Statement by Estonian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Geneva Mr. Jüri Seilenthal at the UNFPA Executive Board Annual sessioon 2012

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 against the UNFPA strategic plan 2008–2013. I believe that the activities of UNFPA under the new leadership since the beginning of 2011 have been well targeted and realistic. Estonia commends UNFPA 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 being 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 a stronger political commitment from Rio, since there really is no alternative to sustainable development and human rights based approach.

We value highly the work of UNFPA in the field of reproductive health and rights in national processes of vulnerable countries. We would like to recognize the UNFPA’s support to increase human resources and the quality of health service for women and children to improve maternal and newborn health and reduce maternal mortality. The work to improve access of young people to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention services have been crucial to reduce adolescent pregnancies and child marriages; despite many challenges still remain, especially to reach the most vulnerable population groups.

We are glad to evidence the effective partnerships of UNFPA with government agencies, other UN organizations and local and international NGOs to implement these goals. We would like to recognize the collective work in mainstreaming gender equality, the protection of reproductive rights and efforts done in response to gender-based violence.

Most of all I would like to recognize the use of innovative solutions in UNFPA programmes and actions to have better access to sexual and reproductive health information in vulnerable countries, to develop innovative youth programmes, to improve training of healthcare workers and to support innovative maternal health strategy peer review. UNFPA has supported development countries policy planning with population statistical data collections and on population and housing censuses. For the efficiency to implement the censuses we would like to urge the use of innovative solutions on this field as well. For instance 62% data of Estonian 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. Recent field visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti showed to my delegation the capacity of UNFPA in scaling up its humanitarian activities. I would like take this opportunity to recognize the good work and dedication of UNFPA field staff on planning and implementation of the field visit. We are supporting UNFPA to become stronger field focused organization and to strengthen its capacity to act in emergencies as the maternal mortality and morbidity in crisis has remained still challenge.

Estonia has supported UNFPA activities since 2002 with annual core contributions, the 2012 contribution was transferred in the end of last year. Additionally we have supported UNFPA activities in Afghanistan. Estonia is committed to continue to support UNFPA activities also in future.

Thank you!