Opening remarks by Arnold Foote President RE The FICAC/UNICEF partnership in the HIV/AIDS project in Brussels, on MAY 25, 2007

June 17, 2015 | News

President Arnold Foote

  • Executives of UNICEF
  • Esteemed Colleagues
  • Distinguished Guests
  • This is a day in which history is being made but it is also an occasion when we can make history happen!

    As there are many visitors and observers here I will just give a little background.

    The World Federation of Consuls was established in Copenhagen in October 1982 – 25 years ago.

    It was born of the necessity to bring together Consular Corps and Associations from all over the world, to share experiences and co-ordinate efforts to enhance the status and effectiveness of the Consul. It happens to be the oldest institution serving International Bilateral Relations. We needed to expand our reach, and a quarter of a century later, its purposes are still relevant.

    Since 1993, the World Federation of Consuls has enjoyed the status of a United Nations NGO (Ecosoc Observer)

    I feel that there is the basis for a cohesive and fruitful partnership with UNICEF and the building of a bridge between the Consuls of the World on one bank and underprivileged children of the world suffering from HIV Aids on the other bank of a river of great concern, ….. with UNICEF providing the strength of the span of the bridge,………… its arch.

    UNICEF
    WE HAVE OBTAINED THE BLESSING, IN PRINCIPLE, OF UNICEF AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL, TO REGARD FICAC AS A WORLD PARTNER. I HAVE IN TURN BEEN WORKING WITH THEIR REGIONAL OFFICE IN PANAMA WITH A VIEW TO A LONG LASTING PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WTH THEM.

    1. UNICEF, as a world organization, works through its National Committees. Before anything goes on in the individual territories the committees have to be notified and their support requested. They are not supposed to just read announcements in the news.
    2. Accordingly, as there had not been time to advise National Committees, and particularly as we ourselves did not know what Countries would be participating, it was mutually agreed that we would NOT do a major INTERNATIONAL PRESS CONFERENCE (with a formal agreement) but instead a JOINT PRESS RELEASE indicating an intention to negotiate an Agreement. The outline of the Agreement has been drafted and versions exchanged.
    3. They also requested that we have a meeting to work out the logistics and the details. This has taken the form of an informal dinner meeting and a formal breakfast meeting today with their representatives.

    Young children focus on building blocks starting usually with

    A
    B
    C

    I think that our building blocks should be
    A for ACTION
    B for BANQUET
    C for COMMITMENT to this special cause

    The ACTION proposed is to use the status and influence of the Consular Movement to “Turn Our Caring into Action”.

    This was a theme that I developed at the time of my election as President of FICAC last November and pledged to bring to reality.

    The vehicle for this vision of ACTION is a proposed series of BANQUETS to be held in member countries of The World Federation of Consuls

    The ingredient most needed is COMMITMENT

    I think that, for credibility, we the Consuls have to use our position in the centre of commerce , trade and the social and political centres of the countries in which we serve, to contribute to the impact of some aspects of the range of problems facing the human race.

    We have a responsibility to strive for the protection of the innocent in giving hope and effective Action to the marvelous goals of UNICEF.

    In 1965, at the time of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to UNICEF,The Nobel Committee described UNICEF as “an international device capable of tackling the giant task of liberating the children of the developing countries – who are all of them our joint responsibility- from ignorance, disease, malnutrition and starvation.”

    In the view of the Nobel committee, these efforts represented “a great step forward in the idea of international co-operation”
    The representative of UNICEF said in reply:
    “ the great, the most important meaning of this Nobel award is the solemn recognition that the welfare of today’s children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow’s world. The sufferings and privations to which I have referred do not ennoble; they frustrate and embitter.

    The longer the world tolerates the slow war of attrition which poverty and ignorance now wage against millions of children in the developing countries, the more likely it becomes that our hope for lasting peace will be the ultimate casualty.”

    The UNICEF AMBASSADORS will, we hope, also be asked to add their glamour, prestige and COMMITMENT to the process, and perhaps where possible to be present at the BANQUETS. We would also anticipate working closely with UNICEF National Committees.

    We are taking an unprecedented step to embark on a project that has the potential to make an outstanding and long-lasting effect on childhood development — worldwide!
    “Unite for Children; Unite against Aids.” is about as noble a goal as we could ever devise.
    It is to be regretted that such work is necessary at all, but the realities of our world compel us to “Turn our caring into action.”

    Someone was once asked “What do you do for a living” and the answer came “I try to make a difference. “
    That is what we strive to do as an organization…. TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE to the children of the world, building on and co-operating with the magnificent work of UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund
    We contend that this is a win/win collaboration.
    Facts and statistics seem to clearly indicate that a strong contributing factor in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the economics of the treatment. In simple terms, it is a situation in which, where there is enough money available, the access to appropriate treatment and increased knowledge about the disease, significantly reduces its transmission and negative effects.
    That is why the World Federation of Consuls has decided that fund-raising is the most effective way in which we could help support the UNICEF-led “Unite for children; Unite against Aids,” global campaign.
    We pledge to put ACTION AND COMMITMENT behind our words of support for our children. For, people may doubt what you say, but will always believe what you do!

    It is our earnest hope and expectation that our actions will speak even louder than the words of support which we speak today. I have no doubt that we will be successful. I have the committed support of many World Federation of Consuls members, and I am sure that with that commitment to the cause and to the venture, that success will be ours!

    Our COMMITMENT is to build this partnership for children for years to come, and to that end we hope to work with the Diplomatic Corps and Chambers of Commerce worldwide to achieve a multiplier effect in this important effort.

    We also hope to open bank accounts so that persons who may not be able to attend the Banquets can give whatever they can afford.

    As members of the World Federation of Consuls I remind you that the theme of our proposed partnership with UNICEF, is “Consuls: turning care into action”.
    We stand ready to Unite for children, and Unite against AIDS!

    Please join us on this journey to make history happen as we sincerely hope that this proposed partnership between UNICEF and the World Federation of Consuls will bear fruit and bring all this to reality.

    In the words of Bob Marley, from my homeland, JAMAICA,
    let us do this in the spirit of
    “ONE LOVE, ONE HEART”

    Thank you very much.