Magdy Martínez-Solimán:From vision to transformation – Statement on implementation of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Amalie Skram, Litteraturhuset, Norway

04 Mar 2015I thank the UN-affiliated organizations in Norway for organising this important event and for hosting us today. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Minister Børge Brende, and colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their participation this morning as well as fellow speaker of the panel today, Mr. Olav Kjørven, respected Director at UNICEF—and my former boss, and our moderator, Ms. Kristina Fröberg.Ladies and Gentlemen,
2015 is a year of critical importance,
We have a quadruple appointment, first, in few weeks’ time, in Sendaï, Japan for the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.Then in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, followed by the General Assembly Post-2015 Summit in September in New York, and ending with the Conference of Parties 21 in Paris, France in December.
What we have in our reach is:
•    Poverty eradication in our lifetime;•    A new commitment to sustainable development;•    A new regime on climate and,•    Protecting development gains from loss and damage
All in one year. And these are not conference that just happen. They will culminate the processes of recent years and set the benchmarks and standards the next 15 years.
In 2000, when world leaders agreed on the Millennium Declaration, few could have imagined what would follow. For the first time in human history, countries came together at the United Nations and turned noble principles and the high aspirations we had declared into a set of time-bound common goals and targets for development. They established the first accountability framework for Development. Over the last 14 years, the Millennium Development Goals have generated tremendous progress:•    Many countries have conquered access to education and water, reduced disease and poverty, and moved towards gender equality.•    Globally, extreme poverty has been cut by half, as has the proportion of people without sustainable access to improved sources of drinking water.•    9 out of 10 children now go to school, and fewer children are dying from easily preventable illnesses.•    The world continues to fight killer diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. But we fight hard, and we fight much better.•    The MDGs have invigorated multilateral institutions such as UNDP, and partnerships, the weight of citizens’ voices and that of civil society.•    And, all around the world, the goals have guided budget decisions and law-making processes.
You will not be surprised by the high degree of consensus in the views of UNDP and its top development partner in the world when assigning to the MDGs what they have done: as we have just heard from Minister Brende on the improvements to health, education and the environment, in the north and in the south. But also that more needs to be done to fully achieve these goals, not least within education and environment.
In his report ‘The Road to Dignity: Ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet’ issued in December, the UN Secretary General calls upon us all “to rise to the challenge with a truly transformative agenda that is both universal and adaptable to the conditions of each country, and that places people and the planet at the centre.”
The report draws upon experience of two decades of development practice and reflects the findings from an open and inclusive consultation process that took place over the last 3 years. A very different process from that of the MDGs presented by former Secretary-General Annan following the Millennium Declaration.
The Secretary-General was asked by the General Assembly to produce a “Synthesis Report” to regroup the decisions made to date by the Member States. A prolific amount in comparison, he defined the 6 essential elements that allow to explain the structure and organizing principles of the 169 targets and the 17 goals,  The first element is the unfinished business of the MDGs, the eradication of hunger and poverty in our lifetime. This is the agenda for DIGNITY.
The second element is the employment, social protection, health and education, the more classic social development goals, which conforms the agenda for the PEOPLE.  
For states to afford the social agenda, they need to experience economic growth, develop the infrastructures we all need, the trade, the energy, the construction of middle income nations and middle-class societies: this is the agenda for PROSPERITY.
But growth cannot come at all costs. We need growth “that is not disastrous”. We need it to be inclusive and the economy to grow along sustainable pathways. It needs to respect sustainable consumption and production patterns so that we leave a better future to future generations. This is the agenda for the PLANET.
We cannot build such an agenda alone. We need the participation of the people, the citizens, their organisations and the civil society. We need the input of science and academia and the dynamism of the private sector. Post 2015 is an agenda for PARTNERSHIPS.And finally, for the first time explicitly, the development agenda commits to democratic values and declares that development needs human rights and peaceful and inclusive societies, which it has summarised as the agenda for JUSTICE.
PEOPLE, PLANET, PROSPERITY, PARTNERSHIPS, DIGNITY AND JUSTICE are the six essential elements of an agenda for sustainable human development that allows us to grow, protect and develop with respect to the boundaries and the beauty of our planet.As UN Member States launch their deliberations, they are firmly guided by the proposal of the Open Working Group that sets out 17 specific Sustainable Development Goals. The goals address a great variety of issues that are crucial to poverty eradication and sustainable development. They include the existing MDG areas, but also new issues; Sustainability, Rights, Infrastructure and Governance, as varied and broad as that.
It is particularly pleasing to see the issue of inequality well represented – for income and wealth, but also standalone recognition of the discrimination and violence that prevents women and girls from realizing their rights and true potential.
In the same vein, the proposed SDG 17 is dedicated to means of implementation.An important aspect here is financing – implementing the Post-2015 development agenda will require significant investment. The availability of public financial support will still be important for many countries, especially the Least Developed Countries, and is an important trust-building signal. It is the signal that opens the possibility for foreign direct investment.Norway is a good development partner to these and many more countries. It is a fair trade partner and a force for peace, development and human rights in the world. And you have repeatedly shown to be a good friend of the United Nations and a strong supporter of UNDP enabling us to respond quickly, maintain a robust and professional structure, and help when it matters.
Implementation goes beyond financing. Developing countries need to do their part: tax their wealthy citizens, collect revenue, fight corruption and illicit flows, give priority to productive social spending. Mutual accountability is at stake.
Governance and aid can provide the framework where trade and private investments skyrocket development. This is why the future development framework that is being proposed is to be universal in nature. We understand universality to mean ‘all rights, for all people, in all countries’.
Our intentions is to help developing countries to ‘land’ the agenda at national and local levels; accelerate progress on their priorities; and make UN policy support available in an effective and coherent way. In doing this we will also seek to strengthen partnerships, data and accountability. As mentioned by Foreign Minister Brende, you cannot count what you cannot measure.  
While the benefits of concerted action might be more easily discerned for developing countries – what might the new agenda mean for countries like yours? The SG’s report states that “Universality implies that all countries will need to change, each with its own approach, but each with a sense of the global common good.”The Post-2015 Agenda presents your country with an opportunity to take a candid look at itself, and to compare its social policies and quest for sustainability with those of your neighbors in Scandinavia and Europe, and beyond. It will allow to compare this year with the last year, and the next year. It is variable geometry, it depends on where you set the benchmark.
It should allow different constituencies – government, parliament, civil society, media, the international community – to analyse the data, to compare year-on-year progress against a demanding framework of objectives. It should help you to check if you are indeed making progress –even at the high level of human development in Norway thanks to your social contract, on reducing inequality, enhancing the quality of education, greening the energy mix and providing the incentives for responsible and sustainable consumption and production. So that people in Norway can enjoy even further rising prosperity, sustained well-being and a natural environment that is safeguarded for future generations of Norwegians.
But above all, it means that Norway’s impact on the rest of the world needs to be carefully explained and universally respected, especially its role as a development actor. This is about aid. But it is not only about aid. It is also about the way in which Norway, Norwegian people and Norwegian businesses relate to others; it is about being a good global corporate trader and partner.
When we convened the private sector to discuss the SDGs, Scandinavian pharmaceuticals and their CEOs explained to us how important the MDGs has been for their bottom line in Asia and in Africa, for the production and their exports.
Development has evolved to no longer being an old-fashioned statist budgetary burden – but a public-private partnership where stimulus and coverage of ODA opens avenues to the dynamism and revenues of foreign direct investment. Development abroad is also about jobs at home.
It is also a global voice for a better international order. This is also why the UN has taken the conversation on the Post-2015 Agenda to the world. Over 7 million people from all walks of life have expressed their aspirations, needs and priorities for the ‘world they want’ in national consultations, thematic meetings, online spaces and off line spaces for the many with no online access, and the global MY World survey. I would like to thank Norway for having supported this process and in this year of important decisions, for your continued support to development.    At the UN, and in the Development System of the United Nations, we look forward to this year and the years ahead to build, in part thanks to the strong Norwegian commitment and entrepreneurship, a life of dignity for all.
Thank you.