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Norway's statement at the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, United Nations, New York, 27 September 2019.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the UN General Assembly 2019. Credit: Tor Borgersen/SMK

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President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

President,  

Norway is a firm supporter of a rules-based multilateral order.

And we are a consistent partner in efforts to promote sustainable development, peace and security and human rights.

The world needs strong multilateral cooperation and institutions to tackle global challenges such as climate change, cyber security and terrorism.

And the UN needs to be strengthened, so that we are be better equipped to respond to current challenges.

Norway wants to take its part of this responsibility.

This is why we are a candidate for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for 2021-2022.

We are ready to serve.

We are ready to build a more effective and transparent Council.

A Council that will help us solve common challenges in a better way.

We must all work to forge new partnerships.

These partnerships must build on common interests and objectives, regardless of geography and tradition.

Norway supports a more representative Security Council that better reflect global realities.

This includes expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa. 

We need reforms that ensure greater legitimacy and lead to better results for more people.

The Secretary-General has shown great leadership in reforming the UN.

Norway will continue to support the implementation of his reforms, both politically and financially.

 

President,

The consequences of instability affect us all.

Areas of conflict and instability are breeding grounds for violent extremism and international terrorism.

These threats are not limited to the conflict areas themselves.

Terrorist propaganda, incitement and resources move across borders, both real and virtual.

There is no single ideology, religion or belief behind this.

Global security threats require global responses.

Broad international cooperation is essential.

Between states, international organisations, non-governmental partners and the private sector.

And, we need to work within our communities to prevent radicalisation.

We must prevent the spread of terrorist content online, without undermining human rights and freedom of expression.

Norway is committed to the Christchurch Call.

We too have experienced the deadly outcome of online radicalisation.

 

President,

Creating durable peace is crucial for long-term security.

Norway’s extensive experience in conflict resolution and peacebuilding guides our work in the UN.

Since the end of the Cold War, mediation and conflict resolution have been a cornerstone of our foreign policy.

At the request of the parties’, we have been engaged in efforts to resolve conflicts around the world:

in Colombia, Venezuela, the Philippines, Afghanistan, on the African continent, and in the Middle East.

We always seek lasting solutions.

There is so much to be gained if we succeed.

This is why Norway is willing to take the political risk of engaging early and why we persist in our efforts over time.

For example, we remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

As the Chair of the international donor group for Palestine, Norway remains committed to strengthening the institutional foundation for a future Palestinian state.

Norway supports an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan.

We welcome the progress made in talks between the US and the Taliban. 

And we urge the parties to finalise an agreement, and thus open the way for peace negotiations among Afghans.

In our international peace efforts, we do not work alone.

We depend on partnerships.

On cooperation.

With the UN and other international organisations, with civil society and with various interest groups.

We know that including women and minorities leads to stronger agreements, better implementation and greater legitimacy.

Above all, the parties to a conflict must own the process.

Norway is always impartial, but never value-neutral.

We promote dialogue, listen to all parties and exercise pragmatic diplomacy.

If we are elected, we will take this approach with us to the Security Council. 

And we will put conflict resolution and peacebuilding high on the Council’s agenda.

 

President, 

In a world where insecurity is increasing, UN peacekeeping must be adequate and relevant.

Peacekeepers carry out the essential job of protecting civilians.

Norway is an active supporter of the Secretary-General’s initiative on peacekeeping.

We need to develop innovative solutions to ensure that the UN has the quality and predictability it needs.

One example is the rotational concept for military transport aircraft, which Norway initiated.

By providing camp facilities, we also reduce costs for the UN and for our rotation partners.

Norway will continue to deploy high-end niche capacities to the field.

Examples include our transport aircraft and specialised police team in Mali.

We also provide staff officers and police advisers to the UN missions in South Sudan, Colombia, and the Middle East, and – soon – to the mission in Yemen.

A strong relationship with the AU is a key to the success of UN peacekeeping in Africa.

We need to strengthen the strategic partnership between the UN and the African Union.

And we need to secure sustainable and predictable financing of UN-mandated AU peace support operations.

 

President, 

Norway is a champion of the women, peace and security.

We will continue to push for a better gender balance at all levels and in all fields of peacekeeping activities.

Women’s participation is a priority in all of Norway’s peace and security efforts.

In all our mediation work, in peacekeeping, in our humanitarian response and in our peacebuilding efforts.

This will remain a priority for Norway at the UN.

 

President,  

Conflict and insecurity increase the need for humanitarian efforts.

We are all responsible for supporting those in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

But we must do more: We must work to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law, and we must strengthen protection efforts.

The scale of sexual and gender-based violence in today’s humanitarian crises is totally unacceptable.

These terrible crimes, which occur too often with impunity, must be stopped.

Norway is working actively with partner countries to that end.

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the use of mines and in the number of civilian casualties.

The Mine Ban Convention remains as relevant as ever.

Norway currently holds the Presidency of the Mine Ban Convention.

We are also a major donor to mine action.

The record-high number of internally displaced people around the world shows no sign of decreasing

We need better strategies to address and reduce internal displacement.

And we need closer cooperation between the humanitarian and development sectors.

Norway welcomes the High-Level Panel on Internally Displaced Persons.

We were one of the initiating countries, and the Secretary-General can count on our support.

Norway has increased its humanitarian budget by more than 65% since 2013.

We will maintain this high level of funding in the years to come.

 

President, 

Security is closely linked to sustainable development.

Conflict can reverse years of social and economic progress.

Conflict prevention, peacekeeping and disarmament are vital if we are to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

And sustainable development is crucial if we are to reduce insecurity and conflict.

Looking ahead to 2030, we have made encouraging progress.

Especially in terms of access to education, health services and clean energy.

But, we are still not on track.

As pointed out by Secretary-General Guterres we must ‘step it up’.

Norway is a consistent partner in this endeavour, allocating 1 % of GNI to international development aid.

National ownership is crucial for reaching the SDGs.

As is national resource mobilisation.

Stimulating the private sector, boosting job creation, building fair and effective tax systems, and curbing illicit financial flows and corruption are paramount for success.

Norway is proud to hold the current Presidency of ECOSOC.

Financing for development is the main priority for our Presidency.

At the heart of the 2030 Agenda is the pledge to leave no one behind.

In order to deliver on this commitment, development must be inclusive.

We must reach the most vulnerable and marginalised.

Norway is increasing its efforts to target these groups.

We have consistently met the UN target of allocating 0.2% of GNI to the least developed countries.

And we have decided to further increase our support.

 

President,

If elected to the Security Council, we will strive to ensure that the oceans do not become a new arena of conflict.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea sets out the legal framework for the oceans.

It provides predictability and stability.

It promotes peaceful international cooperation on conservation and sustainable use of the world’s oceans. 

It ensures freedom of navigation at sea.

The full implementation of the Convention by all states is vital.

The threats facing the oceans are unprecedented.

Loss of biodiversity, marine pollution, climate change and over-exploitation of marine resources are just some of the challenges.

At the same time, the ocean holds the key to reaching many of the SDGs.

The ocean is a vital source of food, energy, medicine and employment.

If managed wisely, the ocean offers a huge potential for human development.

Safeguarding the ocean is a shared responsibility and a matter of global urgency.

This is why I initiated the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy two years ago.

Next year, at the second UN Ocean Conference, we will present a ‘to-do list for the oceans’.

In October we will host the Our Ocean conference.

Norway has also launched a development aid program to combat marine litter.

Norway believes ocean-based climate action can be a key to achieving the Paris commitments.

 

President,  

In Paris we all made a commitment to deliver results, and to outline new ambitions for significant reductions in carbon emissions by 2020.

This is what Norway is doing.

Almost 30 years ago, we introduced a carbon tax in Norway, including in our petroleum sector.

My government´s budget proposal, which will be presented next week, includes a 5% increase in the tax on carbon emissions.

With EU emissions trading and our carbon tax, we are actively using the market mechanisms to speed up the green shift in our economy.

We are making it cheaper to be green, and more expensive to pollute.

The tax revenue will be used to reduce other taxes.

With close to 45% of new passenger cars being zero emission vehicles, we are going from black to green in our passenger transport sector.

We are also starting a reform of our goods transport system.

As a major shipping nation, we are working in the IMO to reduce emissions from ships.

And we are scaling up floating offshore wind developments.

We must all do our part.

Norway will strengthen its national determined contribution by 2020.

I urge all other countries to do the same.

It is no longer possible to ignore the fact that climate change affects security.

I am not talking about a scenario in the distant future.

These security risks are already a reality for millions of people around the globe – and they are not going away.

Norway supports the call to appoint a UN Special Representative on climate and security.

And we believe that climate security issues must be addressed by the Security Council.

Hurricane Dorian has reminded us of the devastating effects of the climate crisis.

Norway will continue to support the call for graduated countries to be eligible for ODA if they are severely affected by a natural disaster.

Some of the countries experiencing the worst effects of climate change are among the world’s lowest emitters.

The threat to small island states is existential.

Climate-vulnerable countries like Tuvalu, Dominica and the Seychelles should not bear the burden of adapting to this new reality alone.

We are far apart geographically, but the oceans connect us.

As an ocean country close to the melting Arctic ice, we share a common concern and can feel the urgency of the crisis. 

We must invest in resilience.

This makes sense in economic terms too.

Our forests and especially the rainforests have a vital role to play.

For many years, Norway has championed emission reductions through our climate and forest initiative globally.

We have contributed to reduced deforestation working with a number of countries, including in the Amazone.

The initiative taken by Amazonian states in Leticia has our full support.

Norway will be working with all countries in the region, including - I hope- Brazil, to get to a point where deforestation comes to a halt.

But reducing future emissions is of little immediate help to those already affected.

Norway is therefore scaling up its support for climate change adaptation, resilience and food security in climate-vulnerable countries.

This is an urgent task, and Norway will be an active partner in getting it done.

 

President, 

Much has changed since Norway’s previous term on the Security Council – in 2001-2002.

But our commitment to solving common problems through the United Nations has not changed.

We are a consistent partner at the UN.

We will remain a strong supporter of a rules based international order.

Ours is – and will continue to be an independent voice, and we will strive to find common ground. 

Norway is ready to serve again on the Security Council, and we hope for your support.

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