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Historical archive

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

Speech at High-Level Event: Millennium Development Goals and Post 2015

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Office of the Prime Minister

United Nations, New York, 25 September 2013

UN General Assembly 2013.

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Ladies and gentlemen, 


Thirteen years ago I had the privilege of attending the Millennium Development Summit here in New York.

It was an impressive summit. And it was an ambitious declaration.  But on the plane back home I was not optimistic.

To be honest, I thought it was

  • Just another summit
  • Just another declaration
  • Just another document

I thought the Goals would be forgotten even before the heads of state and government who signed them were back in their capitals.

Today I can say: I was wrong.

The world has seen remarkable improvements in living standards,
and health.

Ahead of time we have reached the goal of halving the number of people living in poverty.

Never before have the lives of so many people improved so rapidly.

This is not due to the Goals alone.

But I believe the Goals have played an important part.


Now we are about to make new Goals for the period after 2015.

Why did the current Goals turn out to be a success? 

What can we learn from the Millennium Development Goals as we identify new visions and ambitions?

I think three factors are key:

  • We need measurable goals
  • We need specific goals, and
  • We need a single set of goals

But our first ambition should be to complete all the existing Goals as soon as possible. That should be the starting point for new goals and visions.


In the process of formulating the new goals, three topics will be of special concern to Norway.

First, health

We have achieved a lot. The lives of six million children and mothers are being saved – every year.

We have been successful because we have been focused.

Because we have worked together – governments, the private sector and civil society. And because we have pinpointed the most cost-effective measures.

370 million children have been immunised thanks to the private-public partnership GAVI.

310 million mosquito nets have been distributed thanks to another private-public partnership – the Global Fund.

Simple measures. But effective measures. Measures that save millions of lives for the smallest amounts of money.

But the job is not finished.

Still, a child dies every five seconds. A woman dies every two minutes. This is unacceptable.

So let us make a renewed push to complete the job in the remaining 827 - eighthundred-and-twentyseven -days before the deadline.

We have the plans and the strategies. Now we need to take further concrete action to make a dent in the statistics.


Second, energy

Energy should not be omitted once again, when the new goals and visions are drawn up. We need a clear and ambitious goal for sustainable energy for all.

Access to energy is essential for development. 

So, the world needs energy. At the same time, we need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

We cannot choose between either economic growth or environment. We need to reconcile the two.

There is no conflict between access to modern energy and development with low emissions.

To do this we need
more renewable energy,
energy efficiency,
to remove harmful fossil fuel subsidies,
more carbon pricing
and the development of new technologies.

Green growth is possible.

In developed countries. And in developing countries.


Third, women’s rights and gender equality  

Gender equality and women’s participation on an equal footing with men is a question of human rights. It is also a question of economic development and prosperity.

The Nordic experience is clear and compelling: when

women are empowered,
the economy is powered.

Gender equality and women’s rights should remain a separate goal. At the same time, gender equality should be incorporated in all the other areas covered by the new goals.

We are ready to work with all nations to find ways of providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls.



Let us give our full support to the Secretary-General’s efforts to have a new set of goals in place in 2015.

We need ambitious goals. But also realistic goals.

We need concrete goals. But also universal goals that we can all contribute to. 

Thank you for your attention.