Statsminister Helle Thorning-Schmidts tale ved lanceringen af Human Development Report 2011 i Eigtveds Pakhus den 2. november 2011

Det talte ord gælder

Madame Administrator of UNDP, Excellencies, distinguished guests and
webcast-viewers around the globe,

I would like to welcome you all warmly to Copenhagen. I am extremely pleased that UNDP has chosen Copenhagen as the venue for the launch of the 2011 Human Development Report: “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All”.

Thanks to live webcast this is a truly global event.

The UN is a cornerstone in Denmark’s foreign and development policy. The UN will always be welcome in Denmark. And we will continue to support the work of the UN.

The Human Development Report is an important tool for public debate on development. The report sets the international agenda.

This year the report clearly describes how the most disadvantaged groups on the planet now face a double impact of poverty:

First, environmental problems slow down progress in addressing poverty eradication.

Second, it is the world’s most disadvantaged people who will suffer the most from environmental degradation.

To end world poverty and confront growing economic inequality, we need more inclusive and robust growth patterns. We must enable more people to both contribute to and benefit from growth.

The Human Development Report highlights precisely the point that access to energy without environmental degradation is possible. Denmark prioritizes a transition to a green economy, particularly this new government. We support the UN system in its important contribution to this objective.

The world is facing an urgent need for a transition to a green economy. This issue will be at the forefront of the Rio+20 Summit in June 2012. And Denmark is strongly committed to push for this transition.

Every year in October, Denmark will put green growth at the top of the international agenda at the Global Green Growth Forum. At the Forum, political and economic leaders, experts and civil society organizations will come together to advance concrete green public-private initiatives.

The inaugural Forum held in Copenhagen last month demonstrated its potential in this respect. At a critical time in the world economy, the strong presence of 200 political and economic leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave new momentum to the agenda of green growth.

The Danish Government will also do its utmost to make the Rio+20 a success. This is a priority in our EU presidency during the first half of 2012.

Rio+20 must be a conference with substance. Rio+20 should give special attention to the question of scarcity of natural resources, particularly the issues of energy, water and food security.

Denmark strongly supports the initiative from the Secretary-General on sustainable energy for all. Goals on access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy could be important outcomes of Rio+20.

The Rio+20 Summit is an opportunity to remind us all that high growth rates can go hand in hand with sustainability considerations.

The report presented today points to how to combine sustainability, equity and human development in ways that make them mutually reinforcing. An important point is being made here: Equity is important when aiming for truly sustainable development. This is in line with the approach taken in Denmark’s policy priorities.

Let me give just a few examples:

The Human Development Report concludes that greater equity in distribution of political power results in better access to water, less land degradation and fewer deaths due to pollution.

That is why Denmark supports civil society organizations in Mozambique. The purpose is to help build public awareness and demand for high-quality environmental services.

Another important conclusion of the report is that national institutions need to be accountable and inclusive.

That is why Denmark has supported a comprehensive reform of Tanzania’s forest administration. We put emphasis on participatory management systems.

Freedom of the press is also considered vital in raising awareness and facilitating public participation.

That is why Denmark is a core donor to the non-profit organisation International Media Support (IMS) with their expertise on environmental and climate journalism.

I am very pleased to see the question of women’s rights at the centre of the Human Development Report.

Women are important agents of change and development. In fact, improved family planning by 2050 could lower the world’s carbon emissions an estimated 17 pct. below today’s levels.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment remain at the core of our bilateral development cooperation. We support UN Women and the UNFPA to this end, including also the important work in terms of ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Allowing women free choice when it comes to their own bodies should be a given for all. Unfortunately, it is not. We are even facing increased opposition from certain groups. These are challenges we must address proactively.

We must all do our part in securing sustainable development for future generations. There is a significant gap between ODA-spending and the investments needed to address climate change, low-carbon energy and human development.

The economic crisis has not made things any easier. The developed world must live up to its commitments. Denmark is committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

We must also be willing to look beyond 2015. Some of the existing goals can be combined with new targets focussing on sustainable development. The Rio+20 Summit could provide an important first platform for identifying such new sustainable development goals.

Let me conclude by saying that the UNDP has a crucial role to play in ensuring a UN working together and delivering as one. Denmark is pleased to play our part in this effort.

As you know, we host a number of UN organisations in Copenhagen. We will now provide them with new and common Headquarters on the city’s harbour front. By creating a common workplace for the UN-staff in Copenhagen, we hope to contribute to the “One UN”-agenda.

Denmark also seeks to improve human development globally through our substantial development cooperation. Currently, Denmark commits over and above the 0.7 % of GNI to development assistance. Actually, the latest figure is 0.9 % for 2010.

It is the objective of my government to raise our development assistance commitment to 1.0 % of GNI over the coming years.

I am a strong advocate for the developed world to live up to the 0.7 % commitment. And I believe that also the new emerging economies have their role to play in ensuring global sustainable development.

Denmark’s strong support for multilateral organizations naturally includes the UNDP. We are committed to a rights-based approach to development. We will draw on the UNDP’s experience in developing this approach further. And we look forward to working closely with you to this end.

Thank you!

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