Historical archive

Statement by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland at the United Nations General Assembly

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 1st Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Statement by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway
United Nations General Assembly
New York, 14 September 2000

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Norway is committed to a strong and effective United Nations.

For decades we have pursued a policy of translating our commitment to the United Nations into substantial contributions to the various activities of the UN system.

This is why some 60 000 Norwegians have served in UN peacekeeping operations.

This is why Norway today contributes 1 500 military and civilian personnel to UN and UN-mandated peacekeeping operations around the world.

This is why we are supporting the peace and reconciliation efforts of the United Nations in the Middle East, Colombia, Cyprus and Sudan.

And this is why a relatively small country of 4.5 million inhabitants is one of the largest donors of voluntary contributions to the economic, social and humanitarian programs of the UN.

This year, Norway provides one thousand three hundred million dollars for development cooperation.

My Government plans to increase this amount substantially over the next few years. A large part of this will be channeled through the United Nations system.

Mr. President,

At this First General Assembly of the 21st century – and after the successful Millennium Assembly last week – it is time to take stock and act upon the decisions we have made.

Here is what Norway will give priority to in the time ahead:

-We will focus on the root causes of conflict and put the fight against poverty, underdevelopment and environmental degradation at the top of our agenda.

-Financing for development is essential. Norway reached the 0,7 per cent target more than 20 years ago. We are currently at 0.9 per cent of GNP for Official Development Assistance, and my government has pledged to reach a full one per cent.

-We will increase our support through the multilateral development agencies, including our support to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

-We will continue to advocate a more comprehensive approach to peacebuilding. Conflict prevention, humanitarian relief, and long-term development cannot be regarded as separate tasks. They must be part of an integrated and coherent strategy of human security.

-We will continue to combat malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. Malaria alone takes two lives – mainly children and pregnant women – every minute, every day, every year. We will significantly increase our contribution to the vaccination of children, so that they do not die from easily curable diseases.

-We will intensify our efforts to help contain and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, which in many countries has become the single largest threat to development.

-We will focus even more strongly on Africa. Africa needs a new and better deal. We call for a renewed commitment to Africa and are prepared to contribute substantially to this effort.

Mr. President,

The United Nations has mounted more peace operations during the last ten years than during the previous four decades combined. We have witnessed significant successes, but also uncovered disturbing and tragic weaknesses.

Far too often – and frequently at great cost to the people we were supposed to protect – the United Nations has relied on last-minute efforts and ad hoc arrangements. The rich and powerful member states must honor their promises to the weak and defenseless.

-Norway supports the recommendations in the report of the UN Panel on peace operations headed by Ambassador Brahimi. We stand ready to engage in a broad dialogue on how to ensure the speedy and efficient implementation of recommendations in the Brahimi report.

-Together with our partners, we will push forward towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We will work for further reductions in nuclear arsenals with a view to eliminating them, building on the important results from the NPT Review Conference in New York.

-We will continue to combat the illicit trade and spread of small arms. We should make full use of the opportunity provided by the UN Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons to take firm steps that will curtail this deadly traffic.

Mr. President,

-None of this can be done, however, without securing a sound financial basis for the United Nations itself. We must put UN finances on a more secure and predictable footing. We must close the gap between the tasks we ask the UN to carry out and the resources we make available to it. Zero growth is clearly not sufficient. We cannot expect the UN to carry out new and additional tasks without additional funding.

-No one must be allowed to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity with impunity. Norway therefore strongly supports the statute establishing an International Criminal Court. Now we must seek the speedy implementation of the statute.

-To effectively meet our common challenges, we must build new partnerships between the UN, civil society and the private sector. The "Global Compact" is one such initiative. The "Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization" (GAVI) is another. Early next year Norway will host an international conference in Oslo on the role of the private sector in promoting investment and economic development in the least developed countries.

-We will continue to support efforts to enable developing countries to take full advantage of the benefits of multilateral cooperation. In particular, we would like to assist the least developed countries - including Small Island Developing States - to benefit more fully from joint international efforts, including the legal regime for the seas and oceans established by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

-Globalization provides opportunities for unprecedented growth, but it can also lead to marginalization and isolation. In our globalized world, markets have become global much faster than politics. There is an urgent need to adapt the international trading and financial systems so that every country can obtain its fair share of the benefits of globalization.

-In our shrinking world, providing humanitarian aid and emergency relief to people in need, is the responsibility of every government. Norway will increase its humanitarian efforts - which is already among the highest in the world - both bilaterally and through UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.

-We will to the best of our ability continue to facilitate peace efforts in countries where the parties to a conflict request our involvement. Ultimately, however, the responsibility for lasting peace rests with the parties themselves.

-Finally, we reiterate our call for reform and enlargement of the Security Council in terms of both permanent and non-permanent members. Broader membership and increased transparency are essential to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council.

Mr. President,

For the first time since 1979, Norway is seeking a seat on the Security Council.

We would hope to be elected, after 22 years, based on our contributions to the United Nations and principles of fair rotation.

We therefore ask for your support.

Norway will deeply respect a mandate from this Assembly. We will be attentive to your voices and concerns. We will remain committed;

to help those who suffer from poverty and war, disasters and famine,

to place a strong UN at the center of world affairs,

to ensure that those who have the strongest backs bear the heaviest burden.

We ask you to allow us to serve you all.

Thank you.