UNICEF Calls to Action: A Blue Sky for Every Child

2023-11-22 16:10:34

Ulaanbaatar, November 22, 2023 /MONTSAME/. World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide and to improve children's welfare.


November 20th is an important date as it is the date when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. 


Every child from birth onwards has the inherent right to enjoy all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This landmark international human rights treaty sets forth a comprehensive framework for safeguarding the well-being of children and their families. Since 2017, over 130 countries worldwide have joined the call of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to commemorate World Children's Day. This day serves as a platform for children to speak out about their concerns to adults and for adults to listen attentively and respond with meaningful action. Across the globe, the Day is marked by high-profile events and initiatives aimed at amplifying the voices of children. 


As part of the celebration of World Children's Day, UNICEF in Mongolia is drawing public attention to the problem of air pollution, which poses a serious threat to the health of children in the country. Numerous studies worldwide have demonstrated that children are at risk of exposure to smog from the moment of conception. Mothers are at risk of premature birth and miscarriage due to air pollution. A study conducted in Mongolia has shown that the rate of premature births and miscarriages is five times higher in winter than in summer. Additionally, the prevalence of flu and flu-like illnesses increases sixfold during winter months. Bronchitis and Asthma are also common among children in winter, which can hinder their learning and development. In addition, international scientists have revealed that exposure to smog during pregnancy can adversely impact the brain development of children, potentially leading to mental and behavioral changes. On World Children's Day, UNICEF underscored the critical role of collective action in safeguarding children's health from the detrimental effects of air pollution. 


The UNICEF in Mongolia offers a solution to combat air pollution under the theme "For every child, Blue Sky." To that extent, on November 18, 2023, UNICEF organized the first Fundraising Gala event. The Event was attended by prominent figures from the Mongolian political, business, arts, cultural, and sports communities. The funds, raised through open auctions and other means will be spent on the implementation of the Cooking Heating, Insulation Products (CHIP) package project. The project is designed to replace coal stoves in Ger areas in Ulaanbaatar with energy-saving electric heaters, install air exchange systems, and insulate Gers with additional wind-water-resistant protective layers. The CHIP package is aimed to improve indoor air quality, protect the health of mothers and children, and provide warm and comfortable living conditions. Mongolian severe air pollution contributes to the deaths of 300 people a year, predominantly children. 


UNICEF Resident Representative in Mongolia Evariste Kouassi-Komlan: World Children's Day has been celebrated in Mongolia for the past two years. We have developed the Cooking Heating, Insulation Products (CHIP) package to combat air pollution. This package is specifically designed to effectively improve the exchange of indoor air, thereby mitigating the harmful effects of air pollution. The proceeds from the funds raised will be solely dedicated to this project.


Communications Specialist of UNICEF Mongolia Ariunzaya Davaa emphasized that UNICEF is organizing a fundraising event for the first time. “Public and private sectors are joining forces for the protection of children's rights. Artists and cultural and religious figures have generously donated their works to us. These works will be auctioned off to raise funds.” 


There can be a number of solutions to protect children from air pollution, and UNICEF calls for at least one of these to be translated into reality.