Geneva/Kyiv, February 8, 2012 -  Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF’s new regional director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States today stated that one of her major priorities was to foster mutual cooperation among countries to address issues affecting children.

Ms. Poirier’s responsibilities encompass children’s issues in the 22 countries and entities in a region which stretches from Central Asia, through the Caucuses, to Turkey and southern and eastern Europe.

“The world is living through a transformation moment, socially, geopolitically, economically and technologically. This is creating many new opportunities for humanitarian and development approaches. What we see is that the top down model of development assistance is being replaced by a flat or horizontal construct which emphasizes the sharing of knowledge and mutual solidarity.”

“As a largely middle income region with a great depth of knowledge, Eastern Europe and Central Asia is well placed to lead in this transformation. UNICEF will position itself to encourage and support this change.”

Ms. Poirier comes to the region from Brazil where, as UNICEF’s Representative, she witnessed the many innovations in Brazil’s approach to equitable development and its leadership in Latin America and beyond.

“Both Russia and Brazil are part of the BRIC group of emerging economies which are leading the way in shaping this new environment. With Turkey advancing rapidly, perhaps it should be renamed BRICT.”

Ms. Poirier stated UNICEF’s key global priority is to address issues of disparities that affect some families and children within society.  Reaching the Millennium Development Goals for all provides each country with a road map and measurable goals to address these disparities.  UNICEF will work closely with Governments to ensure that these objectives can be met by 2015 when countries are due to report on their progress.

“At this point there is much work to be done and UNICEF will emphasize the opportunities we have to learn from each other. I look forward to visiting countries committed to achieving the MDGs for all children with equity,” she said. “Some countries in our region are also ready to help other countries meet these goals.”

Marie-Pierre Poirier brings to the position 25 years’ experience in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America in the development and management of rights-based Country Programmes of Cooperation crafted and implemented with governments, civil society and the private sector.

Prior to this post, Ms. Marie-Pierre was UNICEF Representative in Brazil from the end of 2004.  Her career with the UN began in October 1984 at UNICEF Headquarters in New York working in the Programme Division dealing with poverty and exclusion in urban areas. She then moved to Geneva in 1989 to head the Child Rights Section at the time of the final negotiations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. From 1995, she served in Islamabad, Pakistan as Senior Programme Coordinator. In 1998, she was appointed UNICEF Representative to Namibia and in December 2000, Representative to Mozambique.
Ms. Marie-Pierre Poirier holds a Master’s Degree from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (Sorbonne Nouvelle). She also graduated in Economics from the University of Paris in 1981, after having studied a year in Harvard. She is the mother of Stefanie (20) and Luc (18).
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About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a world leader on protection of child rights and best interests of a child. UNICEF is working on the ground in 150 countries to protect and support children from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Ukraine in 1997. For more information: