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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 31, 2002
10:20 AM
CONTACT:  Commercial Alert
Gary Ruskin 503.235.8012
Coalition Asks UNICEF to Cancel "McDonald's World Children's Day"
 
WASHINGTON - July 31 - An international coalition of public health professionals and activists organized by Commercial Alert today requested that UNICEF stop "lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald's" and cancel "McDonald's World Children's Day." The coalition sent the request in a letter to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

On July 19, Ms. Bellamy and McDonald's Corp. CEO Jack Greenberg announced that they will "team up" to raise funds for children's charities, including UNICEF, and launch "McDonald's World Children's Day." The event is scheduled for November 20th, which is the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Last year, Ronald McDonald House Charities gave $5 million to UNICEF. The letter follows.

Dear Ms. Bellamy:

On July 19, UNICEF announced its partnership with the McDonald's Corporation to hold "McDonald's World Children's Day."

In effect, UNICEF is lending its good name and endorsement to McDonald's, the world's largest fast food chain. McDonald's is a global leader in the marketing of junk food that is creating soaring rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that is disrupting traditional ways of food preparation in families and cultures.

It is truly a challenge to see how this partnership with McDonald's is consistent with UNICEF's claim to promote "good nutrition" to the world's children. As you know, McDonald's markets precisely the high-added-fat, high-added-sugar junk food that undermines good nutrition for the world's children.

McDonald's is responsible for multi-million dollar ad campaigns that prod children to nag, whine and throw tantrums so that their parents will consent to buy them junk food. The company's ad campaigns deliberately foment conflict between parents and children regarding food.

It is not the proper role of UNICEF to endorse or serve as enabler for corporate activities of this kind. Do you really think people contribute to UNICEF so that you can help corporate advertisers to manipulate innocent and impressionable children with sophisticated psychological techniques, cause strife in the home and promote the consumption of junk food?

UNICEF's mission is to protect children from just these things. Therefore, we urge you to reconsider your partnership with the McDonald's Corporation, and cancel "McDonald's World Children's Day" immediately.

Sincerely,

Enola Aird, Director, The Motherhood Project, Institute for American Values Monika Arora, Programme Director, HRIDAY-SHAN, India The Honorable Danielle Auroi, Member, European Parliament, France Belen Balanya, co-author, Europe, Inc.: Regional and Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power Peter Barnes, Co-founder, Working Assets; author, Who Owns the Sky? Medea Benjamin, Founding Director, Global Exchange Stephen Bezruchka MD, MPH, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington Louis Borgenicht, MD, Member, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools Nancy Carlsson-Paige, EdD, Professor of Child Development, Lesley University Vittorio Carreri, Presidente, Giunta esecutiva, SItI; Head of the Sanitary Prevention Unit of Lombardy Region. Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
The Honorable Ian Cohen, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical Institute, University of Texas Erica Frank, MD, MPH, Vice Chair and Associate Professor; Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University Andy Harris, MD, Board of Directors, Physicians For Social Responsibility Paul Hawken, Natural Capital Institute Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, Associate Clinical Professor, Yale School of Medicine Joe Kelly, Executive Director, Dads and Daughters; and Publisher, Daughters Newsletter: For Parents of Girls Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets
Jean Kilbourne, Author, Can't Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think And Feel Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Senior Scientist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard University Pieta-Rae Laut, Executive Director, Public Health Association of Austrailia Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference Lida Lhotska, PhD, Regional Coordinator for Europe, International Baby Food Action Network Susan Linn, EdD, Associate Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker Children's Center; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Alison Linnecar, International Coordinator, Geneva Infant Feeding Association Alan H. Lockwood, MD, Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo; Past-President and Chairman, Environment and Health Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility Ben Manski, Co-Chair, Green Party of the United States Mohamed Marwoun, MS, Specialist, Community Medicine, Ministry of Public Health, Saudi Arabia Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Professor, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc. Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work Keven Mosley-Koehler, MS, MPH, Grant Project Manager, Group Health Community Foundation Robert K. Musil, PhD, MPH, Executive Director and CEO, Physicians for Social Responsibility Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine Sheldon Rampton, Editor, PR Watch Mike Rayner, DPhil, Director, British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group John Rensenbrink, US Representative, Global Green Network The Honorable Lee Rhiannon, MLC, New South Wales Parliament, Australia Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director, Science and Environmental Health Network Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College; author, The Overspent American and The Overworked American John Stauber, Executive Director, Center for Media & Democracy; co-author, Trust Us, We're Experts and Toxic Sludge is Good for You Vic Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Univ. of New Mexico School of Medicine; author, Children, Adolescents, and the Media Karen Valenzuela, MA, MPA, Washington State Public Health Association Susan Villani, MD, Medical Director, Schools Programs, Kennedy Krieger Institute; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Robert Weissman, co-author, Corporate Predators; Co-director, Essential Action The Honorable Matti Wuori, Member, European Parliament, Finland

<----letter ends here---->

Below is the UNICEF/McDonalds news release:

http://www.unicef.org/newsline/02pr45McD.htm

UNICEF, McDONALD'S ® and Ronald McDonald House Charities ® team up to raise funds for children

McDonald's Announces "World Children's Day" for November 20

NEW YORK (July 19, 2002) - UNICEF and McDonald's today announced plans to team up to raise money on behalf of the world's children as part of a new McDonald's fundraising initiative called "World Children's Day," which will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charitiesâ (RMHC) worldwide and UNICEF programs in about a dozen countries. The initiative was announced by Jack Greenberg, McDonald's Chairman and CEO, and Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF.

McDonald's World Children's Day is a major fundraising initiative that will be inaugurated on November 20, 2002. On that day, McDonald's restaurants in 121 countries will raise money for local children's organizations through a variety of activities and promotions developed by each restaurant. UNICEF will be a beneficiary of the World Children's Day effort in select countries, including the United States, where McDonald's will support UNICEF's renowned "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" program.

The November 20th date coincides with the anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which took place on November 20, 1989.

"The value of this program for UNICEF and Ronald McDonald House Charities goes far beyond the millions of dollars that will be raised for children," said Mr. Greenberg, who met today with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the McDonald's fundraising initiative. "It brings the world's attention to the ever increasing needs of children, and the role we must all play in affecting positive change to improve the lives of children everywhere."

"We are very pleased that McDonald's is expanding its support for children around the world," Ms. Bellamy said. "The opportunity to distribute the orange Trick-or-Treat boxes through McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. will help us reach a whole new generation of children whose parents supported UNICEF when they were kids," she said. Bellamy also noted that last year RMHC awarded a $5 million grant to UNICEF to combat Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus in 57 priority countries. "We appreciate the continued support of McDonald's and RMHC," she said.

At the United Nations Special Session on Children in May 2002, the Secretary-General called on the private sector to become more involved in United Nations efforts to promote and sustain child survival and child rights. The McDonald's World Children's Day initiative represents a response to this call.

"Whatever our role in life, there is nothing that unites us and motivates us more than the welfare of children," Mr. Annan said. "Children are our future. It is only by investing in them and their well-being that we can hope to build the healthy, prosperous and peaceful world we all strive for...Public-private partnerships have the power to help children in many ways."

UNICEF offices will work directly with McDonald's restaurants in participating countries to raise funds and awareness for children's causes. Examples:

* This October McDonald's restaurants in the United States will distribute 20 million of the traditional orange "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" collection boxes - more than doubling the reach of the program.

* In New Zealand, UNICEF and RMHC are teaming up on a new ad campaign in support of World Children's Day. Young people selected through a program in McDonald's restaurants will speak out on what they see as the most important children's issues today.

* McDonald's China is implementing a four-week program with UNICEF culminating in the country's first-ever on-line concert available exclusively to those participating in the World Children's Day fundraising effort. With the purchase of a Big Mac on November 20, customers will receive access to the internet concert, and a portion of sales will be donated to UNICEF.

*UNICEF and McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong are initiating "Love for Our Future with UNICEF," a program designed to symbolize caring for the next generation. Specially designed postcards which children can personalize with their own messages will be available for sale at McDonald's restaurants, with proceeds going to the charities.

McDonald's is the world's leading foodservice retailer, with more than 30,000 restaurants serving over 46 million people each day in 121 countries. Approximately 80 percent of McDonald's U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent local businessmen and women.

Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501(c)3, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children through its network of 171 local Chapters currently serving in 44 countries. To date, RMHC has awarded more than $320 million in grants to aid critical children's causes in such areas as immunization, education, life-changing surgeries, child abuse prevention and aid for the mentally and physically challenged. RMHC also supports Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles and other community efforts for children.

UNICEF works to save children's lives and build children's futures by immunizing children against deadly diseases; fighting HIV/AIDS and its impact on young people; promoting quality basic education for girls and boys everywhere; protecting all children from violence, abuse, and exploitation; and supporting early childhood programs that bring better health, good nutrition, and clean water to children in the crucial first years of life. Founded in 1946, UNICEF now works in 161 countries and territories.

<----UNICEF/McDonald's release ends here---->

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
Please ask UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy to
(1) cancel "McDonald's World Children's Day" and
(2) not to partner with McDonald's.

Ms. Bellamy's phone is 212.326.700 and fax is 212.326.7758. You can send her email via her assistant, Jane Cole, at <mailto:jcole@unicef.org>.

A copy of the letter to Ms. Bellamy is available in .pdf format at <http://www.commercialalert.org/PDFs/uniceflet.pdf>.

Commercial Alert's mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see Commercial Alert's website at <http://www.commercialalert.org>.

###

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