COVID-19 has shown us how global challenges require global solutions. Today, more than ever, we need bold and committed multilateral cooperation.
First, in tackling COVID-19 as a global health crisis and ensuring equitable access to vaccines. But then also dealing with the catastrophic socio-economic consequences of the pandemic - which have hit the most vulnerable the hardest. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need for better global pandemic preparedness and response- including sustainable financing.
Norway commends the UN Development System for their response to the pandemic. We are heartened by the evidence of increased cooperation at the country level. Under the leadership of resident coordinators, UN reform proved to be an enabler for a common response.
Flexible sources of financing - especially core funding, as well as interagency pooled funds, such as the UN Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, - will remain of key importance.
The pandemic has been, and will continue to be, a test of the ability of the UN Development System to adapt and deliver.
The pandemic has already reversed years of progress on the 2030 Agenda, and on individual goals. We have no alternative but to take decisive action now, and increase our joint efforts to reach the sustainable development goals. They remain our joint roadmap to respond, and to recover better.
National ownership and resource mobilization are crucial. As is funding sustainable development in a sustainable manner, which is more critical than ever. Countries in debt distress should seek and receive debt relief - from both public and private creditors. And we need to stop the drain on public resources by preventing corruption, tax evasion and other financial crimes. This requires us to support, and build on, efforts that are producing results- but also considering proposals for real improvements where needed.
We also need a healthy planet to fulfill the SDGs. The ocean is our global common good, and a healthy ocean offers a wealth of opportunities. Building a sustainable ocean economy is critical to achieving the SDGs.
Yet, many member states are facing climate related disasters that are more frequent and more dangerous than ever before. Effects of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss affect the progress on all our goals – and impacts human security.
For many countries in conflict, post-conflict and recurring humanitarian crises, these factors can also compound existing vulnerabilities and exacerbate inter-communal grievances.
Many of the countries hardest hit, are the least equipped to deal with these impacts. Including the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. For some SIDS, climate change threatens their very existence. Yet, the pandemic has exposed and compounded structural inequalities that exist in all countries. Including the ongoing “shadow pandemic”. The disproportionate impacts on the economy, health and security of women and girls.
Ultimately, our societies will lose out if women are not included in all decisions, and if the response to the pandemic and plans for recovery are developed without the necessary gender lens.
Our response must focus on leaving no one behind, and reaching those furthest behind first. This means that human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and gender equality must be at the core of our response and recovery efforts. Only then can we build back better, greener and safer.
All these challenges have one thing in common: the need for a more collaborative, coherent, integrated, accountable and efficient United Nations development system, using Agenda 2030 as the roadmap.
During the last session of the General Assembly, the QCPR resolution for the next four years was adopted. And follow up of the key mandates within is a Norwegian priority.
The UN development system has a crucial role in assisting countries in building back better.
To conclude, we look forward to fruitful discussions this session. Norway remains a committed, consistent partner, to safeguard our common future.