Last week, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) convened a forum called “Opportunity Africa: 2013” at Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware. The conference brought together interested citizens of Delaware with individuals from government and the private sector who work on a range of issues related to Africa. Topics included trade, business, security, geopolitics, international development and humanitarian issues. The momentum to save children that is coming from Africa is notable, as Africa’s leaders seek partners and support in the effort to get to ZERO preventable child deaths.
Martin Rendón, UNICEF USA
With the passing of former Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), the world has lost a consistent champion for global development and the elimination of hunger and disease. Although he lost his race for President in 1972, his impact has been felt across the years on a wide range of humanitarian issues. In these partisan times, it is encouraging to note how he and former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) collaborated after their Senate careers to propose the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which has provided meals to 22 million children in 41 countries. I am also privileged to share that Sen. McGovern gave me my start on Capitol Hill.
Kiwanis International members do extraordinary work in their local and global communities every day. We are excited that the White House recently welcomed Kiwanis International and honored 14 Kiwanis and Kiwanis family members from across the country as “Champions of Change.”
UNICEF is keenly aware of the importance of transparency and accountability to all who support its lifesaving work for children. In that spirit, UNICEF’s Executive Board recently approved a proposal to make publicly available on UNICEF’s website all internal audits published after September 30, 2012. Although UNICEF already has been providing internal audits to UN Member States upon request since 2009, these audits have not been available to the public. Now UNICEF will create a special “accountability and transparency” section at its site for the internal audit reports.
The U.S. Government’s annual contribution to UNICEF plays a critical role in our efforts to get to zero—no child dying from a cause we can prevent. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have made their recommendations to preserve the appropriations for UNICEF for Fiscal Year 2013. The next step would be for each chamber to vote on its bill. UNICEF’s supporters need to continue to remind their Senators and Representatives that we need their help to secure this funding as it moves through the legislative process!
The U.S. Government’s contribution to UNICEF helps the United States – and the American people – to save children who would die without our assistance. Please take a stand for children by signing our online petition asking your Senators and Representative to maintain the funding for UNICEF at $132 million for Fiscal 2013. With your action, you can help UNICEF help more children!
In the midst of the controversy and sparring on Capitol Hill as Congress hurried to finish its work for the year, the House and Senate provided holiday cheer for UNICEF and for vulnerable children around the world.
Included in the massive appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012 signed into law by the President was $131.8 million for the U.S. Government’s contribution to UNICEF. Although the overall measure cut core foreign assistance programs by about $6 billion from the Fiscal Year 2011 levels, UNICEF was preserved.
“What good is a conscience if it is not awakened?” – Harry Belafonte
The Motion Picture Association of America hosted the Washington, D.C. premier of the HBO special “Sing Your Song,” a documentary about the artistic and humanitarian work of Harry Belafonte. Harry Belafonte himself was there to introduce the film and to share recollections of his engagement in a variety of civil rights and human rights initiatives. Of course, we in the UNICEF family are especially proud of his service as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. We are thrilled that his inspiring work to advance humanity is being shared with a wide audience through “Sing Your Song.” It can be seen on HBO beginning on October 17.
The Federal Government’s Fiscal New Year 2012 began on October 1. But hold the celebrations: Congress has not passed the appropriations for FY 2012.
To avoid a government shut-down, Congress passed a stopgap bill to keep the government running until November 18th. That gives the House and Senate a few weeks to figure out how to allocate the $1.043 trillion that can be spent for FY 2012 among the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government.
It is clear that painful cuts are coming in a variety of Federal programs. In the face of this crisis, a diverse coalition of over 40 leaders of international and domestic non-governmental organizations, including President and CEO Caryl M. Stern of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, is calling upon the Administration and Congressional Leadership to protect international and domestic programs that benefit poor and vulnerable families and children from deep budget cuts.