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Kristina Persson is no longer a government minister, Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation


Introductory remarks by Ms. Kristina Persson, Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation at the UNDP Ministerial Meeting


UN General Assembly Hall, New York, 24 February 2016

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Dear Excellencies, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ever since the creation of UNDP in 1966 the organization has proved its significance, supporting poverty reduction and development worldwide. The world is despite its many challenges, a better place today than when UNDP was founded.

Sweden remains committed to allocate 1 per cent of its gross national income to Official Development Assistance, ODA. It is not a question of generosity, but a consequence of a coherent policy choice. UNDP is one of the primary partners in our development cooperation all over the world.

The development of other nations is not only actions of solidarity, it is in all nations interest. Core support to multilateral organizations, including UNDP, will continue to be an integrated part of this effort. Through flexible and predictable core funding, the UN System will be better prepared for the development challenges ahead.

The global vision for sustainable development is now increasingly clear and mutually agreed. The 2030 Agenda is universal and involves the whole world. The Agenda and the global goals constitute a fundamental shift in the way we think about development.

As Sweden's Minister for Strategic Development sustainable development, in all its three dimensions, is the core of my work. Economic growth will not be sustainable without long term social and ecological sustainability. The greatest threat to financial stability and good economic development is the rising inequality, both within and between countries.

In the early 1990s Sweden introduced a tax on carbon and since then, greenhouse gas emissions have gone down by 23 per cent. During the same period Sweden's GDP grew 58 per cent. It is possible to combine good economic growth with successful efforts to prevent resource depletion and minimize climate or environmental impact. The world needs to get the incentives right, and reprioritise funds available to make the transformational changes possible.

One of the important aspects of Agenda 2030 is the demand it puts on a whole of government approach. The Agenda underlines the necessity of cross-sectorial approach in governments work and the spill over effects one policy choice will have on another. Sweden has worked actively with policy coherence for development through our Policy for Global Development. It establishes that all policy areas should contribute to an equitable and sustainable global development.

We have taken a number of initiatives in this spirit:

- A national Action Plan for Business and Human Rights to support Swedish companies' in their work on sustainable development.

- Efforts to make greater use of public procurement to consider social and environmental requirements.

- A goal to have a fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030 and, in the long term, to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

The government now intends to appoint a National Committee to boost the Swedish implementation of Agenda 2030. The committee will be a vehicle for partnerships with the many stakeholders needed for this work: municipalities, civil society, the private sector, academia etc.

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has also taken the initiative to form a high-level political group to bolster momentum for the implementation of the agenda worldwide

Today we are here to celebrate the 50th birthday of UNDP, and our presence is in itself a tribute to the UNDP and its ability to remain relevant. We need you. The world has come a long way since 1966 but challenges are great and complex and we must further improve our ability to work in partnership towards a sustainable future.

Thank you!