Mr President, Excellencies,
Two days ago World leaders met here in this building and made strong statements on the urgent need to address climate change. We heard the chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Pachauri present compelling evidence of the state of the world climate. He outlined a dire picture of the future state of the planet if strong and joint action is not taken. We have no time to lose.
It is imperative that we reach a comprehensive post-Kyoto agreement. The new agreement must be firmly anchored in the UN, and it must include all major emitting countries and all major sectors. When we meet in Bali in December we should agree on the roadmap for the coming negotiations.
The industrialized countries bear a special responsibility for the current state of our atmosphere. Therefore, they must also take a special responsibility for bringing the global emissions of greenhouse gases back to a sustainable level. Our long-term goal should be to avoid temperature increase above 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial level.
Meeting the challenge of climate change is within our reach. However, it requires that our response is strong and coherent. We need to provide the private sector world-wide with strong incentives for cutting emissions. That is why it is essential to put a price on carbon emissions and to expand the carbon market.
Seven years ago, I was one of the 189 heads of state or government who signed the Millennium Declaration.
We undertook a commitment to deliver on the UN Millennium Development Goals. However, unless we make an extra effort, we will not fulfil the promises we made to the people of the world.
In particular we are lagging behind in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals on child and maternal health. Every year almost 10 million children die before the age of 5. Many lives can be saved by inexpensive and effective vaccines.
Norway has contributed to the the Global Alliance for Vaccines since its inception in the year 2000. We have already managed to save more than 2 million lives through this alliance.
But we need to move beyond vaccination.
Each year 2 million babies die before the sun sets on their first day.
The four million newborn who die in their first month may survive if they are breastfed; have access to antibiotics and health workers.
And not only newborns but their mothers as well. Each year 500 000 women die in connection with childbirth.
Simple, affordable measures can save millions.
Today Norway together with other Governments, Agencies and Civil Society launched a Global Campaign to do precisely that: Save millions of lives.
The campaign’s main thrusts are:
- We must organize and finance survival.
- Health personnel should treat more patients and file fewer reports.
- And we must change the financing so that treating patients becomes a source of income rather than a cost for the health systems.
We launch today an advocacy campaign for women and children to ensure that our message will reach every corner of the world.
I am pleased to announce that we are building a Network of Global Leaders to oversee and ensure that the women and children will indeed be given priority.
Today, let me also announce that Norway is pledging 1 billion US dollars over 10 years to support the Millennium Goals on child and maternal health.
The Global Campaign that we launched today, builds directly on the recommendations from the UN Panel on System Wide Coherence which I had the privilege of chairing together with my colleagues from Pakistan and Mozambique.
We need a strong and efficient UN.
We need a UN that delivers results.
We need a UN that delivers on the UN Millennium Development Goals.
To address these challenges, was the mandate of the UN Panel.
The Panel held meetings in many parts of the world and listened to countries, regional groups, citizens groups, voluntary organizations and individuals.
In November last year we presented our report and recommendations to the Secretary-General. They are an honest attempt to boost the UN’s ability to live up to its potential.
At the heart of our report, we recommend establishing, “One UN” in each country. One leader, one programme, one budget and one office, where feasible.
Also – equally important for a better functioning UN: We need a better focused management system at headquarters level. The Sustainable Development Board aims at precisely that.
The panel set out with ambitions driven by a sense of responsibility. Knowing that our most important constituency is not the UN itself.
But those millions of people who do not enjoy the prosperity and freedom that many of us take for granted.
Yes, those, whose life situation gave rise to the Millennium Development Goals.
Who right now wonder how they will make it through the day.
It is for the sake of those poor and destitute that we must have an efficient UN, one that is well governed, well funded, and which will remain a global repository of hope.
That is why we are under an obligation to take a fresh look at the way we have come to build a fragmented UN, one that risks being weakened , marginalized and less relevant.
We have worked with the UN system to abolish diseases such as smallpox, abolish repressive regimes such as apartheid.
And we continue our struggle to abolish poverty, child mortality, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.
And to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Today more and more people are breaking out of poverty, we have never had greater capacities to bridge the gaps between us.
But we cannot allow the international community to waste resources or to work towards the Millennium Development Goals in anything but the most effective and rewarding ways.
We must focus our work, measure our results, and show that development as organized by the United Nations, pays high rewards.
That is why we need to be open-minded, recognizing that the most radical step we can take is to do nothing.
I am pleased to see the progress being made in the eight pilot countries, where the “One UN” model is being implemented in practice. I am also pleased to see that these countries have adopted different “One-UN” processes and models that are tailored to the specific situation in each country. This shows that there is no blueprint. UN funds and programmes operating in the field are already responding. Increasingly, we see better coordination and stronger leadership. I commend the UN bodies that have adopted the new guiding principles. And I appeal to the others to follow suit.
The panel’s report sets out a way forward. The UN has not broken down, but it requires maintenance. Therefore, the panel did not propose revolutionary changes. Rather, we put forward some practical, achievable and effective measures, building on the thrust of decisions already made by Member States. A new gender architechture is urgently needed.
I urge Member States to demonstrate the required vision and leadership. This will be an important task for this General Assembly Session.
Norway prides itself on being a friend of the UN. We support multilateral solutions to common problems. But a true friend does not refrain from speaking out when change and improvement are required.
We believe in international development cooperation. We believe in a strong and efficient UN.