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UNICEF expresses grave concern over reduction in UK funding

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UNICEF expresses grave concern over reduction in UK funding
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United Nations: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday expressed its deep concern about the UK government's decision to reduce funding to the agency.

In a statement released, UNICEF mentioned how it depends on these resources to sustain its humanitarian and development programmes for millions of children around the world, helping them to lend their hand before, during and after crises.

UNICEF is the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

The agency remarked that any cuts to these vital funds will have serious consequences for the most vulnerable children, given the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global spike in the number of those in need of essential education, protection, health and water services.

The UNICEF has estimated that 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty because of the pandemic.

"It is too soon to know the full impact that UK funding cuts will have on UNICEF programmes, but early indications paint an alarming picture.

The UK Government has already announced a 60 per cent reduction in core funding to UNICEF, funding which enables us to react swiftly to emergencies and help children recover afterwards.

The UN agency further stated some of the biggest advances it made in the last 10 years with the help of this core funding.

The under-five child mortality has decreased to 3.7 per cent; and immunization rates have increased to 85 per cent, averting 2-3 million deaths per year.

"Reducing core funds threatens both our ability to respond today and the reversal of gains that have already been made for the world's children," the statement read.

In addition to reductions in core funding, the UK Government has also announced pauses and reductions to earmarked contributions for UNICEF programming at the local, regional and global level.

The cuts are the latest to emerge as the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office axes more than £4bn from its annual overseas aid budget following a decision by the government to reduce an aid-spending target to 0.5% of national income from 0.7% because of the economic hit from COVID-19.

Many charities and UN agencies are being affected, with criticism mounting on the UK at a time when other world powers are increasing overseas assistance.

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