|© UNICEF video|
|Delegates of the UNICEF Executive Board on the final day of the First Regular Session of 2006.|
By Rachel Bonham Carter
NEW YORK, USA, 19 January 2006 – The final day of the UNICEF Executive Board meeting was over within an hour, reflective of the efficiency with which discussions were held during the previous three days. In her closing statement to the Board, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman thanked delegates for “a positive and productive week.”
“Your input and guidance,” she continued, “have been extremely helpful, and we appreciate the very active participation of delegations.”
Ms. Veneman thanked the new President of the Board, Ambassador Dapkiunas of Belarus, for his management of the week’s events and bade a warm farewell to Gianni Murzi, the outgoing Regional Director for Western and Central Africa. She also thanked Minister Kahn of Pakistan – whom she met on her recent field trip to earthquake-affected areas there – for attending and said she “was struck by the strong partnership that the ministry along with UNICEF and WHO have in addressing the very important health needs following the earthquake.”
The Board was thanked for taking part in a variety of important discussions this week, including: talks on UNICEF’s humanitarian response; the reaffirmation of UNICEF’s involvement and commitment to partnerships; approval of the new strategic plans for Health and Nutrition and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; and support of the proposed UNICEF budget, which included pledges for nearly $257.5 million.
The Executive Director acknowledged comments and concerns voiced by members of the Board during the week and mentioned items to be addressed further during the next Regular Session of the Board in June, such as the End Child Hunger Partnership.
Commenting after the session closed, Ms. Veneman described it as “a very successful Board meeting,” in part thanks to a new system of encouraging delegates to discuss matters on the agenda in an informal setting before and after meetings.
“I think delegates have been very responsive – very engaged in discussions. One of the important things that we’ve done during this Board is that we’ve had time both for the Board meetings as well as for informal sessions for the delegates to discuss among themselves the issues – so that Board members could be prepared and understand the real issues that were being discussed. And I think that’s been very helpful for productive dialogue.”
The Second Regular Session of the UNICEF Executive Board for 2006 will take place in June.
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