Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the Opening of UNICEF USA’s Advocacy Week

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 22, 2021


Thank you, President Nyenhuis, for that kind introduction. It is truly an honor to join you today as we kick off UNICEF USA’s Advocacy week.

I spent over half my 35-year career working on humanitarian and refugee issues in the Foreign Service. Each and every day, I saw the vital importance of the partnership between the United States government and UNICEF. Whenever I traveled, whatever country I lived in, there was UNICEF, on the ground, working with urgency to help children and save lives.

So, let me be very clear: The United States values our partnership. Our work together, meeting the needs and protecting the rights of children worldwide, is so important. That’s especially true during these trying times. Because while the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for all of us, we know it has hurt children even more.

That’s why we are so grateful, and frankly inspired, by your efforts to ensure the equitable and affordable distribution of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and lower-middle-income countries.

The United States is providing up to $4 billion in funding to COVAX as a down payment toward achieving that goal, because we’re committed to leading, not by the example of our power, but by the power of example.

That’s true on a host of other issues too, from stopping climate change from stealing our children’s future, to preventing conflicts that trigger acute malnutrition and famine.

You’ve seen this in action already. For the signature event of our Security Council Presidency, we spotlighted conflict-induced food insecurity and famine. In particular, we raised awareness about the dire situation in Ethiopia and Yemen, where over two million children under the age of five are at risk of starvation and acute malnutrition.

All of this is to say, America is back. We’re engaging the world in a whole new way, and we’re putting children at the top of the agenda.

That’s where you come in, because we need your help. Your advocacy and action can help us secure support and make our partnership even stronger.

So, thank you for your work this week and every week.

Whether it’s in New York or DC or out in the field, we will do everything in our power to serve and protect the world’s children together.