Statement by H.E. Mr. Margus Kolga at the UNICEF Executive Board
At the outset, allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President, for your election. I thank the Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake for the overview of the 2011 highlights and his innovative vision for the future. 2011 witnessed profound, and still ongoing, changes in the world. As catastrophes and disasters are becoming more large scale and complex and the resources to tackle them are becoming more and more limited, innovative solutions must therefore become a tool for aid and development. Despite the unfavourable world economic climate, UNICEF’s equity approach has showcased considerable increase of total voluntary contributions. UNICEF has been truly successful in engaging the private sector, which shows example also to other UN agencies. The Estonian government has contributed to UNICEF core resources for 14 years and will continue to do so with an increase in our contribution for next year. As a small donor, we would like to see every penny count to the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation.
In that regard, Estonia is looking forward to the outcome of the Delivering as One independent evaluation in June, and we hope that Delivering as One will become a UN norm rather than exception, as the Secretary-General implied to his plans to launch the Second Phase. Yet - the board will be adopting the first South Sudan country program document later this week – it is somewhat unexpected that a new programme country is not presenting a common country programme.
UNICEF’s humanitarian programmes have improved the lives of countless children. We very highly appreciate the work done by UNICEF in striving towards ending violence against children, as well as educating children, especially girls, in conflict and camp environment. Using innovative solutions in education can accelerate attaining universal primary education for all children. UNICEF’s access to the vulnerable children in Southern Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa in the most difficult and unsafe conditions is nothing but commendable. We think it would be helpful to hear periodic humanitarian discussions at the Executive Board. UNICEF has also been successful in mainstreaming gender issues in humanitarian settings. The gender marker has proven to be a valuable inside tool for several UN agencies, Estonia commends the possible development of a common gender marker for the whole UN. The division of labour between the UN-Women and other funds and programs seems to be settling down after one year.