GA: Major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields

Last updated: 12/6/2011 // This statement to the General Assembly was delivered by Ambassador Morten Wetland. Thanks to improved policies and economic growth in many countries, we are on track to reach many of the millennium development goals. However, we are serious off-track with respect to others.


Every year here at the UN, - and last year in particular, - we have all expressed our commitment to reaching all the MDGs by the deadline 2015.  And thanks to improved policies and economic growth in many countries, we are on track to reach many of these goals.

However, we are serious off-track with respect to others.   Take MDG 4.

Quite unnecessarily, each year, millions of  little children will die from preventable causes because we fail our obligations. But it is still within our powers to prevent this from happening. What it requires is adoption of best practice policies and a sufficient funding base.

Take MDG 5. Quite unnecessarily, the same holds true for the hundreds of thousands of young girls and women who will die in pregnancy and childbirth. We can change this. Again, what it requires is adoption of best practice policies and a sufficient funding base.

The Secretary-General responded to this alarming situation, by launching his initiative “Every Woman,- Every Child”.

But Colleagues, many of you were for too long resisting the invitation to join that endeavor. That is why the global campaign must continue, also beyond 2015 if necessary. We will see annual reporting on those goals here at the UN. And we are hopeful, after all, since new political and financial commitments are being made every year and more and more countries are coming on board.

Moreover, even if we make more progress on the MDGs, even if we do everything right up until the deadline, we will still have a long way to go before extreme poverty and hunger have been eradicated.

That is why we need policy change in many countries. That is why we need more international solidarity and cooperation. And that is why Norway consistently provides more than 1 per cent of GNI as development assistance.

Looking beyond 2015, the world will be a very different place than it was just 15 years ago. Changing geopolitical and economic realities affect the political balance among countries and will also affect how we do business in international organizations.  We are also facing different challenges than before, like the effects of climate change. Vulnerable populations in the developing world are those who will suffer the most.

  • The future development agenda needs to remain focused on poverty and hunger eradication. It needs to be clearly defined and must contain the mobilizing power of the present goals. The health related goals must be retained. Economic and social divides within societies must be narrowed, not increased. Development should lead to an economic growth that is fair and inclusive.  And we must expand the number of donors beyond the traditional ones.
  • It is in regions affected by armed conflict and violence that we have made the least progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Therefore due consideration to include the security aspect of development. Dimensions like rule of law, human rights and good governance must be seriously addressed.
  • Energy and infra structure belong on our post 2015-agenda as well. Access to energy is essential for growth. We need more power-generations better grids and affordable off-grid solutions. The Secretary-Generals Sustainable Energy for All- initiative deserves our whole-hearted support. And at Rio we may decide on policy paths for energy access.
  • Finally, Chair, we must keep our eyes on the end goal of our development agenda: to make more countries self sufficient and independent of development assistance.


Women’s empowerment is the single most important catalyst for change. It is obvious that the full participation of women in the economic, social and political life of a country is a prerequisite for development. It simply makes no sense to exclude half the population from these areas. Therefore, women must be empowered to utilize their rights and opportunities. Empowerment of girls and women starts with education. Unless they are given access to the places and spaces where agendas are set and decisions are being made, full advantage of education cannot be taken.

The next 6 months will be flavored by our Rio preparations. We look forward to discussing Sustainable Development Goals and other issues having long term consequences for human sustainable development. We will do it here in New York, as well as at many other conferences and venue. We look forward to discuss how we achieve results in vital areas. Poverty, health and energy access will be vital areas for us, and we hope for the United Nations.

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