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Remarks by H.E. Mr. Margus Kolga at United Nations at UNICEF Executive Board Annual Session

03.06.2014

Mr President, Mr Executive Director, distinguished delegates,

 

I would like to thank the President Ambassador Macharia Kamau and the Executive Director Tony Lake for their leadership and opening statements to the Executive Board this morning and Mr. Lake for the presentation of the annual report. I would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to UNICEF´s staff around the world, many of whom work under difficult conditions and in areas with threats to their security.

 

The 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important milestone for protecting children around the world. A lot of progress has been made during these years and lot of challenges are still there - therefore we underline specially the importance of implementation of the convention. The convention should not be just a normative framework, it should be fully implemented at all levels and we encourage countries to undertake additional measures to ensure children’s rights.

 

Estonia commends UNICEF for the progress made in 2013. The annual report of the Executive Director shows significant achievement and at the same time acknowledging challenges encountered. We would like to congratulate UNICEF on the achievements made in children’s health and well-being over the course of last year. I would particularly like to mention the significant decrease of under-five mortality and the advances made in the area of basic education, gender equality and child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse. More countries to have laws prohibiting violence against children, increasing number of countries penalize all forms of sexual exploitation of girls and boys, the number of new HIV infections in children has fallen considerably. Progress is also seen in reducing out of school rates, however, more work needs to be done to address gender disparities in education sector.

 

Estonia welcomes the progress UNICEF has made with implementing the QCPR, particularly the progress made in mainstreaming gender equality in areas such as education and water, sanitation and hygiene; increasing partnerships, including with the World Bank and UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen its engagement on cross-UN process. We encourage UNICEF to be actively involved in the second generation of Delivering as One-approach to empower Resident Coordinators as representatives of the entire UN-system at country level.

 

Estonia appreciates UNICEF´s continuous efforts to become more focused and results-oriented. We are pleased to see the work done on strengthening Management for Results, including simplifying work processes and strengthening regional office capacities. It is especially important that UNICEF is cost-effective and results oriented at a country level. We support establishment of the post of Deputy Executive Director for field results as part of UNICEF´s efforts to strengthening the Management for Results.

 

I welcome that UNICEF is constantly seeking to find new ways to more effectively respond to children’s needs, including through an increased focus on innovation. The Annual Report gives many examples on how UNICEF works as a knowledge-based and innovative organisation. Improving community-based information and accountability systems, supporting network of innovation laboratories, innovative programmes to improve participation and learning by the most disadvantaged girls, mobile-team deployments and third-party monitoring in humanitarian responses are just a few examples of UNICEF’s innovation initiatives. We encourage UNICEF to continue investment in research, institutional capacity and competence.

 

Estonia highly appreciates UNICEF´s humanitarian programmes and the role they have on lives of countless children in acute and long-term crises. Last year has been extremely challenging in the humanitarian field with four Level 3 emergencies.  Based on that reality we would like to see the considerations for increasing UNICEFs preparedness to deal with more than two Level 3 emergencies at the same time, as it is now. We commend UNICEF’s work on strengthening its ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, to lead and coordinate humanitarian responses. We are pleased to see the greater emphasis on protecting children from shocks and volatility and stronger links between humanitarian and development action, enabling more effective resilience strategies. We also commend UNICEF’s continued efforts to find innovative ways to respond to humanitarian crises. That said, it would be a preferable to see more work done on measurement of results in this area.  

 

As for UNICEF´s gender work, we are pleased to see that gender issues related to children’s well-being and rights were more strongly addressed in 2013. The most reported areas for gender mainstreaming were education, reduction of gender-based violence and WASH. However, there are still many challenges in promoting gender equality. Therefore we warmly welcome UNICEF’s work on the Gender Action plan 2014-2017 and look forward to the discussions during this week.

 

Estonia remains a strong supporter of UNICEF. 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 and thematic support. 

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

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