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Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on Agenda item 7: UNFPA Strategic Plan, at 2nd regular session of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board, 7 September 2017 in New York

12.10.2017  01:06

(Check against delivery)

Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the floor, and thank you to the Acting Executive Director for her statement.

I would like to begin by expressing Denmark’s profound gratitude to UNFPA for the inclusive and open process leading up to this final draft of the Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The strategic plan is a result of a yearlong dialogue between UNFPA and Member States, and Denmark sincerely appreciates this affirmative collaboration.

Denmark would like to express its support to the draft strategic plan that we have before us today, as we believe it sets forth a viable, strategic direction for fulfilling the goals of ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda. It is no secret that UNFPA is experiencing challenging times. In such times, a strong strategic plan is an essential tool to secure the organisation’s focus and efficiency. We also appreciate that the Strategic Plan reflects the legacy of the late Dr. Babatunde in its continued commitment to ensuring the rights of all women and girls to decide over their own lives.

We further find that the plan builds on UNFPA’s technical experience and lessons learned, and we also take note of the plan’s alignment with the QCPR resolution and UNFPA’s openness towards the Secretary-General’s reform agenda. For these reasons, we are pleased with the final version and are ready to endorse it at this second regular session.

Allow me, Mr. President, to touch briefly on a few issues in relation to the Strategic Plan, which are of particular importance for Denmark:

Gender equality and the right of women and girls to decide freely over their own bodies is an important and cross-cutting priority for Danish development and humanitarian assistance. We therefore strongly welcome the new Strategic Plan’s continued commitment to ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as its focus on empowering women, adolescents and youth. The fight for the fundamental rights of women and girls is crucial at this moment in time and Denmark is stepping up our efforts in this regard. We are thus strongly engaged in the SheDecides global movement that works to ensure that every girl and woman can freely decide what to do with her body. I am also very pleased to announce that the Danish Government has proposed to increase our yearly contribution to the UNFPA with 24 mill USD from next year, reaching an annual level of more than 56 mill USD in support of the sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls, and youths across the world.

To ensure that the UNFPA is able to deliver on its mandate, we need to make sure the organisation works in the smartest and most effective way possible. It remains important for the UNFPA to respond to decreased funding in a balanced and meaningful way, which ensures the best possible outcomes at country level. It is also crucial that the UNFPA, alongside all funds and programmes, contribute actively to realizing the UN reform agenda. There is a need for finding new ways to work together across the UN development system but also in partnership with other stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, to bring about innovative approaches to sustainable development.

We appreciate the emphasis on innovation in the Strategic Plan. Denmark has long supported the innovation efforts of the UNFPA as well as other funds and programmes, as we believe innovative methods allows us to better deliver on the promises of the 2030 Agenda and UNFPA’s mandate.

Working in new ways also means breaking down silos and bridging the gaps between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. As both a humanitarian and development actor, often placed in fragile contexts, UNFPA plays a central role in strengthening the integration and coherence between these efforts. Denmark welcomes references in the Strategic Plan to such endeavours, as we consider integrated actions on the ground a key principle for the work of UN funds and programmes.

In closing, let me once again express Denmark’s appreciation of UNFPA’s work and to assure you that you can count on Denmark’s support for the implementation of the new Strategic Plan in the coming years. 

Thank you, Mr. President.