ERNA SOLBERG, Prime Minister of Norway, pointing to the international community’s collective strengthen, said that the climate, health and economic crises have the potential to increase unity and resolve. “We must harness the momentum created and take action,” she said. The transition to a low-emission society will require profound change, but it will also create opportunities for employment and growth, she said, calling for investment in renewables and new technology as well as putting a price on carbon. More countries, especially large economies, need to raise their ambition level ahead of the upcoming Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow. “We are doing our part. Norway’s new target is to cut emissions by at least 50 per cent — and towards 55 per cent — by 2030,” she stated, and it will continue partnering with developing countries in their efforts to achieve climate-resilient, sustainable development. To tackle climate change, the health of the ocean must urgently be restored. The High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s agenda should form the basis for future discussions. “Without healthy oceans, we all face an uncertain future,” she said, calling on ocean and coastal States to sustainably manage all their ocean areas by 2030.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that global problems require global solutions, she continued, calling for reforming and strengthening the global health architecture to prevent, detect, and respond to future threats; building robust national health systems; and ensuring universal health coverage. In Africa, fewer than 1 in 20 people are fully vaccinated, but in Europe, one in two people are. “The pandemic is not over, and it will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” she stressed. The vaccination rollout must be accelerated across the world. Her Administration is proud to co-chair the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Public-private partnerships such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi are also part of the solution. To finance a sustainable recovery, the international community must align its efforts with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she said, calling for investment in people, particularly women and girls, to fulfil the promise of leaving no one behind.
Turning to human rights, which is essential to build prosperous and free societies, she said: “The decline in democracy and respect for human rights should be of concern to us all.” She pointed to grave human rights violations in Venezuela, the Tigray region of Ethiopia and Myanmar. Recent developments in Afghanistan are alarming, she said, expressing particular concern about the rights of women and girls, minorities and those at risk because of their work to advance fundamental freedoms. “We will judge the Taliban by their actions, not by their words,” she declared, adding: “The composition of the interim government is discouraging”.
Conflict prevention, peacekeeping and disarmament are vital for sustainable development, and the norms and structures that maintain peace must be safeguarded and strengthened, she said. She welcomed the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty and said the increased threat from chemical weapons must be countered. The Security Council’s adoption of the resolution extending the mandate for delivering cross-border humanitarian aid into Syria was encouraging and offers hope of finding a political solution to the long-lasting conflict there. Her Administration is a strong supporter of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Turning to maritime security, she said an integrated global response is needed to make the oceans safe. Some 90 per cent of piracy incidents take place in the Gulf of Guinea. Norway is seeking to advance this issue in the Council, in close cooperation with the countries in the region.