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H.E. Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister

25 September 2008

Statement Summary

JENS STOLTENBERG, Prime Minister of Norway, said it was imperative that the stalled Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks be restarted so that the unfinished business of providing billions of people increased economic opportunity moved forward.  Besides the global food crisis, the world today also found itself faced with climate, energy, poverty, inequity and gender crises, as well as a larger decision-making emergency, which called for leadership at the United Nations.

For Norway, reaching the Millennium Development Goals was the foremost priority, to which it had dedicated a special responsibility regarding targets on child mortality and maternal health.  Also, everyone should dedicate the next seven years to helping improve the lives of the bottom billion, the subject of a report from the Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals he had presented earlier today.  Describing it as an exceptional plan that could save 10 million lives, he said that, if it succeeded, it would build more sustainable societies, reduce the potential for conflict and provide a better basis for growth.

He lamented, however, that, while steady progress had been made towards the Millennium Goals on poverty and child mortality, no progress on maternal health targets had been made.  “The fact that we have not made any significant progress at all in reducing the number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth is appalling,” he stated, adding that the only reason for that situation was what he termed “persistent neglect of women in a world dominated by men”.

Specifically on climate change, he observed that efforts against deforestation might provide the world with the largest, quickest and cheapest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  As a fortunate developed country, Norway had a moral responsibility to pursue wider development goals and to seek to generate positive incentives for change and improve climate change policies.  To that end, in the years leading up to 2015, Norway would contribute up to $1 billion to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, making Norway the first contributor to the Amazon Fund.  That was in addition to the major initiative the country had announced in Bali last December to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

[Source: GA/10754]