The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a leading humanitarian and development agency working globally for the rights of every child. Child rights begin with safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflict and traverse the life cycle: pre-natal care for healthy births, clean water and sanitation, health care and education. UNICEF has spent nearly 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. Working with and for children through adolescence and into adulthood requires a global presence whose goal is to produce results and monitor their effects. UNICEF also lobbies and partners with leaders, thinkers and policy makers to help all children realize their rights—especially the most disadvantaged
1. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Children in the Developed and Developing World
According to the World Health Organization, childhood obesity is “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.” In a world where the number of hungry is now increasing again, we are also faced with the challenges that a significantly more unhealthy cohort of young people will present to global healthcare and societal systems. While it may be shocking that almost 42 million children under the age of 5 are medically obese, the rate at which this problem is growing is even more concerning. The UN Children’s Fund is tasked with laying out a framework to prevent the continued rise of this phenomenon and promote a healthier lifestyle for children across the globe.
2. Prevention of Child Slavery and Child Sex Worker Trafficking
According to AntiSlavery.org, there are approximately 5 million children forced into slavery and sex work across the globe. While a major source of this slavery is in Mauritania, child slaves can be found in Europe, the United States, and across the globe. From children forced to work in harsh conditions, to those forced to marry against their will at young ages, to those forced to conscript as soldiers, the implications of this crime will dramatically affect an entire generation of children. While all nations may openly condemn it, the failure of the international community to resolve this issue once and for all is a stain on the progress of the 21st century.