CAR

UNICEF & ECCAS join forces for children in Central Africa

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LIBREVILLE/DAKAR, 29 February 2015 – The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and UNICEF signed a partnership today to work together in promoting and supporting the survival and development of children across the Central African region.
Through this agreement, both organizations are teaming up to advocate for children’s rights through the formulation of policies and legislation aimed at improving the well-being of children and women in a region which is affected by growing vulnerabilities.

With the goal to gradually accelerate progress for the most vulnerable children and mothers across ECCAS member states, UNICEF and ECCAS will develop a plan of action that includes a set of programs in areas as vital as health and HIV/AIDS, access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, child protection and education in emergencies.

“Saving more children’s lives across Central Africa is within our reach if all countries work together,” said Jacques Boyer, UNICEF Representative in Gabon. “It will take ambitious partnerships such as this one to ensure that the most disadvantaged children in the region are prioritised in policy decisions being taken today – nothing less will be enough to stamp out child poverty.”

With support from other partners and donors, this regional collaboration is expected to progressively lead to tangible and positive results for children and their families, including:

  • Stronger community-based health systems, with a special focus on health in humanitarian emergencies and elimination of HIV transmission from mother to child;

  • Increased investment and scaling up of interventions to reduce chronic malnutrition among children under 5;

  • Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation in rural areas, including in emergency situations;

  • Enhanced civil registration systems and increased efforts in the fight against child marriage and the protection of children in conflict.

“Every social policy remains meaningless unless it focuses on women’s and children’s rights and well-being which lay the foundations for the future,” said Ahmad Allam-Mi, Secretary- General of the Economic Community of Central African States. “The strengthening of the cooperation between ECCAS and UNICEF is the proof of our common willingness and commitment to promote women and children’s rights.”

The partnership will leverage UNICEF’s expertise on children’s rights with the ECCAS’ longstanding commitment to promote peace, prosperity and solidarity in Central Africa. Both organizations will jointly develop and implement resource mobilization strategies for the financing of the planned activities.

While significant economic and social advances are reported in Central Africa, the region remains generally characterized by high rates of maternal and infant mortality in many countries, high proportion of mothers, children and adolescents living with HIV without antiretroviral treatment, low birth registration rate, high prevalence of sexual violence and child marriages against girls, low access to safe drinking water and sanitation and a high level of chronic malnutrition in several countries.

About ECCAS The main objective of ECCAS is to promote and strengthen a harmonious co-operation and a dynamic, balanced and self- maintained development in all fields of economic and social activity in central Africa.

About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org or follow UNICEF on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact: In Libreville: Brahim Ould Isselmou, UNICEF, +241 04 84 10 29, boulisselmou@unicef.org Placide Ibounaga-Ndinga, ECCAS, +241 44 47 31, placide.ibounagandinga@gmail.com In Dakar: Laurent Duvillier, +221 77 740 35 77, lduvillier@unicef.org