Phnom Penh (FN), Jan. 2 – On New Year’s Day, 971 babies were born in Cambodia, UNICEF estimated.

“They will be among a cohort of 371,504 babies to be born around the world on 1 January 2021. These Cambodian babies are predicted to have a higher life expectancy than previous generations, at 81.2 years. It also marks the 75th anniversary of UNICEF being founded.

In Cambodia, UNICEF has worked to advance the rights and wellbeing of children since 1952.

Throughout 2020, UNICEF has supported the Royal Government of Cambodia and partners to respond to the COVID19 crisis by enabling distance learning for hundreds of thousands of students, supporting the safe re-opening of schools for 3.2 million children, ensuring COVID-19 safety messages reached more than 10 million people, and providing crucial sanitation and hygiene supplies to 4 million.

In 2021, UNICEF’s response to the pandemic will move to the next stage, working with the Government and the World Health Organisation on providing COVID-19 vaccines in Cambodia through the COVAX facility. At the same time, existing services need to be maintained, and the progress made in the last decades towards improving the lives of Cambodian children must be protected.

“We are excited that we will welcome a thousand beautiful new babies into Cambodia this New Year’s Day,” said Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF Cambodia Representative.

“2020 has been a challenging year for all, especially children. Yet, Cambodia was successful in containing the pandemic and keeping COVID19 cases lower than most countries, and we are hopeful that the same trend can be maintained", he added.

He continued: "Working closely with the Government, development partners, and the people of Cambodia, UNICEF will continue to reminagine a better world for Cambodian children to grow up in. Each of them deserves the chance to fulfill their potential in life, and we pledge to work tirelessly towards that goal in our 75th year - and beyond.”

The representative also calls for the joint action of everyone working with children to fulfill and protect their rights, so that new generations born in 2021 and beyond have a fair and equal chance to survive and thrive.