The Office of the Prime Minister of Norway

09/19/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/19/2023 04:45

Global leaders coming together at a critical time

The high-level week of the UN General Assembly will take place from 18-22 September in New York. This is the world's largest and most important political meeting place.

'In a world that is contending with Russia's brutal war against Ukraine and increasing rivalry between major powers, international cooperation is essential. It is vital to promote trust between countries and a willingness to cooperate. This is why the UN General Assembly is so important,' said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Prime Minister Støre is leading Norway's delegation. Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide, and Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol will also be participating.

The theme for the 78th session of the UN General Assembly is: 'Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all'. The General Assembly session is taking place at a time when the world is becoming increasingly polarised, and Russia's brutal war of aggression against Ukraine is deepening international political dividing lines and undermining efforts to promote international cooperation and common solutions.

'These high-level meetings are vital to ensure support for collective solutions. This is particularly important for countries in the Global South that feel they are caught in the cross-fire between the major powers. Countries such as Norway have a key role to play in this context,' said Mr Støre.

Human rights and women's rights, particularly the right to decide over one's own body, are under growing pressure. Vulnerable groups are being subjected to political persecution. During the high-level week the Norwegian delegation will participate in a range of meetings and events focused on human rights. The year's Trygve Lie Symposium, chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, marks the 25th anniversary of the UN resolution on human rights defenders and will focus on the important role civil society plays in an increasingly polarised world.

'There are worrying signs of setbacks in civil and political rights, women's rights and queer rights in many countries across the world. I consider it vital to do everything I can to slow and ultimately reverse this trend,' said Ms Huitfeldt.

Rising poverty and food insecurity, and a decline in a number of important development indicators are influencing the tenor of the global conversation. The UN plays a crucial role in global development efforts and Norway channels much of its aid budget through UN organisations.

'Norway contributes significantly to international development efforts and has gained a high-level of trust among countries in the South. We must use our resources where they are needed most. Cooperation with the UN on food security will be a key priority for me in discussions during the high-level week,' said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

Four clear priorities have been identified for the Norwegian delegation travelling to New York. First, to strengthen dialogue with countries in the Global South. Second, to promote Norway's development policy priorities, as set out in the Government's political platform, including food security, women's rights and global health. Third, to promote peace and reconciliation, particularly in the Middle East and between Israel and Palestine. Fourth, to focus attention on the climate and environmental crisis and highlight the close links between climate and development.

'The climate, nature and pollution crises pose a huge threat to development, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The meetings in New York provide an opportunity to raise our ambitions to solve these crises, and to follow this up with action in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference later this autumn,' said Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide.

This year's high-level week includes an unusual number of summits. Prime Minister Støre will speak at the most high-profile of these, the SDG Summit. He will also speak at the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development. The Minister of Foreign Affairs will chair the Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

There will be three high-level meetings on global health, focusing on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response; universal health coverage; and the fight against tuberculosis, respectively. Both the Minister of Health and Care Services and the Minister of International Development will participate in these meetings, which aim to ensure that the world is better equipped to deal with health crises in the future than was the case when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

'I attach great importance to global health cooperation on pandemic preparedness and universal health coverage. Norway's preparedness is dependent on well-functioning international systems and improved health systems around the world. I am looking forward to discussing export opportunities for the Norwegian health care industry, which is an important industry for Norway,' said Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.

A daily report summarising highlights from the programme will be published each day of the high-level week on the government website Many of the General Assembly meetings will also be streamed online and will be accessible to everyone.