UNICEF in the World
UNICEF is the United Nations institution which specializes in promoting the practice of children’s rights. All of its work is guided by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, the most widely adopted human rights treaty in history. It views child rights as an essential component of human development as foreseen in the United Nations Charter and the Millennium Development Goals.
At global level, UNICEF is the world’s leading advocate for children. At the grassroots level, it works with a variety of partners to improve child well-being and to provide all boys and girls with the chance to reach their full potential. While much of UNICEF’s work is concerned with meeting children’s basic needs in the poorest parts of the world, often in emergency conditions, it has a strong presence on the ground in 190 countries in all.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary funds. Two-thirds of its funding comes from governments, and the remainder is raised from private groups and from individual donors by UNICEF’s National Committees. There are 36 National Committees for UNICEF in developed countries. These non-governmental organizations promote children’s rights, generate partnerships, collect donations and sell UNICEF greeting cards and products.
UNICEF’s work is supervised by a 36-member Executive Board made up of government representatives. This board establishes policies, approves programmes and decides on administrative and financial plans and budgets. The members of the Board are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
UNICEF’s global priorities are:
to ensure that all children survive infancy and receive proper early childhood care, including health care, nutrition and a supportive environment for their emotional and cognitive development;
to ensure that all children, including girls, complete primary education, fulfilling their rights, forming a basis for gender equality in society, and ensuring that the children of the future have educated mothers;
to protect all children and adolescents from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse by involving everyone in creating protective environments for children;
to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people and to help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity;
to generate evidence, leverage resources and build partnerships for children’s rights, and to give boys and girls the maximum opportunity to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
Within this overall framework, UNICEF’s priorities, and the strategies which it uses to achieve its goals, may vary from country to country depending on the issues facing children and the resources available.
In all countries, UNICEF shows a special concern for those children who belong to the most vulnerable social groups or who find themselves in the most difficult circumstances, including children who face discrimination or social exclusion.
UNICEF in Turkey
Turkey is unique as a country in which UNICEF has both a National Committee, to promote child rights and raise funds from individuals and the private sector, and a Country Office implementing a programme of cooperation in key areas of child well-being. As in other countries, the Country Office operates on the basis of a Country Programme discussed, agreed and signed with the Government. The existing Country Programme covers the period from 2011 to 2015.
Under the Country Programme, UNICEF Turkey is collaborating with a large number of government ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Justice, the State Planning Organisation and the General Directorate for Social Services and the Child Protection Agency (SHCEK). UNICEF also partners with Parliament and local government. Where appropriate, it links up with other international organizations including the European Union and the World Bank. Universities and research institutions, civil society, the media and children themselves are all involved in the implementation of the Country Programme.
In countries like Turkey, which has a large economy and strong institutions, UNICEF does not provide services to children and adolescents directly but concentrates instead on contributing to the formulation of child-related policies and the design and implementation of mechanisms for putting these policies into practice. To this end, UNICEF shares its international experience, advocates for legislative and systems change, facilitates coordination and cooperation, and offers technical assistance to its partners in developing replicable child-friendly models to deliver services to children and in monitoring progress.
The generation and dissemination of knowledge, raising public awareness, promotion of policy debate and mobilisation of resources for the realization of children’s and women’s rights and youth are integral parts of the Country Programme. UNICEF and its partners aim to stimulate support, encourage complementary efforts and enhance the abilities of duty-bearers and rights-holders to claim and realize children’s rights. The Country Programme is conducted with a view to ensuring social inclusion, respect for human rights, gender equality, awareness of climate change, emergency preparedness and the active involvement of children and young people. The experience gained is documented and shared with other countries.