David Bull joined the United Nations Children’s Fund as Executive Director of the UK Committee in September 1999. Since then UNICEF UK’s voluntary income has more than trebled and the charity has positioned itself as an advocate for the world’s children through a series of campaigns focusing on maternal health, poverty, conflict, exploitation and HIV/AIDS. Recent initiatives include the children’s parallel G8 summit, the Rights Respecting School Award programme and advocacy for Child Wellbeing in the UK.
Since joining UNICEF UK, Mr Bull has visited UNICEF development and emergency programmes in many countries, including Sudan (Darfur), Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Iran, Sri Lanka (Tsunami emergency), Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Bosnia, Kosovo, Laos, Cambodia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Jordan, Egypt, the Philippines and Somalia.
Mr Bull was previously Director of Amnesty International’s UK Section (1990-1999). From 1987-1990 he was General Secretary of the World University Service (UK) and prior to that he was Executive Director of the Environment Liaison Centre in Kenya (1984-87) and Public Affairs Officer at Oxfam (1979-1984). He was a founder of the Pesticides Action Network (PAN) and he is the author of ‘A Growing Problem: Pesticides and Third World Poor’ (1982) and ‘Kampuchea: the Poverty of Diplomacy’. He has been a Trustee of PAN UK and of the Refugee Council, and is an observer member of the FTSE4Good Policy Committee. He has a degree in Economics from the University of Sussex and an MSc in Development Studies and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Bath.
The hard-won battle to eradicate polio once and for all is within our grasp but we can't relax yet. We must, maintain and accelerate our efforts. So it is heartening to see Commonwealth countries, including the UK, coming together this weekend at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta to review the results achieved to date and call for renewed global support.
The ways that charities and businesses work together are changing. The notion of corporates supporting a cause with the sole objective of good publicity is slowly diminishing. Gone too, are the days of non-profits working with companies purely as a means to an end to generate funds...
At the beginning of this year I remember being shocked and saddened by the fact that 2014 had been the most dangerous year for children to date. I had hoped that the situation for children across the world could only get better...
As we mark six months of conflict in Yemen, we must continue to call for all parties to respect the lives of civilians and children. We must continue to work to improve the lives of these children so that they can enjoy their childhood again.
The conflict in Yemen is a tragedy for the country's children. I wish I could make it stop. Despite the dangers and difficulties, Unicef staff are in the country and working day and night delivering vital, life-saving supplies, immunising children, providing emergency nutrition and clean water, and helping children wherever we can. Unicef only have a fraction of the funds we need and are stretched thin. We can help more children but only with your support.
The 49 households that make up Massesebe were under lockdown after a man who had travelled to the village from Freetown for the Eid celebrations, died of Ebola. This was the first Ebola case in Tonkolili District in five months. 498 people, including 101 children under five, were quarantined in the village and two people confirmed as being Ebola positive.
Saturday marks three months since the first Nepal earthquake hit and although we're hearing less and less about it in the media, children are still in danger. With the country now in monsoon season and heavy rain, flooding and thunder storms expected, your support is needed now more than ever.
For too long, the world has tolerated widespread violence against children that leaves millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities, presenting a significant barrier towards reaching overall development aims. Chad, for example, has the third highest rate of child marriage in the world. Child marriage often compromises a girl's development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence... The future of countries like Chad depend on us ensuring that the promises we make to the world's children in September are upheld, and that we fulfil our commitment to ensure that no child is left behind, no matter their circumstance.
The UN is predicting that by the end of this year almost 10million people in Iraq will be in urgent need of help... Already, 1.3million children have been torn from their homes and more than three million do not have access to quality education. Children face danger on a daily basis and have witnessed unspeakable cruelties. Girls have fallen victim to enslavement and sexual violence. Children have been used as suicide bombers and as human shields. Most are living without physical protection, psychosocial support, and basic services.
Children and new born babies have been hit hardest. We estimate that the lives of almost 18,000 mothers and babies could be at risk, unless urgent action is taken to restore healthcare systems. In addition, the latest statistics show that around twelve babies are being born every hour without access to basic healthcare.
It is now two weeks since a deadly earthquake struck Nepal but, with the media attention currently focused on the results of our general election, it is so important that we don't lose sight of the dangers that children are facing in the aftermath of this disaster.
Our colleagues on the ground in Nepal are reporting that the earthquake is like nothing they have ever experienced and describe utter devastation. They report dwindling supplies of water and food, power outages, and downed communication networks.
This year the world has the opportunity to keep more children safe. Together we can help children realise their rights, fulfil their potential and protect them from violence and danger. How the world looks tomorrow is dependent on how children grow up today - and the time to act is now, we haven't a moment to lose.
In every region of the world, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has inspired changes in laws to better protect children, altered the way international organisations see their work for children, and transformed the way children are able to participate in their communities and societies. Today, children across the UK and the world are celebrating this momentous day.
Surely no-one wants our most vulnerable children to suffer, even in harsh economic times. And they don't need to. Different choices are possible. We know because many other countries have done better. It is possible to reduce child poverty and deprivation even as we take steps to recover from the great recession.
South Sudan's children are suffering - and the crisis is set to get worse - much worse - in the coming months if more action is not taken urgently. The world's newest nation is on the brink of devastation with a brutal conflict destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and a growing humanitarian emergency putting the entire future of the country and its children in jeopardy. The United Nations Secretary General has predicted that by the end of this year, an incredible half of South Sudan's 12million people will be either in flight, facing starvation, or dead. At least half of these will be children.
Twenty five years ago the world made a promise to children - a promise enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We promised every child the right to survive and be healthy, the right to an education and the right never to be subjected to violence. Through the use of data, we can tell where and how far those promises are, and are not, being kept and identify what more needs to be done to fulfil them.
The generosity of millions of people has helped make our efforts possible and has brought hope to children who have had to face unimaginable suffering and hardship. We couldn't do it without you. As the card I was given as I left the Philippnes said - thank you to all those who have helped.
24/12/2013 17:17 GMT
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