(New York, 17 July) Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein's statement at the general debate at the UN High-level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Not long ago, I met a young girl in ragged clothing in a refugee camp surrounded by barbed wire. When I asked her what her dreams were, she simply replied: ‘I have no dreams anymore, I have no life.’ She is one of millions in the world today who feel they are without hope, without a voice.
I like to think that I am here at the High-level Political Forum for her. I like to think that the 2030 Agenda was adopted for her and the many millions who have been left behind.
Norway regards the 2030 Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals as a transformative roadmap for eliminating poverty in all its forms, at home and internationally.
Indeed, over the past decade, the world has seen a substantial decline in the number of people living in abject poverty.
But we have no reason to be complacent. The more than 800 million people with disabilities in developing countries, the rising number of people suffering from food insecurity, and the 27 million people forced to flee their homes every year due to natural disasters and climate change have one thing in common: unless we step up our efforts to achieve the SDGs, their suffering will continue.
The commitment to leave no one behind reflects our core values. But success will depend on accountable follow up by all of us.
The SDG Advocacy Group, co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway and the President of Ghana, was commissioned by the UN Secretary-General to strengthen our joint resolve for global action.
Its message is clear: achieving the SDGs will require resources, ownership, leadership, and innovative public-private partnerships.
Investing in universal access to free, equitable, quality education and health services and decent work for all is crucial for reducing inequality. The particular importance of political commitment to good governance cannot be over emphasised.
Norway is a consistent and trusted partner, and a staunch supporter of a rules-based multilateral order. We therefore applaud the steps taken by the UN leadership to make the UN system fit for purpose.
We welcome with the Global Sustainability Development Report. It is within our power to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all. And with only ten years to go, we firmly support its strong call for action.
Action that can inspire hope in the girl I met in the refugee camp. Action that can put good, nutritious food on the table for those who are hungry. Action that will free the more than 40 million people captured in modern slavery.
The 2030 Agenda calls on us to urgently address the root causes of poverty through revitalised partnerships.
We are here to reaffirm that we are heeding this call.