Let me start by warmly congratulating you on your election. We will do our utmost to support you. I would also like to thank Ambassador Pedersen and the other members of the previous Bureau for their valuable contributions to the Strategic Plan process and to improving the work of this Board. Finally, I would like to congratulate Dr. Kanem on her appointment as Executive Director and to thank her for her statement.
The new Strategic Plan positions UNFPA strongly within the 2030 Agenda, and sets out how it will contribute to achieving our common global goals.
Norway welcomes the changes UNFPA has made to the revised Results Framework. We also welcome the Secretary-General’s report on a more coherent, coordinated UN, and commend UNFPA for its constructive engagement with the reform agenda.
Effective integration of human rights and gender equality in a repositioned UN development system is critical for strengthening the UN’s ability to prevent conflict, enhance results and support member states in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
We look forward to more information about how the proposed UN country teams will be resourced, and how sufficient capacity will be ensured to safeguard UNFPA’s work and normative role in accordance with its mandate.
‘Making UNFPA fit for purpose’ means being organised in the most effective way to reach the goals in the strategic plan within the framework of UN reform.
We are encouraged by UNFPA’s efforts to strengthen its organisational effectiveness in order to deliver better results, and we look forward to learning more about the assessments, rationale and implications underlying the proposals. A key question is how the proposed strengthening of UNFPA’s country presence will align with the Secretary-General’s proposed country teams.
The protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights is crucial for sustainable development. Importantly, this is also a prerequisite for effective assistance in humanitarian situations, where a staggering 60 percent of deaths due to childbirth could have been prevented and the risk of gender based violence is much higher.
UNFPA must be a strong humanitarian actor. We welcome its efforts to find ways of responding faster and better, and we look forward to discussing the underlying assessments and likely implications of the proposed organisational changes to UNFPA’s humanitarian engagement.
The development of funding structures must better reflect actual costs. UNFPA needs a sustainable inflow of flexible funding that allows them to deliver efficiently on the Strategic Plan. The proposal expected in September on how to improve the structured funding dialogues is an opportunity to establish a forum for increased commitment to funding the integrated budget. Norway is increasing its core contribution to UNFPA.
Before I close, I would like to thank the Executive Director and her team for their visit to Norway in December, and for being such a strong champion of the rights of women and girls, adolescents and youth. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration, including our cooperation on comprehensive sexuality education. It may be a technical term, but it refers to a reality that each and every one of us can relate to. It is about the girl who believes she might die when she has her first menstruation. It is about the many women and men who do not know how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, infections and abuse. It is about how we all can live healthy lives.
Governments must take the lead in these efforts. We owe that to the populations we serve. By advancing comprehensive sexuality education, we will be better equipped to deliver on the SDGs.
Norway remains deeply committed to UNFPA, their work and their mandate and fully supports the new strategic plan. We thank the UNFPA for the crucial role they play in in saving and improving so many lives.