Statement by Estonian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters and Other International Organisations in Geneva Mr. Jüri Seilenthal at UNFPA Executive Board Annal sessioon 2012
Statement by Estonian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters and Other International Organisations in Geneva Mr. Jüri Seilenthal at UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board Annal sessioon 2012 (UNFPA Segment)
27 June 2012, Geneva
Mr. President, Executive Director, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin for the very comprehensive overview of the progress and achievements in 2011 regarding the UNFPA strategic plan 2008–2013. I believe that the activities of the UNFPA under new leadership since the beginning of 2011 have been well targeted and realistic. Estonia commends the UNFPA’s work towards incorporating population dynamics interlinkages with gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout the UN and public policy frameworks. The most recent example comes from the Rio+20 Conference last week, where the Member States reaffirmed our commitment to implement the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. I have to say that my delegation would have wished for stronger political commitment in Rio, since there really is no alternative to sustainable development and a human rights-based approach.
We value highly the work of the UNFPA in the field of reproductive health and rights in the national processes of vulnerable countries. We would like to recognize the UNFPA’s support to increase human resources and the quality of health services for women and children in order to improve maternal and newborn health and reduce maternal mortality. The work to improve young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention services has been crucial in reducing adolescent pregnancies and child marriages. Despite that, many challenges still remain, especially to reach the most vulnerable population groups.
We are glad to witness the effective partnerships of the UNFPA with government agencies, other UN organizations, and local and international NGOs to implement these goals. We would like to recognize the collective work done in mainstreaming gender equality and protecting reproductive rights, as well as efforts in response to gender-based violence.
Most of all I would like to recognize the use of innovative solutions in UNFPA programmes and the work done to create better access to sexual and reproductive health information in vulnerable countries, to develop innovative youth programmes, to improve the training of healthcare workers, and to support innovative maternal health strategy peer review. The UNFPA has supported developing countries’ policy planning for carrying out population statistics data collections and population and housing censuses. In order for the censuses to be implemented efficiently, we would like to urge the use of innovative solutions in this field as well. For instance, 62% of data in Estonia’s 2011 population and housing census was collected electronically.
We would like to recognize the improvement of UNFPA activities in humanitarian programming to provide coordinated and timely humanitarian assistance in crises. The recent field visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti showed my delegation the UNFPA’s capacity to scale up its humanitarian activities. I would like take this opportunity to recognize the good work and dedication of the UNFPA field staff in planning and implementing the field visit. We are supporting the UNFPA to become a stronger, field-focused organization and to strengthen its capacity to act in emergencies, as maternal mortality and morbidity in crises remains a challenge.
Estonia has supported UNFPA activities since 2002 with annual core contributions; the 2012 contribution was transferred at the end of last year. Additionally we have supported UNFPA activities in Afghanistan. Estonia is committed to continue supporting UNFPA activities also in the future.