The United Nations Children's Fund is a United Nations Programme headquartered in New York City, that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It is one of the members of the United Nations Development Group and its Executive Committee.
UNICEF was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1954, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name.
UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors and UNICEF's total income for 2008 was $3,372,540,239.Governments contribute two thirds of the organization's resources; private groups and some 6 million individuals contribute the rest through the National Committees. It is estimated that 91.8% of their revenue is distributed to Program Services. UNICEF's programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.
Most of UNICEF's work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries and territories. More than 200 country offices carry out UNICEF's mission through a program developed with host governments. Seventeen regional offices provide technical assistance to country offices as needed.
Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York. UNICEF's Supply Division is based in Copenhagen and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, educational supplies, among others. A 36-member Executive Board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The Executive Board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.
Following the reaching of term limits by Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy, former United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman became executive director of the organization in May 2005, with an agenda to increase the organization's focus on the Millennium Development Goals. She was succeeded in May 2010, by Anthony Lake.
UNICEF is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) and thus is accountable to those governments. UNICEF’s salary and benefits package is based on the United Nations Common System.
UNICEF National Committees
There are National Committees in 36 [industrialized] countries worldwide, each established as an independent local non-governmental organization. The National Committees raise funds from the private sector.
UNICEF is funded exclusively by voluntary contributions, and the National Committee collectively raise around one-third of UNICEF's annual income. This comes through contributions from corporations, civil society organizations and more than 6 million individual donors worldwide. They also rally many different partners – including the media, national and local government officials, NGOs, specialists such as doctors and lawyers, corporations, schools, young people and the general public – on issues related to children’s rights
Promotion and fundraising
In the United States, Canada and some other countries, UNICEF is known for its "Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF" program in which children collect money for UNICEF from the houses they trick-or-treat on Halloween night, sometimes instead of candy.
UNICEF is present in 191 countries and territories around the world. UNICEF designated 1979 as the "Year of the Child" and many celebrities including David Gordon, David Essex,Alun Davies and Cat Stevens gave a performance at a benefit concert celebrating the Year of the Child Concert in December 1979.
Many people in developed countries first hear about UNICEF's work through the activities of 36 National Committees for UNICEF. These non-governmental organizations (NGO) are primarily responsible for fundraising, selling UNICEF greeting cards and products, creating private and public partnerships, advocating for children’s rights, and providing other invaluable support. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is the oldest of the National Committees, founded in 1947.
New Zealand appointed, in 2005, 18-year-old Hayley Westenra, a talented, world famous opera and pop singer as their Ambassador to UNICEF, in an effort to enlist the youth of the world in supporting UNICEF. Westenra has made several trips to visit underprivileged children in developing countries on behalf of UNICEF, in an effort to publicize their plight, and has engaged in fund-raising activities in support of the UNICEF mission.
On 19 April 2007, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg was appointed UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, in which role she has visited Brazil (2007), China (2008), and Burundi (2009).
In 2009, the British retailer Tesco used “Change for Good” as advertising, which is trade marked by Unicef for charity usage but is not trademarked for commercial or retail use. This prompted the agency to say, "it is the first time in Unicef’s history that a commercial entity has purposely set out to capitalise on one of our campaigns and subsequently damage an income stream which several of our programmes for children are dependent on”. They went on to call on the public “who have children’s welfare at heart, to consider carefully who they support when making consumer choices”.
UNICEF World Warehouse
The old UNICEF World Warehouse is a large facility in Denmark, which hosts UNICEF deliverable goods as well as co-hosts emergency goods for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Until 2012 the housing facilities was a 25,000m2 warehouse at Marmormolen in Copenhagen. With construction of a 45,000m2 UN-city that is to house all UN activities in Copenhagen under one roof, the warehouse service has been relocated to outer parts of Copenhagen Freeport. In addition to the goods, the facility houses the UNICEF Supply Division which manages strategic transport hubs in Dubai, Panama and Shanghai. The warehouse contains a variety of items, e.g., special food supplies like the Plumpy'nut, water purification tablets, dietary and vitamin supplements, and the "School in a box" (illustrated above).
On 2 November 2011, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited the warehouse] to highlight the crisis in East Africa.