Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation meets with Executive Director of UNICEF

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, met on Tuesday with Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), who is visiting Spain to take part in the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia being held in Barcelona from 29 to 31 January.

The two women addressed issues related to bilateral cooperation, the reforms pushed through by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the protection of children. They also discussed such global challenges as forced displacement, mobilisation to combat infectious diseases and the fight against climate change.

Arancha González Laya underlined that the government is firmly committed to multilateralism and considers the 2030 Agenda to be a guide for action to be taken and an ethical benchmark. She also expressed her interest in stepping up strategic relations with UNICEF and in concluding a new Bilateral Framework for Cooperation in the future, adapted to the 5th Master Plan on Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021 and the UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018-2021.

The meeting provided a follow-up to the 3rd International Conference on Safe Schools held in Palma de Mallorca in May 2019, which included the participation of Henrietta Fore. This initiative seeks to protect education centres from attacks during armed conflicts.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation thanked UNICEF for its participation at the Climate Change Conference held in Madrid in December (COP25) and agreed with the Director of the United Nations Fund on the urgent need to mobilise so as to guarantee the right of boys and girls to inherit a clean and healthy planet.

In relation to the Global Forum on Pneumonia, Minister González Laya expressed Spain’s commitment to fight infectious disease, which is more fatal for children (more than 800,000 deaths a year), and to boost the replenishment of funds under the international instrument known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), to which our country has committed more than 176 million euros over the period 2000-2025. This commitment is framed within Spain’s efforts to meet the aims of the 2030 Agenda and, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on health and well-being, and is materialised in such actions as support for universal healthcare and the announcement of a 100-million euro contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years, made by the President of the Government to the United Nations in September 2019.

Lastly, Arancha González Laya underlined that the government’s commitment to the protection of children is shared by civil society, with the UNICEF-Spain Committee being the fifth largest of the 34 in existence in the world in terms of its contribution.





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