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UN important for safeguarding Norway’s interests

The UN has been and continues to be essential to our efforts to promote the welfare, security and fundamental political values of Norwegian society, says Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Barth Eide, who was present at the opening session of the UN General Assembly in New York, made the statement after the Government presented a new white paper on Norway and the United Nations.

The white paper emphasises the fact that the rules developed by the international community through the UN are essential for safeguarding Norway’s economic development, security and values, including respect for human rights and freedom of expression.  

“Rich and poor countries alike need a UN that can address challenges that cut across national borders, a UN that can prevent conflict, promote democracy, combat epidemics, tackle the negative impacts of climate change and provide assistance to the victims of natural disasters,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås.

“Norway has a fundamental interest in promoting a global order, in which right prevails over might. As we are a coastal nation, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is one of the most important international instruments for safeguarding our fundamental interests. The Law of the Sea gives Norway jurisdiction over substantial natural resources. It also places obligations on Norway to manage these resources in a sustainable way,” said Mr Eide.

The white paper also states that Norway’s UN policy has been successful.

“We have been largely successful in gaining acceptance for Norwegian interests and priorities. We have achieved this through alliance building and our willingness to provide financial support,” said Mr Eide.

According to the white paper, the role of the UN is being challenged today, both as a result of increased competition in the international arena and because major new powers are seeking an international system that better reflects today’s reality. The Government will therefore work to ensure that the UN is reformed in such a way that it is perceived as more representative and effective.

“Norway is the world’s fourth largest contributor to the UN. We are now sending a message that there needs to be a stronger connection between results achieved and the funding we provide. Our aim is for the UN to function even more effectively. The white paper sets out seven criteria for evaluating UN organisations. The organisations that perform best will receive more funding, while those that have not achieved the necessary results will receive less,” said Mr Holmås.   

The white paper states that the Government will:

  • promote Security Council reform with a view to enhancing its legitimacy and effectiveness
  • seek to increase Norway’s contributions to UN-led operations  
  • defend and strengthen established UN norms and human rights standards
  • give priority to Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security.
  • intensify efforts in the UN to promote equitable distribution of resources and opportunities both between countries and within them.
  • work to ensure that the UN plays a role in efforts to combat tax havens and illicit financial flows. 

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