PR No. 55 Islamabad

At the UN, the head of UNICEF appreciated Pakistan’s role during its Presidency of the Agency’s executive board in 2015, describing the year as a very successful and productive one for UNICEF, says a press release received here today from New York.

At a meeting Friday morning to elect new members of the UNICEF board, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN agency thanked Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative, for her contribution to achieving UNICEF’s goals in 2015 during her tenure as President of the Board.

Ambassador Lodhi was also presented the traditional gavel by Mr. Lake as a token of appreciation for her role.

In her remarks on stepping down from Presidentship, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi recalled the dire situation children faced last year in various theatres of conflict and other fraught situations, saying that their protection was of particular and heightened concern during her term as President. This was especially so as children now constitute half of the globally displaced population at a time when the world’s refugee numbers have hit an all time high.

Pakistan’s envoy to the UN told participants at the meeting that 2015 had been a seminal even defining year for the UN in many respects. She was glad to report that as a result of a cooperative and constructive spirit the 2015 UNICEF Board was able to achieve new milestones that will go a long way in the global endeavour to secure the rights of children.

She said that at a time when the international community was negotiating the 2030 Development Agenda and the Financing for Development process at Addis Ababa, UNICEF’s Board and the Secretariat came together to effectively raise the voice for children and put them front and center of these development processes. This ensured that child rights were firmly placed at the heart of the global development agenda and its financing mechanisms.

She said the same spirit guided the smooth adoption of 16 decisions for several UNICEF programmes and endeavours. These, she explained, included an increase in the Emergency Programme Fund ceiling to strengthen predictability of the UNICEF response to humanitarian crises. They also included programming arrangements for the countries transitioning from middle to high income states, as well as approval of as many as 27 Country Programme Documents for different regions of the world.

In conclusion Ambassador Lodhi paid rich tribute to the Executive Director Anthony Lake, for his inspiring leadership and unwavering commitment to the cause of children and especially for placing the issue of equity at the centre of discussions on this subject.

Estonia’s Permanent Representative has new been elected as President of UNICEF’s executive board.