St.meld. nr. 31 (1997-98)

Om Noregs deltaking i den 52. ordinære generalforsamlinga i Dei sameinte nasjonane (FN) og vidareførte sesjonar av FNs 51. generalforsamling

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2 Statsministerens innlegg under FNs generalforsamlings 19. spesialsesjon om oppfølginga av Rio-konferansen

Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland Address to the United Nations General Assembly Nineteenth Special Session New York, 23 June 1997

Mr. President,

The purpose of this session is to rededicate ourselves to action. We have to renew and strengthen our commitment to national implementation of what we agreed on five years ago.

Let's be clear about one thing: Agenda 21 is not up for renegotiation. But we can all improve our performance, and we should all pledge to do so.

Today, I would like to focus on three areas where our joint resolve will help put us on track to a sustainable future.

First, we must rededicate our commitment to combat poverty. In Rio, the industrialized nations recommitted themselves to the 20 year old target of 0,7 per cent of GDP in official development assistance. Five years later, we are not getting any closer to that objective. Quite the contrary.

Foreign private investments are increasing in the developing world, and that should be welcomed. But private investments tend not to reach the poorest countries. 1.3 billion people live on incomes of less than 1 dollar a day. Millions lack access to basic health care services. Private investments rarely finance hospitals, primary health care or schoolservices that are all basic requirements for sustainable development.

Norway remains committed to development assistance. Since 1993, we have increased from 1 billion to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, that is up 30 per cent in four years. It's the goal of my Government to move to 1 per cent of GDP in development assistance over the coming years.

This brings me to my second point - the huge task of securing growth within the limits set by the environment.

As a follow up of Rio, Norway has promoted the concept of sustainable production and consumption. We in the North have a long way to go to save energy, produce cleaner and consume leaner. But we must do more.

We need to enable the developing countries to make a great leap towards eco-efficient production. We must avoid that developing countries base their growth on the most polluting technology. What the industrialized countries can do is to offer their experience and transfer their environmentally sound technology.

Norway is giving priority to the allocation of additional funds for the transfer of such technology. Together with UNEP and UNDP we are preparing concrete programs of technology transfer. I pledge here today the readiness of my Government to allocate a package of an addtional 15 million dollars to finance such programs. We believe this initiative will give direct results, and I invite other countries to join us.

We need a global transition towards cleaner energy sources. We need fair burdensharing and mechanisms to implement our obligations jointly so that we can maximise our efforts. These should be key features of the climate agreement that we are preparing for the Kyoto meeting in December.

Third, I would like to focus on my own region. The Arctic region remains one of the world's least polluted regions. But the risks to this area are real, largely caused by substances transported from sources outside the Arctic, The Arctic Governments, in close cooperation with indigenous peoples, will step up the work to mobilize support for the fragile Arctic environment.

Let me also mention the threat from the large concentration of military installations. With the Cold War gone, we discover one of the most serious legacies of the arms race; the often uncontrolled piles of nuclear and other dangerous wastes. This is a major environmental issue. I would suggest that it is placed high up on the international agenda also in connection with forthcoming disarmament negotiations.

We made it clear in Rio; «Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible». This perspective must continue to guide our action. Today, the millions of landmines represent one of the world's most serious environmental problems. They lay fertile land deserted. They cause immense suffering, not least to innocent children playing in the killing fields.

Time is short. We need to conclude a comprehensive ban on anti-personnelmines. My Government is hosting a diplomatic conference in Oslo in September with the aim of negotiating such an agreement. I urge all participating countries to contribute to that end.

Mr. President,

Gradually we are setting a new course. We must ask ourselves: Do we have the tools we need to manage the intemational environmental process?

We need to give environment and development higher priority, higher status, better focus and more resources within the UN system. In the follow-up of this session we should address the need for some kind of taxation on an international level whereby part of our consumption, for example a tax on aviation fuel, can benefit our common endeavor for sustainable development.

I also believe we should take a fresh look on how we organize our work. Today, convention secretariats are assembled around the world. Our efforts often lack unity of purpose. We may need a World Environment Organisation to provide a clearer and more authoritative voice on environmental contributions to sustninable development. Let us make this a part of the UN reform process.

Mr. President,

Five years after Rio there are negative trends such as the continued growth of climate gas emissions, the continued depletion of forests, the continued loss of biodiversity and the declining will of the richer nations to transfer resources to the poor.

But there are also positive developments: New democracies are emerging and new countries lift their populations out of poverty. New technology allows us to produce more with less. And we may now be seeing the first signs of a gradual stabilization of the world population.

The younger generations are impatient. They have a right to be so. It is our responsibility to leave the next generation with at least the same opportunities as we had. Their pressure for change should guide our action.

Thank you Mr. President.

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