United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


History of Agency in the World and Iran

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created in 1946 to provide emergency help to children suffering from the aftermath of World War II. In the 1950s UNICEF’s mission grew from a post-war emergency fund to a development agency for children.
In general, UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children: victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.
UNICEF’s history in Iran goes back to 1950, when Iran’s Government turned to WHO and UNICEF to fight tuberculosis. Opening an office in the country, UNICEF focused its programmes on child health and nutrition in the early years of its activities in Iran. Later on, education and juvenile justice were added as fields of cooperation. UNICEF is also active in providing humanitarian assistance after earthquakes in this country.

 Priorities Globally and in Iran

UNICEF’s role is not one of a service provider, nor does the organisation make large cash transfers to the Government. The prime role of UNICEF in Iran is as a provider of ideas and as a bridge between Iranian policy makers and practitioners and their peers abroad, ensuring knowledge on social development and child rights becomes available in Iran and part of national policies.
Currently, UNICEF works in Iran under a Basic Cooperation Agreement, compounded by an agreed five-year programme of cooperation (2005-2009). This programme focuses on reducing regional disparities in child health, nutrition and education, and on the advocacy for legal and policy review to ensure that Iran’s considerable budget for social development is most beneficial for children and women. The sub-national focus of UNICEF’s work is in the three provinces including Sistan & Baluchestan, Hormozgan and West Azerbaijan where UNICEF’s projects are implemented:
Child health and nutrition: Facilitating expansion of rural kindergartens and birth registration promotion are parts of this component. Some 4,000 of these Integrated – Early Childhood Development (IECD) centres now exist, offering pre-school education to thousands of rural children.
Girls’ education and women empowerment:UNICEF’s education activities focus on improving the teaching and learning practices in the Iranian education system. The women’s empowerment project aims to increase the effectiveness of the network of district gender advisors.
HIV/AIDS prevention: UNICEF support is directed towards youth. UNICEF supported HIV information and peer support reach thousands of youth, and create capacities among Iranian partners to expand these activities to include all youth.
Child protection: UNICEF is active in the promotion of juvenile justice standards. Much has been achieved through training of Iranian judges by international family and youth court judges, and restorative sentences for minor offences are increasing in Iran. UNICEF also contributed to the development of new legislation on juvenile justice, which is currently under Parliament’s review. UNICEF is supporting Government efforts to prevent violence against children and child abuse, and support counselling and assist services for victims of child abuse
Emergency preparation: UNICEF not only continues a part of its activities in Bam to fulfill the final aims of Bam response, but also tries to stay prepared to respond to any possible disaster. Documenting lessons learned from Bam and its staff’s experiences are the main elements in this regard.
Besides, UNICEF works closely with Islamic universities, clergies and religious communities to promote children’s rights. This work is of great importance for Iran, but also in the wider Islamic world[1].

[1]  “ The United Nations in Iran(3rd edition)” Published by the United Nations System in Iran, 2011-P:12-13



Address: No. 216, Nezami St., Ghoba St., Shariati Ave., Tehran 19449, Iran
P.O. Box 19395/1176
Tel: (98-21) 2259 4994        E-mail: tehran@unicef.org
Facsimile : (98-21) 2259 4948       website: www.unicef.org/iran