Distinguished Chair, Madam Executive Director,
We submit this statement on behalf of the European Union as a donor.
UNICEF is a strategic partner for the EU, with shared objectives of delivering emergency humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and helping build longer-term resilience and development capacities. We appreciate the work of the staff of UNICEF and its implementing partners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased short- and longer-term needs as illustrated for instance in UNICEF’s revised Humanitarian Appeal for Children. Many populations affected by the pandemic are already facing conflict and violence, forced displacement, epidemics, natural disasters and/or the effect of climate change. It is therefore important to build strong links between humanitarian, peace, development and climate interventions in responding to COVID-19 in order to set the stage for a recovery that builds more sustainable, inclusive and equitable societies. Building on the roll-out of the UN development System reform, the Nexus should be an essential element of the response, and UNICEF has a special role to play due to its dual mandate.
Consequences of the crisis will be lasting, affecting in particular the vulnerable groups in low and middle-income countries, especially girls. This context requires a joint up effort by all actors, coordinating to maximise the impact of our efforts, such as the Team Europe approach or the United Nations’ Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19. The pandemic underlines even further the importance of the implementation of a coherent and cross-pillar “one UN” approach. In this context, we reiterate our encouragement to UNICEF to further build complementarity and synergies with United Nations agencies and other humanitarian, development and climate actors. We welcome the recently enhanced programmatic work with WFP, and the joint work with OCHA, UNHCR and WFP on cash-based transfers, which are an important element to increase efficiency.
In a context of increasing needs amid a constrained resourcing environment, it is important to apply coordinated, multi-sectoral, people-centred joint needs and risk assessments and analysis in order to inform a prioritised response. It should focus on the most vulnerable, including disadvantaged children, notably children with disabilities and girls. Gender equality is central to the realisation of child rights and, at such, should be viewed as core business by all UNICEF staff. Continued investment is required in enhancing staff capacity needs to ensure that UNICEF commitments on equity and on gender translate into systematically applied practice across the organisation, notably in field operations. UNICEF, with its dual mandate and its responsibilities in humanitarian cluster coordination, has a major role to play in mainstreaming equity, inclusive accountability and gender across the humanitarian and development agendas.