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August Jacobsen

UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS: Dialogue with the UNDP administrator

Statement by Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim at the Interactive dialogue with the UNDP administrator Achim Steiner, 4 February 2020.

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We are pleased to have this opportunity to delve deeper into Nature as the heart of sustainable development.

Like you, we firmly believe that ecosystem approaches, grounded in nature-based solutions, must be applied to tackle the climate challenge, and  accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

One key message, which might seem obvious is that: We need more nature – not less.

We need to protect remaining ecosystems. For example, tropical rainforests which provide vital services, like clean water and regulating regional rainfall patterns.  

Let me use Norway’s partnership with Guyana on forests and climate change as an example of this in action:

  • About 85% of Guyana landmass is rainforest and they have clearly recognized the value of this resource.
  • Since 2009, we have collaborated to promote green development, while keeping deforestation at low levels.
  • So far, Norway has contributed roughly 150 million USD for results relating to low deforestation and improved governance. 
  • Guyana’s efforts to maintain impressively low rates of deforestation are testimony to a clear commitment and ambition in this area.  


The approach to put nature at the heart of sustainable development also underpins the integrator aspect of UNDPs work.

For example, UNDPs commitment to make progress on sustainable development should be underpinned by its critical work on governance.

Governance will always be essential to sustainable development. Just as SDG16 can be seen as the enabler for the whole of Agenda 2030.

We would also like to underline the importance of UNDP partnering with other UN agencies, in order to achieve results on the ground.

In this regard, we would be interested to hear from you Administrator, examples of how such partnerships are promoting nature based solutions at the country level?

As a consistent partner for our common future – Norway believes that we need to take full advantage of 2020 as a super-year in which:

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity will meet to agree new targets.

And the UN ocean summit is set to reshape marine policy for the next generation. 

And on climate, nations must submit more ambitious targets for the Paris agreement. UNDP has a critical role to play through your Climate Promise, to support at least 100 countries enhance their NDCs by 2020.

We must not miss this opportunity to cement international policy on the environment and build global co-operation.

Thank you.