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Closing remarks of the President of the Executive Board, Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen, UNICEF Executive Board First Regular Session - Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN : Current Affairs : Statements

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Speeches, 2/11/2013

UNICEF Executive Board First Regular Session (5th -8th February 2013)

Closing remarks of the President of the Executive Board, Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Executive Director Lake,

Before we close this session, I would like to make some final remarks on the work we have accomplished over the last 4 days.

I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all participants for their rich and useful interventions. I was especially pleased by the broad engagement of delegations, across all regional groups.

In my opening remarks on Tuesday, I said that I would aim to chair the Executive Board in a spirit of openness and constructive dialogue which is interactive, inclusive and has as its guiding principle the best interests of the child.

I am glad to notice that this has indeed been the spirit that has prevailed at the Executive Board of UNICEF and I feel this is a very good basis to continue our work throughout the rest of the year.

I am particularly impressed with how attentively and openly UNICEF has listened and responded to the delegations.

I would like to also thank the facilitators for all their efforts in bringing the negotiations on the six draft decisions to a speedy and successful conclusion.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our discussions this week were held at a defining moment for UNICEF while the organization prepares for the next medium-term strategic plan and integrated budget, guided by the QCPR and discussions on the post-2015 agenda.

Tuesday’s special focus session on the collaboration of the World Bank and UNICEF illustrated that in response to these complex changes, we must begin to ask new kinds of questions that will frame new innovative approaches.

Indeed, the dialogue with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake showed that there are already a significant number – and potentially many more – opportunities for cooperation between the two organizations. I hope we can bring this kind of openness to collaboration to other parts of the UN as well.

During the week, we also had substantive discussions on the end-of cycle review of the current MTSP and the draft outline of the next MTSP, on Children and AIDS, on the Annual Report to ECOSOC and on three recent global thematic evaluations – all of these prepared the ground well for other sessions this year.

As UNICEF will only be able to respond to these complex challenges if it has available adequate core regular resources, it is worrying that UNICEF has registered a 7 per cent decline of core resources over the past year, as the Executive Director mentioned in his opening statement.

We thank Member States for showing their strong commitment to stem and reverse this trend, including a number of Member States that announced their commitment to support UNICEF by pledging significant contributions in the Pledging Event yesterday.

I was also glad to note the positive developments showed in the discussion we had on private fundraising on Wednesday. I would like to acknowledge and thank all representatives of the National Committees for your important work to this end.

It is essential to recognize that UNICEF’s remarkable work is carried out by a committed and competent staff and I believe the presentation of the UNICEF Staff Awards this morning in this forum is an appropriate way to show our appreciation for their dedicated work whether here at headquarters or in the field.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish, on behalf of the Executive Board members, to express my particular gratitude to the Executive Director, his Deputies for their leadership, their engagement and frank interaction with us during this session. Let me also thank the Secretary of the Executive Board, his efficient team, the interpreters and UN conference services, for making this second PaperSmart session of the UNICEF Executive Board run so smoothly once again.

I particularly welcome the remarkable level of collaboration among UNICEF and its three sister agencies, which proposed jointly a revised cost recovery framework, methodology and rates, and enabled the four Boards to draft a robust decision last week, using an innovative and successful joint facilitation approach. I am impressed by the true spirit of coherence shown by UNICEF and UNWomen that allowed the UNWomen Board to formally adopt this important decision in a cost-efficient manner this morning.

In conclusion, I am delighted that we had such a spirited and indeed productive session this week, and I would like to thank the Vice-Presidents for their collaboration during the session and all the members of the Executive Board for your thoughtful engagement and constructive participation, which helped make this session a success.

 Let us continue in this vein and continue to give our full support to the invaluable work of UNICEF to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in the world and realize their rights.

With this, I close the 2013 First Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNICEF.

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Updated 2/11/2013

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