By Tim Ledwith
NEW YORK, USA, 13 September 2010 – UNICEF’s Executive Board concluded its second regular session of 2010 last week by approving a wide range of decisions that will guide organizational priorities, operations and partnerships in the crucial years to come – years leading up to the 2015 target date for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
|VIDEO: 9 September 2010 - His Excellency Dr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, President of the UNICEF Executive Board, delivers closing remarks at the Board's second regular session of 2010.|
In his closing statement, His Excellency Dr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN and President of the 2010 UNICEF Executive Board, said he appreciated the “spirit of genuine cooperation and compromise” demonstrated by delegates during the three-day meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
Thanks to that spirit, he said, “we were able to negotiate and adopt 11 decisions – one of the largest numbers of any recent session.
‘Drive for results’
Dr. Momen noted that much of this latest session dealt with UNICEF’s “core business” – including reports on monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, financial projections and private-sector fundraising goals. Board discussions on the session’s final day also addressed human resources management to attract and retain high-quality staff, as well as the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
|On dais for the closing meeting of the UNICEF Executive Board session (from left): HIV/AIDS Chief Jimmy Kolker, Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson, Executive Director Anthony Lake, Executive Board Vice President Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Executive Board Secretary Nicolas Pron, Deputy Executive Director Saad Houry and Executive Board Assistant Secretary Christine Muhigana.|
“UNICEF is charting a prudent financial course in the context of the global economic downturn,” said Dr. Momen. “UNICEF is striving to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations and processes – and the drive for results.
The Executive Board also considered six new country programmes and approved 13 country and area programme documents setting strategic priorities for UNICEF’s work on the ground in each respective country for the next five years.
In these discussions – and in mid-term reviews of another 30 country programmes presented during the session – delegates “saw how UNICEF is working with governments and civil society partners to reach and enhance the lives of more children,” said Dr. Momen.
Key role of partnerships
Partnership was, in fact, an overarching theme of last week’s session. One key decision in this area was the Executive Board’s extension of UNICEF’s cooperation with Rotary International for global polio eradication.
|UNICEF Human Resources Director Christine Lloyd speaks at the second regular session of the 2010 UNICEF Executive Board.|
The long-standing Rotary partnership “has brought about the near-eradication of a disease that once crippled millions of children and adults,” said Dr. Momen.
The Chief of UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS Section, Jimmy Kolker, updated the delegates on another area of cooperation, the UNAIDS partnership, in which UNICEF works jointly with nine sister UN agencies to stop and reverse the spread of HIV worldwide.
Partnerships with other UN agencies – and the related goal of system-wide UN coherence – were also the subject of a joint report by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF on the roadmap towards an integrated budget. The report, whose recommendations the Executive Board approved, showed progress towards harmonized budgeting by the three agencies by 2014 in order to increase efficiencies and enhance results.
An equity-based approach
Overall, the Executive Board session highlighted the need for a more coordinated approach to tackle challenges affecting children and women, including those caught in emergency situations, such as the ongoing flood disaster in Pakistan, the food crisis in Niger and the earthquake in Haiti.
|UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake speaks at the closing meeting of the UNICEF Executive Board's second regular session of the 2010.|
Indeed, in statements and presentations throughout the Executive Board session, Dr. Momen, Executive Director Anthony Lake and others repeatedly drove home the critical importance of reaching every child – not only in emergencies but in the wider development arena.
Coinciding as it did with the release of UNICEF’s flagship ‘Progress for Children’ report, the session as a whole was informed and energized by that report’s signature finding: that an equity-based approach, targeting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children and families, offers the best hope and most cost-effective path to reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Dr. Momen urged delegates to keep equity in mind as the UN High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs convenes next week in New York. “We must remember that all the goals pertain to children,” he said. “We as leaders in the international community have a special responsibility to ensure that the goals are met so that every child, without exception, can grow up healthy, educated and protected.”