Norway's statement in the General Debate

Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith presented Norways statement in the UN General Debate. Photo: UN Photo/John McIlwaine

Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith presented Norway's statement in the UN General Debate. Photo: UN Photo/John McIlwaine

Norway’s statement in the General debate was presented by Norway’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith. Among the issues raised in the statement were Norway’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular improving maternal health and reducing child mortality. Ambassador Smith also emphasized Norway’s central role in climate change mitigation efforts and the importance of progress in the Middle East peace process.

“Mr President, Excellencies,

Last week we reaffirmed our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. We agreed to accelerate our efforts. Developing countries themselves carry the main responsibility for achieving the MDGs, and the international community has a responsibility to assist by means of development aid and debt relief where appropriate. Norway is and will continue to be a solid and reliable partner in development. We will keep our development aid at the present and substantial level, including our significant support through the UN funds and programs.

This year in particular, we are heartened to see strong support for improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, the goals that are lagging behind the most. Norway will work with the Secretary-General to ensure that his Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health is transformed into action on the ground.

The many successful and inspiring meetings last week also illustrate that the challenges facing the world, and which are increasingly global in character, require inclusive global forums to address them.  That means engaging in dialogue with others – often with those who have different views. The UN is not designed to comfort different leaders in their own convictions – it is the place to confront and surpass differences.  It is therefore highly inappropriate when this podium  is abused to promote extreme views or unfounded claims. The challenges before us are too great to allow us to be derailed by attempts to incite conflict.  We must never forget we are a global community by virtue of the shared risks that stand before us, the shared threats that challenge us and the shared values that bind us together.

Mr President,

Climate change threatens all our social and economic aspirations. Let me point to two important and dynamic processes which are among the most promising as we look for potential results in Cancun:  Limiting emissions from deforestation and financing.

The Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing which the Prime Minister of Norway chairs together with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is working hard to identify sources which can enable us to raise the funds we committed to in Copenhagen. We need to define workable and acceptable sources, both private and public, and help pave the way for a new international climate agreement. We urge you all to study the report we will receive this fall with an open mind, and to build on this important work taking place at the initiative of the Secretary-General, as we prepare for Cancun and the period beyond.

Norway is leading support schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation. In Bali in 2007 Norway pledged to provide up to 500 million US dollars on an annual basis to halt deforestation. We are working with key partners such as Brazil, Indonesia and Guyana to develop concrete methods to do this in practice. Such measures are effective as means of mitigation and provide strong leverage for new and additional financing for developing countries. They take effect immediately.  I call on other countries to join in this great endeavor.

Mr President,

Ten years ago we reaffirmed the connection between the three pillars of the UN: development, security and human rights. Human rights are an integral part of the UN vision and charter, and should be mainstreamed in the work of the UN in all areas, as previously called for by this Assembly. Norway will continue to be active in the Human Rights Council and promote a human rights based approach in the UN’s development work. We will continue to work with partner countries from the north and south to this end, as we successfully did last week with the Trygve Lie Symposium on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms focused on business and human rights.

This year also marks the ten year anniversary of another major UN building block: Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Women’s empowerment is not only a crucial factor in sustainable development, but also in sustainable peace. It is time to make good on commitments made and follow-through on promises that will enable women to take an active role in situations that are a matter of life and death, not only for them, but for their families, communities, even nations. When we take stock in October – we should focus on action taken – and above all on action that needs to be taken.

Mr President,

Norway would like to echo the vision voiced by President Obama in this Assembly, the hope that we may in the near future have an agreement which will lead to the entry to a new member of the United Nations — an independent, sovereign state of Palestine.

The Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee, which is chaired by Norway, has called for assistance to the Palestinian Authority in implementing the Programme for the Thirteenth Goverment for completing the task of building a Palestinian state, with regard to institution building and the development of a sustainable Palestinian economy. The donors have been encouraged by recent reports that the implementation of the reform agenda has accelerated significantly in the first half of 2010. The World Bank stated that if the PA maintains its current performance, it is well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the future.

It is crucial that this progress is mirrored by progress in the peace negotiations. Norway welcomes the relaunch earlier this month of direct, bilateral negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We regret that Israel’s settlement moratorium was not extended. Norway reaffirms its strong committment to the two-state solution, and to supporting the negotiations by ensuring full compliance with Road Map obligations and maintaining their assistance to the Palestinian state-building effort.

Allow me to underline another process with enormous importance for regional peace, security and development. Supporting the parties in full and timely implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Sudan must be on our agenda. We cannot afford to end up in a situation where we all regret that we let peace slip in Sudan.

Mr President,

For more than 60 years the UN system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, has been the global intergovernmental framework for cooperation on joint challenges.  Current trends in global cooperation may point towards a looser, more fragmented structure of global governance. There is a fine line between such strategic alliances as complementary to traditional multilateralism, and as alternatives for global multilateralism with the direct or indirect representation of all states. This is why Norway attaches great importance to the ongoing discussion on how to best facilitate constructive cooperation between G20 and the UN.

Mr President,

UN reform has been a topic of many statements during this debate. In order to remain relevant, the UN must continuously reform and adapt to a changing environment and new challenges. As member states we have responsibility to ensure that the organisation is equipped to respond to the tasks it is given. Therefore we must continue to push for UN reform, but with a view to improving and strengthening the UN. We must build on what is already in process, and seems to be yielding results. Delivering as One is showing progress at the country level, it now needs to be followed up at headquarters. Establishment of UN Women is a system-wide coherence success-story. We congratulate Ms. Bachelet and pledge to support her in delivering on the promises made to UN Women. More than new panels and processes, we now need to finalise work on proposals that are already on the table.

For Norway, commitment to the UN also means commitment to reform – to strive for a UN that is efficient and able to live up to expectations that we the Member States place on it.  We owe it to each other and to future generations to maintain and strengthen the UN as a unique, inclusive, global meeting place where we, the peoples of this world,  come together to solve the global challenges of our time.

This is our common responsibility.

Thank you.”

Source: Norway’s Mission to the United Nations

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