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UNICEF Executive Board

Executive Board begins with a focus on the new UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021


“There is no more important cause than children. As they hold our futures in their hands, we hold their futures in ours.” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore

NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 February 2018 – The UNICEF Executive Board opened its first regular session yesterday, welcoming its new President for 2018, H.E. Mr. Tore Hattrem, the Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, and the recently appointed UNICEF Executive Director, Ms. Henrietta H. Fore.

In their opening statements, Ms. Fore and Ambassador Hattrem both recognized the leadership of their respective predecessors, underscoring the significance of UNICEF’s work and the immense challenges facing children around the world today. “There is no more important cause than children,” stressed Ms. Fore. “As they hold our futures in their hands, we hold their futures in ours.”

“Despite enormous global progress over the past few decades, the lives and futures of children in every society remain marked by discrimination, poverty and inequity, and lack of access to basic services, which, together with climate change, is propelling the greatest displacement of children since World War II,” said Ambassador Hattrem.

Describing her recent visit to South Sudan, Ms. Fore underlined the results UNICEF is achieving for children: “We met a mother who walked for days to get treatment for her malnourished baby – who is now on the road to recovery. A boy forced to join an armed group at the age of 10 – who is now free, back in school and learning to be a doctor. And two siblings reunited with their mother after four years apart.”

But the trip also served as a stark reminder of the work still to be done. “We cannot achieve a sustainable tomorrow if we fail to serve the children of conflict…disadvantage and discrimination…and poverty,” she said. “These children remind us why equity is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, focused on leaving no child behind.”

© UNICEF/UN0156708/Prinsloo
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore (right) speaks with a young woman, Judjok, who has just received buckets, soap and mosquito nets during a distribution at a rural community in South Sudan, January 2018.

A fair chance in life

“In responding to the immense challenges children are facing today, our work in 2018 will be guided by UNICEF’s new Strategic Plan, underpinned by the principles of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first,” said Ambassador Hattrem.

UNICEF’s ambitious new Strategic Plan charts a course towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the realization of a future in which every child and young person has a fair chance in life. Anchored in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it enshrines the principles of the 2030 Agenda.

To drive results for the most disadvantaged children and young people, the Strategic Plan sets out five goal areas: 1. Every child survives and thrives; 2. Every child learns; 3. Every child is protected from violence and exploitation; 4. Every child lives in a safe and clean environment; and 5. Every child has an equitable chance in life.

These goals span a child’s life cycle, targeting the key barriers that hold children and young people back, deny them the agency to shape their destinies and prevent them from accessing critical services that can save their lives and help them fulfil their potential. Underpinning these goals are the cross-cutting priorities of gender equality and humanitarian action, both of which are critical for sustainable development.

Describing UNICEF’s ambition to see every young person in school, learning, training or age-appropriate employment by 2030, Ms. Fore noted how “[this] significant opportunity is matched by an enormous challenge – based on current trends, only 1 in 10 young people [in low-income countries] will gain the secondary-level skills they need by 2030.”

© UNICEF/UN0148016/Knowles-Coursin
Musaddeka, an 11-year-old Rohingya refugee, carries her severely malnourished sister, 10-month-old Atica, who received ready-to-use therapeutic food from a UNICEF-supported malnutrition screening centre in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh, November 2017.

Partnerships and results

The Strategic Plan includes a common chapter that details how UNICEF will work together with other United Nations agencies.

“We are a team at the United Nations [and] UNICEF is committed to the Secretary General’s plans to reform how the UN works,” said Ms. Fore. “Working with our sister agencies (UNDP, UNFPA and UN-Women), UNICEF is implementing the commitments we made to you in the common chapter.”

The Strategic Plan outlines six priority areas for collaborative work with United Nations partners to achieve more and better results: 1. Eradicating poverty; 2. Addressing climate change; 3. Improving adolescent and maternal health; 4. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; 5. Ensuring greater availability and use of disaggregated data to address inequity; and 6. Emphasizing the contribution development makes to peacebuilding, sustaining peace and building resilience.

“We will do this with our partners: non-profits, foundations, national and local governments, and local businesses,” said Ms. Fore, noting how the global business community “is transcending its traditional role as a donor alone and helping us reach children and young people in new and more effective ways.” 

In his prepared remarks, Ambassador Hattrem also made reference to the common chapter. He stressed that “concrete recommendations for improved cooperation are both welcome and needed, and we must commit to their effective follow-up; only then can we ensure greater coherence and effectiveness in the work of the United Nations.”

Several delegations expressed their continued support for the work of UNICEF. There were calls for UNICEF to further strengthen its partnerships to realize the goals of the Plan in support of national efforts, and to take an active leadership role in creating complementary partnerships and in supporting the Secretary-General’s reform initiative.

On the topic of reform, Ambassador Hattrem recognized the work of the outgoing Presidents to improve the working methods of the Boards, saying: “I look forward to following-up on this effort and I will encourage timely discussions on important matters of reform between all of the Boards.”

Ambassador Hattrem presides over the Bureau of the Executive Board, which in 2018 includes Vice-Presidents from Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Nepal, each representing one of the regional groups of Member States of the United Nations.

The Board session is expected to continue through Thursday, with items on the agenda including the presentation of country programme documents; the financial report and audited financial statements for 2016; a road map to a new UNICEF evaluation policy; and an evaluation synthesis of UNICEF’s humanitarian action between 2010-2016.

Read more:

About the UNICEF Executive Board

UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018-2021 / Executive Summary

Sustainable Development Goals

Convention on the Rights of the Child



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