Panel: High-Level Panel – Nordic Collaboration through UN Procurement
Let me start by thanking the organisers for bringing us together today.
The focus on international co-operation and public private partnerships has perhaps never been as relevant as today. Today’s global crisis demands a global response. I welcome this opportunity to explore how companies and solutions from the Nordic countries can take part in building a better and greener future and a safer world.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis - but it has far-reaching and long-term social and economic consequences. This crisis has shown that our societies, economies, and the whole multilateral system need to be more resilient. Making sure the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate action are implemented must be front and centre in charting the way ahead.
We need closer cooperation and stronger commitments. The international community is gradually stepping up to the plate and addressing the broader implications of this crisis. We must make full use of the tools available, not least the United Nations and its specialised agencies and programs, including procurement.
The Nordics have been among the strongest supporters of the United Nations since 1945, often punching above our weight politically and financially. This is also true for our response to the current crisis. Like the other Nordic countries, Iceland acted quickly and provided support for all major UN funds and initiatives to meet the immediate and the long-term implications of COVID-19.
We need to build back better and greener. The global response and recovery must include: climate action, human rights, gender equality and universal health care. These priorities cannot be pushed aside. They should be an integral part of every recovery plan, ensuring that individuals and nations can prosper and reach their full potential.
The Nordics have much to offer when it comes to sustainable and innovative solutions, and we can do this together with the UN. We have a broad and long-standing commitment to sustainable development and Agenda 2030, within the public and the private sector. The principles of sustainable development are central to the Nordic approach to business and innovation. We have many good examples of this, including in the fisheries industry in Iceland.
Our know-how and experience can deliver already available goods and services or be further developed in collaboration with UN agencies. We have expertise in various fields such as: green solutions, sustainable energy technology, energy management and energy saving solutions, maritime technologies, aviation, logistics, pharma, med and health tech and other digital technology. Nordic companies tend to have a global outlook and standards - but they are also flexible and resilient, making them the right partners for the UN.
There might also be opportunities, not least for small and medium-sized companies, to work together in strengthening the Nordic profile in the UN procurement system. Icelandic companies have participated in many UN operations in logistics, aviation, cargo, prosthetics etc. and could be an even larger part of UN procurement globally. Companies such as Icelandair offer decades of experience, working in challenging situations, bringing humanitarian aid and other resources to global markets often in time of need.
Making sure Nordic companies know about the opportunities in the UN system is key to boosting the number of Nordic companies working with the UN. This procurement seminar is an important contribution to that. We see a huge potential for Icelandic and Nordic products and services within the UN procurement system and I am confident that both the UN and Nordic companies will benefit greatly from closer collaboration.
Ávarp í umræðum utanríkisráðherra Norðurlanda á rafrænu útboðsþingi Sameinuðu þjóðanna