UNICEF Executive Board. The Annual Report of the Executive Director

Allow me to thank the Executive Director for the clear vision set out in his comprehensive statement to the Executive Board this morning.

As to the Annual Report - and here let me thank the Director for presenting it - I would first of all like to note the improvements that have been made in accordance with Executive Board Decision 2010/1 of last January. At the same time, we remain of the view that the report would benefit from a more qualitative analysis of the results achieved and the challenges encountered by the fund over the reporting period. Thus it would be helpful in a number of instances if the fund could clarify how exactly the fund obtained or, as the case may be, contributed to a particular result.

Let me illustrate. We are informed, for example, that the procurement of insecticide-treated bednets to contain malaria increased by 62% in 2009. But we are not shown to what extent the correct use of such nets contributed to the observed decline in malaria prevalence. As important as the growing procurement of bednets may be, we need also ascertain that more bednets are actually being used as intended. Is it possible that other improvements, including better drugs or their greater availability, are contributing to lowering prevalence rates? If UNICEF had the information on such different factors and were able to assess their relative importance, this would no doubt give us a more accurate picture of the results achieved.

Turning to other aspects of the report, it is encouraging that external evaluations are playing a greater part in the programme design of UNICEF. We would suggest a clearer separation of the report proper and the in-depth review. We would also consider it useful to include a succinct statement of the priority issues that UNICEF anticipates in the coming years.

 UNICEF has made considerable efforts in mainstreaming gender equality in focus areas of its work. We encourage the fund to stay on course, guided by results-based indicators. Obviously, to be effective in this regard the fund requires appropriate levels of funding. Therefore, we very much welcome the Executive Director’s support for the follow-up to the gender-policy evaluation with a special allocation of 4.25 million USD.

Lastly, UNICEF has an important role to play in humanitarian work, including emergencies, whether as a leader or contributor. Here also, we look forward to receiving an update on UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen gender equality as mentioned in the report. 

In conclusion, allow me congratulate our new Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, on his appointment. I wish to assure him of Iceland’s undivided support and look forward to working closely with him and his capable staff.

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