At the outset, I would like to thank the UN Secretary General and the governments of Canada and Jamaica for your leadership and for organizing this important initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on societies and economies around the world, with major setbacks in our efforts to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The six areas that have been brought to our attention are ambitious, but necessary to act upon, both in order to recover from the crisis in the short term, but also to mobilize the needed resources to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs in the medium to long term.
I commend the discussion groups’ diligent and expeditious work. I assure you Norway is ready to engage to come up with much needed solutions to our common challenges.
The grave economic consequences of the Covid pandemic has brought the need for debt relief back on top of the international development policy agenda.
Once again, the road ahead is rocky. Not only because of the pandemic, but the pandemic has added severity to already increasing debt problems.
There is clearly a need for a major boost in capacity-building efforts, and increase the poorest countries’ ability to manage debt sustainably. The World Bank and the IMF must take a clear lead in this respect.
Norway strongly supported the Paris Club and G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), offering a stand-still to the poorest countries through 2020. The moratorium will increase their capability to address the pandemic – based on their own commitment to spend all of the freed up resources on Covid-19 response.
It is also important that private creditors start to deliver on their expressed intention to participate in necessary debt rescheduling, as well as in the DSSI. So far, I believe there have been more words than action.
Lastly, I would like to address the important topic of illicit financial flows, which can take many different forms. However, the result is always the same. It has a severe and detrimental effect on institutions, governance, democracy, poverty and security.
The current context of Covid-19 has only highlighted the urgent need to stop the leaks and increase resource mobilization.
We must jointly work to create a global financial system that is sustainable in the long term. To this end, Norway in its capacity as ECOSOC President launched a High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI panel) together with the President of the General Assembly. The Panel will offer recommendations to improve our efforts to combat corruption and illicit flows through existing institutions and frameworks. Our aim must be to make these more effective.
It is now time for political commitment to be translated into action.
I am confident that we can succeed if we act decisively now. And I look forward to working with you all to achieve our common goal.