UNICEF Executive Board, Joint statement on cost-efficiency
Thank you Madam President,
I would like to deliver this statement on behalf of Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bangladesh, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, New-Zealand, Norway, The Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, The United States, and my own country, Canada.
We would like to congratulate the Executive Director Mr. Tony Lake, UNICEF staff, the Secretariat, the Bureau, Board’s colleagues and observers, and all the interpreters, for a successful and efficient annual session of the Executive Board 2012.
We are pleased with the decisions debated and approved during this session. We believe they are quality decisions that have benefitted from a good preparatory process, as well as genuine exchanges between UNICEF, members of Executive Board and among Board members.
We would like to express our appreciation for the Executive Director’s commitment towards cost efficiencies and his encouragement for an even more efficient functioning of the Executive Board. We note Mr. Lake’s comments, in his opening remarks, on the exorbitant costs related to the management of documentation, and the opportunity cost these represent for programming for children. We recognize the substantial potential for savings that could be realized by improving planning, management, conduct of meetings, including informal meetings and other improved practices.
Madam President, we are very much aware of the impact of last year’s decision by the Fifth Committee to transfer the cost of official meetings, originally covered by the Secretariat, to individual Funds and Programs. This decision imposes an additional burden on UNICEF’s institutional budget, as it does on all other Funds and Programs. We understand the new urgency to contain conference costs effectively, and we very much welcome UNICEF diligence to address this issue.
We believe that UNICEF and its Board should however carefully review the situation. This cannot be done in haste. We believe that a thorough examination of potential savings, not only regarding documentation, but also all other related costs, would be extremely beneficial. In this regard, we encourage UNICEF and the Secretariat to work closely with the relevant UN bodies, Departments and Offices, as well as with the other Funds and Programs, with a view to examine options to limit costs.
Madam President, we take cost efficiency and effectiveness very seriously as they are an important part of the governance responsibilities of this Board and can affect the scope and depth of our exchanges. Many member states view participation and interactive debate in the work of the Board, as a key part of their oversight function, and is closely related to their ability to leverage funding, and to improve development results. From this perspective, we would like to consider options and solutions for cost savings in the context of enhancing the quality of the interaction and dialogue, the sharing of knowledge, and the transparency in decision making. In that regard, the respect of the rules of the Executive Board relating to the working and official languages, and the availability of translated documents in a timely manner is part of ensuring a conducive environment.
Madam President, let me conclude by stating that we see this, as an opportunity to work better, more efficiently, for the ultimate benefit of Children. We stand ready to engage further, and constructively, on this issue. Thank you.