Thank you, Mdm. President.
At the outset, let me express my thoughts and deepest sympathy with the people of Antigua and Barbuda and everyone else who were affected by Hurricane Irma. Let me assure you once again that Norway stands ready to support with humanitarian assistance.
I would also like to thank the President and the Executive Director for their inspiring opening statements.
Norway places great importance on our partnership with UNICEF. As good friends, we will continue to be honest and constructive, and hold the organisation to a high standard. Personally, I look forward to continue this work in my capacity as chair of the UNICEF board next year.
We congratulate UNICEF on the final version of its new strategic plan. Its priorities and approaches correspond well with ours. UNICEF is not least a key partner in the follow-up of our givernment’s global education initiative.
Norway fully shares the Secretary-General’s vision for the UN and actively supports his reform agenda. A stronger and more effective UN requires that all entities, including UNICEF, act in a coherent and integrated manner at the country level. We will not achieve the 2030 Agenda unless we meet the needs and respect the rights of all children. UNICEF plays a key role in assisting member states in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
We look forward to systematic and analytic annual reporting on the strategic plan, and on UNICEF’s follow up of the QCPR. We encourage further work to ensure consistency between the QCPR provisions and indicators in the common chapter. Indicators which show how individual agencies change their behaviour over time should be selected with the aim of enhancing collaboration and improving common results at country level.
UN organizations must have differentiated approaches to their engagement in different contexts, and prioritize the least developed countries and fragile states. We welcome UNICEF's intention to reach the most marginalized children first, and urge UNICEF to report on how the principles of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first are operationalized within its different functions.
We would welcome reporting to the board on the development of disaggregated data, as such data will be crucial in documenting UNICEF’s efforts to reach the most marginalized children.
We call upon UNICEF to keep in close dialogue with member states in drafting a new evaluation policy. It is vital to increase the independence of the evaluation function. We believe a mid-term review preferably in 2019 would be the appropriate moment for incorporating changes in the strategic plan, based on the outcome of intergovernmental processes following the Secretary General’s final report.
Mdm. President, UNICEF is a valued partner in our humanitarian work. Given UNICEFs double mandate, we welcome the way in which humanitarian action has been incorporated into the new strategic plan. This is a step towards further bridging the gap between development work and humanitarian efforts.
We look forward to continuing our cooperation with UNICEF, realizing the rights of every child. Norway will maintain a high level of core and softly earmarked support to UNICEF. For us, burden sharing is an important multilateral principle, and we encourage member states to increase their contributions to UNICEF’s core resources, in order to ensure that the organization can deliver on its very important mandate.
Let me end this statement on a personal note. I started in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 25 years ago. My first job was as desk officer for UNICEF. Since then, UNICEF and the rights of children have always been close to my heart. It is with particular pleasure that I will take on the role as President of the Board next year. I look forward to work closely with member states, the UNICEF Executive Director and UNICEF staff.