GA: Norway’s Rio+20 intervention at thematic debate

Last updated: 5/24/2012 // Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, gave these remarks during the President of the General Assembly’s Informal Thematic Debate on “The Road to Rio+20 and Beyond” 22 May 2012.

First, quickly to what we discussed before lunch;

Sustainable Development Goals should be a key deliverable from Rio. Goals have the potential to demonstrate political commitment and focus global attention on key priorities. Among the themes for such goals, we see energy, water and food security as the most obvious candidates.

The SDGs should be global and have implications for every country, but in different ways. For instance; there could be a global goal on food security. For many developing countries, the implication would be to produce more food. For others – like Norway - it could mean to throw away less food. In this way, the SDGs can help us all make progress in different areas, but towards a common goal.

Now, regarding the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development; If we really want to improve the IFSD, we cannot be satisfied with the status quo.

We see the following five as the main gaps that are hindering sustainable development from being handled properly;

1) The Sustainable Development agenda is not prominently enough placed in the UN System. The body that covers sustainable development should be placed directly below the General Assembly.

2) The current structure has taken a quite sectoral approach, by many seen as biased towards the environmental agenda. We need an institution that can look at sustainable development in a holistic manner.

3) In the Commission for Sustainable Development, the agenda is set for several years at the time, with limited flexibility. For it to be relevant, we need a structure that can address also emerging issues.

4) We still lack means to assess implementation. If we really want to improve this in the continuation, we will need a universal periodic peer review mechanism to assess progress and identify gaps.

5) Our current institutions lack ‘teeth’, that is decision-making authority and leadership. To attract high-level participation, we must give the leaders a forum where they can come and do what leaders do; they lead.

We would be very interested in hearing the panel’s thoughts on the gaps that need to be addressed to achieve an effective and well-functioning IFSD.

And finally,- women’s empowerment has been mentioned by many as a priority for Rio+20 - the fact that today’s panellists are all male should remind us that there is still a long way to go.

Thank you, Mr. Chair


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