New Zealand joins those who’ve paid tribute to the Executive Director and his team for their work and commitment to UNFPA’s agenda.
As a long-standing supporter of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), New Zealand specifically supports the draft Strategic Plan 2014-17 with its clear focus on population dynamics, gender equality and human rights.
We commend UNFPA for the inclusive and transparent consultative process by which this plan was developed, and for the way it has been shaped by major changes since the last plan.
Those changes include both impressive achievements and stark inequalities.
Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, yet women still only own one per cent of the world’s wealth.
Over the past 20 years, maternal deaths have fallen by nearly half yet, every day, 800 women die from childbirth and the complications of pregnancy.
More than 220 million women still have unmet needs for modern contraception.
Nine billion people will inhabit this world by 2050, many of them young, most living in urban areas.
The pressure this places on resources makes sustainability central to the international development agenda.
So, it’s timely that we are discussing the strategic plan for UNFPA for 2014-17.
There is an urgency attached to accelerating progress on achieving the Millennium Development Goals because, although there has been unprecedented progress, the results have been uneven.
This is particularly so for many of the health-related goals. In particular, MDG 5 on maternal health is unlikely to be met.
The first year of the plan also marks the 20th year since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.
The ICPD agenda remains unfinished in many areas, so we are pleased to see the UNFPA strategic plan, 2014-2017 focuses on furthering this agenda, particularly on access to sexual and reproductive health and the realisation of reproductive rights.
New Zealand wishes to draw attention to what we regard as five of the main strengths of the draft strategic plan.
First, in focusing on accelerating progress on international commitments in the context of the changing global environment, the draft plan underscores the relevance of UNFPA’s role in setting a vision for women and youth.
Second, the draft strategic plan is built on a solid foundation, including a wide range of stakeholder views, and alignment with the QCPR and other significant intergovernmental processes.
It takes into account, for example, the review of the ICPD beyond 2014, the post-2015 development agenda, Rio+20, the Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and the Hyogo Framework for Action for disaster risk reduction.
Third, the refocused strategic plan has repositioned access to sexual reproductive health and the realisation of reproductive rights at the very heart of UNFPA’s work.
This includes enabling couples and individuals to access modern forms of contraception so they can choose the number, the spacing and the timing of their children.
We see access to family planning, reduction of maternal mortality and addressing HIV as human rights issues as well as delivering significant benefits for economic development, reduction of poverty and developmental impacts for the other MDGs.
Fourth, the strategic plan focuses on the most marginalised and vulnerable, including indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and women and adolescents in humanitarian settings.
We support the plan’s goals to eliminate discrimination based on migrant status, disability, HIV status, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Fifth, we are pleased with the alignment of the plan with the QCPR, in particular, inter-agency coordination to improve organisational effectiveness.
Two examples include UNFPA’s work with UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP for a harmonised approach to applying value-for-money principles; and UNFPA’s collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO, on meeting the need for adolescents and young people to access comprehensive age-appropriate sexuality education.
In our view this inter-agency process will also improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UNFPA enabling it to do a better job of serving women and youth around the world.
Finally, Mr President,
New Zealand commends the work of UNFPA and its implementing partners for frontline work in conflict situations around the world, including in Syria.
Humanitarian crises have taken a heavy toll on mothers and pregnant women fleeing for their lives and those of their children.
As families are torn apart, women and girls lose the safety of their communities and are exposed to violence, harassment, abuse and exploitation.
We pay tribute to UNFPA staff and those of their implementing partners who have provided care in challenging circumstances, including emergency obstetric care, family planning and medical and psychological support to survivors of sexual violence - not only in Syria and its neighbouring countries, but in all conflict areas around the world.
New Zealand looks forward to the successful implementation of the strategic plan over the next four years, and wishes the Executive Director, and his staff, well in his task.