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Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on Agenda item 2: UNICEF Strategic Plan, at 2nd regular session of UNICEF Executive Board, 12 September 2017 in New York

12.10.2017  01:38

(Check against delivery)

Thank you, Mr President.

Let me at the outset of this statement begin by echoing my colleagues in expressing my condolences sympathies to the people of Antigua & Barbuda. We stand by you in your efforts to assist those affected.

Let me also thank you for your introductory statement. As you know I am fully behind you in your proposal for looking into reforming how we work in the boards. I believe that we as part of the discussion on reforming the UN development system need to take this topic into consideration as well. Rather sooner than later.

Let me also thank the Executive Director for an inspiring introduction and statement. I will come back to a few of your points during my statement.

I would also like to begin by expressing Denmark’s gratitude to UNICEF staff around the world. You do a fantastic job – often under very difficult circumstances. This is highly appreciated.

Mr President, we believe that the Strategic Plan, which we have before us today, is an excellent and balanced document that takes into due consideration the different views and concerns expressed by member states. In an ideal world, there may be a few things we would have like to prioritize even higher, but we are definitely ready to endorse it. In particular we welcome the very strong focus on results. It will definitely improve UNICEF’s capacity to operate as a results-based and innovative organisation that delivers measurable results for children globally.

Allow me, Mr. President, to touch briefly on a couple of issues in relation to the Strategic Plan that are important for Denmark to highlight: 

We welcome how the human rights based approach has been integrated throughout the Strategic Plan as a guiding principle – this is crucial to ensure sustainable societies where every child is able to attain their full potential.

It is important that UNICEF keeps focus on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, especially who are often are most affected in fragile contexts. We are pleased to see that the Strategic Plan includes gender equality as a cross-cutting priority in all Goal Areas and that the plan is ambitious in its efforts to strengthen gender mainstreaming compared with previous versions of the plan. Furthermore, we welcome the new Gender Action Plan. The gender equality perspectives need be strengthened in all of UNICEF’s operational activities – both development and humanitarian.

UNICEF is a key organisation in both development and humanitarian assistance, and it consequently has a very important role to play in the efforts in bridging humanitarian action and development assistance to address the needs of the most disadvantaged children. We therefore welcome the way humanitarian assistance has been stronger integrated as a crosscutting priority in all Goal Areas. We would have liked to see a more elaborate focus on the commitments made by UNICEF at the World Humanitarian Summit, including references to the Grand Bargain Commitments and New Ways of Working. But we also welcome that the Executive Director in his four-year vision emphasized this area as particularly important.

It is of the utmost importance that Funds and Programmes actively contribute to the realisation of the Secretary-General’s reform Agenda, specifically on development. We would have liked to see UNICEF stating as one of its goal areas that it will be working as a pioneer for UN reform of the development system and for “Delivering as One”. We are aware that this is integrated into the Strategic Plan, but we just want to underline that it is extremely important for us to see that there is a positive development on this issue. It is also highly important in order to re-establish the trust in the international system. And as Mr Lake said it is important to integrate the way we work not only between sectors but also among partners.

That is also why we welcome the inclusion of the common chapter in the Strategic Plan. But the job is not done only with the inclusion of the chapter. It needs to guide how the entirety of the Strategic Plan is implemented.

Financing is also important. We are pleased to hear that UNICEF will be looking to strengthening your focus on creating partnerships with the private sector. Not only looking for donors but also in more strategic ways and trying to have private partners engaged in the work towards achieving sustainable development for the children.

Finally, innovation has the potential of reaching more people in a more effective manner and at less cost. We therefore appreciate the importance given to innovation in the Strategic Plan, including a specific indicator in the results framework. It is a focus area in our assistance to member states in their efforts to reach the SDGs. For that same reason, we have been providing funding for innovation efforts to UNICEF and other funds and programmes, and we will continue to do so moving forward.

In conclusion, we will continue to be a strong and committed partner to UNICEF. We look forward to working with you in implementing this Strategic Plan in the four years to come.

Thank you, Mr. President.