STATEMENT BY H.E. MS. SANJA ŠTIGLIC

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1 Check against delivery STATEMENT BY H.E. MS. SANJA ŠTIGLIC Ambassador Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations United Nations Children s Fund Executive Board Annual session 2010 New York, 1 June

2 Distinguished Executive Director, Members of the Executive Board, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to warmly welcome Mr. Anthony Lake at his first session of UNICEF Executive Board in his new role as Executive Director of this prestigious organization. Mr. Lake, your wealth of experience in international arena and your commitment to peace and security, development and human rights, together with your dedication to improving the lives of children worldwide and your long standing ties with UNICEF, assure us that you will lead UNICEF to new successes. We support your vision for UNICEF that clearly places an agenda for children at the front and heart of our response to enormous challenges of today and focuses on accelerating the work of UNICEF and its partners towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by We share your belief that in order to succeed we must put the human face, especially the face of forgotten children on MDGs and refocus our efforts on the poorest most vulnerable and marginalized children in every corner of the world and we must fulfill the rights of every child. We wish you best of luck and pledge our full support to your endeavors. Slovenia welcomes the Annual Report of the Executive Director on progress and achievements of UNICEF in 2009 and on the review of mediumterm strategic plan for We especially welcome the emphasis put on 2

3 the results in the implementation of relevant MDGs. Children are at the very heart of those goals, as it is emphasized also in the report. The set target year 2015 is quickly approaching. We hope and believe that the High Level Plenary meeting in September will bring a renewed political commitment to the MDG agenda and will intensify the efforts of the global community towards achieving the goals on time. At such an historic moment, the bottom quintile must become the world s top priority, to use the words of the Executive Director. We should therefore expect the acceleration of activities in the next 5 years. In that light, we call on UNICEF to continue to strengthen its focus on MDG related activities, results and reporting, especially in the link between maternal and newborn health. It is important that health systems effectively support pregnant women and children in the early days of their lives. Further efforts are needed to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and prevention of HIV/AIDS. We believe that an important measure in fight against HIV/AIDS is to build on UNICEF antiretroviral treatment experiences and to broaden the engagement of men through regimens for prevention of mother to child transmission. In many parts of the world the impacts of the financial and economic crisis are still deeply felt. Together with humanitarian crisis, food crisis and climate change, they have and will continue to effect firstly and mostly the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, among which children may suffer the most. I would like to join previous speakers and commend the role UNICEF plays in responding to humanitarian crises and emergencies, such as the recent one in Haiti. 3

4 Crises exacerbated vulnerabilities of children to child labour, violence and trafficking. The increased child labour rates in Africa and significant threat to gains in Latin America and Caribbean are worrisome. Also because this will erase gains in malnutrition and children s health, gravely endanger children s rights and will negatively affect number of children at schools. A large number of countries have achieved significant progress in net school enrolment and several stand a good chance of achieving universal primary education by We should build on that progress and focus on inequalities and improving the quality of education. If we are determined and we all should be to reach MDGs on time it is of outmost importance to reach the excluded, the poorest and the most vulnerable. We appreciate UNICEF s efforts to reach currently unreached children and urge them to continue with their efforts in all five focus areas. The report conveys a clear message that community-led approaches work. Building partnerships with broad range of stakeholders, including the representatives of local communities, civil societies and private sector, are crucial to achieving progress and should therefore be at the forefront of UNICEF work. UNICEF should take the leading role in projects where it has comparative advantages, and assist/cooperate with its partners where it can complement with its expertise. We are happy to see that UNICEF sees strengthening and building new partnerships as an area to be further improved in the next phase of the medium-term Strategic plan implementation. The areas where Slovenia would like to see further improvements are also UNICEF assistance in capacity building and, in data collection, monitoring and evaluation. In that respect, we are looking forward to briefing on the 4

5 contribution of UNICEF to capacity development at the second regular session in September, and to further explanation on how to effectively address main obstacles to adequate monitoring evaluation and use of existing data. Strong evidence based measures are needed for decisions on the most appropriate actions and measures for achieving the set goals. In the five focus areas of the Strategic plan, which are the ones where the shortcoming of monitoring, evaluation and use of existing data present the greatest challenge? In conclusion, Slovenia will continue to closely follow UNICEF work in children s (especially girls ) education, in child s protection (with special emphasis on strengthening national systems and legislations, children s rights, violence against children and children in armed conflicts), and in improving children s health and in empowerment of girls and women. Slovenia will continue to be a strong supporter of UNICEF work and of its dedicated staff including through financial contributions to the organization. Thank you. 5

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