New Zealand too expresses its condolences for the sad loss of Nasreen Khan and Basra Hassan, who lost their lives in the service of the children of Afghanistan, and their families.
We wish to make a few brief comments on matters before the Board today.
First, New Zealand commends UNICEF for the leadership and collaboration it has demonstrated in the development of the gender action plan, particular on its efforts to end child marriage and address all forms of violence against women and girls in collaboration with UN-Women, UNFPA and UNDP.
New Zealand will be aligning itself with others in more detailed statements on the plan.
Secondly, New Zealand supports UNICEF’s plans to strengthen its contribution to collective humanitarian response, including through the IASC Transformative Agenda.
We welcome the Strengthening Humanitarian Action initiative to fulfill the commitments in the UNICEF Strategic Plan for 2014-2017, and the emphasis on the interrelationship between humanitarian and long-term development in the plan.
We are pleased to see integration of gender across all sectors in the strategic plan, including humanitarian assistance. We fully support UNICEF’s work on gender-based violence and abuse and exploitation in humanitarian contexts.
New Zealand welcomes the involvement of emergency practitioners from UNICEF, other UN agencies and external partners to provide real-time needs assessments, re-establish services, document rights violations and assist those affected by the crisis.
Thirdly, New Zealand encourages UNICEF to continue to support national efforts to protect children in armed conflict, who are vulnerable to sexual violence and other forms of exploitation and abuse.
We commend UNICEF for its advocacy work on child protection, especially in conflict situations (but also in natural disasters), and the priority it is according this urgent issue across many sectors in the post-2015 development agenda.
As we have heard today from the Executive Director, Mr Tony Lake, child protection in emergencies requires special attention, especially given the long-term impacts of violence and neglect on a child’s brain development and attitudes later in life. We were taken by Mr Lake’s phrase about a generation healed, not hardened.
New Zealand supports UNICEF in its work with governments to bring about systemic and policy changes, guided always by the long-term needs of children, and ultimately the development goals of the whole society.
Birth registration and family unification must be a priority, whether in crises caused by conflict or natural disasters. It was great to hear from Mr Lake about the SMS reunification system. We also underscore UNICEF’s important contribution to the process of developing the sustainable development goals.
We appreciated the presentation from EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs: the comprehensive and enduring - and indeed growing - partnership between the EU and UNICEF is an example for us all.
I’ve talked a lot about what we support. New Zealand demonstrates its support to the important mandate and work carried by UNICEF by providing $NZ 12 million for 2014-15 (approximately $US10 million) in core contributions, in addition to non-core and humanitarian funding.
This year New Zealand is also giving $NZ 5 million towards UNICEF’s humanitarian work for the children of Syria.
Finally Mr President,
New Zealand commends the hard work and courage of the staff of UNICEF and its partners in bringing humanitarian relief to children and their families in dangerous and traumatic circumstances worldwide.