NEW YORK, 8 June 2021 – “We remain deeply concerned by the decision of the UK Government to reduce funding to UNICEF. We depend on these resources to sustain our humanitarian and development programmes for millions of children around the world, helping us to reach them before, during and after crises.
“Any cuts to these vital funds will have serious consequences for the most vulnerable children, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global spike in the number of those in need of essential education, protection, health and water services. We estimate that 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty because of the pandemic.
“It is too soon to know the full impact that UK funding cuts will have on UNICEF programmes, but early indications paint an alarming picture.
“The UK Government has already announced a 60 per cent reduction in core funding to UNICEF, funding which enables us to react swiftly to emergencies and help children recover afterwards. UNICEF’s core funding has contributed to some of the biggest advances in the last 10 years: the under-five child mortality has decreased to 3.7 percent; and immunization rates have increased to 85 per cent, averting 2-3 million deaths per year. Expertise in systems like the cold chain and government and community trust laid the groundwork for our work to roll-out COVID vaccines in low and lower-middle-income countries, as COVAX key implementing partner. Reducing core funds threatens both our ability to respond today and the reversal of gains that have already been made for the world’s children.
“In addition to reductions in core funding, the UK Government has also announced pauses and reductions to earmarked contributions for UNICEF programming at the local, regional and global level, including:
- UNICEF’s global water and sanitation programme, through which over 2.6 million people have gained access to basic sanitation services and more than 330 schools and health care facilities gained access to water and sanitation facilities;
- UNICEF’s global programme to prevent, detect and treat child wasting which is on track to deliver essential nutrition support for at least 6 million children by 2025 in nine countries with high levels of child wasting and periodic exposure to climate shocks;
- UNICEF’s programme in Syria which in 2020 reached 3.1 million people with water services, more than 2.6 million children with polio vaccines, over 166,000 people with gender-based violence support, nearly 390,000 children with warm clothes to survive cold temperatures, and more than 17,000 children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
“The UK Government has long been a key partner for UNICEF’s work for children around the world. While we recognize the challenging financial situation currently facing governments, the needs of children have never been greater. We continue to engage with the UK Government on our shared agenda for children worldwide and trust that the government will meet its commitment to reinstate the 0.7 per cent GNI aid spending target as soon as possible. UK leadership on the global stage is needed now more than ever.”
UNICEF New York
Tel: +1 917 209 1804