Remarks by H.E. Mr. Margus Kolga at United Nations at UNICEF Executive Board Annual Session
Mr. President, Mr. Executive
Director, distinguished delegates,
outset I would like to commend the Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, for
the forward looking and visionary overview of the progress and achievements
made in 2014.
same token I commend the work done by UNICEF in reducing maternal and child mortality, and their success in
tackling child killing diseases. Countries around the world have achieved progress
towards the achievement of MDGs. The mortality rate of children under age five is
declining faster than ever, new HIV infections among children younger than 15
have declined significantly, the number of stunted children under five has decreased,
access to improved drinking water has improved, and gaps in primary school
attendance between different groups have narrowed. Many of these
accomplishments are the achievements of each country, but the contribution of
development partners needs to be acknowledged. Recent field visits to Bangkok
and Malaysia clearly showed to my delegation the strength of UNICEF in scaling
up innovative solutions and helping make achieving development goals a reality.
the Executive Director has been very successful in passionately advocating
UNICEF´s focus on equity. During
recent years, progress has been achieved in reducing equity gaps. However, the
progress has been mixed and many challenges still remain. Today we heard how
UNICEF is embedding an equity focus across its work as well as recommendations for
how UNICEF and its partners can continue achieving results for children around
the world in the future, with equity. Estonia agrees with this vision and share
the view that concentrating on the most marginalised and disadvantaged boys and
girls is the key to achieving sustainable development. This is not only the
right principle, it can be highly cost-effective too. It is imperative to
invest in children´s education, health and nutrition, and protection from
violence, exploitation and abuse, factors that end up negatively impacting how
he/she is able to function in and contribute to the society in adulthood.
important to ensure the status of the child as a rights holder with the right
to recognize their dignity and the right for equal protection under the law. To
do so, more emphasis should be placed on violence prevention, which requires
sound expenditure, but is an investment in the wellbeing of children. From
research we know that violence against children has high costs for both victims
and society. Preventing all kind of violence using effective interventions
improves children’s outcomes and is cost-effective for society. We have to
integrate a child protection system with horizontal and vertical cooperation at
country level, as well as at a global level with international organisations
like UNICEF to ensure the effective outcome for children.
focus is especially important as we are at the final stage of discussing the post 2015 agenda. We believe that
making progress for children across all the SDGs is the only way to end poverty
in all its forms everywhere. We support UNICEF´s active role in working with
Government and civil society partners to incorporate child-focused targets and
indicators in the post-2015 development framework.
Humanitarian needs worldwide continue to grow dramatically. Almost every
few months a new crisis erupts and at the same time, the protracted crises do
not go away. These emergencies are stretching the capacity of the humanitarian
system. Regrettably, the humanitarian sector faces a growing number of
emergencies caused by conflicts. In 2014
as many as 15 million children were caught up in violent conflicts around the
world - in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and
Gaza and the West Bank. Estonia highly appreciates UNICEF´s valuable
contribution to the collective humanitarian response and also UNICEF´s
important role in integrating humanitarian action and development goals.
context I would like to stress how important it is to respect international
norms and IHL. Unfortunately, the humanitarian actors have never been more
insecure. This also represents a serious challenge to the operation of
international agencies, including UNICEF who, sadly, just recently lost 4 aid
workers in an attack in Somalia.
We must demand protection for the people who have devoted their lives to helping
others and working for humanitarian relief operations. I
take this opportunity to thank all the UNICEF field staff for their remarkable dedication, often working under difficult
and dangerous circumstances.
welcomes UNICEF´s work on gender
equality and violence against women
and girls in emergencies. We encourage you to continue your work on these
important issues, as well as your cooperation with UNFPA and the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and
Violence against Children.
is prudent to acknowledge that UNICEF´s total income has continued to increase,
especially the income for humanitarian assistance (19%). I am hopeful that the
principle of efficiency and effectiveness will continue to guide your work. UNICEF
continues to be a key partner for Estonian humanitarian contributions to those
most vulnerable. The Estonian
government has gradually increased its contributions, including core
contributions, to UNICEF over the last 17 years. Last week, the Estonian
Foreign Minister confirmed our continued support to the Executive Director.