C2: General Debate

Last updated: 10/3/2011 // The Second Committee focuses on economic and financial issues relating to economic growth and development, international financial systems and poverty eradication. The address to the General Debate of this Committee was given by the Norwegian UN Ambassador Morten Wetland.

Chair,

 The Rio+20 conference next year offers a unique opportunity to renew and reinforce the global partnership for sustainable development. An important outcome of the conference should be a UN that is less fragmented and better equipped to tackle the multi-faceted challenges of sustainable development.

Norway is committed to working for tangible results in Rio that will facilitate a greener and more inclusive economy. Energy access is crucial for both social and economic development and for the future of our planet. At Rio we should decide on a strategy for following up the Secretary-General’s call for “Sustainable Energy for All”. That would be an important achievement.

Norway will launch a new energy initiative next week, at an important energy conference in Oslo. The purpose of the initiative is to boost sustainable electricity generation and accelerate the shift to energy efficiency. Funding will be made available for smart incentives aimed at unleashing new and major investment in power generation, and contribute to better energy access for those who are without it today.

The climate conference in Durban is only two months away. Implementation of the Cancun agreements is crucial. The Green Climate Fund must be made operational. Durban should provide a roadmap that can bridge the gap between Kyoto and a new and more ambitious climate regime that includes all major emitters.

Chair,

It is vital that we continue to improve and strengthen the UN so that it can serve us effectively in times of change. We, the Member States, have a crucial role to play in achieving greater system-wide coherence. At country level, “Delivering as One” has proven to be a good approach. The country-led evaluations of the pilot countries have shown that “Delivering as One” has strengthened national ownership and alignment to national priorities, as well as increased efficiency. Speaking with one voice has enhanced visibility and impact of the UN at country level.

Many countries, both in the North and in the South, are facing financial challenges. However, cutting back on development financing is not the answer. The system needs financial resources, including and increasingly from emerging economies. But we also need to make better use of the potential that lies within the UN development system. By making operational activities more relevant, effective and efficient, we can go further without significantly increasing spending. Norway is in this regard looking forward to the upcoming process on the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.

Chair,

The financial sector has profited from the support it received from governments during the financial crisis, and it will continue to benefit from the opportunities offered by globalisation. We believe innovative financing as an addition to ODA would be a predictable and stable source of funding. As a member of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, Norway is promoting the introduction of a currency transaction levy, and we are seeking to secure broad international support for this measure.

The financial crisis and the current international economic uncertainty have made it more difficult for poor countries to borrow. This has also increased the existing asymmetry of power in sovereign lending situations. It can be argued that existing debt cancellation instruments are too creditor driven. Norway would welcome a debate on this issue, including on a new international debt resolution mechanism. Such a mechanism should guarantee comparable treatment of all creditors, just treatment of creditors and debtors, and legal predictability. It would not necessarily rule out existing instruments and institutions. Norway also welcomes the UNCTAD initiative for promoting more responsible lending and borrowing.

Chair,

The Millennium Development Goals have proved to be a powerful tool to improve the lives of millions of people. We still need them to guide us. There are significant untapped resources within many of the countries that are struggling to achieve the MDGs. Broadening the tax base, making tax collection more effective, halting illegal capital flows and fighting corruption are all measures that must be fully used in the fight against poverty. Getting this right will also improve the social contract in countries emerging from poverty, humanitarian disasters or conflict. It is a responsibility that lies firmly with individual states.

Chair, 

Norway is a strong supporter of UN Women. It is important to further intensify the efforts to promote women’s rights, the empowerment of women, and gender equality.

This is particularly important in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. Norway has taken a particular responsibility, both politically and financially, in the efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on reducing child and maternal mortality and improving access to reproductive health services.

Child mortality is down from 7.8 million a year ago to 7.2 million. Maternal mortality is down from 343 000 to 273 000. The trend is good, but we are still not on track to reach these millennium goals by 2015. We believe, however, that the Every Woman

Every child initiative launched by the Secretary-General last year shows a new way of working that may help us to get there.

Chair,

The protection and promotion of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are an important part of their basic human rights. We therefore look forward to playing an active role in the UN Commission on Population and Development. We welcome the increased strategic focus of the UN Population Fund, placing sexual and reproductive rights at the heart of the organisation’s mandate.

Thank you, Chair


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