Mogens Jensens tale ved Post-2015 konferencen


Fra vision til transformation – debat om implementering af de nye globale mål for bæredygtig udvikling’ torsdag d. 26. februar 2015 kl. 12.00-13.45

Many thanks to the UNDP and to Magdy, Camilla, and Jørgen for taking the initiative to this conference. I welcome occasion to look further ahead and to think a little more in depth about the implementation that we will embark on after the Post-2015 Summit in September – after the agreement on the Post-2015 Agenda. And I certainly welcome a break from discussing goals, targets, means of implementation, and financing for development.
However, before I move on to talk about implementation, allow me to raise a few issues about goals and targets.  

The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet, as the UN Secretary General writes in his report. We are at a historic crossroad where our globalized economy and sophisticated technology can end poverty. We cannot let that opportunity pass.  

17 goals and 169 targets have been proposed by the Open Working Group, of which Denmark was a member and shared a seat with Norway and Ireland.  

Those 17 goals and 169 targets are also the backbone of the synthesis report – and as I have said before, they are a bit of a hard sell. But hopefully that can be fixed by good communication people in the UN. Isn’t it so, Magdy?

More importantly, I find it important to reflect on, what the consequences are for the poorest countries of adopting the proposed goals and targets.

Most of you know my position: The set of goals and targets include a lot of important elements. We have goals on gender, inclusive education, peace, water, energy and climate as well as targets on among others SRHR. We run the risk of losing some of these crucial and transformative elements, if we open for further negotiations.

Yet, I’m concerned that the present number of goals and targets is unmanageable for the developing countries. It will be a big task to implement even for Denmark. So what do we expect from
Somalia, Mali and Afghanistan in this regard? And how can we support their efforts?

We have previously agreed on ambitious outcomes from international conferences, but often experienced too little action. But the convening powers of the MDGs were different. This is also why I together with a long range of former Ministers for Development Cooperation have proposed to nominate the MDGs for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The MDGs have served as a political agenda behind which people and organizations all over the world have rallied to hold their governments accountable. They have encouraged poorer countries to invest in tackling poverty, and have provided a framework for donors and partners to increase and improve their assistance. They became an agenda that belonged to all countries and all people - acted upon across the world with passion and commitment.  

The concerted efforts of national governments, the international community, civil society, the media and the private sector have helped expand hope and opportunity for people across the globe. And while progress is still uneven within countries, poorer countries have generally been catching up with those that are richer – growing faster, reducing poverty, and laying the foundation for more peaceful and inclusive societies.

Now let me say a few words about what the Post-2015 Agenda will mean for Danish development cooperation.  

We believe that the six elements of dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnerships as presented by Magdy, are a useful point of departure for discussions on how to more clearly articulate the vision behind the new goals. Whether this will indeed be the final outcome remains to be seen. I can say, however, that they correspond well with the Danish strategy for development cooperation. A strategy which – may I remind the panel – was approved unanimously by Parliament.  
I believe that the objective of the Danish Strategy remains relevant and fit for purpose in a Post-2015 scenario. Just to recall that the key objectives are to fight poverty and promote human rights and sustainable growth through the four priority areas of human rights and democracy, green growth, social progress, and stability and protection. We will reach these aims through flexible partnerships focused on results and efficiency. I see no need to change the strategy.

Implementation will, however, need to be adapted. The new agenda will be universal and apply to all of us. Like us, our partners in developing countries will have to identify where they are lacking behind on the different goals.  

With the SDGs we are asking all states to integrate the new agenda into their development plans, also those who lack severely behind. We will therefore work with national governments to incorporate the SDGs in their national development plans and budgets, support them in implementation and in measuring progress.  

The SDGs represent a new and integrated approach and implementation will have to reflect that. In particular, this includes integrating all three dimensions of sustainable development, the economic, social, and environmental dimensions, in a balanced manner.  

And Denmark is actually already underpinning the universal character of the agenda. Many countries, developed and developing alike, look to us in important areas such a green technologies, health care, tax systems, our education and welfare systems, and in matters regarding our labor market. Our history of social dialogue and public-private partnership is one to learn from.  
Companies are key in providing private investments, developing new solutions and technology and sharing their valuable knowledge. Civil society has a key role in advocating with and on behalf of their partners and amplifying the voice, needs, and rights of the most marginalized.  
NGOs and labor unions are – and should be – engaging with governments and businesses to ensure that their investments support sustainable development and poverty eradication.  
Yesterday, we had a very interesting event here at the Parliament, where politicians, companies, civil society and other actors exchanged ideas on how to engage in Corporate Social Responsibility for the benefit of women and girls. I look forward to ideas from Danish civil society and other actors on, how they view their role in the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda.

Reaching an agreement ambitious enough to counter not only today’s but tomorrow’s challenges is a struggle. Not everyone share the same level of ambition. Solving the current global challenges, influencing international institutions and policy, and voicing Denmark’s concerns do not come cost-free.  

It would not only be extremely short-sighted to cut Danish development aid with 2.5 billion Danish Kroner as the opposition suggests, but also exceptionally un-strategic and unambitious.  

It would send a sad signal that we only aim for minimum standard. But Danish development aid is world class. We cannot afford not to do our part and take responsibility. Though responsibility of implementation lies at the national level, we all have a role to play.  
The UNSG writes in his report that “in an irreversibly interconnected world, the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us – sometimes gradually but often suddenly”. We are too well aware of this. Let this year be the opportunity to agree on and implement a transformative movement for the better.      

Thank you.

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