At their meeting, Mr Cassis and Ms Fore discussed the vital role played by UNICEF in implementing the reform of the United Nations development system, which is aimed at improving overall efficiency and delivering tangible results. Henrietta Fore, who was on her first official visit to Switzerland since taking up office as UNICEF Executive Director in early 2018, also outlined UNICEF's track record in working with private sector partners.
UNICEF is Switzerland's most important partner in promoting children's rights in developing countries and in a variety of humanitarian contexts. Switzerland cooperates with UNICEF on education, humanitarian action and protecting children from violence and harmful social and cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation. UNICEF and Switzerland are also committed to supporting a global partnership to protect children against violence and abuse.
Through the SDC, Switzerland will make an overall contribution of CHF 59.6 million to support the work of UNICEF for the period 2018–20. The SDC also provides CHF 16 million annually to support UNICEF's humanitarian and development operations. As a strategic donor country and member of the UNICEF Executive Board, Switzerland is actively involved in monitoring and evaluating UNICEF's operational and financial reports. Switzerland also engages in regular dialogue at various administrative levels within UNICEF to take stock of progress and reflect on the challenges ahead.
Henrietta Fore also held talks with SDC Director General Manuel Sager. The SDC sends experts to implement UNICEF programmes in strategic areas, such as providing emergency protection, water and sanitation. Ms Fore and Mr Sager discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the SDC and UNICEF, especially in relation to basic education, engagement with the private sector, humanitarian aid and child protection. While she was in Bern, Ms Fore also had the opportunity to meet members of Parliament.
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