Annual thematic panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity-building (HRC res. 18/18 and 54/28).

Annual thematic panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity-building (HRC res. 18/18 and 54/28).

Enhancing coordination for technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights to implement universal periodic review recommendations                     

Opening remarks by Mr Tormod C. Endresen, Ambassador - Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organizations Norway. 


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Thank you, Vice-President.

Let me start by underscoring that I am honored to be part of this important discussion on behalf of Norway. I look forward to a fruitful exchange on how the implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations can be reinforced through technical cooperation and capacity-building.

These two key strands of the work of the Council jointly make an important contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground in Member States. This impact is important to insist on. At the end of the day, by supporting the ability of States to follow up and implement UPR recommendations, fulfilling their human rights obligations, they advance the situation for rights-holders.

I’m thrilled to share the podium with my esteemed co-panelists. I very much enjoyed listening to the Deputy High-Commissioner’s insightful remarks, and I look forward to hearing UN Women and UPR Info share their perspectives.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the Mission of Thailand and Ambassador BERANANDA for their leadership in the Council on technical cooperation and capacity-building. Norway is very pleased to work with our Thai colleagues on this file, together with the other members of the cross-regional Core Group.

Technical cooperation and capacity-building are a cornerstone of the work of the Human Rights Council, alongside the mandate to address serious violations and abuses wherever they occur and by whomever.

By engaging in capacity-building we empower individuals and communities to claim their rights, and States to protect and promote the dignity of every person. Through technical cooperation we can share experiences and knowledge, building and strengthening national and regional institutions and structures that ensure that human rights are protected under the rule of law.

Technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights are essential to improve the daily lives of people as we strive to ensure sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Effective technical cooperation and capacity-building are also key to preventing discrimination, marginalization and conflict.

It thus serves to underscore how human rights are closely linked with the other two pillars of the UN, and how the three of them are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. While human rights are individual, they serve the whole of society. And they are vital problem-solving tools that safeguard lives and livelihoods. By investing in human rights, we build just, peaceful and stable societies.

This is a key point for my government. Norway’s development cooperation is anchored in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in human rights. Among much else, we take pride in being a reliable partner to the High Commissioner, providing flexible, dependable and long-term support that should serve to underpin the independence and integrity of his Office.

Cooperation is also at the heart of the Universal Periodic Review. It serves to bring us together, while we grapple with the fact that on many other files, we are confronted with at times significant disagreement and polarization.

This unique platform for peer-to-peer dialogue among states has often been referred to as diamond of the UN human rights system. Many of us will have heard the former Permanent Representative of Argentina and Council President express this sentiment. I am honored to have taken over the reins from Ambassador Villegas as Chair of the Group of Friends of the UPR for this year.

The UPR process underscores that no country can assume that it has achieved its goals in the field of human rights. We all have challenges. We must all strive for bcontinuous progress. In this process, the engagement with other states that the UPR offers is particularly valuable. Both here at the Council, but also in our bilateral engagement. I, for one, look forward to Norway’s fourth cycle hearing in November.

To Norway it is also essential that the UPR process, both when it comes to participation and not least follow-up and implementation, involves engagement with other stakeholders. Civil society organizations, human rights defenders and national human rights institutions, among others, are key. They are indispensable for identifying the most pressing human rights issues, and for assuring meaningful implementation that leads to tangible improvements for rights-holders on the ground.

There can be little doubt that the UPR recommendations offer a road map for technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights. I’m heartened by the many positive examples in the report prepared for this panel discussion highlighting how the UPR Voluntary Fund supports countries in the implementation of recommendations emanating from the UPR.  And I look forward to hearing more.

I’m also heartened by the fact that with the input from the Voluntary Fund, the UN system increasingly incorporates UPR recommendations in country assessments and frameworks, and into programming. This is an important contribution to the mainstreaming of human rights. We note in this context that the Human Rights Advisers play a central role for the country teams and the Resident Coordinators. And with UPR regional advisers taking up their work, the capacity of the UN system will be further strengthened to make the most of the support offered by the Voluntary Fund for implementation.

Let me end, then, by encouraging states to bolster the capacity of the Voluntary Fund for UPR implementation. I sincerely hope that countries that have not contributed to the Fund yet, will consider doing so, and for previous donors to consider renewing their commitment.

Thank you.