|UNICEF Executive Board President Andrei Dapkiunas addresses attendees at the final meeting of the board's Annual Session, held at United Nations headquarters in New York. Seated beside him are UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and Executive Board Secretary Ndolamb Ngokwey.|
By Rachel Bonham Carter
NEW YORK, USA, 9 June 2006 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman thanked delegates to the UNICEF Executive Board for “frank dialogue” and “productive work” during the board’s 2006 Annual Session, which ended today.
“All of the efforts of the UNICEF team, with the Executive Board as vital members, are helping contribute to UNICEF’s culture of continuous improvement and achieving results for children,” Ms. Veneman said in her address closing the five-day meeting.
She also stressed the vital role of UNICEF staff members in the field, describing them as “the lifeblood of the organization.”
Debate on harmonized programmes
The President of the Executive Board, Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas, paused today’s proceedings three times to allow for further informal discussion among delegates working out details of the most contentious agenda item of the week – the Harmonized Country Programme approval process.
The board ultimately decided to take more time to reach consensus before agreeing on a new approval process for country programmes implemented jointly by UNICEF and other UN agencies.
“I think it’s worth noting,” said Mr. Dapkiunas, “that even when the easy solutions are not readily available, the consideration of difficult issues contributes to the improvement of the general atmosphere within the United Nations.”
He added that the “demanding yet trusting relationship” among UNICEF board members is “conducive to dialogue” when such complex issues arise.
|In her closing remarks at the Annual Session of the Executive Board, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman highlighted the work of field staff.|
Thanks and farewells
Ms. Veneman and Mr. Dapkiunas went on to present a gift of thanks to the outgoing Secretary of the Executive Board, Ndolamb Ngokwey.
“I have the deepest respect for your commitment to children, to communities and to UNICEF,” Mr. Ngokwey told fellow board members, “and I am very proud to say that after a few years here in New York I have made friends amongst delegates.”
Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Tom McDermott, who retires next month, was acknowledged again today as well.
“He began with UNICEF in 1972 and has served in several positions both in the field and at headquarters,” said Ms. Veneman. “ We will miss his expertise and his leadership, and we thank him for his service.”
|Delegates from Japan participate in informal discussions at the final meeting of this week's UNICEF Executive Board session.|
World Cup campaign for children
Mr. Dapkiunas confirmed that 24 UNICEF Country Programme Documents were approved during this week’s session. Other items approved by the board included the following:
The Annual Session drew to a close minutes after the kick-off of the opening game at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. In the run-up to the World Cup, UNICEF and FIFA, the international governing body of football, have launched a campaign to help children affected by violence and conflict.
“UNICEF is proud to share this global stage with FIFA in the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE CAMPAIGN,” said Ms. Veneman. “The effort aims to promote non-violence, tolerance and peace, along with the benefits of sport for development. Sport teaches not just important values such as teamwork, fairness and communication, but also interdependence. All of these concepts are at the heart of development.”
And development, aimed at building a healthier and more secure world for children, was at the heart of the Executive Board’s deliberations throughout its Annual Session.
9 June 2006
‘Frank dialogue’ on closing day
6 June 2006
Post-crisis transition strategy presented