Presidents of the UN Foundation and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Call Congressional Action on Girls Count Act “A Step toward a Brighter Future”

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Bipartisan legislation passes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Following markups of the Girls Count Act in both the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees, Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, spoke in support of the legislation, which supports programs in developing countries that improve birth registration for girls and boys, and promotes policies that prevent discrimination against girls.

“From day one, being counted is a girl’s foundation to her future. Before she can get an education or a job, a girl must be documented and registered. Unfortunately, millions of girls around the world are invisible to their governments,” said Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “The Girls Count Act would help bring girls out of the shadows, allowing them to be counted and giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through the UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, thousands of youth have urged Congress to make this a priority in U.S. foreign policy. It is thanks to their hard work, and the bill’s Congressional sponsors, that the Girls Count Act is headed to the House and Senate floors.”

Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, noted, “Birth registration is a fundamental human right that helps protect children from harm and exploitation. Even so, UNICEF estimates that the births of nearly 230 million boys and girls under five—one in three worldwide—have never been recorded, putting at risk their health, education, and freedom. The Girls Count Act will ensure that the U.S. Government makes birth registration a priority in its development programs, and I hope that Congress will quickly pass this bill.”

The Girls Count Act was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate, and Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) in the House. This legislation is supported by a number of organizations, including the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, World Vision, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bill will next be scheduled for votes by the House and the Senate.

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Media Contacts:
Jonelle Kelly| 202.370.8090| jkelly(at)unfoundation(dot)org
Susannah Masur| 212.880.9146| smasur(at)unicefusa(dot)org

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.

About UNICEF
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit http://www.unicefusa.org.

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Jonelle Kelly
Girl Up
+1 202-370-8090
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Susannah Masur