Working for children since 1946

UNICEF was founded in December 1946, following a unanimous vote at the first session of the UN General Assembly. The mission of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, as it was then known, was to provide short-term relief to children in post-World War II Europe. Then as now, UNICEF was entirely funded by voluntary contributions.

Once the immediate post-war needs of Europe’s children had been seen to, UNICEF continued to work for children’s rights around the world. By the time UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953, the seven-year-old organisation was active in more than 100 countries.

In 1959, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child was adopted realising children’s rights in law for the first time. In 1965, UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its ongoing work for vulnerable children around the world.

In 1990, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted and has gone on to be the most universally adopted international treaty in history.

We are making progress:

  • In 1970, 47,000 children under five were dying every day.
  • By 1990, that number had dropped to 30,000 a day.
  • By 2011, child deaths among under 5s plummets to 18,000 a day.

This number is still too high. Join us to save a child’s life today.

Today, UNICEF is active in over 190 countries, uniting people and partners to make the world a better place for future generations.