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UNICEF Executive Board

Executive Board session opens, highlighting children’s and women’s rights

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UNICEF Executive Board convenes its second regular session of 2009. From left: Deputy Executive Directors Hilde F. Johnson and Saad Houry, Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, 2009 Executive Board President Oumar Daou, Board Secretary Kirsi Madi, Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi and Comptroller Ayalew Abai.

NEW YORK, USA, 14 September 2009 – The UNICEF Executive Board began its second regular session of 2009 today with a special emphasis on promoting the rights of women and children facing abuse, poverty and hunger worldwide.

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Ambassador Oumar Daou, President of the 2009 Executive Board, welcomed board members and observers present for the three-day meeting. In his remarks, he singled out both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as treaties that member states need to continue to honour and reinforce.

“It’s important to put an end to one of the worst scourges – violence against women, which is a true affront to the human conscience,” said Ambassador Daou.

Protection against abuses
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman also raised the urgency of protecting women and children against human right abuses.

She applauded the recent passage of Security Council Resolution 1882 on children and armed conflict, which requests that the UN Secretary General list in his annual reports those parties engaging in rape or sexual violence against children.

Veneman went on to praise US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she condemned the widespread use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war.

Infant and maternal mortality
On another key issue, child survival, UNICEF recently announced more progress in reducing mortality among children under the age of five. Based on the latest figures, said Veneman, 10,000 fewer children are dying every day now than in 1990.

The bulk of infant deaths continue to be concentrated in just three countries. India, Nigeria and DR Congo still make up 40 percent of all deaths of children under the age of five. Maternal mortality is also particularly high in Nigeria, noted Ms. Veneman, who visited both DR Congo and Nigeria this summer.

In general, progress in reducing maternal mortality has lagged far behind the gains made in infant survival. Veneman attended a high-level meeting on maternal mortality in early September, convened by Sarah Brown, the wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Focus on financial estimates
Beyond its discussion of rights and child survival, the Executive Board’s first order of business involves financial estimates for 2009-2012 and budgetary considerations for 2010-2011.

The global economic slowdown will likely result in a 14 per cent reduction in total income for the organization from 2008 levels. The projected shortfall will not prevent programming for the coming biennial to be maintained at level of the past two years, however.

Other actions on the Executive Board agenda include:

  • Annual reports on internal audit and evaluation
  • Approval of selected country programmes and regional mid-term reviews
  • Follow-up on recommendations of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board
  • Plans for the 20th anniversary of the CRC, which takes place in November.




14 September 2009: Executive Director Ann M. Veneman’s opening statement at the UNICEF Executive Board’s second regular session of 2009.
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UNICEF Executive Board President Oumar Daou opens the board’s second regular session of 2009.
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CRC @ 20

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