Statement by Ambassador Apakan at a Working Breakfast organized in cooperation with UNICEF on “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed”

Ertuğrul Apakan 06.09.2012

I would like to welcome you all to the Turkish Mission. It is a real pleasure for me, to once again come together with dear colleagues, at a working breakfast, here at our Mission.

Today, we have gathered around this table to learn more about an important initiative, called “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed”.

The Secretary General in his Action Agenda for his second five-year term expressed his commitment to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals and highlighted his determination to eliminate by 2015 deaths from major killers.

He also emphasized the necessity of putting an end to the hidden tragedy of stunting of almost 200 million children by mobilizing financial, human and political resources to unlock the potential of current and future generations.

These commitments were translated into action by the Secretary General’s “Every Woman, Every Child” Strategy, which was launched in 2010, with a view to reducing globally the maternal and child mortality.

In fact, two decades after the World Summit for Children and more than a decade after the announcement of the Millennium Development Goals, child survival has made a considerable progress. Studies show that child deaths have fallen drastically from 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. Over the past 40 years, new vaccines, improved health care practices, investments in education, and the dedication of governments, civil society and other partners have contributed greatly to reducing the number of deaths by more than 50%.

Yet, nearly 21.000 children under the age of five still continue to die each day, mostly from avoidable causes. Infectious diseases and under-nutrition cause 35% of the child deaths. This figure is appalling, especially in the face of current technological advancements and accumulated know-how on preventable causes of death.
The need to capitalize on the social and scientific advances of the past two decades and live up to the world’s long-standing promise to give every child the best possible start in life is more eminent than ever.

In delivering this promise everyone has a role to play. Collective action is required. It is important that the governments take the lead in fortifying in their national action programmes the target of reducing preventable child deaths. However, there is ample need for expertise and coordination from the relevant UN Agencies and Programs. Civil society, private sector, academia and faith communities all have important contributions to make.

“Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed” is crafted with this understanding of alliance of partners to scale-up action for the purposes of hastening dramatic declines in child and maternal mortality and thus enabling more countries to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015 and beyond.

I would like to welcome two esteemed Deputy Executive Directors of UNICEF, Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta and Ms. Yoka Brandt. Ms. Gupta has kindly accepted to brief us on “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed”, as the person who is actually in charge of this initiative.

Before giving the floor to Ms. Geeta Rao Gupta, I would like to reiterate our gratitude for UNICEF’s commendable contributions in providing every child best possible start in life. I would also like to thank the UNICEF team for their cooperation in facilitating this working breakfast, through which we aim to be better informed regarding “A Promise Renewed”.

Lastly, I am truly happy to announce that my country has recently signed the Pledge for “Committing to Child Survival” and the number of countries signing the Pledge reached to 107. I sincerely hope that with the positive messages we will derive from this meeting, there will be many more countries to come. Only by working together, we can build a brighter future for our children.
Thank you very much.