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UNICEF Executive Board opens its first session of the new year

© UNICEF/HQ08-0080/Markisz
Incoming UNICEF Executive Board President Anders Lidén, Sweden’s Permanent Representative to the UN, addresses the board at its first meeting of 2008, along with Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

By Anwulika Okafor

NEW YORK, 30 January 2008 – UNICEF’s Executive Board convened its first regular session of 2008 yesterday in the Economic and Social Council chamber at United Nations headquarters in New York.

The session opened with brief remarks from the outgoing Board President, Bolivia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Javier Loayza Barea. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman then presented Ambassador Barea with a ceremonial gavel as a token of thanks for his dedicated service, and joined him in welcoming the new Board President, Sweden’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Anders Lidén.

“Thank you for the confidence which you have invested in me,” said Ambassador Lidén. “As President of the Executive Board, I look forward to continuing work to further strengthen UNICEF, in close cooperation with members of the board and with UNICEF management.”

Election of new board leaders

In his first action as Board President, Ambassador Lidén oversaw the election of new Vice Presidents to the Executive Board, including: Ami Diallo, First Counsellor for the Permanent Mission of Mali to the UN; Datuk Hamidon Ali, Permanent Representatives to the UN of Malaysia; Jorge Skinner-Klée, Permanent Representative to the UN of Guatemala; and Mihnea Motoc, Permanent Representative to the UN of Romania.

Positions on the Executive Board, which serves as UNICEF’s governing body, are filled on a rotating basis with officers and general members serving one and three-year terms respectively. The 36-member panel will spend the next four days convening over budgetary, program and policy matters essential for the organisation’s ongoing work.

“UNICEF deals with many issues that are crucial for our future,” said Ambassador Lidén. “Several of the Millennium (Development) Goals relate directly to UNICEF’s mandate, and ultimately an important task for this board is to maximise UNICEF’s contribution to these globally agreed goals.”

Looking back and ahead

In her remarks to the board, Ms. Veneman took note of the strides made to improve children’s lives during the past year, including:

  • News of the historic 60 per cent reduction in mortality rates amongst children under the age of five between 1960 and 2006
  • An increase in overall access to anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to decrease the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV – as well as ARV treatment for children
  • And an increase in the number of children worldwide enrolled in primary school, particularly young girls.

Ms. Veneman also noted the ongoing, urgent needs of children throughout the developing world, highlighting conditions she has witnessed during her many visits to UNICEF programs.






UNICEF Executive Board 2008

Videos - Key Speeches

29 January 2008:
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman speaks at the first regular session of the Executive Board.
 VIDEO  high | low

29 January 2008:
UNICEF’s newly elected Executive Board President, UN Ambassador from Sweden Anders Lidén, discusses his hopes for the coming year.
VIDEO  high | low 

Video - 2007 Highlights

January 2008:
Watch highlights from UNICEF's work in 2007 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in this 7 minute film.
 VIDEO  high | low 


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