UNICEF Executive Board First Annual Session
UNICEF Executive Board
First Annual Session
Opening of the session and special focus session
H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations
New York, 4 February 2014
Mr President, Mr. Lake, Mr. Piebalgs, dear colleagues,
First of all, let me congratulate you with your appointment as President of the Board. Let me thank Mr. Lake and Mr. Piebalgs for their important statements.
I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers who work for the National Committees in many countries, including the Netherlands, who raise money and thus enhance the support to UNICEF. The fact that UNICEF attracts so many is witness to the importance people attach to the mandate of the organization.
Allow me to make 6 comments:
First: In 2014 the Netherlands is again a member of the Board of UNICEF. My country has always been a strong supporter of UNICEF programs and we will continue to be your partner. We contribute to core resources and to programs on WASH, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Social Protection, Nutrition and Peacebuilding and Education. In 2013 my government contributed 141 million EURO to UNICEF. The Dutch National Committee contributes around 50 million EURO annually, an impressive figure.
We are convinced that UNICEF is needed more than ever for advocacy, for protection of the rights of the child.
Second: UNICEF has an important role in reaching the MDGs before 2015 and in the post-2015 era. And I would like to thank you, Mr. Lake, for your relentless commitment and focus in this respect. As you mentioned in your speech, child protection and a human rights based approach strengthen the sustainability of development results. These issues should find their rightful place in the post-2015 development agenda.
In crisis and conflict affected situations, protection, development and the improvement of the lives of children, adolescents and their families should form a key component of all UN efforts.
Third: We welcome today’s exchange on the growing partnership between the European Union and UNICEF. A long-term and strategic relationship will benefit UNICEF’s mandate and Strategic Plan in different areas worldwide.
Fourth: Adolescent girls merit our special attention, as many of them drop out of school, enter into early or forced marriage and give birth at young age. Investing in them is a human rights imperative, and it also gives high returns for the girls themselves and society at large. We would welcome the enhancement of the partnerships in this area.
Fifth, the QCPR and Delivering as One are strong instruments to enhance UN coherence and effectiveness in development through multi-sectoral approaches. We would be interested to know how the partnership between the European Union and UNICEF takes into account the policy, practice and cooperation that have been developed between UN partners in this area.
Finally, let me reiterate the extreme concern expressed by UNICEF about South-Sudanese soldiers stealing UNICEF school backpacks from UN warehouses. These backpacks were destined for their children. If soldiers steal from their children, we still have a long way to go – and an incident like this underlines the imperative role UNICEF has to play.
Thank you, Mr. President.