Remarks by Frederick D. Barton, Representative to ECOSOC, to the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
February 1, 2011




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Madame President, and thank you, Dr. Osotimehin, for your inaugural statement.  The United States warmly welcomes you as Executive Director of UNFPA and looks forward to working with you and your staff, and other members of the Executive Board.

The United States supports UNFPA’s work around the world, especially its efforts to increase access to family planning and reproductive health, reduce maternal mortality, prevent HIV, and integrate programs for maximum impact where possible. We also appreciate UNFPA’s successful efforts to advocate for women’s rights, including programs to increase the age of marriage and provide critical reproductive health care and services for survivors of gender based violence in emergency settings such as the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

We welcome the consultation that you held last week with the Bureau and support your proposal to use the Program of Action developed during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development as the guiding principle for UNFPA as it focuses on its core mandate of reproductive health, gender equality and population and development strategies. The upcoming mid-term review of UNFPA’s strategic plan will be a good opportunity for all of us to engage substantively on a roadmap for UNFPA for the next several years.  

In this regard, we note that cross-cutting issues that you highlighted, such as ageing, urbanization, climate change, migration and the largest generation of adolescents and young people will impact UNFPA’s programming and resource decisions in the years to come.  Moreover, endless natural disasters and increasing numbers of civil conflicts make it imperative that UNFPA strengthen its lifesaving interventions and technical assistance for women and families in emergency situations.  UNFPA should also focus on sharing its own gender development institutional experience with UN Women, as you suggested, to ensure the world benefits from increased women’s empowerment. 

We appreciate Dr. Osotimehin’s acknowledgement of the challenges UNFPA faces in regards to management issues.  Strengthening program effectiveness and management oversight has been a top priority for the Board.  We would like to continue our work – to build upon the transparency and accountability policy that the Board adopted over two years ago – to further strengthen UNFPA’s internal control and monitoring and oversight frameworks to ensure that expenditures are appropriately accounted for and that programs produce intended results. 

The UN’s Board of Auditors as well as UNFPA’s own internal audit offices have repeatedly pointed out that oversight of nationally executed programs has been a serious weakness. This is one area that needs urgent solutions from UNFPA’s management, and we appreciate your commitment.

A robust learning process is essential for UNFPA to improve its program effectiveness. High quality and sufficient quantities of evaluation are important inputs into this process, as is sustained management attention.  We ask you and your senior management to make it a top priority to improve UNFPA’s work in these areas.

Madame President, distinguished members of the Board and colleagues, thank you for your attention, and once again a warm welcome to Dr. Osotimehin. 

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PRN: 2011/018