Open Letter To UNICEF


Dear Executive Director Russell, 

We are writing to you out of deep concern on the matter of UNICEF partnering with companies and franchises that are in opposition to the mission of UNICEF  and the promises you have made to us as children and youth, in all our diversity.

It recently came to our attention that UNICEF UK has formed a partnership with Formula One, an organization that over the years has distinguished itself for organizing races under the patronage of dictatorships (Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia), which called the attention of civil society, including Amnesty International

In addition to human rights concerns, Formula One’s perpetuation of the fossil fuel industry, corruption, and intimidation has fueled the climate emergency we are facing now. In a single season alone F1 emits over 256,000 CO2 equivalent tonnes. Rather than ambitious leadership towards a just transition, F1 has greenwashed society with empty promises and illusions of care for the climate.  For example, their  Net Zero target by 2030 lacks commitments, actions, and accountability 1.  Recognizing UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index Report, that acknowledges the importance of treating “  climate change like the crisis it is and acting with the urgency required to ensure today’s children inherit a liveable planet.“, we are deeply concerned about this partnership. This misalignment of priorities forces us to reconsider our own collaborations with UNICEF. 

We are hence asking you to withdraw from this partnership with Formula One and stand with us in upholding the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child, specifically:

ARTICLE 3 (the best interests of the child): In all decisions and actions that concern children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

ARTICLE 12 (respect for children’s views): Every child has the right to express their view on matters that affect them, and for these views to be taken into consideration.

ARTICLE 24 (health and healthcare): ensure children have healthcare services, nutritious food, clean water, a clean environment and healthcare information.

“As UNICEF Youth Advocates, our mandate involves actively working with you on decision-making processes on important issues that affect us at national, local and global level. This is the time for you to hear us out and prioritize the people and the planet over profit.”-UNICEF Youth Advocate

We understand that managing such a large organization and its immense mandate is not easy and requires creative fundraising. At the same time, many of us work with and rely on UNICEF to help us survive  present climate risks and shocks as well as save our future from exponential climate change impacts. We believe UNICEF should walk the talk when it comes to committing to a better future for children, listening to children and young people, and doing its due diligence when selecting its partners and donors to ensure they reflect these shared priorities and join hands with us to champion the call for a global transition away from coal, oil, and gas. Therefore, we reiterate our call for UNICEF to dismantle its partnership with Formula One.

Thank you for your attention, we look forward to receiving your solidarity in ensuring a safe, secure, healthy and liveable planet for all of us. Remember, justice delayed is justice denied.  

In solidarity,

Global youth and children

Signed by (among others):

  1. FFF India
  4. FFF Digital
  5. There Is No Earth B
  6. New Hope For Poor
  7. Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty
  8. FFF Zambia
  9. FFF Sudan
  10. FFF Maghreb (+212)
  11. Save Future Bangladesh
  12. FFF- Sierraleone
  13. FFF – Kenya
  14. Viernes Por El Futuro Colombia
  15. FFF – GOMA
  16. Re Earth Initiative
  17. One Up Action
  18. XRY Liverpool
  19. FFF Kajiado
  20. YACAP
  21. FFF Morocco
  22. Klimastreik Schweiz
  23. Glasgow Against Arms and Fossil
  24. FFF Sweden
  25. FFF Indonesia
  26. FFF Togo
  27. FFF Czech Republic
  28. FFF Ukraine
  29. Greve Climática Estudiantil
  30. XR Biel/BIenne
  32. FFF Burundi
  33. FFF Windhoek
  34. FFF Zimbabwe
  35. FFF DRC
  36. FFF Scotland
  37. FFF Nigeria
  38. FFF Venezuela (central region)
  39. FFF Netherlands
  40. FFF AO
  41. FFF Germany
  42. XR Biel / Bienne Switzerland
  43. Youth For Climate Turkey