General Assembly: Statement by Minister Counsellor Silberberg on the UNICEF Annual Report
(General Assembly: Statement as delivered by Minister Counsellor Silberberg on the Annual Report of the Executive Director of UNICEF)
First of all, I would like to thank the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director for their very informative briefing on the annual report. We appreciate UNICEF's constant efforts to improve the situation of children and all the work the Organization has accomplished in the past year. I would also like to thank you, Mr. Lake, personally for all the hard work you have put into your daily efforts to make UNICEF more effective, efficient and transparent in order to achieve better results for the children in the world.
From the financial point of view, we are glad to see that UNICEF’s resources have increased in the past year. Although this can mainly be ascribed to additional funding for Emergencies, it is a positive trend which we hope will continue in the years to come. We commend UNICEF on reducing the administrative costs as well as travel costs at country office level, which means that more resources can be allocated to the actual programme benefit rather than administrative processes.
Over the last years, some results could be achieved with regard to the Millennium Development Goals, especially in the area of child mortality and the access to safe drinking water, which is a priority of the German human rights agenda.
However we remain concerned about the report on growing inequalities between the richest and the poorest regions but also within countries. It is important, that this trend be reversed and efforts be focused on the most disadvantaged children. We believe that UNICEF’s equity focus is especially promising in this regard.
In the past year UNICEF along with the international community had to face particular humanitarian challenges, especially in the Horn of Africa, where drought and famine coincide with a difficult security situation. At the moment we are facing another famine in the Sahel region, where the situation will most probably aggravate in the months to come. It is important, that UNICEF has adequate resources at its disposal to react quickly and unbureaucratically to such challenges. In this kind of situations it is always the children who are the most vulnerable and suffer the greatest consequences. We therefore need to put our efforts together to protect children and make sure that they have enough food, water and shelter so that they not only survive, but that their life is also liveable.
We welcome UNICEF’s interest in innovative products and processes, some of which were already presented during the last Executive Board session in February. Innovation, especially using modern and mobile technology, provides opportunities to also reach out to people in remote areas and therefore helping them to help themselves in a sustainable manner. It is important that UNICEF continues this path.
It is with great concern that we see that the safety and security of UNICEF personnel in the field, especially in conflict areas, is more and more in danger. In order to carry out their function UNICEF staff need to feel safe and their work must be unhindered. Adequate measures to secure the safety and security of UNICEF personnel should therefore be initiated and employed as soon as possible.
Delivering as One has proven to be a very promising tool for better results at country levels. We would therefore like to see more and continuous efforts on mainstreaming the Delivering as One initiative and the harmonization with other UN agencies and programs, and would in this context appreciate updates on recent developments and on the inclusion of Delivering as One into the upcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.
We believe that it is important to increase the efficiency not only of UNICEF's work, but also of the Executive Board meetings, especially in the light of the recent developments on conference costs. Executive Board sessions bind large amounts of resources which could benefit children more directly. We therefore think that it is time to come up with sustainable solutions to making sure that the Board is able to fulfill its functions in the most cost-effective way.
Finally we would like to thank UNICEF for all the work it is doing in the protection of children affected by armed conflict, which continues to be a focus of the German government. UNICEF fulfils many reporting and monitoring functions in this regard and we appreciate the good collaboration we have had as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.