Article | Last updated: 02/09/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Here are the instructions for the Norwegian delegation for 77th session of the UN General Assembly (Unga).
- Support Norway’s efforts as an elected member of the UN Security Council and promote Norway’s broad priorities in the UN
- Promote binding international cooperation and respect for international law, and safeguard the multilateral system
- Be at the forefront of efforts to promote disarmament
- Strengthen the UN’s capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts
- Strengthen human rights and the international legal order
- Strengthen the UN’s capacity to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises, and promote international cooperation on refugees and migrants
- Promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with particular emphasis on climate and environmental issues, energy, food security, gender equality, health, the oceans, and on reducing inequalities
The UN General Assembly is the world’s most representative multilateral forum for dialogue and policy development. As such, it is a key arena for promoting Norwegian interests, for international cooperation, and for finding solutions to global challenges. The overall guidelines for Norwegian multilateral policy are set out in the white paper Norway’s Role and Interests in Multilateral Cooperation (Meld. St. 27 (2018–2019)) and remain unchanged. Norwegian policy is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the climate targets and the international human rights instruments.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly will open on 13 September 2022 at the UN Headquarters in New York, and will begin with the inauguration of the new President, Mr Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary. The theme for the 77th session including the General Debate will be: ‘A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges’. The week of high-level meetings held in connection with the General Debate will take place from 20–27 September. The UN Secretary-General is also convening a summit on education, the ‘Transforming Education Summit’, on 19 September.
In recent years, the UN’s work and the implementation of the high-level week has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, there will be greater opportunity for in-person attendance, but it is expected that there will still be some pandemic restrictions in place at the UN Headquarters.
Norway’s delegation will be led by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, and Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide will also be present in New York during the high-level week. Observers from the Storting and representatives of Norwegian civil society organisations will form part of the Norwegian delegation and will participate in various events during the autumn session. The vast majority of the General Assembly meetings will be streamed online and will be accessible to everyone.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly lasts until September 2023. The negotiations in the General Assembly and its six main committees will continue throughout the session, and Norway will be represented by its Permanent Mission to the UN in New York together with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant ministries in Oslo. In addition to these instructions, a number of other documents are being drawn up that will set out detailed priorities and goals for the negotiations in the General Assembly’s various committees.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly is taking place at a time when there are significant challenges to global cooperation. Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine represents a historic turning point in Europe and is having far-reaching global consequences. The world is facing growing uncertainty and unpredictability. The impacts of climate change are increasingly evident. The pandemic has had serious repercussions and is still ongoing in many parts of the world. Humanitarian challenges are greater than ever. Geopolitical tensions are rising. The global disarmament and non-proliferation regime is under considerable pressure. Democratic values are being threatened. Norwegian foreign policy must succeed in balancing geopolitical considerations, forging new alliances and addressing today’s most critical challenges: promoting geopolitical stability and responding to the global climate change threat.
The war in Ukraine is having a major impact on the global economy, and is exacerbating underlying challenges relating to food security and energy. Earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General set up the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance. So far, the Group has presented three briefs on the global impact of the war in Ukraine. The UN Secretary-General has also been directly involved in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on the export of grain and other agricultural products via Ukrainian ports. The crisis will affect the entire world, and the repercussions will be particularly severe for vulnerable groups and poor countries. Multilateral cooperation and the role of multilateral institutions, including the World Bank and the regional development banks, are therefore more important than ever.
1. Support Norway’s efforts as an elected member of the UN Security Council and promote Norway’s broad priorities in the UN
Norway has been elected as a member of the UN Security Council for the period 2021–2022. The Security Council is the only body with responsibility for international peace and security that has a mandate to adopt binding resolutions. Through its work in the General Assembly and the Security Council, Norway will seek to safeguard its national interests by:
- strengthening the UN, international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law, and the multilateral order;
- helping to prevent, de-escalate and resolve wars and conflicts;
- shouldering its share of the responsibility for promoting a well-functioning multilateral system and strengthening relations with other countries, both within and outside the Security Council.
In this work, Norway will focus in particular on four thematic areas:
- Peace diplomacy. Norway will use the knowledge it has gained from its engagement in peace processes to strengthen the UN’s conflict prevention and resolution efforts.
- Women, peace and security. Norway will work to ensure that women’s participation and rights are safeguarded in UN peace and security efforts.
- Protection of civilians. Norway will work to strengthen the protection of civilians, including children, using international humanitarian and human rights law as a basis for these efforts. Norway will give special priority to efforts to prevent and combat sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.
- Climate change and security. Norway will work to ensure that the UN addresses climate-related security threats and the issue of how climate change affects UN peace and security efforts.
This is our second and final year as a member of the Security Council. During the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the Norwegian delegation will also make preparations for Norway’s role in the UN once our term on the Security Council is over.
2. Promote binding international cooperation and respect for international law, and safeguard the multilateral system
International cooperation is vital for Norway’s security, economy and welfare. We are seeing a tendency to rely less on multilateral organisations to address common challenges through compromise and cooperation. At the same time, the world is facing major global challenges that no country can solve on its own. The UN must adapt to this situation. A key goal of the Government’s foreign policy is therefore to promote binding international cooperation and safeguard the multilateral system, so that we can increase our ability to deal with common challenges, such as the climate and environmental crisis, pandemics and the ramifications of the war in Ukraine.
- Norway will work proactively to strengthen the UN system, to make the UN more effective and representative, and to promote closer Nordic cooperation and a clearer Nordic voice in the UN.
- Norway will support the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on the reform of UN management, the reform of the UN peace and security pillar, and the reform of the UN development system. Norway will work to secure more flexible and predictable financing for the UN. The Norwegian delegation will work to promote system-wide coherence at country level and ensure that the UN works effectively across its three pillars: peace and security, human rights, and development. Efforts to promote human rights, including women’s rights, must be given priority across all the UN’s areas of work. In addition, it is essential to follow up the 2020 General Assembly resolution on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of UN operational activities for development (QCPR) and the resolution adopted in 2018 on the repositioning of the UN development system.
- The Norwegian delegation will work to promote results-based management in UN institutions, and to ensure that the UN has the funding and flexibility it needs to fulfil its mandates. The delegation will also promote sound and effective management of UN resources.
- The delegation will work to promote more representative and inclusive multilateral cooperation, for example by seeking to increase the participation of civil society, in particular young people.
- The delegation will promote effective cooperation across the traditional and regional divides of the General Assembly. It will seek to build bridges, listen, and use constructive diplomacy to facilitate solutions for the common good. The Nordic-African initiative to strengthen cooperation on multilateral issues and in support of the rules-based world order is important in this context and must be followed up.
- The delegation will work to strengthen the relationship between the General Assembly, Ecosoc and the Security Council, actively promote greater transparency in the work of the Security Council, and follow the process of Security Council reform closely.
- The delegation will assess on an ongoing basis how Norway can best support the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s report ‘Our Common Agenda’ in specific priority areas and in line with the 2030 Agenda. Following up the ‘Our Common Agenda’ report has been defined as a priority area for Nordic cooperation vis-à-vis the UN in 2022, and the delegation will seek to cooperate closely with delegations from the other Nordic countries.
The General Assembly is a key arena for the work on disarmament and international security. Norway is working actively to promote disarmament and processes that can bring countries closer together on this issue, can engage the nuclear-weapon states, and can deliver results. The delegation will also step up Norway’s efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and will work with countries both in and outside Nato to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
Five priorities have been identified for our efforts in this area: 1) maintain Norway’s global leadership role in promoting disarmament verification, 2) promote multilateral dialogue on disarmament and the principle of irreversibility, 3) promote multilateral measures to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons being used, 4) take steps to focus attention on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and 5) support efforts to promote arms control. The delegation will seek to advance international arms control and disarmament efforts, ensure compliance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty, and take necessary steps to regulate the development of autonomous weapons systems.
Nuclear disarmament verification is essential for achieving and maintaining a world without nuclear weapons. The development of a credible multilateral verification regime is therefore vital for promoting disarmament. The delegation will ensure that Norway continues to play a leading role in the work to promote disarmament verification within the framework of the UN, in line with the Norwegian-sponsored resolution on nuclear disarmament verification adopted during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. In addition, Norway will give priority to efforts that ensure that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continues to be the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. It is important that the UN General Assembly seeks to strengthen the NPT.
Norway will seek to strengthen the UN’s capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts, with a view to promoting peaceful and sustainable development. The UN General Assembly is the world’s largest international meeting place, and a unique arena for promoting cooperation and geopolitical stability. Predictable international cooperation based on international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes is the best way to promote peace and security.
It is crucial that UN efforts are coherent and based on cooperation. An integrated approach across multiple areas, such as mediation, stabilisation, peacebuilding, humanitarian response and development, is vital. Cooperation between the UN and other multilateral organisations, such as the World Bank and the regional development banks, is essential in order to achieve the best possible results. The partnership between the UN and the African Union (AU) is particularly important. The Norwegian delegation will work actively to strengthen this partnership, especially in the field of peace and security.
- The delegation will work to promote more coherent, coordinated and effective implementation of UN peace operations. Norway will continue to support the efforts to reform and strengthen UN peace operations, based on the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) and Action for Peacekeeping + (A4P+) initiatives. The delegation will also explore ways in which Norway can contribute to a broader reform of UN peace efforts, based on the UN Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace.
- The delegation will work to increase Norway’s contributions to UN peace operations, and to secure Norway’s readmittance as a member of the UN Peacebuilding Commission as of January 2023. As a member of the Security Council, it is particularly important for Norway to maintain a consistent and visible profile, for example through active engagement and cooperation across relevant forums, including the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Group of Friends of UN Peace Operations.
- Norway’s broad involvement in peace and reconciliation efforts has given us important experience and a unique position in this area. The delegation will seek to foster dialogue between various actors involved in conflict situations. The delegation will maintain an active engagement in efforts to address conflicts and humanitarian crises. Priority will be given to strengthening Norway’s role as bridge-builder.
- Norway gives priority to efforts to promote the women, peace and security agenda. The delegation will work to increase the proportion of women participating at all levels of UN peace operations, as both civilian and military personnel. The delegation will work to strengthen women’s rights and participation in all phases of peace processes and at all decision-making levels, with a view to ensuring that the gender perspective is integrated into all aspects of peace and security work. The delegation will seek to ensure that commitments in this area are translated into concrete action.
- The delegation will work, in close collaboration with the countries that are most severely affected by climate change, to ensure that climate-related security risks are integrated as a cross-cutting issue in UN peace and security efforts, with a particular focus on the need for disaster risk reduction, adaptation and resilience building, and to ensure that these risks are an integral part of regional and local dialogue and cooperation on peace, security and development.
- The delegation will work to strengthen the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, including the protection of children, and will raise this issue in all relevant UN forums. The delegation will work to ensure that the UN General Assembly presents a clear and consistent message across all country groupings and thematic forums on the need to protect civilians and achieve full compliance with international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict, and to ensure that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law are held accountable. The delegation will work to ensure that protection issues are addressed in UN peace operations.
- The Norwegian delegation will participate actively in UN efforts to combat international terrorism and violent extremism. Priority will be given to cybersecurity and responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. The delegation will promote the implementation of targeted measures to identify and combat transnational organised crime.
The international legal order provides a clear and predictable framework for ensuring compliance with international law, including international human rights obligations. The UN’s mandate and unique position in the world mean that it has a special responsibility to work to promote progress in the areas of democracy, human rights, development and multilateral cooperation.
Many countries that have been moving away from democracy have long demonstrated a failure to comply with international law and international human rights obligations. Civil society representatives, journalists and human rights defenders in many countries are experiencing infringements of fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, assembly and association. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend, as have increasing geopolitical tensions and conflict. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to greater polarisation and has made it more difficult for multilateral forums to carry out their work. Norway considers it vital to safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms, legal protection and the rule of law, particularly in times of crisis.
- The delegation will continue Norway’s efforts to ensure respect for and compliance with international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and promote the international legal order. It will support efforts to promote a world order based on international law, including the principles set out in the UN Charter.
- The delegation will ensure that Norway continues to play a key role in UN efforts to protect and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to integrate a rights-based approach into all aspects of the UN’s work.
- The delegation will continue Norway’s efforts to support and protect human rights defenders, including human rights defenders working on climate and environmental issues. Norway will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that civil society representatives are able to participate meaningfully in UN efforts and processes.
- The delegation will work to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, religion or belief, disability, ethnicity or other minority status.
- The delegation will give particular priority to safeguarding freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of assembly, and workers’ rights.
- The delegation will promote gender equality and women’s rights, including the right to decide over one’s own body. In this context, the delegation will give high priority to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and women’s right to economic and political participation. Norway will support international efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence. Women’s rights and gender equality are to be integrated as a cross-cutting issue in all Norway’s efforts.
- The delegation will actively promote international dispute settlement mechanisms.
- In the efforts to strengthen the international legal order, the delegation will in particular:
- support the International Law Commission’s work on crimes against humanity, as well as the establishment of an informal working group or ad hoc committee, with the aim of negotiating and adopting a convention based on the ILC’s draft articles;
- work to combat impunity, and as in previous years, express Norway’s readiness to participate in discussions on a new convention on the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission;
- continue to play a constructive role in the efforts to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism;
- follow the discussions on universal jurisdiction, with a view to preventing the debate from being derailed or undermining our capacity to prevent and respond to the most serious crimes.
- The delegation will participate actively in discussions on issues relating to international humanitarian law (IHL), with a view to countering attempts to weaken or undermine existing IHL obligations.
6. Strengthen the UN’s capacity to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises, and promote international cooperation on refugees and migrants
Norway will promote compliance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence in its efforts to help and protect people affected by humanitarian crises.
- The delegation will promote the achievement of the goals set out in Norway’s Humanitarian Strategy, with a focus on enhancing protection, ensuring an integrated approach, and addressing the humanitarian impacts of climate change.
- The delegation will work to strengthen humanitarian efforts in the light of the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs as a result of conflict, climate-related threats and pandemics.
- The delegation will work to strengthen protection for people affected by crisis and conflict, with a particular focus on protection of children, on efforts to prevent and combat sexual and gender-based violence, on protection of refugees and internally displaced people, and on protection against mines and other explosives.
- The delegation will promote efforts to strengthen the UN humanitarian system, in line with the commitments made in the Grand Bargain, which was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.
- The delegation will advocate closer cooperation between the UN and other multilateral institutions in order to improve coordination between humanitarian action, peacebuilding and long-term development efforts.
- The delegation will work to achieve a more effective and better coordinated response for refugees and displaced people, in line with the Government’s dedicated funding initiative to improve conditions for refugees, displaced people and host communities (solidaritetspotten), the Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees, and will contribute to processes that seek to address the underlying causes of migration.
- The delegation will work to promote safe, orderly and regular migration and counter irregular migration, within the framework of the Global Compact for Migration.
- Norway will follow up the efforts to improve protection for internally displaced people, and will do its part to find lasting solutions in this area, in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement.
- The delegation will promote humanitarian innovation and new working methods that lead to a more effective response and better results for people affected by crisis. This includes efforts to increase the use of digital technology in situations where this can strengthen the humanitarian response.
7. Promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with particular emphasis on climate and environmental issues, energy, food security, gender equality, health, the oceans, and on reducing inequalities
The 2030 Agenda is the world’s action plan for sustainable development. It sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, and integrates all three dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, social and environmental. The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 with the support of all 193 member states. Norway played an active role in promoting the SDGs and securing their adoption, and has committed to working to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The SDGs are an important guide for Norway’s foreign and development policy. However, there are some serious challenges to overcome if we are to succeed in the effort to implement the Agenda globally by 2030. The climate crisis, the environmental crisis, the health crisis and the invasion of Ukraine are all making it more difficult to achieve the SDGs.
Recognising that the international community needs to set clear priorities for its activities, the UN Secretary-General has, as requested in the Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations adopted at the 75th General Assembly, presented a report entitled ‘Our Common Agenda’. The report sets the course for UN efforts in the years ahead and is intended to facilitate the implementation of the SDGs, based on respect for human rights and the principle of leaving no one behind. The political focus of the report coincides to a large extent with Norway’s priorities and policies to promote the achievement of the SDGs and reduce inequalities.
Norway is an important partner for the UN and for developing countries in the efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. Norway provides strong political support for UN development efforts, financial contributions to UN funds, programmes and specialised agencies and UN pooled funds, and core funding for multilateral development banks’ funds for the poorest countries. Norway also engages in bilateral cooperation in this context.
If we are to succeed in achieving all 17 SDGs, we must further develop national and global partnerships and strengthen cooperation with actors that can provide constructive contributions and innovative solutions. The business sector, civil society organisations and the academic community can all serve as useful partners for Norway or each other in this context, by providing access to their networks, expertise or capital.
- The delegation will seek to inject new momentum into the efforts to implement the SDGs, by promoting political commitments, strategic priorities, flexible financing and targeted partnerships.
- The delegation will work to achieve the establishment of an internationally recognised financing and reporting system to provide visibility and incentives for efforts that will help us to reach the SDGs, but that cannot at present be reported, wholly or in part, as ODA. A system of this kind will serve to identify common solutions to common challenges and thus help us to address the challenges identified in the ‘Our Common Agenda’ report.
In particular, the delegation will work to secure good results in the following areas:
a) Climate, environment and clean energy
The UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021 led to enhanced national climate targets for 2030 and pledges to increase climate finance and other support to developing countries, thus taking global climate cooperation a step forward. Nevertheless, a great deal still needs to be done if the Paris Agreement’s temperature target is to remain within reach. Norway will therefore seek to ensure that ambitions in this area remain high and that targets that have already been set are followed up. In addition to the work being done at the national level, this will require active climate diplomacy. It will be vital for Norway to work with other countries to promote climate measures – climate change mitigation and adaptation – at the international level. The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) has been postponed several times, but it has now been confirmed that it will take place in Montreal in December 2022. The negotiations on a new global biodiversity framework are due to be concluded at the conference, but it will be difficult to reach agreement on ambitious targets and resource mobilisation.
- The delegation will work to put climate change adaptation, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction high on the international agenda.
- The delegation will support the UN Secretary-General’s leadership on climate change and environmental issues.
- The delegation will actively promote the adoption of an ambitious international agreement that ensures more sustainable management of the natural environment, using the Paris Agreement as a model.
- The delegation will give particular support to international climate and environmental efforts in areas where Norway has comparative advantages and there is potential to create jobs, such as the development of renewable electricity and green shipping, carbon capture and storage, and the efforts to promote sustainable oceans and seabed mapping.
- The delegation will support efforts to mobilise finance for and accelerate the development of renewable energy and climate technology in developing countries and emerging economies.
- The delegation will communicate Norway’s priorities in official and bilateral meetings in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh in November, and through participation in relevant side events.
b) Hunger, food security and climate-smart agriculture
Global food security has deteriorated in recent years as a result of climate change, conflict, economic disparities and the socio-economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Some 828 million people are affected by hunger worldwide. The World Food Programme has estimated that the number of people facing acute food insecurity has risen from 135 million before the pandemic in 2019 to 345 million in 2022.
Food prices, energy prices, fertiliser prices and transport prices all have a major impact on local and global food security. Earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General established the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, and Norway supports this initiative. The briefs produced by this Group paint an alarming picture of the global repercussions of the war in Ukraine. The growing cost-of-living crisis could have far-reaching consequences across the world. Vulnerable groups and the poor are particularly at risk.
The Government will target its efforts relating to food security more strategically and will give particular priority to promoting small-scale food production, local value chains and markets, and climate-resilient agriculture. A new strategy on promoting food security in the context of Norwegian development policy will be presented in autumn 2022. An integrated approach to preventing food crises will be a priority area in the strategy.
- The delegation is requested to support the UN Secretary-General’s efforts and leadership in the area of food security, including his engagement in securing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine to the global market.
- The delegation will work to strengthen international efforts to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, enhance social safety nets, and promote sustainable food production.
- The delegation will focus on poor countries and communities that are most severely affected by the food crisis.
- The delegation will in particular support initiatives targeted towards small-scale food producers in developing countries and intended to promote climate-resilient food production.
- The delegation is requested to focus on the need for a coherent approach to food security that ensures that prevention of food crises, humanitarian action and long-term development efforts are all integrated into the response in crisis situations.
c) Reducing inequalities
Norway will work to reduce inequalities by promoting sustainable economic growth, the creation of secure, green and decent jobs, and education. Sustainable economic growth, job creation, a well organised labour market, well-functioning tax systems and equitable distribution of social and economic goods provide the main path out of poverty.
Norway is to play a leading role in the international efforts to combat illicit financial flows and tax evasion. If we are to succeed in fighting corruption and illicit financial flows, as well as in increasing tax revenues in poor countries, a coordinated global effort is needed to promote financial transparency, improve tax systems, combat money laundering, and ensure that corruption cases are properly investigated and prosecuted. Norway will do its part to achieve this, for example by participating in the discussions on financing for development during the General Assembly.
It is estimated that close to 90 % of the financing needed to reach several of the key SDGs will have to come from domestic sources. If used wisely to promote domestic resource mobilisation, aid can dramatically increase domestic revenues, encourage a greater sense of ownership at the national level and lead to more sustainable public financing. Norway is giving priority to cooperation that seeks to exploit the potential of digital technology to increase financing for development (for example in the context of national tax and procurement systems, and monitoring of cross-border financial flows).
- The delegation will have greater focus on SDG 8 on promoting ‘sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.’
- The delegation will promote the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and will give priority to important issues such as domestic resource mobilisation, private investment mobilisation, and the fight against illicit financial flows and corruption.
- The delegation will encourage the UN and the multilateral system to raise its ambition level as regards combating illicit financial flows, and will seek to ensure that the forums developing international tax rules and standards include as many countries as possible, in order to secure broad support for and give legitimacy to global tax measures.
- The delegation will support the establishment of international mechanisms to promote effective, fair handling of government debt crises. The delegation will also emphasise the need for responsible borrowing and lending practices to prevent the risk of new debt problems undermining progress towards the SDGs.
- The delegation will also highlight women’s role in and contribution to delivering economic growth.
- The delegation will continue Norway’s efforts to promote digital cooperation and reduce the digital gap between developed and developing countries, as champion of the Digital Public Goods Alliance.
- The delegation will highlight the need for constructive cooperation between the UN system and the multilateral development banks.
- The delegation will advocate for a critical review of the use of global funds in order to increase the effectiveness of development aid.
The delegation will continue Norway’s work to enable the UN development system to provide more effective and coordinated support to countries in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, by following up the reform measures and promoting qualitatively better financing mechanisms.
d) Gender equality – which leads to greater freedom, welfare and democracy
For Norway, strengthening the rights of women and girls is a goal in itself. At the same time, Norway is working to enhance understanding of the ways in which promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment and influence benefits society. Norway is working to eliminate harmful practices such as child marriage, forced labour and all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, and to promote the empowerment and self-determination of women and girls. We must tap into the enormous potential that women and girls represent and promote their social and economic participation. At the international level, work to promote gender equality is increasingly regarded as one of the keys to addressing several of the greatest challenges the world is facing, including those relating to climate change, the economy, global health and peacebuilding.
Ensuring education for girls is essential to promote girls’ and women’s rights and participation. Gender equality, including sexuality education, must be included in the school curriculum for all children, to ensure that boys too learn about this and can then play a part in promoting gender equality. At the same time, efforts to promote gender equality are meeting strong opposition in some countries, particularly when it comes to upholding women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and combating sexual and gender-based violence. Targeted efforts and proactive alliance building are therefore essential. Girls and women in poor countries have less access to what they need to make use of digital services and participate successfully in the digital space. Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue for all the SDGs, and one of the SDGs is devoted to gender quality. Promoting gender equality is a priority for Norway.
- The delegation will seek to prevent women’s rights from being undermined and will actively promote the implementation of, and compliance with, international and national obligations relating to the promotion of women’s participation and rights.
- The delegation will work to ensure that a gender perspective and respect for women’s rights are integrated as a cross-cutting issue into the efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. The delegation will give particular priority to the efforts to protect and promote women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Norway will seek to strengthen women’s right to decide over their own body, by stepping up its efforts on this issue and seeking to establish new alliances.
- The delegation will work to improve women’s and girls’ access to education and health services, and to enhance protection against violence and harmful practices, including in areas affected by crisis and conflict.
- The delegation will play an active part in the efforts to follow up the ‘Transforming Education Summit’, with a particular focus on education in situations of crisis and conflict.
- Norway’s delegation will give priority to the efforts to promote women’s participation in the labour market and in business, as well as in decision-making mechanisms at all levels and in all areas of politics and governance.
e) Good health – which is a good in itself and vital for sustainable development
In addition to its health impacts, the Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching social and economic ramifications and a major impact on security and development. It has highlighted the fact that health cannot be viewed in isolation from other sectors. The UN’s normative role in the field of health is vital, and UN funds, programmes and specialised agencies are important channels and partners for Norwegian aid to the health sector. Promoting good nutrition and food security is also crucial for improving people’s health.
- The delegation will continue Norway’s global health efforts and will promote more effective international health cooperation and global health preparedness to facilitate prevention, early detection and rapid response to new or persistent infectious disease threats and increases in antimicrobial resistance, for example in connection with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the efforts to follow up the ‘Our Common Agenda’ report.
- The delegation will actively promote fair and just global cooperation in the areas of pandemic response and health preparedness, including equitable distribution of vaccines and other health technologies, as well as sustainable financing for health preparedness efforts.
- The delegation will promote universal access to health services and efforts to strengthen health systems, including the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.
- The delegation will give priority to maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and to measures that can reduce sexual violence and sexual harassment, particularly in humanitarian crises and conflict situations.
- The delegation will work across regional groups of countries to help establish international norms and standards, mobilise funding and protect global public goods.
f) Clean and healthy oceans – which are crucial to human survival
Promoting clean, healthy and productive oceans and sustainable management of marine resources is of vital importance to Norway. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provides the framework for international cooperation on conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources. Pressures on the oceans include climate change, overexploitation of resources, loss of biodiversity and pollution, including from marine litter and in particular plastics. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) and certain forms of fisheries subsidies are resulting in overfishing. The negotiations on a new agreement, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction are a high priority for Norway. The same applies to the work to promote a global framework for combating plastic pollution, including marine plastic litter.
Norway also participates actively in the ongoing legislative negotiations in the International Seabed Authority, which was established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to regulate exploration for and exploitation of seabed minerals found beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. A sustainable ocean economy is vital for achieving a number of the SDGs, not only SDG 14 on life below water. Sustainable management of the oceans can help mitigate climate change. Norway considers it important to highlight the significance of a sustainable ocean economy for promoting development.
The High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), which is co-chaired by the Norwegian Prime Minister, has a key role to play in this context. The Ocean Panel will be an important platform for Norway in the efforts to develop global ocean policy in the years ahead. In 2022, the Panel has helped set the agenda for important international ocean conferences in France and Palau, as well as the UN Ocean Conference in Portugal. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) is an important initiative, and Norway is one of the largest contributors. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is a patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance.
- The Norwegian delegation will give priority to raising awareness of the work of the Ocean Panel and highlighting its relevance for UN member states. The delegation will seek to ensure that the recommendations of the Ocean Panel are successfully integrated into the UN’s agenda and into the work of UN organisations, programmes and funds.
- The delegation will seek to increase international recognition of the importance of the oceans for the economy, jobs, energy production and food security, and of the need to promote sustainable use of marine resources and clean and healthy oceans as a source of value creation. It is important to ensure that women are given the same opportunities as men to contribute to, and to benefit from, the development of new industries.
- The delegation will promote knowledge-based ocean management and support the UN Decade of Ocean Science.
- The delegation will continue its efforts to promote a global agreement to combat plastic pollution, including marine litter.
- The delegation will seek to strengthen and further develop the Law of the Sea as the basis for sound ocean management and the sustainable use of resources, and to promote the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal framework for all activity at sea.
The delegation will seek to strengthen coordination between the UN’s ocean-related efforts and the ongoing work under the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.