Estonia Becomes Vice President of UNICEF Executive Board
Last week Estonia was chosen to be the vice president of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the year 2012.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Estonia feels it is important to actively participate in shaping international humanitarian and development co-operation policy. “As the vice president of UNICEF we can increase our visibility in the international arena and address issues that are important to Estonia, such as improving the situation of children and protecting their rights,” he said.
The foreign minister noted that in 2011 Estonia supported UNICEF’s work helping children in various parts of the world with a total of 272 000 euros. “We have supported the UN Girls’ Education Initiative and allocated money to alleviate the suffering of children in Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Yemen, and Somalia. For example, in Afghanistan we helped to ensure that Afghan children’s school year could continue uninterrupted during the winter months,” he stated. The foreign minister added that Estonia will continue to support UNICEF this year.
The goal of the UNICEF Executive Board is to monitor situations and make decisions so that the organisation could function as efficiently as possible and the needs and interests of the countries receiving aid would be protected.
In 2012 the president of the UNICEF Executive Board will be Antigua and Barbuda, and the vice presidents in addition to Estonia are Finland, Kenya, and Kazakhstan. There are 36 countries on the UNICEF Executive Board. The board holds sessions three times a year, with this year’s first session taking place from 7-10 February. The other sessions will be held in June and September.