• H.E. Hans Jacob Frydenlund

Our Common Future

India’s developments will have a significant impact on how successful the world is in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global climate targets. Its geopolitical role, its large population, its long coastline and, not least its economy make India an increasingly influential regional and global player, and an important partner for Norway.

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the world the way we know it. It risks reversing the advances made on the SDGs, our blueprint for peace and prosperity. Recognizing this, Norway is actively engaged in the global effort to combat Covid-19 and recover better, by building a healthier, greener, fairer and a more resilient world.

The multifaceted crisis requires a multifaceted response.

This means collaborating with other countries to provide an adequate global health response and strengthen global health security. India’s important role in providing medicines and vaccines to the world has become evident during the pandemic. Global vaccination programs depend on it. Humanitarian interventions depend on it. As a founding member of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), we are pleased to work alongside India as part of the international effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. India’s expertise in this field is unique. During the pandemic, we must also prevent any potential epidemic of other communicable diseases, like polio and measles. During the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 this month, Norway, alongside India, pledged support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi can play a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Gavi is also key to prevent outbreaks of other diseases by making sure life-saving routine immunization programmes keep running.

A global response is also required to deal with the economic hardship and social disruption caused by the pandemic. This is why Norway, amongst others, has contributed to the establishment of the United Nations Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This provides support to low- and middle- income countries affected by the crisis.

A united global response needs a strong United Nations (UN) at its centre. We congratulate India on its election as Chair of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in this critical time. Norway is eager to work with India to support WHO as it sets the direction for the international community in the fight against Covid-19, and the prevention of further health crises.

Indeed, the pandemic has been a sharp reminder of the need for partnerships that transcends boundaries to prevent and tackle global challenges. Whether old or new, these challenges affect us all, and cannot be handled by one country alone. Instead, they must be addressed through international platforms of cooperation. Only by working together can we safeguard our common future.

As a member of the international community, we must take responsibility for defending, reforming and strengthening these platforms. This is why Norway has been a consistent and strong supporter of the UN for the last 75 years. We are convinced that a well-functioning multilateral system, with the UN at its core, gives the world the best chance to find common solutions to our common challenges.

One unique platform to deal with global challenges is the UN Security Council. Like India, Norway is a candidate for a non-permanent seat for the period 2021-2022. Through its candidacy, Norway seeks to contribute to finding common solutions to these challenges and, in this way, contribute to peace and security. We stay committed to promoting a more transparent and accountable Security Council that better reflects the current global realities. The Covid-19 pandemic has but re-enforced this commitment.

Albeit a small country, we have the ambition and capacity to make a difference. Throughout the years, we have shown that we are a reliable and constructive problem-solver. We seek cross-regional partnerships and promote common solutions based on genuine dialogue, willingness to listen and pragmatic diplomacy. Based upon our competencies and experiences, five priority areas will guide the Norwegian engagement in the UN Security Council, if elected. We will work consistently to safeguard international law, strengthen conflict prevention and resolution, integrate women’s rights in peace and security issues, protect civilians against threats like sexually-based violence and include climate related issues on the agenda of the council. Highlighting the links between security, climate change and sustainable development is key.

In many of these areas, India and Norway share common interests. In December 2018, the Norwegian government launched a new ‘India Strategy’. The strategy sets clear priorities for the Norwegian government until 2030 and gives renewed impetus to develop our cooperation, including at the multilateral level. Norway seeks to cooperate with India to strengthen the multilateral governance systems and the international legal order.

Our commitment to peace and prosperity has not changed, but the urgency to act for our common future has. Together we can make a difference.

(H.E. Mr Hans Jacob Frydenlund is the Ambassador of Norway to India).


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