UNICEF Executive Board opens its first regular session of 2007
By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, USA, 16 January 2007 – UNICEF’s Executive Board today convened its first regular session of 2007 at United Nations headquarters in New York.
The Executive Board is UNICEF’s governing body, which oversees the activities of the agency and provides intergovernmental support.
The outgoing Board President, UN Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas of Belarus, opened the session. Along with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, he welcomed the new Board President, Ambassador Javier Loayza Barea of Bolivia.
New President and Vice Presidents
“UNICEF itself is the biggest and best-kept secret and hope of the United Nations, and the promise of its success.”
UN Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas of Belarus
In his address, Mr. Dapkiunas said his term had been an “uplifting and remarkable experience.” Looking back at the year he spent at the head of the board, he concluded that “UNICEF itself is the biggest and best-kept secret and hope of the United Nations, and the promise of its success.”
Before Mr. Dapkiunas left the podium, Ms. Veneman presented him with the ceremonial gavel in recognition of his dedicated work at the heart of the organisation.
Mr. Loayza Barea then took the chair. “In 2007, we’ll have further opportunities to improve the health, education and protection of children all around the world – and work with our partners to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
The new President proceeded with the election of new Vice Presidents, who are chosen on a rotating basis. Those elected include Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Michael Kafando of Burkina Faso; Kyaw Tint Swe of Myanmar; Pavle Jevremovic of Serbia; and Robert Hill of Australia.
Partnerships and results
Reviewing the past year and looking ahead to 2007, Ms. Veneman stressed the importance of meeting UNICEF’s “current needs and new realities” with the help of its partners.
“UNICEF is committed to working with others to achieve maximum results for children,” said Ms. Veneman. “When we speak about results, we are speaking about improving the lives of children.
“We will continue to underscore the importance of producing concrete and measurable results in our work, guided by the Millennium Development Goals and the Millennium Declaration,” she added. “Children are at the heart of these goals.”
Issues on the agenda
The Executive Board has 36 members from around the world elected for three-year terms. Board officers are elected for one-year terms. UNICEF's board, operating under the authority of the UN Economic and Social Council, meets three times each year.
On the agenda for this week’s three-day board session are financial issues and integrated approaches to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign and other program matters.
All of these discussions are part of an overall effort to produce the best possible results for children. “As we begin our work this year,” concluded Ms. Veneman, “let us keep their faces in our minds and in our hearts.”