|A representative from Haiti spoke about issues of child protection during the UNICEF Executive Board meeting held in the Economic and Social Council chamber at the United Nations from 29 January through 1 February 2008.|
By Anwulika Okafor
NEW YORK, USA, 4 February 2008 – This year’s first regular session of the UNICEF Executive Board ended on Friday as it began four days earlier, with discussions on the critically important subject of child protection strategy.
Executive Board President Anders Lidén, the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN, also led UNICEF’s governing body through the adoption of several key resolutions – including increased funding to country programmes and a heightened emphasis on the development of public and private partnerships.
In addition, the Executive Board agreed on a revamped evaluation policy with which to better asses the performance and effectiveness of UNICEF programmes.
Insights from successful programmes
In one example of success at the country level, the board heard about strategic moves in Angola that resulted in the mobilization of both government and private donors behind programmes addressing HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, and immunization.
Board members also learned of progress in Ecuador, where UNICEF has made strides in championing the rights of children to primary education that takes cultural diversity into account.
Detailed and accurate assessments of programmes such as these will provide crucial insights in an increasingly complex humanitarian landscape – insights that may prove instrumental to other development programmes.
Consultations on child protection
Beyond the question or programme evaluation, however, the most debated issue at this Executive Board session was the proposed final draft of UNICEF’s new draft strategy on child protection.
Violence is a daily reality for millions of children around the world, and UNICEF’s strategic approach towards ending child exploitation and abuse has taken many forms since the organization’s inception. First and foremost, UNICEF aims to prevent any such abuse; at the same time, UNICEF continues to take an active role in rehabilitative assistance for children and families affected by mistreatment.
During discussions about the child protection strategy, member countries congratulated the draft document’s incorporation of recommendations from the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children. However, they also saw the need for further consultations on a more comprehensive strategy, which will be reviewed at the board’s second regular session in September.
UNICEF Executive Board 2008
Board wraps up field visit to Lao PDR