Ministry Statements & Speeches:
New Zealand commends the hard work of UNICEF staff members. We acknowledge, with great sadness, the bravery of those who lost their lives this year while serving with UNICEF. We extend our gratitude to staff members that are currently working in unpredictable circumstances.
UNICEF is one of the stronger performing UN agencies. This is demonstrated by UNICEF supporting significantly more countries to improve child protection services last year than the year before. Furthermore, more countries worked with UNICEF on developing national nutritional plans.
UNICEF and the World Food Programme enhanced their collaboration in emergency responses. UNICEF developed adolescent HIV data assessment tools and more countries are able to report on HIV in terms of the age and sex of those affected.
New Zealand supports UNICEF’s focus on the most disadvantaged children. We are pleased that the evaluation of the Monitoring Results for Equity System has led to sharpened attention on the world’s most vulnerable children.
Importantly, the evaluation showed that better data does not always lead to better decision making for the most disadvantaged children. Unless we better understand the impacts of not attending to those in greatest needs, we will never be in a position to do our best by them.
We were pleased, however, to learn that decision makers in a vast majority of programme countries used UNICEF data on equity gaps to influence design of national programmes.
New Zealand commends UNICEF’s commitment to strengthening the independence of its Evaluation Office. UNICEF has improved evaluation quality and aims to increase its spending on evaluation. New Zealand supports these trends and all efforts to strengthen national evaluation capacity.
UNICEF has concluded that evaluation performance in the areas of human rights, gender and equity has been weak in recent years. We encourage UNICEF’s ongoing commitment to making improvement over time.
New Zealand supports current efforts to provide greater clarity regarding UNICEF’s specific contribution to results for children. We are advised that changes to some indicators, baselines and targets in the Strategic Results Framework are needed.
We recognise that results frameworks should change when implementation experience provides new learning but suggest greater explanation of this in the Annual Report to this session would have been helpful. We look forward to learning more about reporting on the Framework as a whole in future.
New Zealand would like to take this opportunity to commend UNICEF’s activities in some Pacific Small Island Developing States. In Vanuatu, UNICEF’s work on water and sanitation after Tropical Cyclone Pam has been both strategic and proactive. The Pacific Maternal Newborn and Child Health Programme is improving immunisation, newborn health and health systems. UNICEF has responded quickly and decisively to recent measles outbreaks in some countries.
As always, New Zealand stands ready to support UNICEF and the Executive Director over the coming year.