Ever since 1948 when its first office was established in Pakistan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been committed to the aspiration that one day, each and every child in the country, no matter where they live, or their family circumstances, will be guaranteed the right to survive. UNICEF does not stop there – the right to life is ineffectual if ill-health, ignorance, violence or exploitation denies a child his or her right to thrive. For this reason, UNICEF envisions a day when all children everywhere get a fair chance in life, and avail of meaningful opportunities to reach their full potential, unhampered by discrimination, bias, or favoritism.
This conviction underpins our work in Pakistan. Working in partnership with government at every level from the local to the provincial and federal, alongside committed donors, NGOs, CSOs and private organizations, UNICEF celebrates important achievement while recognizing that there is a long way to go before UNICEF can achieve the dream of a world fit for children.
Through the equity strategy, which emphasizes the most excluded and disadvantaged children, UNICEF translates our commitment to child rights into action. UNICEF are guided by key documents such as the Core Commitments for Children in humanitarian situations, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Pakistan is a signatory, as well as the aspirations of first the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNICEF focuses on increasing access to services and opportunities by women and girls in all facets of life, and promote gender-sensitive action as a core priority.
This year, under government leadership to eradicate polio, UNICEF saw the number of cases plummet and geared up for a final push to end a disease which has brought disability and heartbreak to millions. UNICEF celebrated Pakistan’s National Vision for Coordinated Priority Action to Address the Challenges of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (2016–2025) which created a new framework for health care, and new strategies to help caregivers learn how to ensure that all children get the right nutrition at the right age.
UNICEF helped bring children to school and investigated alternative streams for those left behind by the formal education system. UNICEF successfully piloted innovative ways of helping to register children at birth, and assure them of an identity.
Pakistan is prone to both natural and man-made disasters. UNICEF continued helping displaced and returning families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Recognizing the importance of preparing for future disasters, UNICEF supported training in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.
This year, UNICEF celebrated Pakistan’s achievement of its sanitation target under MDG 7. Our Pakistan Approach to Total Sanitation was a key contributor to this success.
In 2016, UNICEF begins efforts to help Pakistan achieve the SDGs – an opportunity to advance the rights and well-being of every child. Meaningful success will depend on renewed and effective partnerships at every level, from the federal government down to communities where our work has the most tangible impact. It requires high quality data and research, and innovative ways of addressing challenges. It requires an equity-based approach, so those who are traditionally excluded also benefit. As part of Pakistan’s One UN II programme and Delivering as One, UNICEF joins our United Nations peers in helping Pakistan’s governments meet this pressing challenge.
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