1. On behalf of the Government of Norway, I would like to convey my greetings to the President of the Conference, its Officers, and to the Director-General of the ILO.
2. All four strategic objectives of the Decent Work Agenda - employment, social protection, social dialog and fundamental principles and rights at work -- are included in the 2030 Agenda. This proves that the ILO’s mandate is as relevant today as it was in 1919.
3. We now have the opportunity – and the challenge - to take a coherent, integrated approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda both at local, regional and global level. Macro-economic conditions and good governance should go hand in hand with investment in education, health and social protection floors. All are prerequisites for attaining SDG 1: “End to poverty”.
4. How countries choose to implement the 2030 agenda is closely related to their vision of the future of work, and what developments they aim to achieve nationally. The most interesting part of being at international meeting places like the ILC is the possibility to exchange views and learn from each other. However it demands a great deal of openness to share progress and failures, possibilities and challenges – but most of all it demands a genuine interest in learning from others.
5. The Norwegian challenges relates to an unacceptable youth unemployment rate, increasing inflow of young people into disability benefits by 60 % over the last ten years, 30% of our youth leave high school without completing it , often without any alternative work or training plan. Norway is also number four of countries when it comes to receiving refugees compared to the number of inhabitants in Norway, and this gives us great integration challenges in the labour market.
6. Norway has a solid and well-functioning economy thanks to the oil and gas resources and the wealth it has given us. With lower oil prices we face however new challenges with both increasing unemployment and need for transformations in the business sector. The sustainability of our system in the future has to be secured and we are concerned with which adjustments and changes that we will have to put in place in order to keep up and develop a solid and good welfare society.
7. We are looking at possible changes especially in our youth strategy by moving the focus towards education. This is a necessity since a completely different set of skills will be required in working life in the future. Our welfare system has inadvertently made it more profitable for the young ones to get a disease diagnosis than an education. We need to look at measures such as addressing skills mismatches, improving apprenticeship systems and promoting youth entrepreneurship.
8. Finally, Norway is among the first group of countries that will submit a progress report on the implementation of the 2030 agenda to the UN. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is only one of many ministries working together to implement the 2030 Agenda.
9. We wish the Conference every success! Thank you Madam Chair.