United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), a specialized fund of the United Nations. It was established in 1946 as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and became a permanent part of the United Nations in 1953, when it acquired its current name (but retained its well-known acronym). UNICEF is concerned with assisting children and adolescents throughout the world, particularly in devastated areas and developing countries. By the first decade of the 21st cent. it was active in 190 countries. UNICEF's aims include insuring children's survival, nutrition, health, environmental safety, and education; protecting children from violence, exploitation, and abuse; preventing maternal mortality; preventing and treating HIV/AIDS; ensuring the rights of women and children; empowering women and girls in the pursuit of gender equality; and providing emergency assistance in countries facing crises. Unlike most UN programs and agencies, UNICEF is financed through voluntary contributions from governments and individuals, rather than by regular assessments. National UNICEF committees collaborate with UNICEF in various projects. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.