Represented by Mr. Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director Middle East and North Africa Region Established in 1946, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of children. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for the promotion of brotherhood among nations’ and for emerging on the world stage as a ‘peace-factor of great importance’ in 1965. UNICEF is engaged in overall protection, survival and development of children across the world including health, nutrition, immunization, water, sanitation and hygiene, children with disabilities, adolescent development, innovation for education, learning for peace, emergencies, environment and climate change, amongst others. For over 70 years, UNICEF has been the defender of children around the world, regardless of gender, religion, race or economic background. It’s mission focuses on the whole child- including that child’s mental and physical health, and his or her access to education, legal and social protection, safe water and sanitation, and more. UNICEF works in collaboration with other agencies of the United Nations to ensure that the rights of children are always on a global agenda. Mr. Geert Cappelaere has been serving as UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa since October 2016. He joined UNICEF in 1999 and has served as Senior Advisor, Child Protection at New York Headquarters (1999- 2000), Senior Advisor for the Central and Eastern European Regional Office (2000-2002), UNICEF's first Regional Child Protection Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa (2002- 2005), Representative in Sierra Leone (2005– 2009), Representative in Yemen (2009-2012) and Representative in Sudan (2012-2016). Before joining UNICEF, he was Chair of the Belgian Royal Commission on Child Abuse and Exploitation and affiliated to the University of Gent. He is author of a number of internationally renowned publications, including ‘Children deprived of their Liberty: Rights and Realities’. He actively contributed to the drafting of several international legal instruments in the area of child protection and children’s rights. He is, till today a much- solicited advisor in these areas, for governments and several civil societies of different countries. Mr. Cappelaere is a father of three and a grandfather.