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UK to help UNICEF boost health and education

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK Government will boost its contribution to UNICEF to help the global children’s agency improve the health, protection and education of the world’s poorest children.

The UK Government will boost its contribution to UNICEF to help the global children’s agency improve the health, protection and education of the world’s poorest children, Andrew Mitchell announced today.

As a result of its strong performance in a review of UK aid, the International Development Secretary confirmed extra UK funding to help UNICEF tackle child mortality and malaria as well as improve access to quality education for children living in some of the world’s poorest countries.

In 2009, with UNICEF support, more than 140 million children were immunised against measles - 63 million in integrated campaigns that also distributed 13.3 million doses of de-worming medicine.

With additional UK support UNICEF will be able protect more children against malnutrition, distribute more anti-malaria treated bed-nets and get more children in to school.

UNICEF scored highly in the review of how and where the UK Government spends the aid budget with multilateral organisations.

The review found that UNICEF was able to demonstrate impressive results in helping to tackle child mortality, maternal health issues and HIV/AIDS - all of which are closely aligned to the Government’s aid objectives.

It also noted that UNICEF delivers a number of programmes for children in conflict and fragile states. As a result of the aid review the UK Government is looking to expand its work in fragile states, 15 of which are among the 20 poorest in the world.

Andrew Mitchell said:

“I have been clear that I will support international agencies that can prove they are having a real impact on the ground and have development objectives closely aligned with our own.

“UNICEF is tackling grinding poverty in some of the most challenging parts of the world and it is right that we should offer them additional support.

“UNICEF’s work to keep children healthy and ensure they have access to education enables them to demonstrate the kind of results that the British taxpayer can feel proud to have played a part in achieving.

“UNICEF can become even more effective by improving its leadership in humanitarian emergencies, working more closely with the rest of the UN system and clearly demonstrating its impact and efficiency. UK support will help UNICEF to achieve this.”

In Somalia, thanks to UNICEF core funding, to date 1.4 million children under five and 1.2 million women of child bearing age have been reached at least once with an essential package of life-saving health and nutrition services.

Since 1990 we have seen a global reduction in under five deaths from 12.5 million to 8.1 million in 2009; an increase of 1.6bn more people having access to safe water; and, a decline in the number of primary school aged children out of school from 115 million in 2002 to 69 million in 2010. UNICEF has made an important contribution to these results.

The UK Government will almost double its core funding for UNICEF in 2011/12 and 2012/13 to £40m per year. Further funding decisions will be reviewed ahead of 2013/14 in the light of progress against UK priority reforms.