With its dual mandate combining development and humanitarian issues, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) plays a decisive role in the promotion and protection of children’s rights. Its action is based primarily on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three Optional Protocols (all ratified by Switzerland). The programmes and activities of this UN agency are aimed at ensuring human rights for all children – with particular emphasis on the poorest, excluded and marginalised. In specific terms this means a decent life, protection from abuse, violence and exploitation, and participation in decisions affecting them.
In December 2016 UNICEF celebrated its 70th anniversary. Much progress has been made during those 70 years: since 2000, the decline in infant mortality (under five years of age) has enabled an additional 48 million children to reach their fifth birthday. In addition, UNICEF has helped enable basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care facilities in 43 countries to be fully functional 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lastly, over 7.5 million children in difficult humanitarian situations benefited from formal or non-formal education in 2015. Despite these successes, many challenges still remain, with 535 million children living in countries affected by conflicts or disasters, making UNICEF's raison d'être just as relevant today.
UNICEF's areas of activity are fully aligned with the requirements and priorities of Swiss development cooperation, as set out in the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–2020. In addition, UNICEF is an important partner of Switzerland for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those aimed at the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of good health, high-quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitation. Switzerland and UNICEF work together on issues of harmful social and cultural practices (for example female genital mutilation) with the University of Zurich and within the framework of the global partnership to end violence against children.
In accordance with the decision taken on 21 June, the Federal Council will provide UNICEF with an annual contribution of CHF 22 million for 2017. This contribution serves as a bridge in order to align the next Swiss contribution with UNICEF’s next strategic planning cycle covering 2018–21.
Address for enquiries:
Tel. +41 58 462 31 53