UNICEF and the Government of China celebrate 30 years of working together for children

04 September 2009

Beijing, September 4, 2009 - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of China are this week marking thirty years of fruitful cooperation, a period which has seen dramatic improvements and rich experiences in the well-being of children and women in China.

At a reception marking the anniversary at the Great Hall of the People, attended by senior government officials and other dignitaries, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Saad Houry spoke of the special relationship between the agency and China - the first Asian country where UNICEF provided assistance - and applauded its achievements for children.

"In effect, what China has done over these thirty years embodies the core of the UNICEF mandate: the belief that a country's future depends on the investment it makes in the survival, growth and protection of its children, so that they develop to their full potential. It is those children, born when our cooperation started, who are today's vibrant, skilled and educated workforce of China," said Mr Houry. 

Mr Houry said that China's progress sent "the strongest message of hope to developing countries around the world... hard proof of the importance of investing in health and education, even in times of economic uncertainty."

 "China has 310 million children under the age of eighteen, the largest child population in the world," said Madame Huang Qingyi, Deputy Director of the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council and Vice Chairperson of the All-China Women's Federation.

"The Government of China has attached great importance to the cause of children and has been working tirelessly to improve the environment for child development. The Government of China has promoted the harmonious development of child affairs and the economy and has, through strengthening international cooperation and exchange, worked to keep pace with global child development," Madame Huang added.
"China has attained the major objectives set by the National Programme of Action for Child Development in China (2001-2010) on health, nutrition, education and other areas ahead of time. China has also achieved specific targets and goals on child development, set by the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the UN Special Session on Children," Madame Huang said.

Ms Qiu Hong, Assistant Minister of Commerce, pointed out in her statement that the Communist Party of China and state leaders have attached importance to and supported the cooperation; China has also made contributions within its capacity to the development of UNICEF. The Government of China-UNICEF Cooperation Programme has covered the whole country, benefiting children of all ethnic groups, and has played an important role in improving the basic health and education systems for children, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates, and reinforcing the construction of the social security system for children and women. Many of the results achieved over the years of cooperation have served as models for the development of children's cause in China.
"It has been a fruitful thirty years of cooperation between UNICEF and China. As a coordinating government counterpart, the Ministry of Commerce will continue to strengthen our partnership and create a better future for children."

UNICEF China Representative Dr Yin Yin Nwe said the agency's partnership with the Government has produced many successful initiatives promoting children's survival, development and protection. Dr Nwe added that while China was consolidating significant gains in nutrition, early childhood development, water and other child-related issues, significant challenges remain. These include the need to ensure western provinces enjoy the same standard of health and education services as coastal areas.

"China has made tremendous progress for children and women – progress that is internationally recognized," said Dr Nwe. "Today, the Government of China-UNICEF cooperation continues to be strong, built on a long shared history and a commitment to the cause of the most vulnerable children."

Guests watched a video documentary recalling UNICEF's assistance to children in China in the late 1940s and early 1950s and the formal Country Programme of Cooperation with the Government of China since 1979.

Media contacts

Liu Li
Communication Specialist
Tel: +86-10-85312612


UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.                                                  

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