Statement by Ambassador Wittig at the 2011 Annual Session of the UNICEF Executive Board

Jun 20, 2011

(as delivered)

Madam President

We express our appreciation for the achievements of the past year. Many important decisions on the future course of UNICEF have been taken.

Germany supports the equity- based approach which UNICEF has adopted under Tony Lake’s leadership. This approach provides a more efficient way for UNICEF to contribute to reaching the MDGs. We agree with the Executive Director that a sharper focus on equity is proving essential to delivering results for children.

Germany furthermore is a strong supporter of the human rights based approach UNICEF is following. We commend UNICEF’s role in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The past year has confronted us with many unpredictable challenges in the form of natural disasters of a new scale. The flooding in Pakistan and the earthquake in Haiti have gravely affected the lives of many children. Events have shown that disaster preparedness is especially important as children are the most vulnerable in such tragic events. We therefore welcome UNICEF’s intention to focus on this area in the future.

Germany welcomes UNICEF's endeavours to further increase management efficiency and cost effectiveness, we are content to see that UNICEF is planning further steps in this regard. We also welcome the importance UNICEF is attaching to efforts to improve system-wide coherence with the UN system. We also support UNICEF’s intention to proactively increase partnership with non-state actors.

Madam President,

We especially appreciate UNICEF's activities on water and sanitation. Germany, together with Spain, has been a driving force to the international recognition of the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. The resolution at Human Rights Council 15 can be considered a mayor breakthrough.

Consequently, this May Germany hosted the Joint Monitoring Programme Workshop in cooperation with UNICEF and WHO. This workshop assessed possibilities of implementing the standards set by the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in regard to the MDGs. Although the world is apparently on track to meet the MDG on drinking water, we are concerned that this seems not to be the case for sanitation. Consequently, Germany supports the Five Year Drive for Sanitation adopted by the UN. Germany also supported the work of the Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque and has forged a close cooperation with WASH United.

Madam President,

Finally, I would like to address an issue to which Germany attaches special importance:  Children and armed conflict.

Germany very much appreciates UNICEF's activities in the field of children and armed conflict, and in particular its eminent  role in the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism created by Security Council resolution 1612. This mechanism has undoubtedly contributed to the reintegration of tens of thousands of former child soldiers. I could witness the good work done by UNICEF on the ground myself, when I visited Afghanistan in my capacity as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict two weeks ago.

UNICEF also significantly contributes to the collection of data according to Security Council resolution 1882 and is also actively involved in the set up of the new Monitoring, Analysing and Reporting Mechanism on sexual violence in conflict. according to SR RES 1888 and 1960.

Too many children still suffer from conflicts. The successful reintegration of children affected by armed conflict into their respective communities is one of the key issues to achieve lasting success.

Germany, as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on children and armed conflict intends to further strengthen and develop the instruments available to the Security Council to protect children from the effects of armed conflicts. We are currently working on a draft resolution, to be submitted to the Council under the German Presidency in July. The resolution aims at expanding the listing criteria for the ‘list of shame’ in the annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed conflict to also include attacks on schools and hospitals as another ‘trigger’. We hope for the support of all member states of UNICEF in this regard.

In closing, I would like to reassure UNICEF that Germany will remain a most reliable partner for UNICEF.

Thank you.

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