Knowledge Hub

Letter from David Morley, CEO of UNICEF Canada

Tell us about your role and how you are contributing to the society:

I am the president and CEO of UNICEF Canada, a Canadian non-governmental organization established 60 years ago and the official representative of UNICEF in Canada. We build awareness, raise funds, and mobilize Canadians across the country to help save the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. We ensure the most vulnerable children at home and abroad have their voices and their needs heard through domestic and international policy efforts to contribute to the fulfillment of their rights. We also support UNICEF’s innovative programs that do whatever it takes to ensure children survive and thrive.

Presently, what do you like about Canada?

I am a proud Canadian because we are a nation built on inclusion. We are a nation of First Peoples and immigrants – our diversity cuts across race, gender, age, socioeconomic status and place. We are also a generous nation who support vulnerable people elsewhere and open our doors to them here at home.

I’m also proud because we are humble and acknowledge we have much work to do at home to build an inclusive nation and contribute to a peaceful, sustainable, and prosperous world.

I am hopeful for our future because we have what we need to get things right, especially for children. We have the knowledge and expertise on what works to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable at home and abroad. We have the technology and resources to improve and scale-up action. We have a roadmap for the next 15 years to build on gains we have achieved for children and accelerate progress for all.

I commit to doing all that I can to help achieve the 2030 Agenda, here in Canada, and abroad, through partnerships built across all sectors to innovate for improved solutions and results, measure progress and share lessons learned.

Your Letter to the Future:

Dear Canadian Leaders of Tomorrow,

I am writing to you as a proud Canadian and, like you, one who is undaunted by the challenges that lie ahead for our country and the world. One of the greatest of these is inequality. Too many children, both here in Canada and around the world, have been left out of the progress made since 1990 and do not have a fair chance at realizing their full potential. This exclusion holds us all back.

Together, we have an opportunity to create a fairer Canada in a more equitable world so that we can enjoy a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future as Canadians and as global citizens for the next 150 years. A Canada in a world where children can dream about a future they can realize and their dreams stay as big as our country is possible. But we have to get the following critical elements right:

We need to move Canada to the top of the UNICEF Index of Child Well-being. For more than a decade Canada has stalled in the middle among peer nations, with poorer life outcomes and more inequality.

We need to ensure Canada is leading global progress for children everywhere including by prioritizing the most vulnerable in our international assistance.

We can be successful if we are bold and ambitious, and it need not take 150 years. Fortunately, we have a blueprint for collective action: the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This universal agenda integrates social, economic and environmental outcomes underpinned by human rights. It provides us with a historic opportunity to advance the rights and well-being of every child, no matter where they live, by 2030. The SDGs will not be realized if we do not reach excluded children.

We can be successful if we draw on our history as a nation built on inclusion. We are a diverse nation of First Peoples and immigrants and a generous nation who support vulnerable people abroad.

We, the leaders of today, need to work with you through collaborative and transformative partnerships that include and draw on the diverse strengths of critical stakeholders such as the Canadian private sector and children and youth themselves. You have so much to offer – let’s put it to work to make Canada the best place to grow up and a champion for children everywhere.

David Morley
President and CEO, UNICEF Canada