2C: Opening statement

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul in the General Assembly 75th Session Second Committee General Debate.

| Second Committee

Please allow me to extend our warm congratulations on your election as Chair, we very much look forward to working with you, and the bureau, during this unique session. 

Especially now, when more than ever, we need bold and committed multilateral cooperation. To tackle COVID-19 as a health crisis. To deal with the catastrophic socio-economic consequences of the pandemic hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.

And to re-ignite inclusive, sustainable, economic growth and development. The pandemic has been- and will continue to be- a test of the multilateral systems ability to adapt, and deliver. Norway commends the UN Development System - and the multilateral development banks - for their response so far. We are heartened by increased cooperation at the country level, under the leadership of resident coordinators. And have seen that access to flexible sources of financing has been vital to the system’s ability to respond effectively. Both clear indications that our reforms are already paying off.


The 2030 Agenda is our joint roadmap to respond to the pandemic, and to recover better. But tragically, the pandemic is likely to have reversed years of progress. Exacerbating negative trends of the last years. More than a 100 million people may fall into – or back into – extreme poverty. And our fight against hunger is heading in the wrong direction.

We have no alternative but to take decisive action now. To intensify our efforts, and reach the sustainable development goals. Official development assistance cannot do this alone. The private sector must be mobilized. And we must work to stop the illegal drain on public resources. We must prevent and combat corruption, tax evasion and other illicit financial flows. We need more financial accountability, transparency and integrity. Building on existing legal and institutional frameworks, and considering proposals for real improvements.

Increasing debt problems must also be addressed. The ongoing debt moratorium for the poorest countries must be only a first step.

Dear Colleagues,

We also face ongoing climate related disasters – that are more frequent, and more dangerous, than ever before. The effects of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss affect our progress on all other goals. We need a healthy planet to fulfill the SDGs.

The most vulnerable countries, including: the Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and countries affected by conflict, also feel the impacts the most.

The pandemic has exposed and compounded structural inequalities. Including the digital divide that is threatening to become the new face of inequality. It could not be clearer- our response must focus on leaving no one behind.

We must also address the nexus between humanitarian response, long term development and peacebuilding. And we must ensure that: human rights, democracy, governance, the rule of law, and gender equality are at the core of our response and recovery efforts.


The challenges we face have one thing in common: addressing them depends on a more collaborative, coherent, integrated, accountable and efficient United Nations development system- with Agenda 2030 as its roadmap.

Therefore, I would like to outline our eight priorities for the upcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review:

First, strengthening the role of the UN system as custodian of the universal values of the UN Charter, and international norms and standards,  

Second, ensuring implementation of already adopted reforms,

Third, ensuring that Resident Coordinators can fulfil their role as a strategic leader of UN Country Teams,

Fourth, enhancing UN cooperation at country level across the peacebuilding, development and humanitarian pillars,

Fifth, ensuring a coordinated COVID-19 response by the UN system based on Agenda 2030, and in coordination with multilateral development banks.

Sixth, strgthening the focus on prevention. Both against external shocks, and in adaption and resilience to climate change,

Seventh, for the UN to use its convening power to aid countries in building partnerships for the goals,

And Eighth, Member States must providing flexible and predictable funding. Without it, we cannot ensure a coordinated and efficient UN Development System.


We look forward to fruitful discussions in this very different session of the Second Committee.

Norway remains a committed, consistent partner, to safeguard our common future.