Thank you, Mr. President.
We also thank the Executive Director for the comprehensive statement.
We appreciate UNFPA’s work on the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan, as well as the Integrated Budget to verify progress achieved and the adjustments required for their alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030.
Italy is pleased with the results of the mid-term review, which confirm the relevance, both directly and indirectly, of the UNFPA business model for all of the SDGs and supports minor adjustments to the indicators, outputs and targets of the on-going Strategic Plan and proposed Integrated Budget. We look forward to seeing these adjustments better align UNFPA’s work to the SDGs in the coming two years and strengthen efforts in the humanitarian field.
We thank UNFPA for providing Member States with a clear picture of the unfinished business, and lessons learnt in the first biennium of implementation of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, as well as of the progress in complying with resolution 67/226 on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy review of the operational activities for development of the United Nations.
We share the Fund’s view that regular resources are important for the effective implementation of the Strategic Plan and the achievement of outcomes therein included. We noticed that UNFPA had to adopt austerity measures to mitigate the impact of reductions – also caused by the adverse exchange rate of the US dollar – of regular resources in 2014 and 2015 and the expected financial targets for the remaining years of the Strategic Plan. Italy is cognizant of these financial trends and of the urgency to ensure that UNFPA is able to focus on population issues and respond adequately to challenges associated with its rapid expansion, as indicated in the midterm review. It has thus decided this year to increase its 2015 contribution to the regular resources budget by 50%.
We are confident that these additional funds will contribute to furthering the Programme of Action of the ICPD and implementation of Agenda 2030. We also expect that UNFPA’s action in the next two years will be aimed toward reducing poverty disparities; helping young people fulfil their potential, and assuring that sexual and reproductive health is no longer a cause of death or disability for women and girls in partner countries. It is crucial that an understanding is reached on how to integrate population dynamics, using high-quality population data and analysis to support evidence-based policy making, and meet the needs of the least advantaged.
Let me also acknowledge that, despite reduced funds, UNFPA succeeded in recording a positive performance for 9 development outputs out of 15 during the implementation of the first biennium of the current Strategic Plan. It is our hope that the measures to be adopted by UNFPA in response to the findings of the two mid-term reviews will push these positive results even further in the next biennium.
Gender-based violence is still an issue in 2016. According to UNICEF and UNFPA statistics, about 200 million women and young girls in thirty countries have undergone female genital mutilation and are suffering from the detrimental consequences associated with this practice. We would also like to express our appreciation and thanks to UNFPA Headquarters and the Mauritania Field Office for organizing, last April, the field visit of the Steering Committee of Phase II of the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme: Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change. This visit confirmed the Fund’s valuable work in one of the 17 Programme countries and identified areas requiring greater UNFPA/UNICEF attention to ensure the sustainability of this initiative. With the acceleration of the migration phenomenon, also due to persecution and natural disasters in countries in conflict, the Joint Programme will benefit by establishing stronger connections between activities in the JP countries and migrant communities in Europe coming from ethnic groups practicing FGM/C.
In consideration of Italy’s longstanding commitment to combating FGM and the positive assessment of this on-ongoing initiative, confirmed by the field visit, Italy has decided to increase its 2016 contribution to the Joint Programme by 20%.
Thank you, Mr. President.