It is a great pleasure to be here this evening. As the Ambassador mentioned, 20 years ago I had the privilege of working here over a period.
I remember late night meetings of the Third Committee, long and exhausting negotiations, and trying to keep up with the never-ending cycle of reporting back to Oslo. I also remember highly professional and well-prepared colleagues and the way they challenged my arguments.
And I remember experiencing the best of multilateral diplomacy: the constant outreach to others, identifying common ground, and building bridges.
Many prominent Norwegians have influenced the UN right from the time it was established.
One of these was Frieda Dalen. The first woman ever to address the UN General Assembly. Frieda had been part of the civilian resistance during the Second World War, and she spoke persuasively of the importance of including women in peace building. A message that still carries a lot of weight – 72 years later.
Another was Trygve Lie, the UN’s first Secretary-General. A pragmatic politician and dealmaker who helped secure a site for the UN’s headquarters here in Turtle Bay. It was during Lie’s tenure that Norway presented the Security Council chamber as a gift to the UN. The chamber clearly bears the mark of Norwegian craftsmanship and values.
For example, the wallpaper is decorated with anchors, wheat sheaves and hearts. You will recognise these hearts in the logo for the Norwegian Security Council campaign.
Yet another prominent Norwegian is Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway’s first female Prime Minister and leader of the World Commission on Environment and Development – the commission that launched the concept ‘sustainable development’, and put this issue on the global agenda.
Our current Prime Minister has picked up the baton, and is co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates.
The SDGs are the roadmap to the future we want. A world without poverty and global warming, a world with peaceful and just societies. I have the privilege of travelling all over the world as UNDP goodwill ambassador, and I have seen that the MDGs – and now the SDGs – are relevant everywhere. The SDGs unite us all in our common challenges and in our common destiny.
When Frieda Dalen addressed the General Assembly in 1946, Norway was still in ruins. In the ensuing decades, Norway gradually became an inclusive welfare state and democracy. A country with strong and independent institutions. A country that manages its resources in a sustainable way to the benefit of all.
Frieda’s generation understood that all this would be difficult to achieve without strong international institutions. They were right.
Our engagement in the UN has deep roots. We have a fundamental interest in a well-functioning global order where right prevails over might, and where relations between states are governed by binding standards, conventions and legislation.
Norway remains committed to working with partners from all regions, in relationships of respect and openness. We are willing to listen to the views of all sides, and to seek common solutions and consensus.
This is the foundation of Norway’s candidacy for a seat on the Security Council.