Swedish Statement in response to the Executive Director of UNFPA, by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog, UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board, First Executive Board Session, 30 January – 3 February, United Nations, New York.
Thank you Mr. President,
And thank you Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin for your excellent presentation.
Since the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action in 1994, the situation for woman, girls and adolescents has improved. The world has seen a 44 percent decline in the maternal death ratio - a significant achievement.
However progress has been too slow and uneven. One woman or girl still dies every two minutes from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. Too many of them perish while undergoing an unsafe abortion.
The work and mandate of UNFPA is as important and relevant as ever.
Sexual and reproductive rights are integral parts of human rights, pivotal for gender equality and women’s empowerment, poverty reduction and sustainable development. If we fail to uphold and make progress on these rights, we jeopardize the gains achieved so far.
UNFPA’s new strategic plan 2018-2021 is a fundamental tool to take this work forward.
Sweden strongly believes that the new strategic plan should reinforce the organisation’s mandate for normative and operational efforts to promote sexual and reproductive rights. One of UNFPA’s most effective instruments in securing safe childbirth and fulfilling young people’s potential is to apply a Rights Based Approach.
UNFPA’s contribution to the fulfilment of the ICPD and the SDGs in each program country is reinforced where there is a strong universal health system that is well funded and leaves no one behind.
We also believe UNFPA has a unique role to play in supporting SRHR in humanitarian settings. Sweden urges UNFPA to strengthen its humanitarian work during the next four years, including its operational capacity.
UNFPA staff needs to be fully equipped to deliver on the strategic plan, and assert the organisation’s mandate. Sweden expects both regional functions and country representatives to be held accountable for their results as per the priorities of the strategic plan.
The new generation of strategic plans must be adapted to the new QCPR provisions. In order to enhance coherence, effectiveness and impact on the ground, a sincere effort must be made to increase synergies and a clearer division of labour within the UN system.
The Government of Sweden believes in the UN Development System’s capacity to tackle global development challenges. Sweden with its ten million inhabitants is the sixth largest donors to the system as a whole.
Sweden also has a long history of being at the forefront of the global fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights. There is ample evidence of SRHR policies’ effectiveness in accruing social development.
It is on the basis of our own positive experience that Sweden fiercely promotes UNFPA’s mandate and work. It is in support of women and children’s health globally that Sweden remains the leading donor of core support to UNFPA, and the second largest funder in total support.
UNFPA estimates that Swedish core support to the organization in 2014 and 2015 averted over 200,000 unsafe abortions, gave more than 1.6 million people access to contraceptives, and prevented 1,000 maternal deaths.
Sweden will continue to prioritize flexible funding and has raised its core contribution to UNFPA in 2017 to approximately 57 million USD.
We welcome fellow UN member states join us in elevating your support for UNFPA in order to ensure adequate and effective programming for the benefit of women, girls and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights everywhere.
I thank you.