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Nordic Statement at UNFPA segment at UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board First Regular Session 2023

Nordic statement delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations

Mr. President,

I deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland. Thank you, Dr. Kanem, for your excellent presentation this morning.

Since we last met as an Executive Board, the world has marked another major milestone: we now have a population of 8 billion. In many ways, this is a testament to the global reductions in poverty over the past generation as well as advancements in health services.

But it also highlights the significant task ahead of us to ensure sustainable development for all 8 billion, which requires us to invest more in health services and education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

SRHR access for all will only be achieved if discriminatory structures, social norms and gender stereotypes are overcome which, in turn, requires us to engage with everyone, particularly with men and boys.

UNFPA, and the UN Development System as a whole, play a key role in reaching those furthest behind and require adequate financing to deliver on their mandate. The Nordics will therefore focus their intervention this morning on UNDS reform and on UNFPA’s engagement with the International Financial Institutions.

Mr. President,

The multiple global crises require us to take the UNDS reform seriously. In this regard, we appreciate the formative evaluation of UNFPA engagement in the UNDS reform. This is an excellent step, which demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the reform agenda and willingness to learn. The evaluation highlights the seminal role played by the UNFPA leadership, particularly by you, Dr. Kanem, in ensuring high-level engagement across the organization.

We note the many positive outcomes, including that UNFPA engagement has advanced the repositioning process and that UNFPA has capitalized on the reform for the benefit of its stakeholders and beneficiaries. We also take note of the recommendation that UNFPA develop an explicit strategy for UNDS reform engagement and welcome the corresponding management response that UNFPA will articulate a UNDS reform engagement strategy or action plan, anchored in its Strategic Plan.

We would also like to highlight the potential value of the UNDS reform checklist, provided recently by DSG Amina Mohammed, the chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group. This will hopefully serve as a practical and valuable tool for both UNFPA and the board members.

Mr. President,

Accelerating progress to achieve the SDGs in time requires us to innovate and to strengthen all partnerships. Not least when governments are regretfully facing difficulties in terms of meeting demands for public investments in health services and official development assistance for SRHR experiencing a downward trend.

We appreciate the briefing note on UNFPA’s engagement with IFIs and take note of the IFI revenue of $73 million in 2021, and similar level expected in 2022. The non-financial partnerships with IFIs, including on research and data, are also critical. We look forward to the development of a new generation of integrated partnership and resource mobilization plans and encourage UNFPA to look at other funds and programmes that have managed to significantly scale up the revenue mobilized through IFI partners in recent years.

Allow us also to thank you personally, Dr. Kanem, for your engagement at the World Economic Forum a few weeks ago where you highlighted that supporting women’s health is not only the right thing to do, but also good for business.

Finally, it would not be a Nordic Executive Board statement if we did not highlight the critical importance of sustainable and predictable funding, particularly core funding, for UNFPA to be able to deliver better to the people it serves.

Thank you.


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