1 June 2010
Statement by Ambassador Eshagh Al-habib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
at the UNICEF annual Executive Board Meeting
Agenda item 3 : Annual report of the Executive Director
(1 June 2010- New York)
In the name of God the merciful the compassionate
1- I would like to start with expressing my congratulation to Mr. Anthony Lake for the assumption of his new responsibility as the sixth Executive Director of UNICEF and wishing him success in leading the global agenda for children and upholding the universal image of UNICEF as a body devoted to health, wellbeing and happiness of the most innocent ones. We also would like to remember and appreciate Madam Ann Veneman for her leadership and advocacy during her tenure as the Executive Director.
2- Independence of UNICEF from considerations which go beyond its core mandate as well as its independence from the politics in other UN bodies are essential elements for strengthening reliability and future success of the Organization.
3- The September high level meeting on MDGs and a new Executive Director on helm have given more significance to this Board meeting. UNICEF’s role is well established and recognized in the global endeavor for realizing the MDGs. There is an inextricable link between the MDGs and the UNICEF role and mandate. Children are at the very heart of those goals as recognized by UNICEF in its MTSP report.
4- We, however, do not share the understanding that MDGs will be achieved only through “focused efforts to strengthen basic social services” as suggested by the report. As important as the basic social services are, without adequate economic support to countries with the highest burdens of child and maternal deaths and disease such services will neither be provided nor be sustained.
5- Poverty eradication and promotion of education are the backbone of global partnership to realize child related MDGs. Hence, it has always been our understanding that in most parts of the world a development-based approach to difficulties and problems of children will yield and work much better.
6- We acknowledge the progress and achievements of the Fund in 2009 and its report on the in-depth review of the medium-term strategic plan 2006-2013 (subject of the report E/ICEF/2010/9). However, on a more general and methodological aspect, we think it would be more helpful in understanding the achievements of UNICEF if better disaggregation could have been made between the performance of the member states and those of UNICEF. In many cases it is not clear which improvement is attributable to the governments and which one to the Fund performance. The criteria of assessment for many indicators are also based mainly on the number of the countries rather than the number of children, reached and serviced by UNICEF. Therefore, changes made through execution of UNICEF strategic plan are not all the way clear.
7- On a more substantive notion, the coverage of the report on MTSP seems incomprehensive. There are areas that deserve to be part of the focus and relevant result areas, which in the present report are not adequately covered and addressed. There are harmful practices and policies that endanger children mental and physical health and need to be stopped along with other internationally recognized harmful practices. More attention needs to be given to serious offenses such as child pornography, child prostitution and trafficking of children in particular the girl child mainly for sexual exploitation as well as their sexual abuse for commercial purposes. Meanwhile, laws which may endanger wellbeing of children such as ones authorizing child adoption by unmarried couples is another area that merits consideration of UNICEF under focus areas 4 and 5 of MTSP as such laws may deprive the children from their very basic and important right of being raised in a normal family.
8- Beyond these comments, we thank all the hardworking and dedicated staff of UNICEF for their achievement and performance. Working for such a noble objective as improving the living condition of children throughout the world has to be quite incredible.
Thank you very much Mr. President.