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Caryl Stern: A great day for the world’s children

This is a pivotal moment in UNICEF’s long-running fight for child survival.

Beginning today, world leaders are gathering at the Child Survival Call to Action Forum in Washington, D.C., along with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, USAID and UNICEF, and representatives from other humanitarian and private organizations. Our goal? To forge a commitment to ending preventable child deaths within a generation. This generation. By 2035.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO, Caryl M. Stern during a recent visit to Haiti. | Photo by Marco Dormino.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO, Caryl M. Stern during a recent visit to Haiti. | Photo by Marco Dormino.

For those of you who support UNICEF, this may sound familiar – and it should. Getting to zero is the goal this organization has been working toward for more than 30 years. As you know, we’ve made incredible progress. With the help of our many partners, we have seen the number of child deaths fall from 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010.

But that’s never been enough for those of us who believe in zero.

Thanks to the Child Survival forum, we’re getting a lot more company in our fight.  A remarkable coalition of governments, the private sector, and civil society groups will be committing to more resources, more collaboration, and more accountability.  It’s a historic undertaking, with an audacious goal – but there is no doubt it can be achieved. We have incredible tools, like new vaccines against pneumonia, diarrhea, and other major child killers. We have affordable, battle-tested strategies. And we have an unbeatable supply chain and a strong network of partners all over the world.

Called A Promise Renewed, this effort will generate tremendous momentum for what we care about most, but the road to zero will still be long, with twists and turns and roadblocks. Maximizing this week’s momentum is so important. We must sustain it.

That’s why we need you to stand with UNICEF right now, at the beginning of this journey, and stand with us tomorrow, and the next day too- and every single day after, until this job is done. Join us. Show that you Believe in Zero.

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