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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 2006

The United Nations Children´s Fund (UNICEF) is the world´s leading children´s organisation and its work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was created by the United Nations in December 1946 to meet the emergency needs of children post-war Europe and China. In 1950, its mandate was broadened to address the long-term needs of women and children in developing countries throughout the world. It became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953. UNICEF has 10,000 employees and an annual budget totalling over 3 billion dollars, funded entirely by voluntary contributions from governments, businesses, foundations and private donors. Management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York, where global policy on children is formed.

UNICEF works in conjunction with governments, national and international agencies, and civil society in 191 countries. It is the leading provider of vaccines to the most impoverished countries and one of its aims in association with the World Health Organisation, the Global Immunization and Vision Strategy, is to achieve 80% vaccination coverage worldwide by 2010. UNICEF offers integral assistance against the most prevalent childhood diseases in 82 countries and implements and accelerated programme for childhood survival and development in 11 Western African countries, preventing 18,000 deaths every year. Child mortality has been reduced by 25% in Velingara, Senegal. UNICEF is the largest distributor of mosquito netting and medicines in its fight against malaria. It also implements emergency relief programmes to meet the needs populations after natural disasters. It also promotes abolishing such practices as female circumcision and child marriages. In 2005, half a million girls were sent to school for the first time in Afghanistan and 114,000 children in Somalia.

In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Chile and to free nations and countries from poverty before the year 2015, UNICEF works to meet the Millennium Development Goals as described in the Millennium Declaration: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, combat violence and child abuse and develop a global partnership for development.

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