Source: Government of Denmark
Mr. President, Excellencies,
Denmark is an old nation, full of new ideas. We may not be the biggest country, but we have big ambitions.
In today’s world, I believe we need both new ideas and big ambitions if we are to solve the issues facing us today – climate change, delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring a fair globalization.
We live in a world smaller than ever before. A world, where our futures are bound together like no other time in human history.
An unpredictable world, where the growing interdependency of nations and peoples has made international cooperation more necessary than ever before.
And yet, today’s headlines are overflowing with ideas of division, exits, unilateralism and self-interest.
It is paradoxical that such ideas are thriving exactly when they are least needed. However, it would be a critical mistake to dismiss them as irrational or irrelevant.
We – the decision makers of the world – must understand the realities and perceptions that have caused such ideas to grow.
The rules-based international order has fostered a globalization, which has given many of us a world of opportunities, social progress and a belief that tomorrow will be better than today.
Enormous wealth has been created. But it is not fairly shared.
Not all have shared in the benefits from globalization or been shielded from its negative sides.
When some of the wealthiest companies and individuals in the world break their societal contract. When they do not pay their fair share of taxes. How can we then – in fairness – ask those of lesser means, to do so?
We must ensure that everyone carries the burden. Especially those with the broadest shoulders.
We need to fight for a fair globalisation – a sustainable globalisation. This requires a global approach.
Denmark believes in multilateralism. In the inherent value of universally agreed rights, standards and obligations.
The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement serve as our common point of departure. They prove that we can still deliver ambitions and plans as a global community.
But now, multilateralism must deliver more than plans and ambitions. We need to deliver action.
The S-D-Gs are not only a vision of the world we want. They are also a blueprint for how we get there.
It remains the primary responsibility of countries to deliver the S-D-Gs at home. But nobody should face the responsibility alone or find a sincere request for help unanswered.
We clearly live in a world where solidarity is needed. And not just words of solidarity. For more than forty years, Denmark has delivered on the promise made in this chamber. We have provided at least 0.7 percent of our wealth in Official Development Assistance.
We are proud to maintain this dedication on the road to 2030.
“We the peoples” starts the UN Charter. Our efforts must similarly start – and end – with the peoples.
It means doing our utmost to solve what the Secretary General has rightly labelled “the defining issue of our time”.
Getting the climate under control can no longer be the problem of the next generation – or even the next government.
It is up to us. It is now, action is need.
Denmark has set one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world: 70 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. And climate neutrality with net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Make no mistake, this will not be easy. We have a massive task ahead of us. But Denmark is determined to take part in the leadership in the fight against climate change.
Denmark would like to thank the Secretary-General for hosting the Climate Action Summit.
We were proud and honored to co-lead the Energy Transition Track for the Summit. Together with Ethiopia and Sustainable Energy for All – and joined by a cross-regional coalition – we have focused our energy on energy.
The reason is obvious. Energy accounts for roughly 80 per cent of global CO2 emissions.
We need to scale up renewable energy. We need to increase energy efficiency. We need to electrify those industries that today rely on fossil fuels.
But let me be clear: almost one billion people are currently living without electricity. The clean energy transition will neither be socially sustainable nor fair, if we leave those people in the dark.
We have to fulfill the promise of S-D-G-7 on delivering affordable and clean energy to all. We must leave no one behind on our path to a carbon neutral world, at peace with the planet.
We cannot effectively address climate change without protecting the natural environment. Deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon and across the planet are global climate crises – and must be addressed as such.
Denmark is committed to reducing deforestation and is ready to assist if needed and requested.
While governments must lead this journey, we cannot walk alone. Partnerships with all relevant actors are crucial, if we want to meet the ambitious goals we have agreed to.
To meet a deadline set, not by us, but by the planet.
In true partnership, Denmark intends to work with the international investment community to mobilize much needed private capital for green energy by 2020.
At the summit, we were proud to announce that Danish pension funds are also taking action. Committing the hard-earned savings of the Danish people to significant new international green energy investments.
Also we announced our intention to double our support to the Green Climate Fund.
And our industries are committed too.
The Getting to Zero Coalition with the Danish Shipping Company Maersk and other partners shows how shipping is showing leadership.
With an aim to create carbon-neutral vessels already in 2030, the coalition is bringing together the entire value chain. We must ensure that the ships connecting our world is not a danger to our planet.
But partnerships must not only be built across sectors and across border. They must be forged across generations.
We must include young people, empower them, hear their voices. We must enable their action so they can shoulder their part of the responsibility to deliver on Agenda 2030.
And our youth will deliver, if they are given access to the quality education, we promised them. They will need an education, not only to learn, but – as the Secretary General has said – “to learn to learn”.
Technological advancements not least in the private sector have provided extraordinary tools and possibilities. But only together – public and private – can we lift future generations to levels of education unimaginable today.
Not only because it is right. But because we need the innovative and pioneering thinking of future generations to ensure a world that continues to prosper.
Allow me to quote a Danish youth delegate who attended the Youth Climate Summit last Saturday. And I quote:
“We want you to hear us when we say – we want to be part of the solution.
We know our climate is threatened – we know what needs to be done.
But we also know, that nobody can make the needed changes on their own”
Let us show the hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of young people, who have taken to the streets recently to protest for climate action, that we are listening. And let’s do more than that – let’s act.
We owe them that. That is our common responsibility.
“We the peoples” means a just world where harmful social and economic inequalities are abolished. Where decent jobs are available to all, and where universal human rights prevail. Without discrimination of any kind.
It certainly does not mean “we the men”.
Today, I speak to you as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark. But I also speak to you as the proud father of two wonderful, little girls.
Since we opened this session of the General Assembly, more than three-hundred-thousand girls have been born. Ideally, into a world of no discrimination.
In reality, into a world where it is considered a battleground to actively promote gender equality and the right of every woman to decide over her own body. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are fundamental. For all women and girls. No matter where they are born.
The fight for the rights of women and girls are an intrinsic part of Denmark’s policy. Every day as a member of the Human Rights Council, on the floors of this General Assembly and as incoming members of the Committee on the Status of Women.
Later this year, together with Kenya and UNFPA, Denmark will proudly chair a conference in Nairobi marking the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Programme of Action.
It is now time we deliver on the promise made 25 years ago. And ensure that these rights become a reality for all. Not just a privilege for some.
As mentioned, Denmark has worked in close partnership with Ethiopia on energy and with Kenya on gender equality. Two examples of the partnerships across regions, needed to ensure sustainable development for all.
We must realize the full potential of all continents – including Africa where a proud history, natural wealth, and a young, energetic population forms a powerful base for progress.
Denmark will support closer partnerships between our continents on multiple issues, including trade, development and stabilization.
All states have a responsibility to prevent conflicts and protect people. Hiding behind sovereignty whilst committing such crimes is not acceptable. That is why Denmark supports the Secretary-General’s focus on prevention, early response to conflicts and inclusion of regional actors.
And we remain concerned about the serious threat to regional security posed by the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Denmark calls for dialogue, restraint and de-escalation.
Denmark has contributed significantly to the Peacebuilding Fund, and we will continue to support training and education of UN peacekeepers.
More than 50.000 Danish women and men have served in peacekeeping operations since the creation of the United Nations.
Even as I speak, my countrymen and -women, are hard at work in challenging operations from Mali to the Middle East – serving, ‘We the peoples’.
To deliver on the global challenges we need a strong United Nations fit for purpose. Denmark remains a steadfast supporter of all three reforms initiated by the Secretary-General.
The next year will be about implementation. Across all the reforms we will focus on the ability to deliver on core challenges. Our embassies will engage in the implementation and keep a close dialogue with the UN teams on the ground.
We urge the Secretary-General to ensure a human rights based approach to all areas of the work of the UN.
It is more important than ever to promote a human rights culture within the UN. Alarms about serious human rights violations around the world must always be heard across – and at the top of – the Secretariat.
Our ability to deliver as “we the peoples” determines whether people will continue to look to this organization for answers and solutions.
To continue to be the place for solving the global issues of our times, the UN – all of us – must deliver on climate action. On sustainable development. On human rights. And on peace and security.
We know the challenges and we know what is needed. Now, let’s show the necessary will – and act. Together.