Norway has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations Development Activities, in financial as well as political terms. This will continue as long as we see the UN deliver. Our Official Development Assistance (ODA) is year and again more than 1 percent of Norway’s GNI.
This annual pledging conference has not been a preferred venue for conveying our support, however, as we are in the middle of the budget process and thus not ready to make a specific pledge.
We chose to attend this year, though, to highlight and welcome the establishment of UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
Norway has been an active proponent for gender equality and the empowerment of women for decades, both at home and abroad.
We have also been among the largest contributors of financial support for United Nations activities in this regard, not in relative terms, but in absolute terms, despite our modest size of less than five million people.
We were the first donor to give more than 10 million US dollars a year to Unifem. This year our core contribution alone is close to 13 million US dollars. Over the past five years we have given more than 75 million dollars to Unifem. We have done this because we believe in this cause.
We were therefore pleased to see all other Member States join the cause earlier this year, and we celebrate the establishment of UN Women - with great expectations.
We have expectations both to the new entity itself and its leader, Under-Secretary-General Bachelet – and we have expectations to other member states:
We expect UN Women to be more than the sum of its predecessors.
UN Women must be a stronger advocate and more efficient agent of change, both globally and at the country level, connecting the missing links between normative frameworks of human rights and operational activities on the ground.
UN Women must identify clear goals and report on results, not merely on output, but on impact.
Member States on their hand, must deliver on their own commitments and obligations with regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
For many this may require policy changes at home.
For most, if not for all Member States, this will require a significant increase in the financial contributions to UN Women. Norway will continue to be a major donor, but we expect other countries, in particular the larger economies, to more than match our contributions.
With all the vocal support for this cause – it is now time for all of us to put our money where our mouth is!
I can assure you that Norway will do so.