Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Firstly, Cuba endorses the statement by the Representative of El Salvador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Allow me to join in the expressions of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, expressed this morning by several colleagues, for the devastating consequences of the passage of Hurricane Irma in this vulnerable region.
Cuba, Mr. Chairman, was also affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma practically through all the territory of our Island for more than 72 hours, with sustained winds that sometimes exceeded 250 kilometers per hour, causing severe damage to the country, with clear effects mainly on the housing sector, the electro-energetic system, the tourism sector and agriculture.
But as our President recently told us, these are not times to mourn, but to rebuild what the winds of Hurricane Irma tried to disappear. A principle remains unchanged: our government will not leave any child, adolescent or their families defenseless, guaranteeing them health care, education and due protection. In these difficult hours, the legacy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, makes us strong and unites us.
As has been customary, every time a meteorological phenomenon of such magnitude hits us, we receive the demonstrations of support of the International Collaboration through the agencies, funds and programs of the UNS located in the country, which we greatly appreciate.
The experiences acquired by Cuba in managing disasters and epidemics, in these present times, are available to the region, and in particular to UNICEF, in order to continue strengthening South-South cooperation, based on our comparative advantages mainly in the fields of Health Care, Education and protection of children and adolescents in disaster situations.
Cuba, despite the permanence of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade, and of these complex and adverse climatological situations battering us, continues to work in its process of economic and social transformation, making progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, and very specifically, in those indicators related to education, food, nutrition, health care and protection of children and adolescents.
Our country has accomplished relevant achievements in the care and development of children and adolescents, recognized at an international level, mainly by the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programs. An infant mortality rate under 5 per 1,000 live births has been achieved as a result of the effort, care and dedication to this noble cause of Cuban health professionals.
We would like to thank you for your introductory remarks as well as for the ones pronounced by the Executive Director of UNICEF, including the comprehensive presentation of the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan and the other programmatic documents of the organization, which undoubtedly confirm your commitment to recent QCPR mandates, as well as the alignment with 2030 Agenda in the face of the challenges ahead in order to reach the well-being of those children who are still living in extreme poverty all over the world.
Specifically, we would like to highlight UNICEF's efforts to maintain in its SP the efforts to reduce the impact of HIV / AIDS on children and adolescents and to ensure that all children have access to education.
In general, we recognize UNICEF's work in the preparation of its Strategic Plan, and we join in its endorsement during this session.
Thank you very much.
Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.