I have the honour here today to speak on behalf of Canada, Ireland, Malawi, the Netherlands and Tanzania, as well as the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway.
UNICEF’s sincere commitment to the rights and well being of all children, has given the organization the necessary credibility to establish good relations in many countries over many years. This achievement is to be applauded and constitutes a good basis for achieving the MDGs and contribute to aid effectiveness and national ownership.
Against this background we welcome UNICEF’s efforts to develop a new strategic approach to its work with civil society and the private sector. We also appreciate the inclusive process that has led up to the discussions today.
The new partnership framework is very timely in light of the financial and economic crisis. Preliminary statistics show that the most vulnerable will be severely hit which makes it vital to forge alliances and use all available resources strategically and effectively.
We appreciate that the framework makes reference to aid effectiveness, sustainability and national ownership, but would have liked to have seen these principles reflected throughout the document. Looking ahead, we find it crucial that these principles guide the implementation phase, through the Agenda for action, and we look forward to learning more about its roll-out.
UNICEF has come a long way in its relationship with other UN entities and we recognize that a few examples are mentioned regarding malaria, HIV/AIDS and humanitarian clusters. Still the references are brief and there is no analysis of the lessons learned or the way ahead. We find this unfortunate since it makes the framework less comprehensive, and also less strategic, than it could have been. We think that an analysis of the work should have been included, at least at the level of Global Partnership Programmes.
We would also have liked to learn more about the important partnerships with implementing humanitarian organizations, in particular NGO’s, since Emergency Operations are a major and vital part of UNICEF’s activities.
We find it positive that the Delivering as One pilots are mentioned in the document, but again the key lessons from the pilots are not actively used in the strategy. The pilots have on the whole received positive feedback, especially from the host countries. In light of this it would have been interesting to learn more about UNICEF’s experience and how the organization will contribute to bringing the beneficial effects of the “Delivering as One” into the UN system. In particular we would like to hear more about how UNICEF is going to integrate lessons learned from the pilots at headquarters level. In this regard, we would also like to mention the UNDP evaluation on the “Delivering as One”. How does UNICEF plan to use the recommendations from this evaluation?
UNICEF works tirelessly to implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child but the framework does not cover the partnership with either the Committee on the Rights of the Child nor the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or national governments. We find that all these entities would have been important to include.
We commend UNICEF for its new thinking on working with civil society and the importance of strengthening civil society as a whole. In this context it would seem important to dwell on UNICEF’s relationship with national governments as well, since working with both civil society and governments is important for achieving human rights standards and well-being of women and children.
We warmly welcome UNICEF’s clear intention to become a better and more strategic partner. We encourage the organization to follow-through on this intention, to reach out to new strategic partnerships and to bring partners into the implementation of the framework, and in the evaluation of how it works. At the same time UNICEF always has to safeguard its brand and reputation. To jeopardize that would mean risking the lives of children.
In conclusion, let me sum up the following 5 recommendations that we believe will contribute to making the strategy a useful operative tool for UNICEF and its partners:
- UNICEF should make sure that UN reform/system-wide-coherence, the principles of aid effectiveness, sustainability and national ownership guide the implementation of the framework for partnerships.
- UNICEF should provide the organization with thorough guidance as to how to use the framework.
- UNICEF should actively bring partners into the implementation and evaluation of the framework in order to further mutual trust and in order to make it work as well as possible.
- UNICEF must make sure that the development and intensifying of partnerships, including in the private sector, does not endanger the organization’s brand and reputation. Partnerships should have strategic, added value.
- A coherent partnership strategy should encompass all of UNICEF’s partners, including other UN entities and national governments, in addition to civil society and the private sector.
We look forward to continuous discussions in the Board on different kinds of partnerships and on the implementation of the framework.
Thank you for your attention.