
nations that form the structure that sustains UNICEF's country
programs around the world. It positions UNICEF to help the United
States in international emergencies and humanitarian crises (such
as the tsunami crisis), conflicts (such as in Iraq and Afghanistan),
and emerging threats to the well-being of children.
The tsunami crisis in Asia
reminded the American people of the value of UNICEF's work for
children. And the American people have been generous in responding
to UNICEF's appeal for help. To date, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF
has received over $112 million in contributions for the tsunami
The funding UNICEF has received
allowed UNICEF's humanitarian relief work to begin immediately
and to be sustained. UNICEF's response in the areas impacted by
the tsunami has included:
Emergency immunization to
prevent deadly childhood diseases;
Supply of clean, safe water and provision of basic sanitation;
Special feeding for malnourished children and pregnant women;
Care and counseling for traumatized children; and
Provision of education kits and rehabilitation of schools to ensure
the return of children to school as soon as possible.
More than 600 UNICEF staff have been on the ground in affected
countries, assisting the humanitarian relief effort and working
with local authorities and community-based organizations. Survivors
have received over 2,000 tons of UNICEF supplies. As a result
of efforts supported by UNICEF:
Very few children in the affected
areas have died from preventable disease probably the most important
indicator of an effective immediate response;
Up to 90 percent of children have returned to school, most within
the first month;
Most vulnerable communities now have reliable systems for accessing
clean water; and
Almost all separated or vulnerable children are receiving protection,
such as shelter, food and clothing, family tracing, and psychosocial
But the work is not over. UNICEF is dedicated to the long-term
recovery of the nations affected. It expects to spend a minimum
of $300 million on this effort over the next three years. This
longer-term work will include the restoration of schools, health
centers, safe water systems and other essential services that
keep children alive and well.
I recently returned from
tsunami-ravaged Aceh Province, where I saw utter devastation.
Miles of nothing where there once were homes, schools and communities.
But that isn't all I saw. I also saw hope and resilience. I saw
children learning in schools, whether those schools were tents,
or camps or blankets by the beach. I saw computers that had been
used to trace missing children being packed away, because most
kids have been reunited with relatives or are being cared for
in safe environments. And I saw surviving boys and girls returning
for the first time to the water's edge, where they sang and danced
and started finding their smiles again.
But maybe most important of
all is what I didn't see hundreds of thousands of children dying
from water-borne disease due to the contamination of all water
sources. I didn't see that because UNICEF and its partners responded
to this emergency with speed and efficiency, providing clean,
safe water to help prevent outbreaks of disease that could easily
have doubled the number of deaths.
It should be emphasized that
over one-third of UNICEF's global resources are generated in the
private sector. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF works in the United States
to help encourage private sector contributions. Our efforts are
enhanced through partnerships with a variety of individuals, corporations,
foundations and service organizations. UNICEF's innovative partnerships
with organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
Kiwanis International and Rotary International are examples that
are known to this Subcommittee. In this regard, the U.S. Fund
for UNICEF supports the funding requests submitted to the Subcommittee
by the Vaccine Fund, Kiwanis International and Rotary International.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF also supports the requests for child
survival and maternal health advocated by the U.S. Coalition for
Child Survival and the Student Campaign for Child Survival.
American advocates of UNICEF's
work for the world's children salute the bipartisan support this
Subcommittee consistently has provided for child survival and
for UNICEF. In view of the budgetary challenges faced by the Subcommittee,
we encourage you to continue your historical leadership to ensure
that children are a priority of U.S. international assistance
programs. We believe that UNICEF is an indispensable partner of
the United States on initiatives to save and to improve the lives
of vulnerable children around the world.
The United States has secured
the appointment of former Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to
be the Executive Director of UNICEF. We look forward to her leadership.
She deserves to undertake this responsibility with solid, undiminished
support from the United States Government for the work of UNICEF.
We believe that now is the
time for additional funding from the United States to strengthen
UNICEF's capacity to meet the ongoing needs of children. Helping
UNICEF truly extends the reach of the American people in assisting
children everywhere. We respectfully ask the Subcommittee to provide
$130 million for UNICEF's regular resources for Fiscal Year 2006.
April 14, 2005
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