United Nations Children’s Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1954, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It is one of the members of the United Nations Development Group and its Executive Committee. It is estimated that 91.8% of their revenue is distributed to Program Services.
UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors and UNICEF’s total income for 2008 was $3,372,540,239. Governments contribute two thirds of the organization’s resources; private groups and some 6 million individuals contribute the rest through the National Committees. UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.
Most of UNICEF’s work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries and territories. More than 200 country offices carry out UNICEF’s mission through a program developed with host governments. Seven regional offices provide technical assistance to country offices as needed.
Overall management and administration of the organization takes place at its headquarters in New York. UNICEF’s Supply Division is based in Copenhagen and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, educational supplies, among others. A 36-member Executive Board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The Executive Board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.
Following the reaching of term limits by Executive Director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy, former United States Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman became executive director of the organization in May 2005, with an agenda to increase the organization’s focus on the Millennium Development Goals. She was succeeded in May 2010, by Anthony Lake.
UNICEF is an inter-governmental organization and thus is accountable to those governments. UNICEF’s salary and benefits package is based on the United Nations Common System.