Let me start by thanking Canada and Egypt for the opportunity to celebrate that it is 25 years since we all agreed on the ground breaking program of action at the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.
Norway is encouraged by all the progress that we have made together. At the same time, we know that too many people are still left behind.
Every day, women die from pregnancy and childbirth, deaths that could have been prevented. Girls are kept out of school, and forced into marriage. Women find it difficult to enter the labour market and start working. Women and girls in every country of the world are victims of violence, abuse and sexual harassment.
We are still waiting for the day when we can celebrate a universal acknowledgement of women and girls’ right to life, health and security.
Norway ranks high when it comes to gender equality. To us, equality is a goal in itself. It drives economic growth and sustainable development. Gender Equality has been key for Norway's development from a relatively poor country to today's prosperous economy.
To ensure gender equality we must invest in sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is a basic need. It is essential and can be lifesaving, not least in humanitarian settings.
It is a priority for Norway to promote and fulfill sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is important to promote international acceptance of sexual rights and access to safe and legal abortion.
The access of women and girls to sexual and reproductive health and rights is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Implementing the ICPD programme of action is of great importance to achieve Agenda 2030.
Finally, I would like to thank Kenya, Denmark and UNFPA for organizing the upcoming conference in Nairobi in November. We look forward to participate and demonstrate Norway’s commitment as a consistent partner for our common future.