Κυριακή, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2012

UNICEF Ambassador in Serbia Novak Djokovic calls for investment in quality early childhood education during his visit to a kindergarten

Novak Djokovic invites people of good will to join “Club of UNICEF Serbia Friends”

BELGRADE, 18 September, 2012 –  Novak Djokovic, UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia and  the  celebrated tennis champion, visited today the “Beneath the Linden Trees” kindergarten in the village of Lesnica, 150 km west of the Belgrade capital,  to raise awareness of the importance of investment in early development and early childhood learning. During the visit, Djokovic spent time with the children, talked to their parents and caregivers, and met with local authorities. 
“I’ve seen today what a unique and special place kindergarten is. It’s a supportive space where children can learn to think creatively and work collaboratively. It’s a space where they have the freedom to be imaginative, creative and practice skills. Quality kindergarten can bring out the best in every child and set them on a good path for life. We have a collective responsibility to ensure every child has this kind of opportunity, so that they can better navigate challenges and risks throughout life and become responsible parents and citizens, “said Djokovic, who joined UNICEF in 2011 to support its work in the area of early childhood development and inclusive preschool education. 
Serbia has one of the the lowest preschool participation rates in Europe (approximately 44%, compared with 85% in EU member states). Participation of children of ethnic minorities, living in poverty or with developmental disabilities is even lower (Roma children 8%, children in the poorest families 22%, children from rural areas 29%) while existing pre-school facilities are in poor physical condition and lack programmes adapted for children of different backgrounds.
“Children from the most vulnerable groups need the most support. It is unacceptable that over half the children in the country are not included in any kind of early preschool programme. Serbia is neither a big nor a rich country, but it is precisely for that reason that it should invest in its most precious potential, the development of human resources. There is much evidence that investment in early childhood development is the most profitable of all investments. Talents are developed at an  early age. That is why we must hurry up. Childhood is now and cannot be postponed. There is no do-over,” said UNICEF Area Representative Judita Reichenberg, and thanked Djoković for his support.
Through play and talk, more than forty kindergarten children showed Djokovic their kindergarten and playground, demonstrated their skills in drawing and various games, and finally played a brief tennis match at the mini-court made of recycled materials. Djokovic also talked with their parents and caregivers, who told him of the benefits their children have from attending the kindergarten.
“This is a place where both parents and grandparents are empowered and happy to see their children enjoy and thrive. I am glad to have contributed to that. I hope that others will join me as well“, concluded  Djokovic.
The “Beneath the Linden Trees” kindergarten in Lesnica village was established within the  cooperation  in the area of early childhood development between UNICEF, Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and CIP – Center for Interactive Pedagogy,
with financial support from  IKEA and a personal donation by Djokovic.  The goal  is to increase coverage and improve the quality of preschool education for children aged 3 to 5 in the Serbian municipalities with the lowest preschool coverage rates.
After the visit to the kindergarten, Djokovic met with UNICEF pledge donors and volunteers at the UNICEF Office and thanked them for their support to UNICEF’s work in Serbia for the benefit of children.
“Your support  helps children in Serbia to have sound foundations for their future life of responsible citizens and parents… and maybe even winning a Grand Slam”,  Djokovic said, addressing pledge donors, members of the “Club of UNICEF Serbia Friends”.
Pledge donors for UNICEF Serbia programmes are people of good will, individuals and companies alike, who with their donations contribute to the protection and realization of child rights, improvement of living conditions and secure assistance to those who need support most.
“To be a member of the ‘Club of UNICEF Serbia Friends’ means to be a friend of children. That is our obligation and great honour”, Djokovic said. 
About UNICEFUNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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For more information, please contact:Jadranka Milanovcć, UNICEF Serbia Communication Officer,
Tel + 063-336-283;

Brazil to host the 10th edition of the Match Against Poverty, featuring Ronaldo, Zidane and other football stars


  UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane (Photo: Witters)
Annual Match to take place in Porto Alegre on 19 December 2012  

Geneva/New York/Brasilia
— Football legends and UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane are inviting some of the world’s top players to join them in an all-star line-up for the 10th “Match Against Poverty,” to take place on 19 December 2012 at the Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
As Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ronaldo and Zidane will each captain a team for this friendly match aimed at mobilizing the public in the fight against poverty. 
“The struggle against poverty is not a game,” said Ronaldo, who launched the Match Against Poverty with Zinedine Zidane and UNDP ten years ago. “But we use this Match to raise both funds and awareness that the solution is in everyone’s hands. Working together we will all be winners in the Match Against Poverty.”
Zidane, who will play in Brazil for the first time, said that after ten years of playing with Ronaldo he is excited to play against him and his friends at the Match Against Poverty. “Although it will be a friendly match, I very much look forward to playing against my old friend in Porto Alegre,” he said.
The Match in Porto Alegre follows nine successful editions that took place in Basel, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Málaga, Fez, Lisboa, Athens and Hamburg. Each year funds raised support specific projects in different countries facing difficult challenges.  “At the tenth match we will use the proceeds to support solutions in my own country, as well as another programme in Africa in which Brazil is actively engaged in” said Ronaldo. 
Italian legend Pierluigi Collina, who refereed eight out of the nine editions to date, will be the referee of the Match this year again: “It is not easy to find a charity initiative that is able to reach its 10th anniversary. The Match against Poverty did it and this is really great! “For me it has been always a privilege to be invited as the referee of these matches and to give my contribution to those who need help” he said.
UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said the match is one of the highest profile and far-reaching events for UNDP and its partners. “As football is the world’s most popular sport and poverty is a global challenge, the match is a wonderful instrument to mobilize people around the world to support all efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can lead healthy, productive and rewarding lives.”
This year’s Match, which will take place at the Gremio Arena at 21:00 local time, is being organized with 9INE Sports & Entertainment of Brazil.  The annual event, which is televised globally, is supported by both football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Ronaldo and Zidane are part of an elite group of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, which includes other football stars Didier Drogba, Iker Casillas and Marta Vieira de Silva, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Japanese actress Misako Konno,  Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.

Contact Information

Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal; Mobile: + 41 79 3491610  - Tel: + 41 22 917 83 68; aziyade.poltier@undp.org;

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Marta Vieira da Silva invites people to join the global conversation on Rio+20

World renowned Brazilian soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador launched a video message aiming at inviting people to join the global conversation alongside the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio+20”.
2012 is when leaders and citizens come together to put the world on a new path, a path to a sustainable future for our planet to ensure that social inclusion, economic growth and a clean and secure environment go hand in hand. ,” says Marta to illustrate the importance of an event which represents a historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.
The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or “Rio+20” is a forum on how to make sustainable development a reality for seven billion people today, and to define the future we want for nine billion by 2050.
“The development challenges we are facing now require us to steep the agenda up to a whole new level,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “That is what the leaders need to focus on. How are we really going to bring together the economic, the social and the environmental strengths of development to produce something truly sustainable that will improve the life chances and possibilities for the people living in the poorest parts of the world?”
More than 120 heads of state and government confirmed participation at the Rio+20 meeting. The Conference will result in a negotiated political document.
It is a unique opportunity to define the future we want added Marta
Marta Vieira da Silva, a Brazilian football striker, is one of the best soccer players in the world. She has won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year five years in a row from 2006 to 2010. Known to her fans simply as Marta, she was appointed as a goodwill ambassador in October 2010 to promote international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a special focus on women’s empowerment.
Marta is one of eight UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors: footballers Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Drogba and Iker Casillas; tennis player Maria Sharapova; Japanese actress Misako Konno; actor Antonio Banderas and HRH Haakon Crown Prince of Norway.

Contact Information

New York:
Stanislav Saling, Tel: +1 212 906 5296 stanislav.saling@undp.org

Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal; Tel: +41-22-917-8368 aziyade.poltier@undp.org

For broadcast quality version of the public service announcement: Boaz Paldi: boaz.paldi@undp.org or +1 212 906 6801

Football unites international community in campaign to end violence against women

UNDP‘s Heraldo Muñoz and Bolivan president Evo Morales joined in a friendly football/soccer match in support of the Secretary General’s campaign UNite to End Violence Against Women. PHOTO: UNDP/Dylan Lowthian
New York - Top officials, staff and ambassadors to the United Nations took time out during the UN General Assembly today to play a friendly football match against a team assembled by the President of Bolivia Evo Morales.

Both teams
united to end violence against women in support of the Secretary General’s campaign—globally and in Latin America and the Caribbean, which has some of the world’s highest rates of gender-based crimes. The match also supported Bolivia’s Year to End all forms of Violence against Women and Girls.

“Sport is a vital tool for building peace and understanding across nations, and can also be a powerful instrument to oppose violence against women, helping promote gender equality and also children’s rights,” said UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Heraldo Muñoz.
Held at Roosevelt Island Soccer Field, close to UN headquarters, the match was co-organized byMuñoz, who scored two goals, and President Morales, who scored one goal and whose team clinched the match 10-5.
“Since football is a passion—globally and in Latin America—it is a great way to reach out to men directly and advocate for women’s rights,” Muñoz added.
“In Bolivia we are working to implement laws to protect women and also to give them more political representation, which requires—more than anything—political will,” President Morales said.

UN Under-Secretary General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet kicked off the match hoping that the final winner would be all the world’s women, their rights and their causes.
Violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic, with patterns often being passed down through generations. Some types of violence, such as trafficking, cross national boundaries.
In 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 50 percent of women said they had been victims of at least one sexual assault during their lifetime, according to a recent World Bank study. And nearly 70 percent of physical abuses were committed by their own partners.
Moreover, Central America has one of the highest rates of female murders (femicide) worldwide: two out of three murdered women lost their lives simply because they were women. Guatemala and El Salvador registered 675 and 580 cases of female murders in 2010 while Honduras recorded 312 in 2008.
Abuse also takes place in the work place. In Latin America and the Caribbean 30 to 50 percent of women have suffered some type of sexual harassment while at work, according to the International Labour Organization. In Brazil a survey in 12 cities revealed that more than half of women have suffered some type of harassment at work, whereas in Mexico the number reaches 70 percent of women.
UNDP works with governments, parliaments and civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean to develop laws and public policies that guarantee gender equality and women’s rights.
As part of the UN Secretary-General’s campaign, UNDP also works with governments to create strategies that help eliminate violence against women. In collaboration with UN Women, UNDP is developing region-wide studies and mapping good practices to eradicate violence against women, through plans, policies and recommendations.
In El Salvador, for example, UNDP is working with Women’s Parliamentary Groups to create a specialized unit to address women’s rights in the legislative assembly, helping ensure that the national budget’s expenditure reflects different needs and priorities for women and girls.
In Haiti and Nicaragua, UNDP works with sister UN agencies to improve access to justice, with a special focus on women. The Haiti initiative helped train more than 150 police officers and judges on gender-based violence, and also involved assessing the capacity of police stations to respond to violence against women.
UNDP is also a partner in the annual Match Against Poverty.