Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner. 
Photo: Norway Mission/Emma Lydersen.Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner. Photo: Norway Mission/Emma Lydersen

Prime Minister Stoltenberg honoured by the UN Foundation

Last updated: 11/9/2011 // Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has received the "Champion for Global Change Award" from the UN Foundation and the UN Association - USA (UNA-USA). He is honoured for the work he and Norway's government has done in promoting global health, climate initiatives and energy for all-agenda. Read Stoltenberg's speech from the Global Leadership Awards dinner.

Honoured guests,
dear friends

Thank you, Tim for your generous words,
and thank you for providing outstanding  leadership on so many important, global issues.
My thanks go also to Ted,
the visionary who founded the United Nations Foundation.
You have never wavered in your commitment to global policy-making.

We had the pleasure and the privilege of hosting you, Ted,
and the Board of the UN Foundation in Norway this summer.
What an inspiring session with people who have changed the world.

I am delighted to see the Secretary-General among us here this evening.
Mr Secretary-General,
we applauded your re-election by acclamation earlier this year.
We have worked together on global health.
We are partners in fighting climate change.
And together we are promoting access to energy for all.
And we look forward to continuing our close collaboration during your second term at the helm of the UN.

I am pleased to be here tonight among so many people who are committed to making the world a better place to live.

  • We truly need strong UN leadership from the secretariats, such as the dynamic leadership of Susana Malcorra in the Department of Field Support.
  • We need a private sector that takes on greater social responsibility, with CEOs like Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil.  
  • We need rock bands like Linkin Park to act as role models for young people.
  • And we need strong and courageous human rights defenders, such as Asma Jahangir.

But we also need the efforts of all of you present here tonight.

The daily news avalanche tends to emphasise what is wrong in this world,
and focus on negative trends.
The present financial difficulties
may not be the best backdrop for my message to you tonight.

I am a development optimist.
And we have come a long way.
The global economy has tripled over the last twenty years.
Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty.
Life expectancy has increased by many years in almost all countries.
And more people live in freedom and democracy than ever before.
The Arab Spring holds the promise to expand democracy to a new group of countries.

I believe our common efforts matter.
I believe that they will have a positive impact on our pursuit of happiness and wellbeing.

That is why I became a politician.
Because I believe that people acting together can take charge of their own destiny.

Let me give you one example.
When I was Prime Minister for the first time back in the year 2000,
I signed the UN Millennium Declaration.
None of us present in New York on this solemn occasion had the power to fulfil these goals on our own.

I was already engaged in the vaccine alliance GAVI, which aims to save millions of lives by providing basic immunization for the children of this world.

As a father, I saw the importance of vaccinating my own children.
As an economist, I saw the importance of vaccinating children for economic growth and prosperity.
And as a politician, I had the privilege and opportunity to do something about it.

20 years ago, some 12.5 million children under the age of five died each year.
Now, thanks to health policies, economic growth and vaccine programmes,
that figure has been reduced to 7.2 million.
That is a major success story. 

The number of young mothers dying during pregnancy and childbirth is also declining rapidly.
Thanks to national efforts,
and initiatives such as the Secretary-General’s global initiative, 
“Every Woman, Every Child”,
millions of girls and young women will live through the most dangerous day in their lives. 

Almost 20 years ago, CNN broadcasted live from the first UN Conference on Environment and Development.
This would not have happened without Ted Turner.

We are now preparing for the follow-up conference, which will be held in 2012, also in Rio.

We have the capacity to destroy this planet.
But we also have the means, the knowledge and the institutions to save it.

Climate change continues to be one of the major challenges facing the global community.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun last year gave new confidence in multilateral cooperation.
The test will be whether we can agree in Durban on new steps to achieve a global climate change agreement. 
We all have to contribute to making Durban a success.

Without strong multilateral cooperation,
we will not be able to deliver the necessary climate emissions reductions. 
Additional financing will be required to help developing countries in these efforts.
We must all contribute.
Developed countries have a special responsibility.

In order for this to happen,
we need strong advocates for taking concerted action.
The UN Foundation has been in the frontline of many international processes. 
The work you are doing is truly important for raising awareness about the UN,
building confidence in multilateral work.

An let me add this to both Ted Turner and Tim Wirth, and to the UN Foundation
– thank you for rallying so strongly behind the United Nations.
We hear and read about all the new institutions that are taking shape
– regionally and globally.

What I really admire in the UN Foundation approach,
is the boldness of your advocacy for the United Nations –
pure and simple.

You are advocating for the tens of thousands of committed UN women and men,
who stay behind and assist people in crises and despair after the TV cameras have left.

You are advocating for the numerous peace missions that contribute to alleviate suffering without getting to the headlines.

You are saluting the one international body with the unique legitimacy of a global membership.

Thank you for upholding this noble vision of the UN Charter – expressed on behalf of “We the people”.

I can assure you that Norway will continue our strong support of the UN. 
I see the Champion of Global Change Award as a tribute to my country for its support for the UN.
We believe that in an uncertain world,
multilateral cooperation is more crucial than ever.
And we believe that our common efforts will in fact change the world.

Thank you!

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