UNICEF: 70 years for every child

Discover a retrospective of UNICEF’s work on behalf of every child, every day, since our founding in 1946.


For over 70 years, UNICEF has been the defender of children around the world, regardless of gender, religion, race or economic background. When the world’s most vulnerable need a champion in the face of conflict, disease or exclusion, UNICEF has been there.

Get to know UNICEF through our work on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable.

Read or download our anniversary publication.

Our history in fact and photo

Explore the timelines below to learn about our 70 years of work on behalf of children. These retrospectives give context to our initiatives, and show how UNICEF’s mission evolved with the needs of children around the world.

Looking back and moving forward

As 2016 comes to a close, and we celebrate UNICEF’s many years in the field, we’re still experiencing one of the world’s worst refugee crises since World War II.

It was the depth of that refugee crisis, 70 years ago, that brought UNICEF into existence. This crisis is a stark reminder that while much progress has been made, the need for UNICEF’s work is as great as ever. 

See photo essay  

children playing in a playground
Circa 1950 in Italy, with a woman looking on, boys with disabilities, most of whom are dressed in striped jumpsuits and missing either an arm or a leg, play soccer on the lawn in front of an institution.
children playing in playground
UNICEF/UNI197642/Gilbertson VII Photo
On 2 October 2015 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Syrian and Iraqi teenagers play soccer and get to know one another at the refugees and migrants reception centre near the town of Gevgelija, close to the border with Greece.

Our priorities for children

Learn about our history, our ongoing mission, and the global programmes that are the backbone of our work for children.

Read our story