As delivered by Carolyn Schwalger, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 7 February 2017.

Mr President

New Zealand joins others in congratulating Executive Director Anthony Lake and all UNICEF staff on another year of exceptional service.

The global context for children is sobering. We are concerned by estimates that up to half of the world’s children living in poverty will live in fragile contexts by 2030. Rapid demographic changes in many parts of the world will require scaling up of essential services for children and young people.

This situation requires effective responses at global, regional, national and community levels. New Zealand will continue to support UNICEF to play its vital role as a voice for children.

New Zealand supports the five themes proposed by UNICEF as the foundation of the new strategic plan. New Zealand is pleased to see QCPR calls for greater coordination within the UN system will be highlighted in the Plan.

We support UNICEF’s ongoing focus on equity and are pleased to see results framework data will be disaggregated by sex, age, disability, wealth status and location wherever possible.

New Zealand welcomes steps to improve the method for determining the amount of regular resources provided to multi-country offices. This will help small island developing countries, including in the Pacific.

In the Pacific, we are aware of the high costs of doing business due to vast distances between countries, and the reality that some countries in the region were behind in meeting the basic goals established by the MDGs.   

Further, we recognise that some small island developing states in the Pacific are among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change and resulting sea level rise, intensification of tropical cyclones and storm surges. Women and children are disproportionately affected by natural disasters and climate change.

We look to UNICEF to assist the UN system’s response to climate change risks and impacts globally. 

Turning to organisational performance, we congratulate UNICEF on improving its place in the annual International Aid Transparency Index to third place out of 46 assessed organisations.

The UN Board of Auditors expressed concern regarding weakness in the areas of budget and grants management, cash transfers and programme and inventory management.  New Zealand is concerned that in 2015 UNICEF did not improve the implementation rate of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors and we encourage UNICEF to give strong focus to resolving these issues. 

We also note that humanitarian crises have resulted in planned evaluation topics being superseded by humanitarian topics.   This is understandable, but we encourage UNICEF to ensure that evaluation receives the priority and resources outlined in the evaluation policy.

Finally Mr President

We strongly support increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the UN development and humanitarian system though sharing of administrative services and facilities. Clearly defined roles for all UN agencies will help to avoid overlaps and will produce results that are “more than the sum of the parts”.

Thank you.