Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations, Mr. Margus Kolga, at the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Annual session 2011 (UNFPA segment)
Thank you, Madame President,
In the outset, allow me to thank the Executive Director for the productive beginning of his term. We are half-way through the UNFPA strategic plan, and this years’ annual report is more than annual – we appreciate the good and frank overview of progress towards the ICPD agenda during the last three years, as well as the challenges faced. Estonia commends your vision forward that ICPD should continue to be at the core of UNFPA’s new strategy.
ICPD agenda and is as relevant in 2011 as it was 16 years ago. Negotiations at different fora around ICPD have been very challenging this year. Estonia is a firm supporter of the Cairo Program of Action both in domestic and international policy. Gender equality and the empowerment of women are the cornerstones of development, of which sexual and reproductive health and rights is a crucial element.
This week the UN also hosts the High-level HIV/AIDS review, which touches an important branch of UNFPA’s work. Gender inequality is one of the drivers of the epidemic. Ensuring maternal, newborn and child health and preventing vertical transmission is a common goal that we hope to be agreed in the political declaration on Friday.
We commend the Executive Director for his vision on how to accelerate the ICPD agenda. Achieving universal access to reproductive health, promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, and achieving progress towards MDG5 is indeed the very essence of the mandate entrusted to UNFPA. The enabling environment of human rights and gender equality, with the aim of improving the lives of women and youth is a vision very well worded, and you can count on Estonia’s support to realise this mandate.
We are reiterating now and again that the development landscape is changing – new and emerging donors and contributors play an increasingly important role in financing the UN operational activities. Estonia has supported UNFPA since 2002 by core voluntary contributions. Our core contribution to UNFPA for 2011 was transferred in the end of last year. Estonia is committed to increasing its development assistance contributions, including our core funding to UNFPA.
We are looking forward to the mid-term review in September.