New York

08 December 2006

Secretary-General's message to the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly for the 60th Anniversary of UNICEF

In the 10 years I have served as Secretary-General, I have been privileged to meet UNICEF colleagues all around the world. I have seen them do great things for children, on all continents, against all odds. They have given a voice to those children who need it most. The have protected children, and helped them survive and develop.

It is largely thanks to UNICEF that today, we understand better than ever that building a better future begins with children -- with ensuring that they are healthy, educated, safe and loved. When given the best possible start in life, children can grow up to realize their greatest potential as adults. UNICEF is dedicated to providing that gateway to a better future.

Over the six decades that have passed since UNICEF's creation at the end of World War Two, UNICEF's advocacy on behalf of children has changed the international discourse, putting a human face on development. Each year, UNICEF's flagship publication has borne witness to the State of the World's Children, bringing the world's attention to its youngest citizens. Campaigns for child survival, girls' education and HIV/AIDS have proved models of a broad and deep partnership across agencies. UNICEF's emergency responses have saved the lives of millions of children caught up in wars and natural disasters. Health programmes have saved millions of children from disease, undernutrition, illness and death. Education programmes have enabled millions to learn what they need to lead full and productive lives. Protection programmes have saved millions from trafficking, sexual exploitation, violence and abuse. And today, UNICEF's work to realize the rights of all children is at the heart of our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

If UNICEF didn't exist, the world would have to invent it. As you celebrate this milestone, I extend my profound thanks to the staff and leadership of UNICEF, as well as to the National Committees for UNICEF and their Goodwill Ambassadors, for the wonderful partnership we have enjoyed. I know you will keep going strong for many such milestones to come. I will no longer be Secretary-General, but I will always your fan.