Risk and responsibility:
Statement at opening of the Norad Conference
Tale/innlegg | Dato: 31.01.2023 | Utenriksdepartementet
Av: Statssekretær Bjørg Sandkjær (Oslo, 31 January)
Statement held by State Secretary Bjørg Sandkjær at the opening of the Norad Conference.
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Thank you Bård Vegar and good morning to everyone.
The war in Ukraine and the Covid 19-pandemic have disrupted the global order to an extent that we somehow have lost sight of the transformation the world has gone through. But we can get back on track.
It requires an extraordinary effort, financially yes, but above all politically, within a reshaped geopolitical reality, where the challenges we’re facing are increasingly interconnected. And we must ensure that while addressing current – or short term- crises we do not lose sight of the long-term perspective.
The topic for this year’s conference is very timely. If we look at the past, much of the progress achieved has come at a price. As we heard earlier this morning, the youth –are concerned. Rightfully so.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing some dilemmas.
How do we end poverty and share prosperity when war is raging in our own neighborhood, and fragility, conflict and violence escalate around the globe? Can we continue the fight against inequality and poverty while ensuring that global consumption is sustainable? Can we safeguard our funding for long-term development when the global humanitarian needs are dramatically increasing?
The simple answer is that we have no choice. We have to do it.
Moving ahead, we need to recognise the links between climate and development, integrating climate policy and development policy.
Climate change is having a direct, adverse effect on development. If we fail to deliver on the Paris Agreement, efforts to enhance global prosperity and welfare will become more difficult. Global efforts to reduce poverty and inequality must go hand in hand with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate robust societies.
Norway will deliver on the financial pledges we made at COP26 in Glasgow – to double our climate finance by 2026 from 7 billion to 14 billion NOK, and as part of this to at least triple our adaptation finance.
A new Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted in December, at COP15 of the Convention on Biodiversity. We have committed to protecting 30% of the world’s land and water by the year 2030. This is critically important as biodiversity forms the very basis of our existence. A healthy natural environment secures medicine, economic growth, a stable climate, water and food.
Food security was a main development policy priority for this Government from day one. It has also moved to the top of the international agenda. The circumstances are dramatic. But there may be a silver lining.
With increased global awareness – and resources – we have a unique opportunity to transform the international food systems, tackling climate change mitigation and adaption in an integrated way.
The government quite recently launched a new strategy on food security, recognizing small-scale food producers as key to sustainable food production. Realising the right to food is not just a matter of improving productivity. We also need to increase access by supporting well-functioning local value chains.
Food in the belly and money in the pocket: The development potential for African agriculture is significant.
So is the potential of renewable energy. After a decade of steady progress on electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without access is now increasing.
Electricity powers development. While we need to provide access to those hundreds of millions of people who lack electricity, we also need to cut emissions. This means that we need to transform the energy sector to meet the climate targets and while bringing electricity to homes and businesses.
As a global energy leader, Norway is committed to do what is needed.
We provide grants for low- and middle income countries, particularly aimed at African countries with severe energy poverty. We share our experience in developing and managing the energy sector.
We work closely with like-minded donors and development partners to scale up investments in renewable energy and in mobilizing private capital for renewable energy investments.
Our aim is a just transition towards a renewable, circular and sustainable future. The only way to get there is to work in partnership; between governments, the industry, businesses and civil society.
Friends, how do you spell development finance? T – A – X. As people in this room well know, Norway knows about tax. We use this knowledge to support domestic resource mobilization in low and middle income countries.
The Norwegian experience has taught us that it not just enough to collect taxes, we also need good systems to ensure that taxes collected are used to promote welfare and reduce inequalities. Such domestic redistribution also supports trust between government and its citizens.
The other side of the finance discussion is how we deal with the dirty money: funds that are stolen from welfare and development through tax evasion, corruption, and other illicit financial flows.
Unfortunately, the global ecosystem of hidden beneficiaries, complicit service providers, secrecy jurisdictions, and impunity is very robust. We need to combat corruption and tax evasion, based on the fundamental values of transparency, accountability, integrity, and inclusion.
In the lead up to the next Global Conference on Financing for Development in 2025, we will ensure that combatting illicit financial flows, tax evasion and corruption remains at the top of the UN’s and the multilateral development agenda. Our efforts include working with governments both at the country level and at the multilateral level, as well as with civil society and the business sector.
Friends, the theme of this year’s conference is human: nature. The background documentation has provided ample evidence of the risks we are facing. We know that we are not on track to achieve our global action plan, the Sustainable Development Goals. We are also acutely aware that, as always, crisis and problems affect those furthest behind the most. Women, young people, people with disabilities, unfortunately the list is long.
The Norwegian Government is aware of our responsibility. We aim to not just alleviate immediate risks, but to support transformation towards more just and equal societies. In partnership with nature.