Speech/statement | Date: 09/12/2021 | Office of the Prime Minister
By Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (at the Summit of Democracy)
Mr. President, Excellencies,Today, most threats against democracy come from within. From elected leaders who act in breach of democratic principles, embrace corruption and disregard human rights. The threat is often amplified by disinformation.
How can we reverse this course? Let me share three observations:
First, without a vibrant civil society democracy dies. Democratic participation must be inclusive, safe and non-discriminating. Freedoms of expression, association and assembly are cornerstones in democracy.
This means that we must support media and organisations that challenge us. And tolerate views we do not always agree with. Norway will continue to support media diversity and independent journalism.
Democracy should be reinforced - not undermined - in the digital domain. Through the Digital Public Goods Alliance, we will contribute to inclusion by investing in good digital public infrastructure.
Second, do not under-estimate the need for trust between citizens and their representatives. When politicians place themselves above the law, confidence in democracy erodes.
Transparency, accountability and integrity build trust. Norway remains committed to strengthening international norms and take action to prevent and combat corruption and illicit financial flows.
Third, lastly and importantly: The years ahead will be defined by the transition to the low emission economy in all countries. That is the single most important task we’re up against and a stress test for our political systems. The transition comes with opportunities, growth and jobs. A better and healthier society awaits us.
But let’s be honest, it also comes with changes to the way we live. Inequality is already dividing many societies. If the green transition increases inequality, we can be sure of one thing: We will not succeed.
We need to bring everyone along. We need to arrive at a society that is more equitable, not less. We need opportunity and prosperity, not for the few, but for the many. This requires political leadership. It requires a political system with legitimate institutions and processes where people have a say. That system has a name: Democracy.