Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the UNICEF Executive Board on Private Fundraising and Partnerships

James Morris
U.S. Representative on the Executive Board of the UN Children’s Fund
New York City, NY
February 11, 2020


The United States takes the floor to underscore our support for UNICEF’s private fundraising and partnership workplan.

The United States has long supported strong private sector engagement across the UN and sees private sector engagement in three  key dimensions: 1) the private sector as a source of investment;  2) the private sector as a source of know-how – business models and practices, innovative ideas, and efficiency and effectiveness in achieving outcomes; and 3) the private sector as a partner – to help the UN do its work better.

Responsible businesses practice the same values and principles wherever they have a presence and they operate in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.  They support the societies they work in, including sustainability, accountability, and transparency.

For any organization to thrive and meets today’s challenges, old approaches must be re-evaluated and replaced with approaches that improve how services are delivered, made accessible, and tracked, particularly in conflict areas or regions most vulnerable to outbreaks.

We applaud and appreciate the myriad ways in which UNICEF has adapted and innovated to meet new challenges and believe it serves as a model for other UN agencies to follow. We also recognize its ongoing success in mobilizing resources, particularly private investments, will depend on its ability to continue to evolve and to deliver greater, clearer, and more measurable results.  A continual focus on excellence and an unrelenting commitment to improvement in its service delivery will help UNICEF to secure increased, predictable, and more flexible funding.

The United States welcomes UNICEF’s approach and partnerships with businesses to improve and maximize results for children.  We especially note that this approach goes well beyond most  UN agencies’ current engagement with the private sector and has great potential for operations’ scale up.

An example of how UNICEF, as the world’s largest procurer of commodities for children, developed partnerships with the private sector, is the   “Advance Purchase Commitment to Accelerate Development of Zika virus Diagnostics” activity, funded by a $10 million grant from USAID. This project helped accelerate the development and availability of rapid, low-cost diagnostics to be used at the point-of-care in Zika virus-affected countries, where infection has profound effects on children, especially those in utero. Results to date have included development of 3 promising innovative diagnostic products, with clinical validations underway.