Tale/innlegg | Dato: 15.06.2009
I sin presentasjon av rapporten til den globale helsekampanjen ”Leading by example – Protecting the most vulnerable during the economic crisis” i FNs hovedkvarter i New York 15. juni 2009, sa utenriksminister Støre bl.a.: “If we look at what has happened since the late nineties and the early part of this decade, in terms of innovation and tremendous progress in the area of global health, I think we have some reason to be – not proud – but satisfied that there has been such progress and impatience to move forward. Or, to use Jeff Sachs words, to scale up further.”
Based on a transcript of the speech
Check against delivery
Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Director General, Excellencies and friends,
I am the Norwegian Foreign Minister, for those of you who do not know me. It is a great privilege to be associated with this luncheon, and on behalf of my Prime Minister, and the Norwegian Government, I am happy to be here to pledge Norway’s full support to the green publication that we have in front of us, which is a unique – I believe a quite unique – assembly of political will, and I will make a few remarks on this report, as an introduction to our discussion.
I feel that we are standing at a crossroads where two major trends are about to collide. One is the trend of hope, and the other is the trend of despair. And it is really up to us, and the political will that we have in this publication, to determine how we will manage that confrontation, so to say.
I had the privilege, 10 years ago, of working in WHO with the then Director General, Dr Brundtland, and alongside Julio Frenk, David Nabarro, Tore Godal, and a number of other friends at this luncheon.
And if we look at what has happened since the late nineties and the early part of this decade, in terms of innovation and tremendous progress in the area of global health, I think we have some reason to be – not proud – but satisfied that there has been such progress and impatience to move forward. Or, to use Jeff Sachs words, to scale up further.
We have seen new ways of working together, new partnerships, private-public, innovative ways of mobilising resources, a great undertaking in the GAVI Alliance – the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization – with the noble task of immunising every child in the world.
We have seen a rollback of malaria, speeding up work to cover children, saving them from a completely unnecessary death.
We have seen the Global Fund mobilising resources, and we have seen the UN, Mr Secretary General, going through this phase, being a very close partner with all these initiatives.
It has not been easy, because one could have advocated that all those initiatives, that all that money should have gone to the UN. That would have been according to the book.
But if that had been a requirement, we would not have managed. So we did a lot of new thinking, made new partnerships, and we have seen the results: children are being saved through vaccinations, and we see major progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
It is correct that maternal mortality is the great disgrace amongst this progress. We heard, from our Ethiopian friend this morning, a testimony of the drama of the 15-year old, who is a mother-to-be, who is a child, but who is also a woman, and who is lying dying on that dirty floor in childbirth, reminding us that this is probably the biggest shame that remains. But, there is a lot of hope in this process, over what we have achieved during the last ten years.
Yet, as we look towards another decade of scaling up, we meet that other trend, which is the trend of despair, the crisis.
We read that another 50 million people may now be pushed into unemployment, and we see the full circle of crises: financial crisis, economic crisis, social crisis, and political crisis. And 50 million people going into unemployment is a recipe for social crisis.
We read that 50, 60, 70 million more people are being pushed into extreme poverty, one dollar a day.
And the World Bank tells us that, with those figures, 200 000–400 000 children will die as a consequence. So what we are seeing – as Director General Margaret Chan so eloquently put it this morning – now we see that more speakers with more clout than health ministers speak out. But I will say, Director General: You have a lot of clout, and when you speak, you do not only speak as a health professional, but also as that global voice on health.
I remember Dr Brundtland when she was Director General, she had this slogan – that we have to go to prime ministers, presidents and finance ministers, and tell them that they too are health ministers. We all are. And I think this is the message of globalisation.
This green report talks about the lessons we have learned from a continuum of care for women’s health. We also need a continuum of politics that will link the way we address the financial crisis with the way we address health opportunities.
There is a double pledge in this report, and I think it is a pledge that resounds well with the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health that Jeff Sachs chaired some years ago. The pledge of developing countries to maintain their investment in health over their health budgets, it is a hard task as these budgets shrinks.
At the same time, developed countries have pledged to maintain their ODA and to maintain their health part of development cooperation. All that now stands to test. And we have to send this clear message to the G8, the G20, and all the other Gs: that they must stand by these pledges, because if the trend of despair rolls over the trend of hope, the consequences will be dramatic.
So this is my encouragement, that the tremendous assembly of political will in this report, that all the leaders who have signed will be held accountable, that we will not accept a failing of these measures.
I pay tribute to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, for having paired up with the Director of the World Bank and to the innovative finance initiative that will be brought to Italy in a few weeks, at the G8 meeting.
With these words, I think that all of us who are here today, we are not only in charge, we will also be the jury with regard to these commitments. And if we can manage to live up to the very realistic ambitions that are here, these are not lofty words but very concrete interventions, and I look forward to the day when we can say that this massive mobilisation for maternal health combined with the focus on health in general was a new beginning – a new initiative – to take the global health effort forward.
Thank you for attending and thank you for making this such an important day.
See also www.un.org/webcast/2009.html