Norway would like to use this opportunity to thank the Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity for her visit to Norway in September 2016.
The visit resulted in several in depth discussions on how to best integrate and mainstream human rights in international development cooperation. We benefitted from the Independent Expert’s broad and long-standing experience with assessing states’ compliance with their human rights obligations.
We found the discussions both challenging and inspiring, especially the way the Independent Expert questioned how we link our development cooperation to the recommendations from the relevant human rights treaty bodies. We were also challenges on how we measure the effect of our development cooperation on the realization of human rights. These are operative and practical questions.
We are happy to engage in further discussions with all stakeholders, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to determine a means of assessing the impact made on specific human rights targets while keeping in mind the end beneficiary. We fully agree with the Independent Expert that such a discussion would fit in very well with the framework on measuring progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Realization of human rights is an end in itself, but it is also fundamental for lasting peace and sustainable development. Norway’s white paper on human rights in foreign and development policy is indeed ambitious. It covers practically speaking all areas of our international engagement.
The challenge for all of us is to go from rhetoric to action. To translate the normative human rights framework, negotiated and adopted by the member states of the UN, to concrete actions that make human rights relevant and meaningful for people and decision makers.
We must continuously seek to identify both opportunities for action as well as key risk factors that may impede the realization of human rights. We will not succeed in overcoming the problems of today unless we recognize and uphold the rights and dignity of every human being.
Since the visit of the Independent Expert, the Norwegian Government has presented a new white paper on Norwegian development cooperation and the sustainable development goals. Agenda 2030 is a road map for solving the challenges of our time such as armed conflict, violent extremism, forced migration, poverty, inequality and climate change. It is also a unique platform and framework for realizing human rights for all. The inclusion of SDG 16 confirms the relevance and legitimacy of bringing the development and the human rights agenda together. Stakeholders at all levels are responsible for the successful realization of the SDGs. Norway is committed to be at the forefront of efforts to implement the sustainable development goals, in conformity with States’ human rights obligations.
Thank you, Mr President.