Statement by Denmark on behalf of Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Panama, Sweden, Turkey, and Denmark on UNICEFs Humanitarian Work, UNICEF Executive Board First Regular Session, 2-4 February 2016
Thank you, Mr. President.
I deliver this statement on behalf of Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Panama, Sweden, Turkey, and my own country Denmark.
First of all, we wish to thank UNICEF for this briefing as well as for an impressive effort delivered in 2015. 2015 was marked by an unprecedented number and scale of crises and we saw UNICEF’s largest ever appeal for humanitarian funding. Noting that the humanitarian work comprises around 40% of UNICEF’s budget, we strongly encourage UNICEF to make sure this is appropriately reflected on the agenda of the Executive Board sessions, ensuring both information on the humanitarian work and oversight thereof for the board.
We welcome UNICEF’s work towards and focus on breaking down silos between humanitarian and development work. Protracted crises triggering displacement is the biggest challenge facing the international aid community. The High Level Panel for Humanitarian Financing recommends that we bridge the humanitarian-development divide and move to joint humanitarian-development programming and financing to more effectively address protracted crises. We need to explore ways to break down the humanitarian-development divide and look at funding instruments that can unlock both humanitarian and development funding streams. We look to UNICEF to work with us in this process. With its double mandate and as a member of both the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and the UN Development Group, UNICEF is well positioned to implement this agenda and we would like to know more about how UNICEF will take this agenda forward.
We also welcome the engagement of UNICEF with the work of the Humanitarian and Development Action Group - consisting of OCHA, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP and the World Bank, supported by the Center on International Cooperation. Their think-piece to address protracted displacement and approach to a framework for development-humanitarian cooperation is an important inter-agency work. Joint analysis and multi-year planning and engagement from development and humanitarian actors to achieve collective outcomes will be key.
We recognize UNICEF as one of the main humanitarian actors and the lead agency for several clusters and areas of responsibilities, and see intra- as well as inter-cluster coordination as being extremely important. We encourage UNICEF to continue remaining committed to delivering on its responsibilities for inter-agency coordination and fulfilling its accountability in emergencies including meeting the Core Commitments for Children (CCC) within these clusters/sectors.
During the last few years, UNICEF has invested efforts in improving their operational efficiency on the ground by improving internal process and systems to facilitate collaboration with civil society actors and other partners. We encourage UNICEF to continue taking steps to strengthening this area in order to respond even faster to emergencies.
At the same time, we encourage UNICEF to continue to increase the transparency on utilization of funds and to look into innovative ways of reducing the costs of responding to humanitarian emergencies.
While respecting accountability measures, a move towards localized systems that benefit both displaced people and host societies and communities is equally important. So is the empowerment of women and girls. We will only reach sustainable solutions by including this half of the population in the humanitarian response as well.
We welcome UNICEF’s engagement with other UN agencies to increase coherence in pooled funding modalities to ensure a system that is ’fit for purpose’. We welcome UNICEF’s intention to participate actively in helping to develop instruments that support more integrated and coherent action across the pillars of the UN and we look forward to cooperating with UNICEF in developing these instruments.
We welcome the High Level Panel for Humanitarian Financing recommendations to reduce duplication and management costs, to do more joint and impartial needs assessments and to apply more flexible multi-year humanitarian programming and funding. We look forward to receiving information on how UNICEF positions itself in response to those of the HLP recommendations which are targeted at aid organizations and we ourselves recognize the need for flexible, multi-year funding for protracted crises – short-term solutions are no longer adequate.
We thank UNICEF for updating us on the status of the Emergency Programme Fund. We note with regret that a lack of regular resources left the EPF far from reaching its new ceiling and resulting in only USD 28.8 million disbursed to 15 country offices. This underscores the need for all donors to consider contributing to UNICEF’s regular resources and we thank UNICEF for drawing our attention to this. We welcome UNICEF’s plans to improve the EPF through strengthened monitoring and upfront and faster reimbursements of grants and look forward to continued updates from UNICEF on the EPF.
We would like to thank UNICEF for their leading role in ensuring strengthened support for education in emergencies and protracted crises. For too long the international community has delivered too little and too late in this field. We fully support UNICEF’s commitment to prioritize quality education and protection in emergencies, two programmatic areas that meet short- and long-term needs. We encourage UNICEF to work with partners to ensure the best possible results from the World Humanitarian Summit in these areas. We welcome the initiative to establish a common platform for education in emergencies and protracted crises in connection with the World Humanitarian Summit.
We further welcome UNICEF’s role in the No Lost Generation initiative. Ensuring that refugee children and youth have access to education is instrumental to avoid a generation losing out on opportunities because of the Syrian crisis.
We welcome UNICEF’s focus on equity and learning, an approach which also includes nutrition and child protection and encompasses non-formal education. We encourage UNICEF to continue this comprehensive approach.
Finally, we welcome UNICEF’s work on innovation, also in the context of humanitarian work. Innovations such as RapidFTR (Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification), which helps humanitarian workers collect, sort and share information about unaccompanied and separated children in emergency situations, are essential tools for improving responses in emergency situations. We encourage UNICEF to continue to seek new and innovative solutions to solve the complex problems of humanitarian crises and we commit to working with UNICEF to better utilize innovation in emergencies to promote community-based feed-back mechanisms that are especially geared to women and young people. This will help to promote accountability to affected people which is a key priority emerging from World Humanitarian Summit consultations.