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Eesti alalise esidnaja ÜRO juures, Margus Kolga sõnavõtt ÜRO Lasteorganisatsiooni (UNICEF) nõukogus (inglise keeles)

04.02.2014

 

Mr. President, Mr. Executive Director, distinguished delegates,

 

At the outset, allow me to join others in express our deepest condolences and sympathy for the families and loved ones of UNICEF´s staff who lost their lives in a tragic attack on a restaurant in Kabul, Afganistan, on the evening of January, 17. Our special thanks go to all UNICEF staff for their tireless efforts, often carried out in very difficult and dangerous environments.

 

Mr. President,

Let me first congratulate too on being elected as the President of the Bureau and wish you success. You have all our support in your endeavours. I would also like to welcome the new members of the Bureau and Executive Board.

 

With the same token, I would like to thank the Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake for his inspiring statement, as always, and the comprehensive overview of the recent achievements and challenges in UNICEF. I take this opportunity to pledge Estonia’s support to the activities of UNICEF in protection and survival of children in the world. I have to praise UNICEF’s commitment to continue to be actively engaged in the implementation of QCPR and one of its essential components, ‘Delivering as One’ that was discussed at the joint boards meeting yesterday.

 

The presence of EU´s Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is highly welcome at this meeting, as are his comments related to the growing partnership between the European Union and UNICEF. As a member of the European Union, Estonia fully supports the stronger synergies between the UNIFEC Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the new EU development cooperation strategy Agenda for Change 2014-2020. These concrete actions will enhance the global efforts on child protection and ending violence against children.

 

Mr. President, Mr. Executive Director, distinguished delegates,

 

Rights of children is one of Estonian human rights priorities. Child protection concerns arise in all parts of the world, across many sectors, in situations of crisis and stability – it is a truly global topic. Allow me to note that Estonia appreciates the inclusion of child protection as a standalone priority in UNICEF´s Strategic Plan 2014-17 and values highly the child protection and awareness raising work UNICEF is doing, often so in conflict situations. Therefore Estonia has also supported UNICEFs programmes on child protection through our development and humanitarian budget.

 

Estonia strongly condemns all kinds of violence against children and violation of children`s rights. I am very concerned about the reports that child labour, early marriage, and recruitment of children by armed groups all have become more common in Syria during the crises. I am also worried about children being displaced, separated, maimed, abducted, killed and raped and that gender-based violence has increased dramatically during the conflict in Central African Republic. These are just a few examples how and where children are affected by armed conflict and UNICEF´s work in these situations is extremely important. “No lost generation” initiative is a good step in this respect.

Concerning the topic of children and armed conflict, I am glad to mention that Estonia has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. That was one of our promises  to the Rule of Law Summit.

 

I welcome that UNICEF is actively developing innovative ways to overcome challenges in delivering aid. There are many positive examples, like cash transfers, critical delivery of services, mobile teams that were deployed to provide real-time needs assessments and re-establish services. I encourage UNICEF to further search for and develop creative and innovative solutions, which will make the whole aid system more effective.

 

I am also looking forward to the discussions at this board session, especially on UNICEF´s Costed Gender Action Plan 2014-2017. As last year has been especially challenging with three Level 3 emergencies, we also think that the thematic discussion on UNICEF´s work in humanitarian situations is very timely.

 

Finally,

Estonian government has contributed to UNICEF’s funds for 16 years already and is committed to continue to do so with progressive way in our core contribution. 

 

Thank you!

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