Let me start by expressing our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Dr Babatunde Osotimehin. He will be deeply missed.
The empowerment of girls and women is a key priority in the 2030 Agenda, including the need to ensure healthy lives as well as universal sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
We thank UNFPA for being such a valuable partner in reaching these goals.
The annual report shows that the steps UNFPA have taken to become a more focused, effective and results-oriented organisation are bearing fruit, although improvements may still be made. The increasing emphasis on working with others and developing new and innovative approaches is encouraging, as is the focus on integrating sexual and reproductive health services.
The suffering UNFPA has prevented through its interventions is enormous.
However, many more still need assistance, and the demand for UNFPA's services is larger than what it can deliver.
The decline in UNFPA's available resources represents a growing challenge. We should not let this happen; we must all commit to give more resources to ensure UNFPA's operations.
Failing to do so will only increase suffering and reinforce existing inequalities - between men and women, and between rich and poor.
From our own experience, we know that promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do.
Norway is and will remain a strong supporter of UNFPA's work. Our government has proposed to increase our support to UNFPA’s core budget in 2017 by NOK 22 million, in addition to the NOK 401 million already provided this year. In addition, we would like to announce a special contribution of NOK 15 mill. to UNFPA’s emergency fund in 2017. We encourage others to step up their support for UNFPA as well.
Let me raise a few points on the strategic plan.
Norway supports UNFPA’s new draft strategic plan and the continued focus on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and on women and girls. We support your human rights based approach and the determination to leave no one behind.
We support that UNFPA adjust its engagement to different country settings, and look forward to understanding better how increased flexibility can be accommodated.
Furthermore, we are pleased that UNFPA clearly emphasize that working together is the only way ahead.
Norway highly values UNFPA’s role as a humanitarian actor as well as its leadership in coordinating efforts to combat gender based violence. We look forward to UNFPA elaborating further on its role in the transition between humanitarian and development assistance.
The pledge to leave no one behind is the guiding star of the SDG era.
We thank UNFPA for their determination to reach the most marginalized. We must work together. UNFPA is Norway’s most important partner when it comes to securing sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all. Norway believes that the new strategic plan will further enhance this work. Norway therefore remains fully committed to UNFPA.