|Participants in the UNICEF Joint Consultation with Gulf Countries gather at UNICEF headquarters in New York.|
By Annalisa Orlandi
NEW YORK, USA, 29 November 2006 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah and Director of Programme Funding Karin Hulshof hosted the first Joint Consultation Meeting with Gulf countries yesterday at the agency’s headquarters in New York.
The Gulf nations present for the talks included Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The countries shared their views and discussed possible ways to strengthen their partnership with UNICEF at the global, regional and country level for programme support, as well as in emergency relief operations.
On the agenda: Stand-alone agreements for emergency preparedness that could be envisaged, and technical cooperation and capacity-building that could be further developed.
Realizing development goals
UNICEF emphasized that countries from the Gulf region are key players and partners with the United Nations, UN agencies, the Organization of Islamic Countries and the Arab League. They are also taking an active role in providing financial aid to developing countries and have been major contributors of emergency relief to areas affected by conflict or natural disasters.
Gulf countries have demonstrated their effectiveness in creating new partnerships and taking a leading role in the context of UNICEF strategies for children – as, for example, with the partnership between the UAE Government and UNICEF for the protection of children involved in camel racing.
UNICEF also emphasized that the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved only through partnerships and broad mobilization of resources. Yesterday’s consultation represents an important and promising milestone for further cooperation towards the realization of the MDGs in partnership with the Gulf countries.