Statement delivered by Craig J. Hawke, Permanent Representative of the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 3 June 2019

New Zealand would like to express its gratitude to Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem and her teams for the comprehensive report. New Zealand is pleased with the progress made in the first year of implementation of the Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The focus on three transformative results is clearly bearing fruit for UNFPA and making a difference in the lives of people around the world. We especially value the critical role that UNFPA is playing in the Pacific and Small Island Developing States.

New Zealand strongly supports UNFPA’s mandate and its commitment to protecting and advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all. Protecting these rights is essential to improving the lives of women and girls, adolescents, and young people.

2019 is an important year for UNFPA and for sexual and reproductive health and rights. UNFPA turns 50, and it is 25 years since the adoption of the principles at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. It is therefore a time for reflection on the progress we have made and the ground we still must cover on sexual, reproductive and maternal health.

New Zealand commends UNFPA on its work to integrate the rights of persons with disabilities into its programmes. If persons with disabilities were a formally recognised minority group, they would be one of the largest in the world. UNFPA’s work in this area helps ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind, can exercise their rights, and be part of an inclusive world.

New Zealand would like to recognise UNFPA for its innovative application of technologies – such as the use of geographic information systems in sexual and reproductive health services and census activities. Similarly, we were pleased to read about the open data platform being developed that would enable public access to population data. We look forward to seeing what other technologies may be applicable to strengthen UNFPA’s programmes and activities.

We note the work UNFPA is undertaking on reducing its carbon emissions and congratulate UNFPA on four years of climate neutrality. It is important for agencies to play their part on climate action.

We value the critical role that UNFPA plays in humanitarian crises. New Zealand is pleased to support UNFPA to help meet the urgent needs of Rakhine state refugees in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh.

In conclusion, Mr President, you should take from this statement that New Zealand considers UNFPA is delivering on its mandate in a timely and effective way, in some challenging circumstances. We will continue to stand by and support the Executive Director and the entire UNFPA team in implementation of the UNFPA mission.