UNICEF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) renewed their commitment to fighting poverty and promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Asia and the Pacific, in a memorandum of understanding signed in Bali, Indonesia today.
Under the 5-year agreement, signed by UNICEF Executive Director Ms. Henrietta Fore and ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao, the two organizations pledge to work together to increase access for disadvantaged children, young people, and women to quality services in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, early childhood development, education, child protection, and climate change.
“Children and young people living in urban slums and under-served rural communities across the Asia and Pacific region are deprived of the quality health, education, and training opportunities that could help lift them out of poverty,” said Ms. Fore. “Through this agreement, UNICEF and the Asian Development Bank will help put these children on the path to a better future and their countries on the road to sustainable development.”
“In South Asia, 36% of under-five children are stunted, and around 40% of children are out of secondary school in several countries in Asia and the Pacific,” said Mr. Nakao. “Through this new agreement, ADB and UNICEF can combine forces to provide access to vaccines, reduce air pollution, and improve maternal and child health services using new technologies such as digital health.”
Under the agreement, ADB and UNICEF will enhance their collaboration in ADB developing member countries in key areas including:
- Policy dialogue, research, advocacy, and innovations;
- Innovative financing solutions such as blended finance, and enhanced public-private partnerships;
- Knowledge sharing and staff development; and
- Collaboration in humanitarian and fragility situations affecting children and adolescents.
The agreement builds on years of ongoing collaboration between the two organizations. For example, ADB and UNICEF are helping to strengthen health systems in countries like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam by adopting technologies to enable the exchange of interoperable health information, currently caught up in the data silos of various agencies. The two organizations are also working together in the Pacific to introduce new vaccines against diarrhea, respiratory infection, and cervical cancer, using pooled procurement that enables better prices. In Mongolia, UNICEF and ADB are collaborating on education and awareness raising campaigns linked to an ADB loan for combating air pollution in Ulaanbaatar and reducing its impact on children.