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UNICEF Executive Board

UNICEF Executive Board adopts United Nations PaperSmart model for major meeting

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0032/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake speaks at the first regular session of the 2012 UNICEF Executive Board at United Nations Headquarters in New York (February, 2012).

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 September 2012 - UNICEF’s Executive Board is taking a new approach to paper.

When the second regular session of the UNICEF Executive Board opens on 11 September, it will follow the PaperSmart model.

PaperSmart was developed last year by the United Nations at the request of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  It premiered at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in June. The second regular session will be the first major meeting to feature it at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The new initiative will not only be more environmentally conscious, but it will also cut editing and printing costs.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0033/Markisz
Newly appointed UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt attends the first regular session of the 2012 UNICEF Executive Board at United Nations Headquarters, New York.

“Every page of an official UN document translated in the six UN languages is estimated at $2,355 per page. The costs are huge,” said UNICEF Executive Board Secretary Nicolas Pron.

In the past, the printing of UNICEF Executive Board documents has been covered by the United Nations budget. As of the beginning of this year, the United Nations has charged UNICEF and other United Nations organizations for translation and printing.

The Executive Board has estimated that it would cost from $1.5 million to $2 million per year under this system. The new initiative, in which all documents will be provided electronically and printed only on request, will save about $200,000 per session, which is more than $500,000 per year.

“We are still doing trials, and UNICEF is a beautiful opportunity. It is here in New York. It is manageable. It has a relatively simple structure. And it is of huge importance,” said United Nations Meetings and Publishing Division Director Magnus Olafsson.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0383/Markisz
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta speaks at the annual session of the 2012 UNICEF Executive Board at United Nations Headquarters, New York. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake is beside her (June, 2012).

Under the PaperSmart model, every document for every session will be posted on the UNICEF Executive Board website, from which it can be downloaded onto electronic devices. If delegations request hard copies, UNICEF will print them.

“You should be able to work in the way that you prefer. If you prefer to work on paper, you can work on paper. It’s not a fight against paper, it’s a war against waste,” said Mr. Olafsson.

The Executive Board has unanimously endorsed PaperSmart and is working with other United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Food Programme to see whether the model could be adopted more widely.

“It makes us feel good, because definitely it’s a greener approach. We are greening the Executive Board, but we’re keeping money where it should be going, to children. We’re saving trees, but we’re also saving lives,” Mr. Pron said.



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