At the SDG moment last year, I struck an optimistic tone: My message was that “The world is moving forward”. The SDGs were gaining traction. We were making progress.
Much has happened since then. The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown us all into a crisis of yet unseen proportions.
Health systems have been tested, in some cases beyond their limits.
Where available, financial resources are being stretched to preserve social and economic infrastructure. And not the least – to help those who have lost jobs and are thrown into uncertainty.
But in too many places, the resources to save lives and livelihoods are simply not available.
A looming debt-crisis reminds us of the imbalances and growing inequalities in our world.
Indeed, it seems the world is not moving forward. It has rather come to a standstill.
The pandemic has exposed fundamental weaknesses in our global system. There can no longer be any doubt about the need for urgent global action to build a fairer and more resilient world.
That is exactly what the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is all about.
The High Level Political Forum in July charted the way forward. Allow me to highlight three main points:
First, the pandemic strikes indiscriminately. There is no time and place to talk about “they” and “us”. Unless the pandemic is addressed as a global challenge, it will bounce back and effectively stop our chances of realizing the SDGs.
Second, the development of a vaccine is of paramount importance. Norway is investing heavily in vaccine development, and will strive to secure equal access for all. The major economies, the market shapers, the pharmaceutical industry and the multilateral organisations must all work together towards this goal.
And third, to build back better and greener we need a renewed commitment to an inclusive, innovative and resilient multilateralism. And as we rebuild from this crisis, we must do so in manner that gives us a fighting chance when the climate crisis hits.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The 2030 Agenda with the SDGs sends out a stirring call for transformation. Norway will continue to work closely with all of you to make that transformation come true.