Zero has never been closer.
Last week, more than 700 leaders from 80 countries came to Washington, D.C. to pledge to work together to end preventable child deaths within a generation. I felt deeply proud to see so many people bolstering the fight for child survival.
The number one highlight for me was the exuberant group of U.S. Fund volunteers singing and cheering outside the meeting. These fervent advocates â€” including young and old, students and families, and U.S. Fund staff â€” gave the entire event an aura of possibility. Â I had the great privilege of joining this inspiring group in welcoming U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the historic gathering.
â€śThank you for helping other children,â€ť Clinton told us. â€śWe love UNICEF!â€ť
Her powerful rallying cry was one of many we heard that day, as well as specific plans and strategies to save as many childrenâ€™s lives as possible in the years ahead.
Now comes the hard part. Ending preventable child deaths takes hard work, advocacy, persistence, and endless amounts of energy. Letâ€™s use the invigoration of last week to propel our mission forward. There will be setbacks, of course, and there will be emergencies and other unforeseen events that demand our attention. But we cannot allow ourselves to stray from our top priority â€” reaching a day when zero young lives are lost to preventable causes.
To quote Anthony Lake, UNICEFâ€™s Executive Director: â€śThe grand goal of preventing child deaths must be our common cause.â€ť
A week from now, a year from now, 10 years from â€” let us not forget the promise we made on June 14, 2012.