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Speech at UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Madam President, Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Twenty years ago we met here in Rio to address unsustainable development, how to eradicate poverty, and how to achieve greater equality within and between nations. Much has been achieved since then.

Nearly half a billion people have been lifted out of poverty.

Life expectancy has on average increased by close to 4 years. For the least developed countries we have seen a 6-years increase.

Child mortality is down with by more than a third.

There are twice as many democratically elected governments.

But we are still facing great challenges: poverty, food insecurity, water and energy shortages
and climate change.

We see persistent discrimination against women, and women being deprived of their sexual and reproductive rights.

We see growing inequality, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

We see a globalised economy, but also financial austerity in large parts of the world.

The challenges are still great. But so are the opportunities.

If we are to achieve sustainable development, we must reduce poverty,  and secure sustainable economic growth.

Universal access to energy is key.

Therefore, we need to find a way to reconcile the need for energy with the need for emissions reductions.

We must put all our efforts into making the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative a reality.

Social and natural wealth has to be measured and valued, new approaches to public and private finance must be promoted, new technologies developed, and women must be empowered to make full use of their potential.

We need official development assistance and public funds to achieve sustainable development.

However, these funds will never be sufficient on their own.

We need private sector investment.

We need to combat corruption and illicit financial flows, which amount to massive theft from the poor.

And we need to develop more innovative financing mechanisms.

We must put a price on pollution. And the polluter has to pay. This has a triple positive effect.
It will reduce emissions. It will create incentives to develop clean technology. And it will generate revenues for sustainable development.

Investment in women’s human capital is key to achieving change. It is a prerequisite for a just society. And it is smart economics.

We must also respect indigenous peoples’ knowledge and their right to their lands, territories and natural resources.

As global leaders gathered here in Rio, we have agreed on a common vision for a sustainable future.

It is now our obligation to translate this vision into concrete action.

We have agreed to develop Sustainable Development Goals.

They must be concrete and measurable.They must be global goals that can guide us in the right direction.

Goals that address environmental, social and economic concerns.

We must take advantage of this occasion to make the UN better equipped to follow up our ambitions and implement our decisions from Rio.

We must assume our responsibilities, in partnership, in order to achieve a sustainable future for all.

Thank you.

 

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