The President and CEO of UNICEF USA Caryl M. Stern released the following statement today about the need for continued U.S. government funding for UNICEF during the U.S. government’s Fiscal Year 2018.
The American people and the U.S. government have always been generous supporters of UNICEF and our work for children around the world. U.S. support has helped save millions of children’s lives and ensured millions more get a chance to learn. At a time when the needs of children have never been greater, we want to ask Americans to advocate for continued federal funding for UNICEF. We are extremely grateful, of course, for the many years of U.S. government leadership in supporting the world’s children. This month, we were also gratified by the strong bi-partisan consensus — which included the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives — on funding UNICEF for the remainder of the government’s current fiscal year, which will end on September 30, 2017. But continued federal funding for UNICEF next fiscal year is absolutely critical.
Founded in 1947 by a group of concerned Americans in the aftermath of World War II, UNICEF USA is proud of our seven decades in putting children first. Generations of our supporters have helped ensure that UNICEF can carry out its lifesaving work in more than 190 countries and territories. Each year, for example, UNICEF immunizes more than 45% of the world’s children. Last year, we treated 2.5 million children facing starvation. Over the past three years, we provided clean, safe water to 49 million children and their families, and educational materials to almost 47 million children, many displaced by conflict and crisis.
But children around the world still need our help. Each day, globally, 16,000 children under the age of five die — most from causes we could easily prevent. Famine currently threatens the lives of 2.5 million children in 13 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Violence, war, poverty and climate change have forced at least 50 million children from their homes.
As a mom, when I meet children and their families in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan or settlements for the displaced in Sudan, I know their hopes and fears are just like mine. Parents want to keep their children alive and healthy. They want them to go to school and learn. Children want the chance to play, make friends, grow up, and dream about tomorrow. This is why U.S. government funding for UNICEF is so important.
We urge all Americans who care deeply about the world’s children to stand up and be heard. In fact, your advocacy can influence Congress as it makes funding decisions that will affect millions of children’s lives and futures.