United Nations Development Programme–Executive Board Meeting

UNPF

The United Nations Population Fund held a conference to reaffirm the mission of the organization and officially recognize Dr. Natalia Kanem as the new Executive Director of UNFPA. UNFPA is the leading reproductive health and rights agency of the UN for delivering a world where every pregnancy is unwanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. This meeting underlined the critical importance of instating universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Dr. Kanem aims to ensure that human and finance resources of the organization are optimally employed. A strong humanitarian presence must be maintained not only to colocate rapid response but to optimize common back office options.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda highlighted the importance of UNFPA in responding to real time crisis in relation to the passage of recent hurricanes Irma and Maria. He also stated that the resources behind UNFPA should not be redirected from the program budget, but rather through cross-cutting and cross-saving exercises.

The representative of Cuba stressed the importance of maintaining attention and support for middle income countries, as they continue to face poverty eradication and commitment to not leave anyone behind. The representative of Norway asserted the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health as crucial for sustainable development. UNFPA must be a stronger humanitarian actor to support the women and men who do not know how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, and disease, as lead them towards a better life. Enhancing better sexuality education is the equivalent of delivering the SDG’s.

The representative of the United States honored the concept of families as building blocks of societies and will continue to work with agencies that share this commitment. However, the U.S. stands against any program of abortion and coercion, as domestic laws of coercive abortion do not protect the sanctity of life, the most important human right of all.

Universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare will also promote the advancement of gender equality, empowerment of women, and focus on eradicating poverty.

Meeting: Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme / United Nations Population Fund / United Nations Office for Project Services

Date/Location: Thursday, 25 January 2018, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Speakers:

H.E. Mr. Jagdish D. Koonjul, President of the United Nations Population Fund

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UNFPA

H.E. Mr. Chull-joo Park, Vice-President of the UNFPA, Deputy Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations

Mr. Tumasie Blair, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations

H.E. Mrs. Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Ib Peterson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations

Mr. Tore Hattrem, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

Representative of the United States

Written by: WIT Representative Kristin Kweon

New ways to provide food assistance

ImageTo encourage innovative means to provide food assistance to regions in need of humanitarian aid, Ambassador Patriota convened a panel discussion on this matter. In doing so, the Ambassador highlighted the Brazilian application of cash transfer to implement the “Bolsa Familia” safety-net programme as a way to motivate families to send children to school and to clinic check-ups.

In the context of short-term action, Mr. Mogwanja highlighted the difference between direct provision of food aid and cash-transfer style food assistance, the latter being preferable as it is a more economically sustainable tool. Mr. Janz stated that cash-transfer is a viable form of food assistance, as it pinpoints to the problem of lack of purchasing power of disaster victims without having crippled the local agricultural market by flooding the market with relief food. Mr. Janz elaborated on the benefit of cash-transfer food assistance, stating that it gives disaster victims dignity by giving them choices in food and enhances efficiency of aid by reducing the logistical cost of transporting food aid. Ms. Souza stated how the World Food Programme implemented the cash-transfer in conjunction with local purchase of relief material to further enhance food assistance’s positive impact to the local economy, a point which Ambassador Boureima echoed when detailing the “Nigerien feeds Nigerien” initiative in his country.

Speaking on behalf of the donors, Ms. Fink-Hooijer stated that the donor community in general support the cash-transfer initiative, but adopts a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the effectiveness of large-scale implementation in disaster relief. Ambassador Shearman echoed this point, and added that he hopes future cash-transfer can be implemented in form of cash handout instead of voucher to further reduce its distortion of the local market.

Meeting Title: Cash Transfers, Local Purchases and Social Safety-Nets: Bridging the Divide between Assistance and Development
Speakers: Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; H.E. Ambassador Boubacar Boureima, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations; Darana Souza, Programme Coordinator for World Food Programme; Udo K. Janz, Director of UNHCR Office in New York; Israel Klug, Project Coordinator of PAA Africa Programme; Minister Counsellor Nuria Mohammed, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Florika Fink-Hooijer, Policy Director of ECHO; Martin Shearman, Ambassador for Development and Human Rights, UK Department for International Development; H.E. Ambassador Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator of UNDP; Scott Paul, Humanitarian Policy Advisor of OXFAM; Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch of UN OCHA
Location: Conference Room 5, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark