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Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on UNFPA Annual report of the Administrator, at Annual Session of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board, 6 June 2017 in New York

22.06.2017  00:36

(Check against delivery)

Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the floor. Before delivering the statement, I would wish to echo what was mentioned in the WEOG statement. Dr. Babatunde was indeed a champion and important voice for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of every girls and woman around the world and a strong partner for Denmark. We are mourning his loss and our thoughts go to his family, friends and UNFPA staff.

Let me now turn to today’s session. I would like to thank the Acting Executive Director, Dr. Kanem for a comprehensive and informative report on the work of UNFPA.

The key issue for this year’s Board is the Strategic Plan for the next four years of UNFPA’s work – the first of three consecutive strategic plans that should contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.. It must be aligned with the ICPD Programme of Action as well the reform-agenda of the Secretary General and the guidance provided through the QCPR-resolution of December 2016.

The new plan should set clear priorities and strategic direction for UNFPA - based on where UNFPA has its comparative advantages and adds value for those most in need.

The plan must ensure that UNFPA becomes a results-based, innovative organisation that promotes effective collaboration and coordination among the members of the UN family - not least to ensure integration of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment and the fight against gender-based violence.

A focussed and strong Strategic Plan is also a pre-requisite for reversing the negative trend in funding for UNFPA.

Mr. President, Denmark sees 3 issues of particular importance for the new Strategic Plan:

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are basic human rights and central to UNFPA’s mandate. They include the rights of women to have control over and decide freely on matters related to their sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. These rights are key values and priorities in Danish development and humanitarian assistance are a pre-condition for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We note with appreciation that the bull’s eye approach, including a separate outcome area on sexual and reproductive health and rights, have been maintained and aligned with the 2030 Agenda in the draft Strategic Plan.

Denmark strongly welcomes the central role assigned to youth both as beneficiaries and change agents in the draft Strategic Plan. Youth are valuable agents of change and a key part of the solution if we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We need youth-led development by and with young people.

To realise this however, we need to ensure access: Access to comprehensive sexuality education for children and adolescents in and out of school to enable them make informed choices; access to youth friendly health services where they are met in a non-discriminatory and non-judgmental manner; access to gender equality in terms of legal, economic and social rights so that young girls are not forced into relationships with older, often married, men in order to sustain a living. 

The need for integrating the work of the three pillars of the UN has never been more urgent. As both a major development organisation and a major humanitarian actor, UNFPA has an important role to play in strengthening the coherence of the humanitarian-development-and sustaining peace efforts.

This includes doing its part in making the UN family deliver on the pledge to reduce needs and vulnerabilities and provide collective outcomes - the pledge to a New Way of Working. At the country level, we wish to see coherent action undertaken by UN agencies, based on an alignment of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs). In this regard, UNFPA has a crucial role in mainstreaming the fight against Gender-Based Violence in all sectors and clusters.

Therefore, we warmly welcome the draft Strategic Plan’s key principles of reaching those furthest behind first - also in humanitarian and fragile contexts. We look forward to further discussion on unfolding these key principles throughout the Strategic Plan.

The UN funds and programmes need to actively contribute to the realisation of the new UN reform agenda, as articulated by Member States in the QCPR-resolution, and as clearly outlined by the Secretary General. National and local stakeholders, World Bank Group and Multilateral Development Banks as well as NGO’s and bilateral partners must all be involved. We must also engage private sector actors, civil society and academia bring new knowledge, thinking, concepts and ways of working to the table. The changing financial climate also calls for innovative financing modalities and blending humanitarian and development aid streams.

We appreciate the importance given to innovation in the draft Strategic Plan. It is a priority for Denmark and we have provided funding for the innovation efforts of UNFPA and other funds and programmes. Innovation should help us reach more people in a more effective manner, at less cost and with better results. That must be our common objective.

Finally, I would like to express Denmark’s warm appreciation of the work of UNFPA staff around the world – not least staff working in situations of high risk humanitarian crises situations. You deliver results often under difficult and hazardous circumstances. I want you to know that your work is highly valued.

Thank you, Mr. President.