NEW YORK, 9 February 2021 – “Thanks, Ambassador Plepytė, in your inspiring phrases.
“And congratulations, as soon as once more, in your election as President of the Government Board for 2021.
“We welcome you again to the UNICEF household in your new position and sit up for working with you within the 12 months forward.
“I might additionally like to acknowledge the Vice-Presidents, members of the Board, and all the observers — together with UNICEF employees — who’re tuning in right this moment.
“This 12 months, UNICEF marks its seventy fifth anniversary. This is a crucial milestone, and a possibility to focus on the position our group, and generations of employees members, have performed in serving and supporting youngsters.
“It would even be a possibility to proceed our crucial work to alter and adapt our group for the long run.
“As we now have mentioned at earlier periods, the challenges that youngsters face have modified dramatically over the past 75 years.
“How we assist them should change, too.
“We start this momentous 12 months for UNICEF confronted with a variety of huge — and even unprecedented — challenges.
“Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world was already off-track in assembly the Sustainable Growth Targets.
“Kids’s security, lives and futures have been threatened by worsening humanitarian emergencies…by continued violence…by poverty, exclusion and discrimination…by the results of a altering local weather…by a denial of their primary rights to well being and training…and by financial and societal inequalities that restricted their futures.
“Fairly merely, we weren’t attaining the outcomes we would have liked to attain.
“The pandemic has made this case a lot worse.
“After we met one 12 months in the past, the virus was simply starting to unfold.
“One month later, our world was modified fully.
“Mixed with international financial woes — together with the excessive chance of a protracted recession, decreased social spending and growth help, and rising humanitarian wants — the variety of individuals needing our assist will multiply.
“International locations will want unprecedented ranges of help to attain lasting growth progress within the midst of COVID-19. Not solely to rebuild shattered techniques — however to construct them again stronger than earlier than. All whereas supporting populations in new methods, as households battle to recuperate.
“Particularly, the pandemic has upended the lives of youngsters.
“Lockdowns. Transportation and motion restrictions. Interruptions in important providers like immunizations and primary healthcare. College closures. Financial impacts.
“1.6 billion have been shut out of faculty — typically with out web entry at dwelling.
“Two billion confronted disruptions of their nations’ violence prevention and response providers.
“Meals insecurity and malnutrition have spiked — with a further 132 million individuals poised to go hungry this 12 months, together with 44 million youngsters.
“Interrupted well being care providers like vaccinations might lead to a further two million under-five deaths and 200,000 stillbirths around the globe this 12 months.
“And economies — each family and nationwide, regional and international — are going through what seems to be a deep and extended recession.
“The World Financial institution just lately reported that the variety of individuals plunged into poverty final 12 months reached 124 million. In 2021, the Financial institution estimates that this quantity might rise to between 143 and 163 million.
“UNICEF estimates that the financial ache is barely starting — particularly for individuals who are already poor and with out entry to social protections.
“With out instant motion and funding, the full variety of youngsters dwelling in poor households might attain simply over 725 million. Almost two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
“That is particularly worrying after we contemplate the disequalizing results of a two-tier exit from COVID-19. Vaccine nationalism, over-contracting, and provide hoarding by wealthy nations — primarily in North America and Western Europe — stay a severe threat. The results of which could possibly be felt for generations.
“Dr. Tedros from the World Well being Group just lately reminded us that the world is on a brink of a catastrophic ethical failure if we vaccinate the world’s richest nations on the expense of the world’s poorest.
“He’s proper. However such a failure would even be a catastrophic sensible failure.
“A brand new research commissioned by the Worldwide Chamber of Commerce finds that if rich nations are vaccinated whereas low-income nations should not, the worldwide financial system might undergo a lack of as much as $9 trillion.
“And vaccinated or not, rich nations whose economies depend upon the worldwide buy and motion of products and merchandise will really feel that ache.
“As individuals in growing nations have much less to spend.
“And as continued lockdowns and restrictions interrupt provide chains, and hinder the transportation and motion of elements and parts for completed merchandise upon which complete industries rely.
“Extra broadly, this failure would additionally lead to doubtlessly historic ranges of want that the worldwide group would wish to assist on an pressing and certainly, sustained, foundation. Wants that wealthier nations can be known as upon to fill.
“In brief — COVID-19 lit the fuse of what could possibly be the most important disruption to international progress for kids in fashionable historical past. One that can trigger deep and lasting ache to all nations. Together with these struggling to climb the event ladder, but additionally richer nations which depend upon international commerce and to whom the world will flip for assist.
“This worrying image is darkened additional by the disastrous results of the humanitarian crises scarring our world.
“From Yemen, which is teetering on the point of a famine.
“To the unrest in Tigray, Ethiopia, which is sending over 56,000 individuals throughout the border to Sudan.
“To Niger, the place youngsters are being caught within the violence — with 17 extra killed on January 2.
“To the kids throughout Central America and Mexico fleeing violence, crime and poverty — and the devastating results of the current hurricanes Iota and Eta.
“To ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Cameroon.
“To the Sahel, the place greater than two million individuals have fled due to battle. Becoming a member of the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced, migrant and refugee youngsters around the globe who’ve fled their properties because of conflicts, or from the results of a altering local weather.
“To the current suicide bombings in a crowded Baghdad market that killed over 30 individuals — a grim reminder that peace stays stubbornly out of attain in Iraq.
“To the kids of Syria — a technology of them rising up below the shadow of a 10-year battle, going through continued violence, shattered techniques and each day threats to their well being and security as they face one other harsh winter.
“The youngsters and households dwelling by means of these emergencies are positioned below a double burden — from the hazards they face every day from the battle, and now from a lethal virus that threatens not solely their lives, however their livelihoods, and all of the techniques they depend on.
“However amidst this darkness, due to the assist of this Board, UNICEF is difficult at work.
“We’re innovating and creating new options. Not solely to answer the virus, however to set the stage for a extra equal restoration…to make sure the achievement of the rights of each baby…for extra outcomes for kids…for extra progress in the direction of the Sustainable Growth Targets and our dedication to leaving nobody behind…and for extra assist for nations and communities as they recuperate, rebuild, and strengthen techniques for the long run.
“And our work started instantly after COVID-19 struck one 12 months in the past.
“Our employees members sprang into motion to assist the worldwide response, led by WHO.
“As communities struggled with the virus and its many impacts — together with disruptions to move and logistics — UNICEF was there.
“We maintained a gradual pipeline of lifesaving provides to communities in want. Final 12 months alone, we procured provides value $4.43 billion — the very best in UNICEF’s historical past. A significant driver of this historic procurement was COVID-19 provides like PPE, clear water, hygiene provides, cleaning soap, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic assessments.
“As households tried to guard themselves from the virus, UNICEF was there to offer info, steering and instruments to remain protected — reaching greater than three billion individuals with this assist.
“As colleges closed their doorways, UNICEF was there to assist college students.
“We discovered new methods to assist distant studying — by means of studying kits, radio and tv broadcasts, and even distance studying over the web. We cowl high-tech, low-tech and no-tech environments.
“For instance, in Pakistan, we labored with the federal government to launch Teleschool, an academic TV channel that supplied eight hours of training a day for eight million Pakistani youngsters.
“In Afghanistan, we joined forces with the International Partnership for Training, Training Can not Wait, the Gates Basis and ECHO to barter and broaden Group Primarily based Training to hard-to-reach areas. We’re at present reaching 160,000 Afghan youngsters with this mannequin and, this 12 months, hope to achieve 140,000 extra — together with women. An inspiring instance of how we are able to reimagine training for each baby, and achieve this in an especially difficult context.
“Our Studying Passport initiative with Microsoft and Cambridge College is offering versatile on-line and offline studying for college kids in Timor-Leste, Puntland, Somalia, Jordan and elsewhere.
“We proceed to attract companions and assist to our Giga initiative to attach each faculty on this planet to the web.
“And we’re taking a look at this connectivity to additionally assist us scale-up options for younger individuals to achieve the talents and coaching — particularly digital — they should enter the workforce, as a part of our Era Limitless partnership.
“As well being techniques have been interrupted, UNICEF was there.
“Because the pandemic’s begin, we now have reached virtually 75 million youngsters and girls with important well being care — from immunization, to antenatal, supply and postnatal care, to managing COVID-19 instances, to treating 3.7 million youngsters for extreme acute malnutrition.
“As vaccination campaigns floor to a halt, UNICEF was there to kick-start them again into motion, persevering with our battle towards preventable ailments.
“In Syria, for instance, we managed to soundly immunize over 900,000 youngsters towards polio for the reason that pandemic started.
“UNICEF was there to broaden water, sanitation and hygiene providers — that are all crucial to preventing COVID-19.
“Final 12 months, we reached over 73 million weak individuals with important provides like cleaning soap and hygiene kits, and put in handwashing stations and latrines that supported hundreds of thousands of individuals.
“In Egypt, we labored with the Ministry of Well being and Inhabitants to develop technical steering on the protected reopening of colleges, together with the significance of hygiene services.
“And in Afghanistan, we reached greater than 220,000 internally displaced individuals with new WASH installations and services at border crossings, and in well being care services.
“As nations labored to trace the unfold of the COVID-19 virus and plan accordingly, UNICEF was there to assist nations apply progressive information.
“For instance, we labored with Indonesia’s Ministry of Well being to design a platform to trace gaps within the pandemic response in hospitals throughout the nation.
“And in Bangladesh, we helped set up a COVID-19 emergency operations centre to assist the federal government monitor, in real-time, reporting and information from greater than 14,000 public well being services throughout the nation.
“As safety providers floor to a halt, UNICEF was there to choose them up.
“Because the pandemic’s begin, UNICEF and our companions have reached virtually 75 million youngsters, dad and mom and caregivers with psychological well being counselling, psychosocial assist, and messaging on tips on how to cope throughout these attempting occasions.
“We’re supporting hotlines in nations just like the Philippines and Somalia.
“In Colombia, we helped draft and roll-out new steering on how authorities can stop sexual exploitation and abuse throughout the pandemic.
“And in nations around the globe, we’re utilizing new channels to stop gender-based violence — together with cellphones, SMS, radio and tv.
“Because the pandemic took its toll on households, UNICEF was there.
“Greater than 150,000 households are actually benefitting from money transfers we supplied to assist households buy meals and well being care, for instance.
“And we supplied each funding and technical help to assist governments scale-up current social safety programmes and help — programming that supported greater than 45 million households final 12 months.
“As humanitarian emergencies like conflicts raged on, UNICEF was there. Delivering assist. Vitamin. Well being care. Vaccinations. Money transfers. Water and sanitation. Training. All within the face of a pandemic that put the households dwelling by means of these crises below a crushing double burden.
“As funding for our responses was put below intense new pressures, UNICEF redoubled our efforts to spark new partnerships, develop new financing mechanisms, and summon donor funding. Not solely to assist our instant response to the pandemic, but additionally the arduous work forward as we companion with the private and non-private sectors to reimagine and rebuild the techniques upon which youngsters rely.
“And now, because the world awaits the supply of the COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF is there as soon as once more.
“Our management position within the new COVAX facility to buy, transport and ship the vaccine is an inspiring vote of confidence in our experience and skills — and the worldwide belief UNICEF has earned over the many years to ship in occasions of nice want.
“We are able to all take pleasure on this.
“We’re aiming for 2 billion doses by 2021 — which can double UNICEF’s annual supply of vaccine to greater than 4 billion doses.
“To get this historic job carried out, we’re working with producers on procurement…with transportation, freight and logistics companions on supply…and with storage companions to maintain our chilly chains efficient and defend these lifesaving vaccines each step of the way in which.
“And our groups are working with nations to assist them put together for this large enterprise.
“We have to ensure that nations have reliable chilly chains.
“That their well being staff are skilled and able to ship every of the vaccines as they arrive.
“That well being authorities develop equitable distribution plans, based mostly on want — in what order they must be delivered.
“That well being staff are prioritized within the roll-out, to allow them to get again to supporting youngsters and moms with the opposite crucial well being providers they want — from vaccinations, to obstetric care, to stopping malnutrition.
“That lecturers are prioritized so colleges can function safely.
“That communities and people alike perceive the significance and security of vaccines — that they settle for them.
“And that different important well being providers proceed because the vaccine rollout occurs. We can’t threat buying and selling one illness for an additional.
“We are going to talk about all of those outcomes, and UNICEF’s COVID-19 response, in additional element tomorrow with our WHO colleagues.
“However you will need to be aware that none of those outcomes can be attainable with out the continued assist and stewardship of this Board.
“We admire our ongoing discussions round working strategies, analysis and our monetary image.
“We additionally worth your recommendation and steering as UNICEF continues to guide on many components of UN reform. We stay dedicated to energetic engagement, notably on the excellent reform mandates associated to the Regional and Multi-Nation Workplace Opinions and the institution of a system-wide analysis operate.
“We are actually within the first half of the vital Decade of Motion, and all of us must do no matter we are able to to speed up progress in the direction of the Sustainable Growth Targets.
“The Quadrennial Complete Coverage Assessment, adopted in December, is a crucial a part of this. The QCPR provides us within the UN Growth System strategic steering on tips on how to take our SDG implementation efforts ahead.
“Inside UNICEF, we’re at present analyzing tips on how to finest take ahead all related QCPR mandates, together with within the growth of our new Strategic Plan. We’re notably glad to see that the overview consists of — for the primary time — mandates on youth participation and defending youngsters from violence and discrimination.
“And we welcome the overview’s reference to the Funding Compact, and we encourage Member states to satisfy their commitments round core and versatile funding.
“This week, we will even talk about a sequence of nation programme paperwork, all aligned across the new UN Sustainable Growth Co-operation Frameworks. As all the time, they’re grounded in worldwide norms and requirements and the Constitution of the United Nations. And they’re totally derived from our dedication to human rights and the Conference on the Rights of the Baby — essentially the most extensively ratified human rights instrument on this planet.
“And we are going to replace you on our progress on our new Strategic Plan, which is shaping up nicely.
“As a result of simply as UNICEF has been there for kids, we are going to proceed to be there within the years forward…with much more emphasis on reaching out to women and younger ladies.
“As we mentioned at our earlier session, the brand new Strategic Plan is being developed in a really completely different context.
“Following COVID-19, UNICEF positioned an pressing give attention to 4 key must assist youngsters throughout the pandemic — distance studying to avoid wasting futures, immunization to avoid wasting lives, water to avoid wasting communities and psychological well being to avoid wasting households.
“Within the near-term, we now have re-confirmed these priorities, and can proceed to pursue them.
“This consists of reimagining training — together with by means of new digital supply platforms — to offer each baby and younger individual with the training and expertise they want. This work is constructing momentum around the globe, and we are actually growing instruments to measure and broaden progress on this key space.
“It consists of scaling-up our work to offer water, sanitation and hygiene providers for households, colleges and healthcare services. Pre-COVID estimates discovered that 2.2 billion individuals lacked entry to protected consuming water…4.2 billion didn’t have protected sanitation providers…and three billion individuals — 40 per cent of the world’s inhabitants — didn’t have a spot of their properties to clean with water and cleaning soap.
“Going ahead, we need to attain over 45 million individuals with WASH provides and providers. And we are going to work with WHO and others to make sure that WASH turns into a everlasting fixture in authorities plans, programmes and budgets.
“We are going to work with nationwide and worldwide companions to strengthen all the programmes and techniques associated to youngsters’s well being and survival — together with immunization, diet, early childhood growth and psychological well being.
“The pandemic was a harsh reminder of how a lot work we now have to do to strengthen major well being care on the group stage. Individuals want prepared entry to a full suite of well being providers the place they dwell. From pre and antenatal providers, to vaccinations and diet, to providers that assist our dedication to SRHR.
“We are going to proceed adapting our baby safety programming to satisfy the unprecedented wants of COVID-19 — by which youngsters are out-of-school, their dad and mom are going through monetary hardships, native safety programmes are closed, and they’re spending extra time than ever on-line. On-line counselling, digital protections, hotlines for assist — these are all areas by which UNICEF can lead.
“We are going to broaden our work on social coverage and safety, to make sure that nationwide budgets prioritize youngsters and assist households in new and progressive methods as they deal with the continued financial fallout of the pandemic.
“Throughout our programming, we are going to mirror our commitments on gender, to provide each baby — women and boys alike — the assist and care they want. Our new Strategic Plan will incorporate the findings of the current analysis of our Gender Motion Plan, and plant the seeds for the brand new plan being developed for 2022-2025. This can embody a give attention to SRHR.
“We are going to advance our programming to assist handle the local weather disaster. Kids want clear air to breathe. Clear water to drink. Communities which can be ready for local weather shocks. Resilient buildings, colleges and hospitals. With out these primary components, youngsters and younger individuals will undergo poor well being and growth. Their economies will undergo. And their futures might be restricted.
“It’s time to quickly speed up our programming round this. We’re integrating local weather actions into our well being and water programming, for instance. We’re working with the personal sector to adapt a lot of our places of work to solar energy. And we are going to proceed working with our private and non-private companions to scale back the carbon footprint of our provide chains for important items and providers.
“And all through, we are going to proceed to “keep and ship” inside humanitarian emergencies. Humanitarian response and emergency programmes will all the time be a cornerstone of our work to assist each baby and younger individual. And assist their communities obtain lasting growth, and even peace, over the long run.
“To fund all of this work, and draw extra consideration and assist for kids and younger individuals, we are going to aggressively pursue new fundraising and advocacy methods.
“For instance, as a part of our digital fundraising push, we are going to execute transactional fundraising and two-way social media supporter engagement in step with the rising tendencies in e-commerce.
“This week, we will even be discussing two thrilling alternatives to attract extra monetary assist to our work.
“The primary is the Dynamo Fund — a mechanism to finance fundraising actions, and supply extra and predictable sources of funding for development within the markets the place our nation places of work are positioned.
“And the second is an progressive monetary instrument we’re growing with the World Financial institution to offer a steadily rising fund of sources to dedicate to private-sector fundraising actions. I sit up for listening to your ideas on these initiatives later this week.
“As we work with the personal sector to summon extra funds to our programming, we should additionally proceed tapping into their improvements, merchandise, market attain and experience.
“We might be discussing PFP’s workplan this week, as we re-consider our partnerships mannequin and create extra space for our personal sector companions to assist us obtain our mission.
“As we pursue extra personal sector funding, we acknowledge that it could actually by no means substitute the crucial position of public funding. We deeply admire your governments’ elevated assist for our Different Assets and the versatile Common Assets which were so vital in serving to us reply to the pandemic with the agility required. We depend in your continued dedication to rising our stage of Common Assets based mostly on the commitments made within the Funding Compact.
“As we now have mentioned at earlier periods, UNICEF’s operations require common, sustained and versatile sources — now greater than ever. The wants are rising so shortly — our groups have to be ready to behave at a second’s discover, particularly as we cope with a virus that strikes so quickly by means of complete communities, nations and areas.
“Please assist us amplify this message of pressing want in your capitals.
“All through, we are going to proceed our work to scale-up daring improvements that may rework our programming, and transfer the needle for kids.
“Identical to the fast rise of digital know-how 20 years in the past, synthetic intelligence is shortly changing into a part of our each day lives, in methods giant and small. UNICEF should play a task not solely in serving to youngsters profit — by means of training, for instance — however to guard them from any potential downfalls, together with threats to privateness or identification.
“And we are going to proceed our journey in the direction of changing into a “real-time UNICEF,” with programming and operations supported by information of the very best high quality. We need to put a brand new give attention to digital options in addition to social and behavioral sciences that may assist us higher form and goal our programming and solidify our mental management on the primary 20 years of life.
“All of those efforts might be supported by our ongoing organizational enhancements and streamlining.
“We have now already seen some glorious concepts and proposals to spice up effectivity and save time and sources. We’re lowering paperwork. We have now consolidated and moved a variety of features to lower-cost areas. We should end this vital work, and provides our employees members the fashionable, agile and environment friendly techniques — and time — they should proceed serving and supporting youngsters.
“We’re persevering with our journey to simplify and mirror on our work modalities, implement long-overdue organizational enhancements, and develop into a extra various and inclusive UNICEF.
“And we are going to proceed enhancing our human sources system, and put individuals on the centre of our techniques and insurance policies. We should present the instruments, coaching and profession alternatives our employees members deserve.
“All through, we are going to match our donors’ generosity in these difficult financial occasions with our dedication to robust monetary stewardship and transparency throughout the group.
“We’re very proud that, for the eighth consecutive 12 months, UNICEF has obtained an unqualified audit opinion from the Board of Auditors on our monetary statements.
“And we proceed to carefully monitor our monetary estimates, in case additional revisions or offsets are wanted to deal with any potential downturn in sources.
“In these unsure financial occasions, you may depend on UNICEF to remain inside inexpensive spending ranges, and modify our budgets accordingly. That is our dedication to you.
“By this difficult interval, we are going to proceed adapting and altering to the wants of youngsters.
“They don’t seem to be going through this pandemic, and its related challenges, alone. We’re standing with them collectively. As a UNICEF household.
“As we start a brand new 12 months, allow us to each rejoice and construct on UNICEF’s 75-year legacy.
“And allow us to set a transparent instance of how the world can unite behind youngsters and younger individuals in new methods.
“How we are able to serve and assist them in each context — together with by means of a historic pandemic.
“How we are able to slender the gaps of inequality, injustice and revenue that preserve too many from the futures they deserve.
“How we will help each baby, in every single place, notice their rights.
“And the way we are able to assist nations as they embark on the lengthy highway to lasting restoration and growth.
“As soon as once more, thanks for standing with UNICEF throughout this difficult interval — and for serving to us fulfill our crucial mission.”