NEW YORK, USA, 24 June 2011 – The UNICEF Executive Board wrapped up its 2011 Annual Session yesterday with a renewed commitment to delivering results for the world’s most disadvantaged children – even as a decline in core resources challenges UNICEF and its partners to work more creatively.
|VIDEO: 23 June 2011 - Executive Director Anthony Lake and Her Excellency Sanja Štiglic, UNICEF’s Executive Board President and Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the UN, speak at the closing meeting of the Board’s 2011 Annual Session. Watch in RealPlayer|
On the final day of the four-day session at UN headquarters in New York, the Executive Board adopted a series of decisions on country programmes, gender equality, ethics and other areas of UNICEF’s work. The decisions advance the objectives of the organization’s current strategic plan, which runs through 2013, and bolster its efforts to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
In his closing statement, Executive Director Anthony Lake thanked the delegates for their support of UNICEF’s equity agenda, which he had presented to the Executive Board a year ago. Through that agenda, the organization aims to narrow gaps in development by targeting the poorest children and women, who are the hardest to reach with aid.
‘Spirit of dialogue’
In her concluding remarks, UNICEF’s Executive Board President, Her Excellency Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the UN, lauded “the encouraging spirit of dialogue and partnership” that marked the 2011 Annual Session. This week’s meetings, she said, showed how UNICEF is forging ahead with its work in the difficult context of the economic downturn, proliferating humanitarian emergencies and climate change.
|© UNICEF video|
|Her Excellency Sanja Štiglic, UNICEF’s Executive Board President and Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the UN, concludes the Board’s 2011 Annual Session at UN headquarters in New York.|
“These efforts are vitally important, for the vast gulf between the rich and the poor remains to be bridged,” said Ms. Štiglic. “The welfare of all the world’s children should be at the heart of all our budgets and development plans, the global priority of all our goals, strategies, and results.”
Ms. Štiglic noted that UNICEF’s success in incorporating an equity approach into all aspects of its work was apparent in a progress report on gender equality, which the Executive Board heard this week.
“Girls and women are often among the poorest and most vulnerable members of society,” she said, adding that “gender and equity and the rights of children are at the core of development and need to be addressed to break the cycle of poverty.”
Results and resources
The Executive Board President also called for a redoubled effort to promote equity – and protect the most vulnerable children – through universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols on children in armed conflict and child sexual exploitation.
The protocols were among the many issues addressed during the Annual Session’s thematic discussion on child protection from violence, protection and abuse. Ms. Štiglic said the discussion had “revealed how important it is to promote and protect the rights of the child, not only for the sake of the children but for the sake of the societies they live in.”
|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake makes a closing statement on the final day of the Executive Board's 2011 Annual Session.|
Both Mr. Lake and Ms. Štiglic cited strong partnerships with other UN agencies as an important means of maximizing results in the field and ensuring child rights. But they both emphasized, too, that UNICEF must maintain an adequate level of core resources, provided by UN Member States, in order to meet its core responsibilities to the world’s children.
‘Unity in action’
Mr. Lake capped his remarks at the 2011 Annual Session by quoting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was confirmed this week for a second term as head of the world body.
“Out of the competition of ideas, let us find unity in action,” Mr. Ban told the General Assembly on 21 June. In turn, Mr. Lake told the UNICEF Executive Board yesterday: “I thank you all for finding that unity, and I look forward to taking action in the months ahead.”