Speech at the Family Planning Summit in London

State Secretary Laila Bokhari's speech at the Family Planning Summit in London 11 June 2017.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends

As we gather here today we stand on the shoulders of countless brave men and women who have walked this road before us. Many powerful voices. We also stand here for our own daughters and sons. For our children.

We have heard many inspirational stories. Thank you all for your leaderhip and commitment.

In my own country Norway we have seen how having healthy, educated and empowered women has directly impacted our social and economic development.

To promote and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights is for me and for my Government a priority, not at least in humanitarian settings. It is a question of ending unnecessary suffering-, a question of social justice, a question of freedom, and –of simply doing what is right.

Being able to choose if, with whom and when to have children is an essential right. Being able to avoid health problems and even death due to unplanned pregnancies has enormous implications for women's empowerment.

These aspects are in themselves important for the wellbeing, rights and dignity of women and girls. But they are also vital for sustainable development and economic growth. To achieve this no one must be left behind.

To safeguard UNFPA's global normative function and operations, Norway will increase its core contribution to UNFPA by 25 percent, up to 60 million USD per year.

To expand access to quality reproductive commodities for women in the poorest countries, we will provide an additional 19 mill USD in direct support to UNFPA Supplies including the new bridging mechanism.

Building on our "She Decides"-pledge from March this year, we will support civil society organizations engaged in SRHR and safe abortion with approximately 50 million USD up to 2020.

Excellencies, colleagues and friends, I am sure you will all agree with me:

Young people are key to our common future. Together with UNFPA and other partners, Norway will take an international initiative to expand comprehensive sexuality education to protect the health and well-being of adolescents, and enable them to make good life choices. I would therefore like to invite you all to a conference on this topic in Oslo in December 2017/early January 2018. Because education is at the centre here. Education is at the very heart.

To sum up: On top of our large investments in girls' education and global health, including through the Global Financing Facility in support of Ewery Woman Every Child, we will increase our investments in SRHR by approximately 85 million USD in 2017-2020. Only in this way can girls thrive, complete secondary school, get a job, and on equal terms become a full part of society. To the benefit of society as a whole.

Thank you.