Statement on joint UNICEF-UNFPA programme

Statement on joint UNICEF-UNFPA programme

    Israel's representative to UN boards delivered a statement earlier today on behalf of Canada and Israel about the joint UNICEF-UNFPA program. ​Read his full statement here: 

    Executive Director, Members of the Board,

    Good morning/afternoon.

    I am delivering this statement on behalf of Canada and Israel. Let me start by thanking the evaluation offices for their hard work.

    We strongly support all efforts to eliminate FGM/C anywhere in the world where this harmful practice persists.  We recognize the challenges of addressing this issue, including the complexity of designing and executing programmes in this regard.  We therefore thank those at UNFPA and UNICEF that have been working tirelessly on this topic, from Headquarters to those in the field.

    Mr. President,

    Every year, three million girls are at risk of being subjected to FGM/C.  The practice is nothing less than a violation of human rights, notably rights pertaining to mental and physical health, including sexual and reproductive health.  We appreciate the fact that the Joint Programme is necessarily culturally sensitive in design, while retaining its human rights-based approach.

    The joint UNICEF-UNFPA programme stands as a shining example of effective inter-agency cooperation, with each partner bringing its own expertise to the table.  This cooperation was also welcomed in General Assembly resolution 67/146, which was adopted by consensus.

    Turning to the Joint evaluation and the Joint managements’ response, we would like to offer a few brief comments.

    First, we should acknowledge and applaud the results of the Joint Programme: the dedicated efforts of programme staff and others have led to the abandonment of the practice in 10,000 communities.  This remarkable achievement cannot and must not be forgotten in our discussions on the Programme.

    We appreciate that the objective of the first phase was somewhat ambitious: to reduce the practice in target countries by 40%, and to see its total elimination in one country, all within five years.  Even with this high bar, the evaluation confirms that strong progress was made.  Nevertheless, we would appreciate additional information on how the initial goals were set, and why the evaluation concluded that shortfalls were primarily due to the ambitious target.  This information is especially relevant as the Joint Programme embarks on Phase 2. 

    Additionally, we believe that establishing reliable baselines for the next phase will enable more reliable evaluations of progress.  We welcome managements’ commitment to more systematically determining these baselines in Phase 2 and would further encourage the Joint Programme to improve their monitoring and reporting on horizontal issues, for example, gender equality and human rights.


    The evaluation notes that the regional dimensions of the programme, intended to effect change at the local level, were not fully operationalized in the first phase.  Management has accepted the recommendation to step up this approach in Phase 2.   We believe that the determination of whether regional-level investment has a catalytic effect will help establish the most efficient entry points for interventions, and inform future programme design.

    Finally, Mr. President, we are very pleased that management endorses the recommendation to proceed with Phase 2 of the Programme, beginning this year.  Continuing the work begun in the first phase, the Programme will seek to consolidate the strong gains already made.  We also welcome the addition of two additional countries to the Programme, as well as managements’ commitment to further strengthen UNICEF-UNFPA coordination.

    Mr. President,

    Let me conclude by expressing one more time our appreciation to all those participating in this important programme. 

    Thank you.