Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to get the opportunity to address you in this Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends. I am impressed by the summary report of the last five-years of the work of the UNAOC. I congratulate Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser for your work as the High Representative of the Alliance.
Echoing the distinguished representatives that have spoken before me, the question on how to secure “Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace” is of great importance also to Norway.
The very first point of the preamble of the UN Charter states that the aim of the United Nations is to "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war".
Since the beginning, the prevention of conflicts has been at the very core of what the UN should do – and it still is.
But the changing scope and nature of today's conflicts presents a challenge to the UN system.
Since 2010, the number of major violent conflicts has tripled. Fighting in a growing number of low-intensity conflicts have escalated.
At the same time: UN peacebuilding efforts is severely underfunded. This is a fact, and a collective problem.
We need to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing in order to make progress in the sustaining peace agenda.
Norway is one of the largest donors to the Peace Building Fund, with a substantial increase in our contribution for 2018.
The Alliance of Civilizations plays an important role in preventing conflicts. I commend the contributions of Member States to the UNAOC, and especially wish to highlight the leadership taken by Spain and Turkey.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is both an end in itself and an efficient way to prevent conflict and build lasting peace.
There can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.
Norway has spent 1 % of GNI on ODA for many years, and we will continue to do so.
[As the Minster of Foreign Affairs of Qatar rightly mentioned yesterday, education is one of the most important pillars for development.
As President of UNICEF, I am more certain than ever that this is true. I urge more states to collaborate with UNICEF and other partners to secure access to education for children.
Concerning the work of UNAOC, I especially wish to highlight the Alliance’s participation in the Secretary General’s High-Level Prevention of Violent Extremism Action Group.
Together with Jordan, Norway established the Group of Friends of PVE in September last year. With over 40 Member States from all regions, we are working steadily to address the conditions conducive to violent extremism.
Norway and Jordan will continue to support the Secretary General’s Plan of Action for PVE and are glad to have UNAOC and other Member States support.