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UNICEF Executive Board

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatrice Mariangela Zappia, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, alla Primo Meeting della Seconda Sessione Regolare del 2019 del UNICEF Executive Board —

Merci beaucoup Monsieur le President, Madame Executive Director,

At the outset, I wish to thank the youth delegates for their contribution to the Board. Their activism reminds us of UNICEF’s ultimate goal: to protect and empower children and young people, anywhere in the world and without any discrimination, in order to allow them to become who they want to become.

Secondly, I wish to thank you, Executive Director, for your opening overview. 2019 marks an important year to relaunch ambitions and actions towards the acceleration of the SDGs, with a stronger focus on their integration with human rights. This year, specifically, marks a meaningful anniversary for children, as thirty years ago the international community agreed on global standards for childhood rights by adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so far the most widely ratified treaty in history.

We must also remember those thousands of blue backpacks displayed outside this building, representing the dramatic and unacceptable loss of children’s life in conflict, an image that urge all of us to do more and to do better.

It is necessary to intensify our common efforts for the full implementation of UNICEF’s mandate, in accordance with the Strategic Plan and in alignment with the 2030 Agenda and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF is an essential actor for the full implementation of the Convention. We all have to advance along this road, without hesitation and – I want to stress here – avoiding any push back, in line with our commitment to support UNICEF’s key role in health, education, social protection, humanitarian emergencies and systems strengthening.

As you underlined, Madame Executive Director, emerging threats to children’s development constitute new challenges, and, with a view to better understand those challenges, Italy has been strongly supporting UNICEF’s research function over the last 30 years. Therefore, we are particularly pleased that UNICEF will convene, next 7-9 November at the UNICEF Innocenti Office of Research in Florence, the first “Leading Minds for Children and Young People” global conference, which will bring together the world’s leading thinkers, researchers, innovators, philanthropists, young leaders, as well as Member States, to discuss and tackle the most pressing issues facing the future of childhood development. We trust that everyone will want to provide its contribution for the success of the conference. Our support to the Conference will be part of Italy’s contribution for the celebrations of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. And we see it also as another good opportunity for pushing back the push back.

Mr. President, during the next three days, under your able guidance, we will engage in key discussions and deliberations on a wide spectrum of important issues. Since this is the last Board meeting of the year, let me say that Italy has been honored to sit in the Board over the last two years. We will continue to provide our active contribution also outside the Board in 2020 and look forward to re-entering the Board in 2021.

Thank you.