By Chris Niles
NEW YORK, 11 September 2012 - The second regular session, and the first PaperSmart session, of the UNICEF Executive Board opened today at United Nations headquarters in New York.
|At the opening of the second regular session of the UNICEF Executive Board, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake discusses the changing landscape of humanitarian partnerships. Watch in RealPlayer|
Opening remarks of the session were delivered by President of the Executive Board Ambassador John W. Ashe (and the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda) and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. Other featured speakers were Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt and recently appointed Director of Emergency Programmes Ted Chaiban.
Partnerships to evolve with global changes
Partnership was the theme of Mr. Lake’s speech to the Executive Board. He said that changing times required more flexible responses.
“The changing landscape – whose contours are not yet fully defined – present the UN, including UNICEF, with new opportunities,” he said.
|At the opening of the second regular session of the UNICEF Executive Board, Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt and Director of Emergency Programmes Ted Chaiban explore aspects of UNICEF's humanitarian response.|
He stressed the importance of working with private sector and civil society groups and of making use of the growing possibilities of new technology. “They require us to move from traditional top-down, UN- and donor-dominated partnerships, to more inclusive, broadly based, bottom-up movements,” he expanded. Mr. Lake drew on outcomes of major international meetings to demonstrate how global conferences reflect the evolution of the world and of the development landscape – which should be reflected in the approach to delivering results for children.
He stressed that an increasing focus on partnership was also critical within the United Nations.
“Our work with other UN agencies is central to accelerating results for the most vulnerable children and women,” he said.
Special focus on humanitarian response
A special focus session on the work of UNICEF in humanitarian situations was convened after regular business of the board had been conducted. The session broadly addressed the UNICEF response to emergencies, as Ms. Brandt tied the focus on partnerships to UNICEF’s ability to deliver an effective response. Mr. Chaiban explored lessons learned in two recent disasters in order to present how UNICEF has streamlined its approach to emergencies. Other speakers addressed the importance of UNICEF’s work, in the face of multiple global crises.
|European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva addresses the second regular session of the UNICEF Executive Board. Ms. Georgieva stresses that the fight against hunger, particularly among children under 5, must be the first global humanitarian priority. Watch in RealPlayer|
UNICEF’s collaboration with the European Union was highlighted as European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva addressed the Executive Board. The first European Commissioner to address the board, Ms. Georgieva said, “We are at a critical junction. After years of decline, the number of people who go to bed hungry is rising again – and children are at the highest risk.”
She stressed that the European Union is committed to supporting UNICEF, in particular because of its work with local communities and its role in building bridges between humanitarian and development aid. “This is at the very heart of building the resilience we now see as the best defence against more frequent and more severe crises,” she said.
The Executive Board is the governing body of UNICEF, providing intergovernmental support and oversight to the organization, in accordance with the overall policy guidance of the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The Executive Board meets three times each calendar year, in a first regular session (January/February), annual session (May/June) and second regular session (September). Executive Board sessions are held at United Nations headquarters in New York.
UNICEF Executive Board 2012