UNICEF gets new representative in Pakistan

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Zubair Qureshi

The United Nations has appointed new head of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) in Pakistan to lead the programme for the year 2023-2027 in partnership with the government.

Abdullah A. Fadil has 25 years of experience in international development and humanitarian relief besides strategic management, peace-making and peace-building, public policy and administration and advocacy work in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Mr Fadil, a national of Canada, presented his credentials to Additional Secretary (United Nations) Asim Iftikhar Ahmad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Asim Iftikhar Ahmad appreciated the Unicef’s continued support for Pakistan’s national development priorities and its partnership with the government in pursuance of Unicef’s mandate for children.

According to Unicef, the agency works to help every girl and boy realize their right to health, including immunisation, nutrition, education, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and social protection – with a focus on children and adolescents living in the most deprived families and hardest-to-reach communities.

Commending Pakistan’s efforts to improve indicators for children, Mr Fadil assured the government of the Unicef’s commitment to continue supporting the federal and provincial authorities to achieve best results for every child.

Prior to his new assignment, Mr Fadil served as Unicef representative in Sudan from 2016 to 2021. He also served as the director of the United Nations Humanitarian Monitoring Mechanism for Syria where he worked on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syrians from Jordan, Turkey and Iraq (2014-2016).

He also served as the deputy head of the mission and chief of staff, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (POCW) between 203-2014 as part of the UN joint mission in Syria on elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the World Refugee Day, Unicef has urged the governments to strengthen protection and access to services for refugees, migrant and displaced children. Conflict, violence and other crises left a record 36.5 million children displaced from their homes at the end of 2021, Unicef estimates – the highest number recorded since the World War II.Almost 13.7 million refugee and asylum-seeking children and nearly 22.8 million children are internally displaced due to conflict and violence.

The figures do not include children displaced by climate and environmental shocks or disasters as well as those newly displaced in 2022, including by the war in Ukraine.

The global refugee population has more than doubled in the last decade with children making up almost half of the total. Over a third of displaced children live in Sub-Saharan Africa (3.9 million or 36pc), one-quarter in Europe and Central Asia (2.6 million or 25pc), and 13pc (1.4 million) in the Middle East and North Africa.

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