Esteemed Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, distinguished members of the Executive Board and other delegations,
We thank the Executive Director for her comprehensive presentation, and the members of the Bureau and the Secretariat for the preparations for this session. I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Ms. Fore for her service over the years at the helm of UNICEF in improving the lives of children around the world. I extend to her our best wishes.
The well-being of children and adolescents is an inherent purpose of the Cuban social project. Cuba deeply appreciates the cooperation provided by UNICEF to support our national efforts, which has always been aligned with our priorities and has been characterized by its immediacy, to promote the well-being and development of our children, including the strengthening of our response capabilities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, we highlight the donation of a portable oxygen plant, as well as the contribution to clinical trials in children and adolescents with our COVID-19 vaccines, which has helped to the fact that we have recently been able to start mass vaccination in these age groups.
We are grateful for the consultations convened by UNICEF in preparation for the new Strategic Plan 2022-2025. We convey our willingness to join efforts towards the achievement of this new Plan, which outlines the path towards an inclusive recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals, under the premise that all children are included, have the capacity for action and opportunity and their rights are guaranteed.
We welcome that the new Strategic Plan carries on the priorities of the previous stage, outlining critical pathways to accelerate the achievement of results of the five Goal Areas, which are interconnected and linked to children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We support the emphasis on the need to address the underlying causes of child mortality, poverty, vulnerability, gender inequality and care for children with disabilities.
We reaffirm national ownership and leadership in the implementation of the new Strategic Plan through the respective country programmes, which are based on different local contexts and national development priorities and needs.
We agree on the recognition that closing the gaps in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals associated with children requires particular attention to countries in special situations, including Small Island Developing States.
We further stress the need for UNICEF to have adequate, predictable and flexible resources for its new cycle, which will be fundamental to continue providing an effective response to COVID-19, as well as to achieve the objectives proposed in the new Strategic Plan.
We reiterate our interest in continuing to promote South-South cooperation, together with UNICEF, to share lessons learned and positive experiences in health and education in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would like to conclude by ratifying our government's will to continue working together with UNICEF for the health, education, protection and well-being of our children and adolescents.