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11. nóvember 2021Blá ör til hægri39. lota jafningjarýnis mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna<p>Ísland tekur virkan þátt í jafningjarýni mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna. Jafningjarýnin er mikilvægur liður í starfi ráðsins og eru öll ríki heims rýnd á tæplega fimm ára fresti. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>39. lota jafningjarýninnar fór fram 1. til 12. nóvember sl. Að þessu sinni voru 13 ríki tekin fyrir: Grikkland, Súrínam, Samóa, Ungverjaland, Sankti Vinsent og Grenadínur, Papúa Nýja Gínea, Tadsíkistan, Tansanía, Esvatíní, Antígva og Barbúda, Trínidad og Tóbagó, Taíland og Írland. Ísland var með tilmæli til allra og lagði áherslu á jafnréttismál, réttindi hinsegin fólks og afnám dauðarefsingar.</p> <ul> <li><a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/UPR39%20-%20Final%20statements%20Iceland.pdf">Tilmæli Íslands í 39. lotu j<span>afningjarýni mannréttindaráðsins</span></a></li> </ul>
06. október 2021Blá ör til hægriUnited Nations General Assembly 76th Session - Second Committee General Debate<p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><span>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>General Assembly 76<strong><sup>th</sup></strong>&nbsp;session, 6 October 2021</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Second Committee – General debate</p> <p>Madam Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Allow me to congratulate you on your election and sincerely thank Ambassador Rai and the outgoing Bureau for their excellent work. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We look forward to working with you, Ambassador Frazier, and your all-female bureau on delivering a successful session of this important Committee.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Secretary General has sounded the alarm. We need to recommit to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals – faster, and at scale. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the immediate term, we need to contain the spread of the pandemic and address its socioeconomic impact. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On both fronts, inequality is pervasive. Reaching vaccine equity is far from reality: 3% of people in low-income countries have received one vaccine dose, compared to over 60% in high-income ones. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Same can be said about addressing the pandemic´s socioeconomic impacts: high-income and macroeconomically resilient countries have invested nearly 28% of their GDP into economic recovery, while less than 2% of least developed countries have been able to do so. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unless action is collectively taken now, the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and different abilities of countries to address its socioeconomic impact are bound to deepen inequalities and halt the recovery. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is committed to play its part. We have contributed financially to the COVAX initiative and have also started the sharing of vaccines. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable, especially women and children. Intensified care responsibilities have negatively affected on women’s ability to earn a living and the number of children living in multidimensional poverty has soared. Of high concern is the fact that over 4 billion people are not protected by any social protection measures, leaving the global community more vulnerable and less resilient to future crises. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To build back better, we need to address these challenges and keep gender equality at the center of our approach. This means following through on the commitments made at the Generation Equality Forum and investing in gender-responsive social protection. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the recent IPCC report so clearly demonstrates, the climate crisis is putting the SDGs further out of reach. My government fully acknowledges its role in doing better, as reflected in our commitment to go beyond what we agreed to in the Paris Agreement. Our aim is to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 and, since 2018, we have also more than doubled our contribution to international climate finance. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Globally, energy production and use account for about 75% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 760 million people still lack access to electricity. Iceland was proud to take on a role as a Global Champion for Just and Inclusive Energy Transition, in the lead-up to the important High-Level Dialogue on Energy. Our commitment to this agenda was clearly reflected in our own Energy Compact, as well as other Compacts we joined, including the Gender and Energy Compact. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With as many as 811 million people facing hunger last year, nearly a third of all produced food being lost or wasted each year, and food systems accounting for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, the recently concluded Food Systems Summit could not have been timelier. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the lead-up to the summit, Iceland emphasized two key themes:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, we advocated for the implementation of comprehensive school feeding programs to improve the diets and development of millions of children around the world, strengthen livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks. The recently formed School Meals Coalition will play an important role in driving this agenda. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Secondly, we promoted the work of the Blue Food Alliance and the need for enhanced focus on the role of blue and aquatic food in sustainable development. Sustainable use of marine resources remains one of the backbones of the Icelandic economy and a clear focus in our foreign policy and development cooperation. Within the alliance, Iceland will continue to promote the importance of countering illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing as eliminating IUU fishing is pro-poor, pro-nutrition, and pro-nature. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tying together many of the issues I have mentioned - climate, food systems, inequality, and gender - is the issue of land. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland proudly chairs the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) along with Namibia. Restoring degraded land, in accordance with SDG target 15.3, enhances economic resilience and accelerates progress on many other SDGs – including on poverty eradication, food security, biodiversity, climate change and empowering women and girls. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Madam Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To ensure that the second committee is fit for purpose, we must continue the revitalization process. In this context, we again encourage delegations to focus efforts on resolutions that have the most impact on 2030 Agenda implementation and the corresponding Addis Ababa Action Agenda.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.&nbsp; </p>
06. október 2021Blá ör til hægriUnited Nations General Assembly 76th session - First Committee General Debate<p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement at the General Debate of the First Committee </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">General Assembly 76th session, 6 October 2021</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland aligns itself with the statement delivered earlier by Denmark on behalf of the Nordic Countries but let me highlight few key issues from a national perspective.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is an urgent need to reinvigorate and recommit to the global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda to counter the growing tensions, distrust, and lack of compliance that is becoming all too prevalent</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This urgency is particularly relevant in the&nbsp;nuclear domain where we need to safeguard and strengthen the agreements that have kept us away from the wasteful arms race of the past.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The NPT&nbsp;continues to play a crucial role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons while at the same time safeguarding the benefits of nuclear technology for civilian use. We are committed to doing our bit in working towards a successful outcome of the Review Conference next year and the full implementation of the treaty, not least Article six. Iceland fully supports the various supporting initiatives, in particular the Stockholm initiative.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are some encouraging signs that we should not forget, including the extension of the&nbsp;New Start Treaty,&nbsp;between the United States and Russia earlier this year. We look forward to a positive outcome from their ongoing dialogue on strategic stability. Furthermore, we encourage China to engage with Russia and the United States on nuclear arms control and disarmament.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty&nbsp;has, for the last 25 years, served us well and enjoys broad support by the UN members. All states, not already members, should sign and ratify the treaty, particularly those states belonging to Annex II of the CTBT.&nbsp;&nbsp;Furthermore, Iceland reaffirms its strong support for commencing negotiations on a&nbsp;Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are rays of hope but also persistent dark clouds on the horizon, not least the continued threat that&nbsp;the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea&nbsp;poses to global security with its illegal nuclear program in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The DPRK must revert to responsible actions and join the CTBT and return to the NPT. We encourage redoubled diplomatic efforts to seek solutions to this rogue behaviour by the DPRK.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Upholding&nbsp;the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action&nbsp;is paramount in sustaining global non-proliferation. We urge Iran&nbsp;to comply with the agreement and fulfil their commitments in full cooperation with the IAEA - and return to the negotiations in Vienna without further delay.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The use of chemical weapons is utterly unacceptable by anyone anywhere. All such incidents should be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators of such heinous crimes held accountable.&nbsp;Iceland strongly supports the role of the&nbsp;OPCW&nbsp;and its ongoing investigative efforts, which are guided by strong integrity, impartiality, and outstanding expertise.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The importance of preserving, universalising, and developing treaties and initiatives in the sphere of conventional weapons has direct implication for many of today's conflicts.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons&nbsp;continues to undermine peace, development, and human rights. We call on all UN member states to join the Arms Trade Treaty. The effective implementation of the&nbsp;Treaty&nbsp;and&nbsp;the Programme of Action&nbsp;on small arms is key to reversing this negative trend. Another positive step in furthering disarmament is the promising effort to address&nbsp;explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA),&nbsp;an undertaking which Iceland firmly supports.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Access to open, free, secure, and&nbsp;safe cyberspace&nbsp;is vital. But it also makes us more vulnerable to irresponsible behaviour, disinformation, surveillance, and attacks by state and non-state actors. We need to build on existing international legal frameworks and norms and bring together different UN workstreams into a&nbsp;single&nbsp;Programme of Action for advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although often overlooked,&nbsp;outer space activities&nbsp;and assets are of growing importance for our societies and sustainable development overall. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that increasing outer space activities continue to be peaceful and benefit all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another new challenge in disarmament that needs to be coherently addressed, drawing on existing international law, norms, and conventions, is&nbsp;lethal autonomous weapons. Iceland supports the work of the&nbsp;Group of Governmental Experts&nbsp;and the&nbsp;11 guiding principles&nbsp;and highlights the importance of ensuring full compliance with International Humanitarian Law.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Disarmament is key to preventing conflict, building peace, and fostering stability. It certainly takes time, resources, and effort, but it will always be a better investment than the alternative. Finally, we need to firmly commit to promoting the active and meaningful participation of women in arms control and disarmament, in accordance with UNSCR 1325.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me end by wishing us all a productive and constructive session.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
04. október 2021Blá ör til hægriUnited Nations General Assembly 76th Session - Third Committee General Debate <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong>Third Committee, General Debate</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Delivered 4 October 2021</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you, Mr./Mrs. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, let me congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Mrs. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are currently fighting a global pandemic that continues to have serious effect for the promotion and protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The consequences of the pandemic have prevented children from getting their education, people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, and our health systems have faced tremendous pressure, with severe effects on access to vital health services. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Amidst restrictions and community lockdowns, reported cases of gender-based violence, violence against children and hateful acts against minority and marginalized groups have been on the rise. Both online and offline. During such crisis, women, children, LGBTI individuals, and other vulnerable groups, are among the hardest hit. The social and economic consequences of the ongoing pandemic should make us re-double our efforts in our response to these challenges. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Mrs. Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There has been a serious decline in respect for those defending our rights worldwide, be they human rights defenders, journalists, environmentalists, feminists, defenders of LGBTI and others, who risk their lives and liberties calling out injustices, stand up for democracy and equality, and speak out against discrimination and intolerance. These heroes deserve our attention. All states must respect the principles of rule of law and defend their citizens’ freedoms and rights without discrimination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Mrs. Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It remains Iceland’s priority to promote children’s rights, to ensure their protection from any kind of violence, abuse or exploitation, but to also have the right services and response in place when children are believed to be victims of violence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A good example is the <em>Barnahús</em> – or Children’s House – model that has been developed in Iceland over the last three decades and has been introduced in around twenty countries. This&nbsp;child-friendly and multi-agency response framework to child abuse has a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to investigate cases - and provides appropriate therapeutic services for child victims.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. /Mrs. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is committed to defend the fundamental human rights of women. Iceland’s own experience shows the value of inclusiveness and equality for sustainable development and the importance of improving gender equality for economic and social progress. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A key issue to ensure gender equality is to secure women’s full sexual and reproductive health and rights. In that regard, in 2019, Iceland passed a progressive legislation ensuring women self-determination over their bodies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are proud of our initiative on Equal Pay Day and our leadership role within the Action Coalition on GBV.&nbsp; We are, indeed, proud of our achievements, but equally aware of the remaining challenges.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Globally, we have seen gains towards gender equality but there are still many battles left to win. Whether it is the fight for gender parity and equal pay, or the fight to end all forms of gender-based and sexual violence, men and boys must join forces with women and girls to advance gender equality. We – men – must be agents of change, not patrons of patriarchy; be it at home, in the workplace, online or here at the United Nations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Mrs. Chair</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In too many countries, people are still persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Punishing people for their feelings, self-defined identity or consensual relations is no less hateful than penalizing religious believes, race or ethnic background. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We should take pride in our diversity. In this regard, the Icelandic Parliament has recently passed three bills to improve the legal framework for transgender and intersex people. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Challenges remain, but social and legal changes not only free LGBTI people from stigma but also unleash their potential for society as a whole. This is why believing everyone should enjoy their fundamental freedoms and dignity is not just a principled agenda. It is also a practical one. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Inclusion of everyone, irrespective of believes, race, gender or sexual orientation means more hands and minds pushing for social and economic progress for all. It means a more prosperous, democratic world. If we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and truly “Leave No One Behind”, we must guarantee non-discrimination and equality for all. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you. </p>
27. september 2021Blá ör til hægriRæða utanríkis- og þróunarsamvinnuráðherra á 76. allsherjarþingi Sameinuðu þjóðanna<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>76 United Nations General Assembly<br /> </strong><strong>Speech by<br /> </strong><strong>H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson<br /> </strong><strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development of Iceland</strong></p> <p>Mr. President, excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,</p> <p>As we gather to discuss the state of global affairs, today’s challenges may seem overwhelming and almost impossible to overcome.</p> <p>However, as an optimist and a strong believer in multilateral cooperation, I have for the past five years stressed in my message to the General Assembly the importance of seeing the world of opportunity, the potential of our cooperation. My message today is no different: we cannot let global challenges divide us. On the contrary, we must for all sake unite.</p> <p>We have our work cut out for us. Around the world, calls for human rights, peace, and stability are too often ignored. And the threat of climate change is no longer a distant phenomenon: it is here, and it is intensifying.</p> <p>But only together, can we respond and recover. To build a more just and peaceful planet for all of us, we need all nations united, our United Nations.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>While in most developed countries we are turning a corner in our fight against the COVID-19, same cannot be said about all of the world. It is critical that we work together to ensure that vaccines reach all countries and peoples – rich and poor – and as soon as possible. Not only is this a fundamental matter of global solidarity, but also in the interest of us all.</p> <p>Iceland is firmly committed to play its part. We have already contributed 1 billion Icelandic krona to the COVAX initiative and have started vaccine sharing through the same mechanism.</p> <p>If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we are stronger together than apart. It has also exposed the dangers of isolationism, disinformation, and distrust.</p> <p>These lessons should not go to waste. It is critical that we demonstrate the strength and the honesty needed to learn, both from our successes and our failures, to better prevent, prepare, and respond to future crisis of this magnitude.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>While the consequences of the pandemic have been disastrous for our world, the effects of climate change are bound to be even worse.</p> <p>The science and the signs are clear and sobering, and the plans are already in place<strong>. </strong>We&nbsp;need to respond now&nbsp;and honour our commitments from Paris as we set our eyes on Glasgow.</p> <p>For our part, Iceland’s ambition is to go beyond the Paris commitments.</p> <p>This includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030, complete carbon neutrality by 2040 and becoming fossil-fuel free by 2050.</p> <p>All of Iceland’s electricity and close to 85% of Iceland’s total energy consumption comes from renewables.&nbsp; We aim to close the gap with electrification of transport and green hydrogen and e-fuels for heavy transport and machinery, fishing, shipping and aviation. Our long-term energy policy also focuses on substantially increasing energy efficiency and multiple use of energy resources.</p> <p>Capturing and binding carbon is also an important pillar of our efforts, where we use both tried and tested nature-based solutions and innovative technologies. Iceland is home to the world’s largest plant that extracts carbon dioxide directly from the air and turns it into rock through the so-called Carbfix method. This technology has been developed out of the geothermal energy industry and will be applicable in many corners of the world to capture and store CO2 as solid-state rock.</p> <p>Focusing on our own homework, however, is not enough. High-income countries must support lower income ones to advance their climate ambitions too. I am pleased to share that Iceland’s contribution to international climate finance has more than doubled from 2018.&nbsp;</p> <p>But Iceland’s main contribution in the fight against climate change will continue to be our knowledge and experience in the use of green energy solutions. This is a global crisis, and we must rely on each other’s expertise and knowledge.</p> <p>Iceland is ready to play its part. As a Global Champion for Just and Inclusive Energy Transition, Iceland actively promotes the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all. Iceland has for decades contributed to this global agenda, through research, training, sharing of experience, and cooperation. As a Global Champion, we are now scaling up our efforts even further.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>The health of the World Oceans - our Blue Planet - is increasingly under pressure. Climate change, mismanagement, and pollution are leading to food insecurities, an alarming fall in biodiversity, and depletion of natural resources.&nbsp;</p> <p>We must take concrete steps to make regional and international cooperation on Ocean Affairs stronger. And we must base our actions on the best scientific advice and the Law of the Sea – the very constitution of the Ocean.</p> <p>Much can be learned from successful regional cooperation. The Arctic Council is a great example, which brings together governments, indigenous peoples, science, and various stakeholders to share knowledge and shape policy and action.</p> <p>During Iceland’s recent chairmanship of the Council, a special emphasis was placed on protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, resulting in a regional action plan to address marine litter in the Arctic. A small but important step in the right direction. Iceland is also among the group of countries pushing for a global agreement to fight marine plastic pollution.</p> <p>Nature is firmly on our agenda in the coming months, including at the COP meetings on climate change, biodiversity, and desertification, as well as the UN Ocean Conference. Ecosystem restoration, both on land and in the oceans, is yet another pressing global issue that must be tackled in unison by the international community. We need to connect the dots and focus on stronger commitments and more robust implementation.</p> <p>This is the Decade of Action. The time to act is now.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>In recovering from the pandemic, we cannot revert to business as usual. We need to do better, and build a greener, bluer, and more equitable and sustainable future. The groundwork has already been laid with the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals are our global compass, and the Decade of Action reminds us of the urgency at hand.</p> <p>Iceland is committed to promote SDG implementation at home and abroad. The Global Goals guide our growing official development assistance, under the overarching objective of poverty reduction and a strong focus on human rights, including gender equality, rights of children and LGBTI.</p> <p>Recognising the essential role of broad ownership and involvement for development success, Iceland is also supporting private sector partners and civil society in their development and humanitarian work, making full use of their strength and know-how. Without the participation and inclusion of the private sector we will not achieve our goals.</p> <p>Iceland’s own experience speaks volumes about the value of inclusiveness and equality for sustainable development, particularly the importance of working for gender equality for economic and social progress.</p> <p>Advances have been made globally, but there is still a long way to go. Gender parity is too far off, gender-based violence is rampant, and millions of girls are married off as child brides. Men and boys must join forces with women and girls to advance gender equality globally, from the locker rooms to the halls of power.</p> <p>Overall, human rights and liberal democracy - enabling people to share thoughts and ideas freely - are essential drivers for sustainable development, along with free trade and open markets. Including everyone, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, or race, means more hands and minds pushing for social and economic progress for all.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Building back better requires greater respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and gender equality - the critical cornerstones for a better and more just future.&nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed, investing in development, peace, and human rights will, at the end of the day, always be less expensive than having to address the dire consequences of poverty, war, and injustice.</p> <p>Regrettably, today’s conflicts, humanitarian and political crises are too often rooted in lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.</p> <p>This year, we have witnessed a ruthless military coup in Myanmar, where democracy and civil rights have been done away with altogether. The situation in Afghanistan is highly troubling, with reports of attacks, serious violations of international humanitarian law, and human rights abuses, including push back against women’s rights. The Taliban and other parties must respect international law, seek an inclusive political settlement, and ensure humanitarian access and safe passage for all, or else be held accountable.</p> <p>In too many places, we have seen a serious decline of respect for civil and political rights. We need to stand by those who risk their lives and liberties every day for calling out these injustices and engaging in an open, democratic debate. We have a collective duty to promote and protect the human rights and freedom of all.</p> <p>The role of the Human Rights Council has never been as important as now. We need to engage in an open dialogue on how to correct the course and head towards greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, everywhere and always. The run-up to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights in 2023 should be used to reinvigorate our collective commitments to human rights.</p> <p>Iceland is firmly committed to continue actively promoting and defending human rights. We have therefore decided to run for a seat on the Human Rights Council for the term 2025-2027.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>The complexity of modern conflicts and crises continues to grow with the marriage of emerging factors, such as climate change, cyber threats and disinformation, and the old foes of authoritarianism and tyranny.</p> <p>While encouraging steps have been taken to preserve and build peace, including in Iraq and Libya, the overall trend is nothing short of disappointing.</p> <p>This year’s surge of violence in Palestine and Israel underlined the importance of finding ways to reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process. Its current stagnation will only serve to deepen existing disagreements and feed senseless extremism.</p> <p>Finding political solutions to the situations in Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and now Afghanistan is also essential, as military might alone can never deliver peace and stability. </p> <p>The same holds true for Russia’s persistent and unlawful violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, which continues to undermine regional stability.</p> <p>The UN’s role in pursuing diplomacy and providing humanitarian and development assistance is indispensable. We are all responsible for creating and safeguarding the space for diplomacy and humanitarian work.</p> <p>Still, the Security Council carries special responsibilities on behalf of the wider UN membership. The Council needs to act with greater foresight based on a broader view of security, and we welcome its recent deliberations on cyber security, climate security and the pandemic. At the same time, it is about time that we instil new life in the Security Council reform discussions, which need to become more substantive, and results focused.</p> <p>Prevention needs to be our highest priority, given human cost and long-term implications of conflict, instability, and tensions. Safeguarding the key agreements that brought us out of the wasteful arms race of the Cold War, not least the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is particularly important.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>There is no international platform that compares to the United Nations. No other body can bring together different nationalities, religions, and political views - literally under one roof.</p> <p>It symbolises humanity’s greatest aspirations and represents a beacon of hope, not least for those stricken by conflict, poverty, inequality, and discrimination.</p> <p>The UN Charter and international law need to continue to be our lodestars. Without them, we will be lost and swayed by those seeking narrow national interests and zero-sum games.</p> <p>But, to stay relevant, it is critical that the UN evolves with the times.</p> <p>We need more transparency and openness within the UN system and among Member States.</p> <p>And, perhaps most importantly, we need to bring the UN closer to the people of the world.</p> <p>The UN75 Declaration provides us with a strong vision and framework for the future. I also welcome the Secretary-Generals report on Our Common Agenda on present and future challenges,</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Today’s challenges may seem overwhelming, seen from the perspective of individual nations acting alone.</p> <p>Still, united in hope and will, and by delivering on our commitments, we can meet these challenges and deliver on the promises set out in the UN Charter to safeguard peace, human rights, and development.</p> <p>Our future depends on it.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><em>Ræðan var flutt af myndbandi í umræðum á 76. allsherjarþingi Sameinuðu þjóðanna 27. september 2021</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
27. september 2021Blá ör til hægriUnited Nations General Assembly 76th Session - High Level Week General Debate <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>76 United Nations General Assembly</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Speech by</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of the Republic of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As we gather to discuss the state of global affairs, today’s challenges may seem overwhelming and almost impossible to overcome. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, as an optimist and a strong believer in multilateral cooperation, I have for the past five years stressed in my message to the General Assembly the importance of seeing the world of opportunity, the potential of our cooperation. My message today is no different: we cannot let global challenges divide us. On the contrary, we must for all sake unite. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have our work cut out for us. Around the world, calls for human rights, peace, and stability are too often ignored. And the threat of climate change is no longer a distant phenomenon: it is here, and it is intensifying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But only together, can we respond and recover. To build a more just and peaceful planet for all of us, we need all nations united, our United Nations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While in most developed countries we are turning a corner in our fight against the COVID-19, same cannot be said about all of the world. It is critical that we work together to ensure that vaccines reach all countries and peoples – rich and poor – and as soon as possible. Not only is this a fundamental matter of global solidarity, but also in the interest of us all. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is firmly committed to play its part. We have already contributed 1 billion Icelandic krona to the COVAX initiative and have started vaccine sharing through the same mechanism. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we are stronger together than apart. It has also exposed the dangers of isolationism, disinformation, and distrust. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These lessons should not go to waste. It is critical that we demonstrate the strength and the honesty needed to learn, both from our successes and our failures, to better prevent, prepare, and respond to future crisis of this magnitude.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the consequences of the pandemic have been disastrous for our world, the effects of climate change are bound to be even worse. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The science and the signs are clear and sobering, and the plans are already in place<strong>. </strong>We&nbsp;need to respond now&nbsp;and honour our commitments from Paris as we set our eyes on Glasgow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For our part, Iceland’s ambition is to go beyond the Paris commitments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030, complete carbon neutrality by 2040 and becoming fossil-fuel free by 2050. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All of Iceland’s electricity and close to 85% of Iceland’s total energy consumption comes from renewables.&nbsp; We aim to close the gap with electrification of transport and green hydrogen and e-fuels for heavy transport and machinery, fishing, shipping and aviation. Our long-term energy policy also focuses on substantially increasing energy efficiency and multiple use of energy resources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Capturing and binding carbon is also an important pillar of our efforts, where we use both tried and tested nature-based solutions and innovative technologies. Iceland is home to the world’s largest plant that extracts carbon dioxide directly from the air and turns it into rock through the so-called Carbfix method. This technology has been developed out of the geothermal energy industry and will be applicable in many corners of the world to capture and store CO2 as solid-state rock.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Focusing on our own homework, however, is not enough. High-income countries must support lower income ones to advance their climate ambitions too. I am pleased to share that Iceland’s contribution to international climate finance has more than doubled from 2018.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Iceland’s main contribution in the fight against climate change will continue to be our knowledge and experience in the use of green energy solutions. This is a global crisis, and we must rely on each other’s expertise and knowledge. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is ready to play its part. As a Global Champion for Just and Inclusive Energy Transition, Iceland actively promotes the goal of achieving sustainable energy for all. Iceland has for decades contributed to this global agenda, through research, training, sharing of experience, and cooperation. As a Global Champion, we are now scaling up our efforts even further. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The health of the World Oceans - our Blue Planet - is increasingly under pressure. Climate change, mismanagement, and pollution are leading to food insecurities, an alarming fall in biodiversity, and depletion of natural resources.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We must take concrete steps to make regional and international cooperation on Ocean Affairs stronger. And we must base our actions on the best scientific advice and the Law of the Sea – the very constitution of the Ocean. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Much can be learned from successful regional cooperation. The Arctic Council is a great example, which brings together governments, indigenous peoples, science, and various stakeholders to share knowledge and shape policy and action. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During Iceland’s recent chairmanship of the Council, a special emphasis was placed on protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, resulting in a regional action plan to address marine litter in the Arctic. A small but important step in the right direction. Iceland is also among the group of countries pushing for a global agreement to fight marine plastic pollution. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nature is firmly on our agenda in the coming months, including at the COP meetings on climate change, biodiversity, and desertification, as well as the UN Ocean Conference. Ecosystem restoration, both on land and in the oceans, is yet another pressing global issue that must be tackled in unison by the international community. We need to connect the dots and focus on stronger commitments and more robust implementation. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the Decade of Action. The time to act is now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In recovering from the pandemic, we cannot revert to business as usual. We need to do better, and build a greener, bluer, and more equitable and sustainable future. The groundwork has already been laid with the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals are our global compass, and the Decade of Action reminds us of the urgency at hand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is committed to promote SDG implementation at home and abroad. The Global Goals guide our growing official development assistance, under the overarching objective of poverty reduction and a strong focus on human rights, including gender equality, rights of children and LGBTI. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recognizing the essential role of broad ownership and involvement for development success, Iceland is also supporting private sector partners and civil society in their development and humanitarian work, making full use of their strength and know-how. Without the participation and inclusion of the private sector we will not achieve our goals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland’s own experience speaks volumes about the value of inclusiveness and equality for sustainable development, particularly the importance of working for gender equality for economic and social progress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Advances have been made globally, but there is still a long way to go. Gender parity is too far off, gender-based violence is rampant, and millions of girls are married off as child brides. Men and boys must join forces with women and girls to advance gender equality globally, from the locker rooms to the halls of power. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, human rights and liberal democracy - enabling people to share thoughts and ideas freely - are essential drivers for sustainable development, along with free trade and open markets. Including everyone, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, or race, means more hands and minds pushing for social and economic progress for all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Building back better requires greater respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and gender equality - the critical cornerstones for a better and more just future.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed, investing in development, peace, and human rights will, at the end of the day, always be less expensive than having to address the dire consequences of poverty, war, and injustice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Regrettably, today’s conflicts, humanitarian and political crises are too often rooted in lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year, we have witnessed a ruthless military coup in Myanmar, where democracy and civil rights have been done away with altogether. The situation in Afghanistan is highly troubling, with reports of attacks, serious violations of international humanitarian law, and human rights abuses, including push back against women’s rights. The Taliban and other parties must respect international law, seek an inclusive political settlement, and ensure humanitarian access and safe passage for all, or else be held accountable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In too many places, we have seen a serious decline of respect for civil and political rights. We need to stand by those who risk their lives and liberties every day for calling out these injustices and engaging in an open, democratic debate. We have a collective duty to promote and protect the human rights and freedom of all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The role of the Human Rights Council has never been as important as now. We need to engage in an open dialogue on how to correct the course and head towards greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, everywhere and always. The run-up to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights in 2023 should be used to reinvigorate our collective commitments to human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is firmly committed to continue actively promoting and defending human rights. We have therefore decided to run for a seat on the Human Rights Council for the term 2025-2027. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The complexity of modern conflicts and crises continues to grow with the marriage of emerging factors, such as climate change, cyber threats and disinformation, and the old foes of authoritarianism and tyranny. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While encouraging steps have been taken to preserve and build peace, including in Iraq and Libya, the overall trend is nothing short of disappointing. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year’s surge of violence in Palestine and Israel underlined the importance of finding ways to reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process. Its current stagnation will only serve to deepen existing disagreements and feed senseless extremism. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finding political solutions to the situations in Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and now Afghanistan is also essential, as military might alone can never deliver peace and stability. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The same holds true for Russia’s persistent and unlawful violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, which continues to undermine regional stability. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The UN’s role in pursuing diplomacy and providing humanitarian and development assistance is indispensable. We are all responsible for creating and safeguarding the space for diplomacy and humanitarian work. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, the Security Council carries special responsibilities on behalf of the wider UN membership. The Council needs to act with greater foresight based on a broader view of security, and we welcome its recent deliberations on cyber security, climate security and the pandemic. At the same time, it is about time that we instil new life in the Security Council reform discussions, which need to become more substantive, and results focused.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prevention needs to be our highest priority, given human cost and long-term implications of conflict, instability, and tensions. Safeguarding the key agreements that brought us out of the wasteful arms race of the Cold War, not least the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is particularly important.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no international platform that compares to the United Nations. No other body can bring together different nationalities, religions, and political views - literally under one roof. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It symbolizes humanity’s greatest aspirations and represents a beacon of hope, not least for those stricken by conflict, poverty, inequality, and discrimination. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The UN Charter and international law need to continue to be our lodestars. Without them, we will be lost and swayed by those seeking narrow national interests and zero-sum games.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, to stay relevant, it is critical that the UN evolves with the times. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We need more transparency and openness within the UN system and among Member States. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And, perhaps most importantly, we need to bring the UN closer to the people of the world. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The UN75 Declaration provides us with a strong vision and framework for the future. I also welcome the Secretary-Generals report on Our Common Agenda on present and future challenges, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Today’s challenges may seem overwhelming, seen from the perspective of individual nations acting alone. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, united in hope and will, and by delivering on our commitments, we can meet these challenges and deliver on the promises set out in the UN Charter to safeguard peace, human rights, and development. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our future depends on it. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
24. september 2021Blá ör til hægriUnited Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy<p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy </em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Speech by </em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>H.E. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of Iceland</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Secretary General, excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As a Global Champion of this High-level Dialogue, I am incredibly honoured to participate in today´s event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We all recognize that bold action is needed to driving progress on SDG7 and ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is simply unacceptable that close to 760 million people still lack access to electricity and that a third of the world relies on harmful, polluting fuels for cooking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our decision to take on a role as a Global Champion was therefore not a difficult one. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Iceland we also know from our own experience how access to sustainable energy can transform societies and economies. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed, it cannot be overstated that progress on SDG7 is key to drive achievement of all the other SDGs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have therefore taken our role as Global Champion seriously, both in our advocacy efforts and in our own Energy Compact. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And today, based on Iceland´s clear vision of a sustainably energy future, I am pleased to share with you some of the highlights of our national energy compact. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Domestically, Iceland aims to:<span style="text-decoration: underline;"> </span></p> <ul> <li>Become independent from use of fossil fuels at the latest by 2050 and carbon neutral by 2040. Renewable energy in transport will be at least 40% by 2030. <p>&nbsp;</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take measures to improve energy efficiency and minimize energy waste.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Meet all energy needs of the country in a secure manner for the near and distant future.</li> </ul> <p> <br /> <br /> Internationally, Iceland aims to:<br /> <br /> </p> <ul> <li>Increase climate-related financing, focusing on the transition to sustainable energy. <p>&nbsp;</p> </li> <li>Support countries in increasing the share of renewable energy and in transitioning to the circular economy through direct multiple use of energy, including for food production. <p>&nbsp;</p> </li> <li>Help advance gender equality in the just transition to sustainable energy, including through technical training. </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland also proudly joins the Gender Equality Energy Compact, as well as the 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, and we also hope to see a Geothermal Energy Compact.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Secretary General,</p> <p>The world is at a critical juncture.</p> <p>We should look at today´s High-Level Dialogue on Energy as the beginning of a new chapter – a chapter which will be remembered as the start of renewed global efforts to drive the sustainable energy agenda.</p> <p>Let me assure you, that Iceland will play its part.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
24. september 2021Blá ör til hægriSterk rödd meðal þjóða<p><strong><em>Sterk rödd meðal þjóða</em></strong></p> <p>Það líður varla sá dagur að Sameinuðu þjóðirnar rati ekki í fréttir og þá oftast í tengslum við stærstu áskoranir samtímans: heimsfaraldurinn, hraðfara loftslagsbreytingar og hryllileg átök og örbirgð. Samstarf sem spratt upp úr hörmungum tveggja styrjalda og hefur síðastliðin 76 ár verið mikilvægasti vettvangur starfs í þágu friðar, mannréttinda og framþróunar. Allar þjóðir, stórar sem smáar, hafa notið góðs af samstarfinu sem snertir nær allar hliðar tilverunnar: réttindi og skyldur ríkja, mannréttindi, umhverfisvernd, afvopnun, orkumál og stjórnarfar svo fátt eitt sé nefnt. Nú eru bráðum liðin 75 ár frá því að Ísland gerðist aðildarríki, 19. nóvember 1946. Starf Sameinuðu þjóðanna hefur sennilega aldrei verið eins brýnt og einmitt núna, enda viðfangsefnin ærin.</p> <p>Ísland hefur frá upphafi verið öflugur málsvari alþjóðalaga, sjálfbærrar nýtingar auðlinda en síðast en ekki síst mannréttinda og jafnréttis. Ég hef sem utanríkis- og þróunarsamvinnuráðherra aukið þátttöku í starfi Sameinuðu þjóðanna. Þróttmikil framganga Íslands í mannréttindaráðinu undirstrikar þá staðreynd. Við höfum á síðustu árum eflt samstarf við lykilstofnanir og sjóði Sameinuðu þjóðanna sem m.a. vinna að menntun og velferð barna, kynjajafnrétti, mæðravernd og kynfræðslu. Það er breiður stuðningur við þetta mikilvæga starf meðal Íslendinga eins og kannanir hafa ítrekað staðfest og öflugt starf landsfélaga Sameinuðu þjóðanna sýnir.</p> <p>Nú stendur yfir 76. allsherjarþing Sameinuðu þjóðanna og er kastljósinu eðlilega beint að stóru málunum á borð við heimsfaraldurinn, aðgerðir í loftslagsmálum en síðast en ekki síst hvernig við getum aukið traust og dregið úr spennu í alþjóðasamskiptum. Áherslur Íslands eru skýrar. Við munum til dæmis áfram beita okkur fyrir jafnari dreifingu bóluefna og höfum nú þegar lagt til umtalsverða fjármuni í það starf. Sérstaklega þarf að huga að því að uppbygging og þróun í kjölfar faraldursins stuðli að aukinni velsæld og sjálfbærni í anda heimsmarkmiða Sameinuðu þjóðanna.</p> <p>Öll ríki þurfa að draga úr losun gróðurhúsalofttegunda, standa við Parísarsamkomulagið og auka metnað í loftslagsmálum. Á sama tíma þarf að styðja tekjulægri ríki til að þróa lausnir í loftslagsmálum. Þar hef ég lagt sérstaka áherslu á að miðla af sérþekkingu Íslands í orkumálum og samþættingu jafnréttismála m.a. með því að efla þátttöku íslenskra fyrirtækja og félagasamtaka í þróunarsamvinnuverkefnum sem snúa að loftslagsmálum.</p> <p>Það dylst engum að töluverða hræringar hafa verið að eiga sér stað í alþjóðastjórnmálum, sem endurspegla breytta heimsmynd og valdahlutföll. Ísland hefur, ásamt helstu samstarfsríkjum, beitt sér gagnvart þeim sem leitast við að veikja eða endurskilgreina&nbsp; alþjóðalög, mannréttindi eða önnur grundvallarviðmið, sem hafa reynst okkur öllum vel.</p> <p>Virk þátttaka í starfi Sameinuðu þjóðanna er og verður einn af hornsteinum íslenskra utanríkisstefnu og við ættum að nota 75. ára afmælið, 19. nóvember n.k., til ræða hvernig við viljum sjá Ísland leggja sitt af mörkum til að Sameinuðu þjóðirnar geti sinnt sínu mikilvæga hlutverki til framtíðar.</p> <p><em>Greinin birtist í Morgunblaðinu 24. september 2021</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
22. september 2021Blá ör til hægriUN LGBTI Core Group High Level Event - Leaving No One Behind: Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity<p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">UN LGBTI Core Group High Level Event&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">"Leaving No One Behind: Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity"</p> <p style="text-align: center;">address given by Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me first say how happy I am to be able to address this side-event today, organized by the UN LGBTI Core Group. Iceland is a proud member of the Group and is fully committed to its values, mission and vision. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Government of Iceland remains strongly committed to promote the human rights and non-discrimination of LGBTI individuals. At home, we continue to make conscious improvements, as can be seen by recent legislative reforms on gender autonomy and equal treatment in the labour market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Abroad, human rights remain a cornerstone of Iceland’s foreign policy and international development cooperation. To build the peaceful, just and&nbsp;inclusive societies envisioned in the 2030 Agenda, we must safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In this decade of action and delivery for the SDGs, we must fight for a universal decriminalization of consensual same sex conduct and the full respect of the rights of LGBTI individuals. This is a topic that has been a key priority for Iceland, also during our term in the Human Rights Council.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fact that around seventy UN Member States have laws on their books that criminalize sexual orientation and gender identity is unacceptable and tragic beyond words. We must devote our full attention – together and through joint efforts – to not only change legislation but also influence the minds of political leaders, government officials and the public. That way we will gradually see a much-needed change in attitudes and opinions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To that end, the UN LGBTI Core Group will continue to play a key role. </p> <p>Thank you for allowing me to be with you today.</p>
14. september 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement at the UN Women Executive Board, Agenda Item 2: Strategic Plan<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Joint Nordic Statement</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Permanent Representative of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Second Regular Session 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>UN Women Executive Board, Agenda Item 2: Strategic Plan</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Vice President, dear colleagues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me start by congratulating Ambassador Turay on his election. We look forward to working with the new President and his team. I also take the opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Sima Sami Bahous on her recent appointment as Executive Director of UN Women. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam acting Executive Director, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you for taking on the role of interim Executive Director of UN Women. You can count on the Nordic countries to work with you and your successor on advancing gender equality globally, fulfilling women’s rights and empowerment, and delivering on the commitments made most recently at the Generation Equality Forum. Your opening remarks set the tone eloquently and we appreciate UN Women’s commitment to stay and deliver, not least in Afghanistan. UN Women’s role and mandate is clearly more important than ever. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Vice President.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome and support the UN Women Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 and thank the UN Women staff for developing the Strategic Plan based on rigorous analysis and lessons learned. The consultation process was transparent and exhaustive. We appreciate UN Women for listening to and integrating member states inputs while bearing in mind that the Strategic Plan is indeed a UN Women owned document. Rest assured that the Nordic countries stand ready to endorse the new Strategic Plan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First and foremost, the Nordic countries welcome the continued application of a human rights-based approach in the Strategic Plan and the enhanced focus on addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. As the Beijing review highlights, women and girls who experience multiple forms of discrimination are being left behind. This includes women and girls who face discrimination based on age, class, disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity or migration status. We need to address the root causes of inequality to ensure we all benefit from advances made in recent years and lift as many women out of multidimensional poverty as possible. This is crucial to reach the goals set out in Agenda 2030. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Vice President.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Achieving impact at scale for gender equality through stronger implementation at the national level is an important step for UN Women. We follow UN Women’s ongoing business transformation with great interest as this is key to deliver measurable and sustainable development results. This includes moving away from short-term, small-scale projects, and rather focusing on gender transformative programs. Achieving this requires working with others, both inside and outside the UN System. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, the entire UN Women ambition of transforming into an increasingly partnership-oriented organization is greatly welcomed. This includes deepening and enhancing partnerships with civil society, not least women’s rights movements and organizations through dedicated and flexible financing, capacity development and meaningful participation. Strong partnerships with men and boys are also crucial, especially when it comes to promoting positive social norms, and we commend UN Women for highlighting this through their systemic outcome approach. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome UN Women’s strategic use of funds to manage the shift associated with the business transformation, and we acknowledge that donors’ flexible, predictable, and sustainable funding to UN Women’s core activities is vital as well as a precondition for the ability to respond to emergent and protracted crises. This has been most recently exemplified through the commendable work of UN Women in rapidly responding to the crisis in Afghanistan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Strategic Plan also clearly articulates UN Women’s triple mandate, and we welcome the commitment to significantly step-up UN Women’s coordination of the UN system. Achieving UN system-wide results for gender equality is vital and a prerequisite to achieve Agenda 2030. The common and complementary indicators presented in the Integrated Results and Resources Framework are important to track progress on this. We look forward to the completion of the results framework, which will provide us with the tools to monitor the results of the Strategic Plan. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In conclusion, the Strategic Plan before us provides a solid framework for the important and life-saving work of UN Women, of which the Nordics are longstanding supporters. If implemented fully, it will undoubtedly bring us closer to peace and sustainable development globally. A Strategic Plan will never please everybody fully, but we need to keep our eye on the ball: There is a growing need for a UN Women with an ambitious agenda, so that we can achieve gender equality, the Sustainable Development Goals, the empowerment of all women and girls and the full enjoyment of human rights for all. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you. </p>
13. september 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á áheitaráðstefnu Sameinuðu þjóðanna vegna Afganistans<p style="text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: left;">Ladies and Gentlemen,</span><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p>The alarming humanitarian situation in Afghanistan deserves the full attention of the international community. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While Afghanistan has for long faced multiple and complex challenges – the events of past weeks have turned these challenges into a full-blown crisis.</p> <p>Iceland is committed to support humanitarian partners on their critical mission in Afghanistan and today I am announcing a new contribution of twenty-five million Icelandic krona to the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund in support of the Flash Appeal and the Humanitarian Response Plan. </p> <p>This is in addition to our August contribution of sixty million Icelandic krona divided equally between UNHCR and the ICRC.&nbsp; </p> <p>Hence in under a month, Iceland has committed eighty-five million Icelandic krona of flexible humanitarian assistance to key operational partners, all of which play a critical role in Afghanistan. </p> <p>As a devoted human rights advocate, allow me to stress the importance of respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, unhindered humanitarian access and the protection of Afghan civilians. We must work together to preserve hard-won gains and safeguard the rights of women and girls.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Afghan people need sustained support from the international community. Turning a blind eye is not an option.</p> <p><em>Ávarpið var flutt á áheitaráðstefnu Sameinuðu þjóðanna vegna Afganistans sem fram fór í Genf 13. september 2021.</em></p>
10. september 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement on SG's Recommendations to Advance the Common Agenda and Respond to Current and Future Challanges<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Joint Nordic Statement: Informal meeting of the plenary&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SG’s Recommendations to Advance the Common Agenda and to Respond to Current and Future Challenges</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>delivered by Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland. </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>New York, 10 September 2021.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Mr. President, Secretary-General,</p> <p>I would like to thank the Secretary-General on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland – for the briefing and report on his recommendations to advance our common agenda, as requested by the General Assembly in the seventy-fifth anniversary declaration of the UN. Thank you for your engagement with Member States and other stakeholders on the 12 themes of the declaration. We need to respond to current and future challenges. We welcome the report.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries are steadfast supporters of a strong and inclusive multilateral system, which is anchored within the United Nations. Recognizing and addressing the most pressing global challenges is at the core of the institution, and the report recalls those in clearest possible terms. These issues merit deep and serious reflection among member states. Business as usual is not an option. We are committed to discuss and work seriously with the report’s analysis and recommendations – and to work closely with the Secretary-General in ensuring necessary follow-up.</p> <p>Last year our leaders emphasized the gravity of the situation and asked the Secretary-General to provide recommendations. The General Assembly will need to return to the report more formally in the 76th&nbsp;session, benefiting from the reflections of the general debate during the High-Level Week.&nbsp;</p> <p>*****</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing crises and conflicts. Global solidarity, inclusivity, renewal of the social contract, and actions to save our planet are key to addressing many of the root causes of these conflicts.</p> <p>The promotion of human rights and addressing societal and global structural inequality are cornerstones in renewing the social. Without the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in all decision-making processes and at all levels, no meaningful social contract is possible.</p> <p>The Nordic countries support the idea of improving global Digital Cooperation to ensure that the potential of digitalization is used to the fullest. Bridging the digital divides, including the gender divide, should continue to be our common priority.&nbsp;</p> <p>We also strongly agree that the future needs to be more firmly factored into our collective decision-making. Forecasting megatrends is important. Aligning decisions with future needs is essential.</p> <p>*****</p> <p>As for the multilateral system, even the UN itself is being challenged from multiple fronts. It is therefore valuable that the report addresses some of the institutional challenges the UN is facing. There remains a need to shape a more inclusive and networked multilateralism where all actors have a seat at the table.</p> <p>In parallel, we remain deeply committed to the principles of accountability, transparency and efficiency. These qualities build trust in the institution, which, in turn, will allow us to achieve our common goals. The efforts to reform the United Nations under the Secretary-General’s term done so far deserve merit and have our full support going forward.</p> <p>*****</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Global problems require global solutions, and the Secretary-General’s report reminds us that much has already been agreed upon by the global community. We will be a strong force in turning the Secretary-General’s recommendations into further action, and in accelerating the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>
31. ágúst 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement on UNFPA strategic plan 2022-2025<p style="text-align: center;"><span><strong>SECOND REGULAR SESSION 2021 Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS UNFPA Segment, August 31 2021 Item 6, <br /> UNFPA strategic plan 2022-2025 <br /> Statement by the Nordic Countries <br /> Delivered by <br /> Ambassador Miia Rainne, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland,<br /> </strong></span><strong>Chargé d'affaires</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>Madam President, </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and my own country Finland.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> We align ourselves with the Joint Statement, which will be delivered by Mexico. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>I would like to start by thanking UNFPA for developing your new Strategic Plan 2022- 2025 in such a transparent and participatory way. The fact that we have heard development partners and programme countries alike expressing their support for the Strategic Plan is a clear indication of its good quality and balanced approach. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>Madam Executive Director, I also want to acknowledge your strong words on the importance of dialogue and building common ground and I urge the Executive Board and us all to remember that more unites us than divides us.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> ***</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> Madam President, </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>If we ever doubted it, recent developments in the world have made it painfully clear why we need a strong and focused UNFPA. The Strategic Plan before us provides a solid programming framework and building blocks for just that. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>We strongly welcome the plan’s human rights based foundation. UNFPA’s mandate comes with a responsibility to advance human rights granted to all women and girls, in particular their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Nordics therefore also support UNFPA’s intention to strengthen its normative work in all countries where UNFPA is present.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> Further, we share UNFPA’s determination to leave no one behind and reaching those furthest behind first including persons in vulnerable situations. And in that regard; we Check against delivery support the differentiated approach to prioritize support for countries that are lagging the most behind in achieving the three transformative results. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>We highly value UNFPA’s role as a humanitarian actor. Your leadership role in coordinating efforts to combat gender-based violence, including against sexual violence is highly acknowledged. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>Further, we share the belief that UNFPA’s three transformative results cannot be achieved without effective humanitarian interventions. UNFPA is also well positioned to bridge the gap between development and humanitarian interventions. The Nordics, therefore, also see increased investment in UNFPA’s humanitarian response capacity as a right way forward. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>Overall, from our own experience we know the value of investing in gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. It brings social, economic and health benefits to both individuals and countries and is an extremely important factor in the eradication of poverty. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>*** </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>In closing, let us remember the main target groups of the Strategic Plan; women, adolescents and youth. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>I, therefore, call upon all to read the new Strategic Plan through the eyes of a young woman who dreams of a better future. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>A future where she can decide over her own body. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>A future where she will decide if, with whom and when to have a child and give birth in a safe way.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> A future where she can finish her education,</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span> A future where she will decide if, with whom and when to get married </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>In short, a future where she can fulfil her full potential. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>The Nordics believe that the new Strategic Plan will give this young woman hope and UNFPA can count on the support of the Nordic countries in ensuring its successful implementation. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>I thank you for your attention.&nbsp;</span></p>
30. ágúst 2021Blá ör til hægriJóint Nordic Statement: Interactive Dialogue with the UNDP Administrator and New Strategic Plan<p style="text-align: center;"><span><strong>SECOND REGULAR SESSION 2021 Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Item 2: INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH THE UNDP ADMINISTRATOR AND NEW STRATEGIC PLAN <br /> Nordic Statement <br /> delivered on 30 August <br /> by PR Eneström, SWEDEN</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>I am delivering this Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and my own country Sweden. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>President, </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>We welcome and support UNDP Strategic Plan for 2022 – 2025. The new strategic plan highlights UNDP’s comparative strengths with its unique combination of global and local presence; sector competence; partnerships; and integrated whole of society approaches. We rest assured that UNDP will remain the lead UN agency of international development and that the new strategic plan and its annexes will prove useful for UNDP in the next fouryear period. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">We are also pleased with the consultative spirit in which the new Strategic plan has been developed. We express our gratitude to UNDP staff for the hard work in the preparation of the documents now in front of us.&nbsp; </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The pandemic has shown us that adaptability and flexibility is needed. Recognizing the devastating effects of the pandemic, we are encouraged by the view expressed in the new strategic plan that the future is challenging but not preordained.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of Democratic Governance, which we expect to continue to be the backbone of UNDP.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We need the inclusion and meaningful participation of all stakeholders to achieve our common goal of a sustainable and peaceful world. Human rights and democratic governance are not only ends in themselves, they are also means to achieve the SDGs. Realizing the true potential of partnerships therefore require inclusion and rights. This is where UNDPs efforts on democratic governance is crucial. And we firmly expect UNDP to continue to lead by example, providing the much-needed thought leadership and implementing capacity support to partners around the World.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We share UNDP’s analysis of the current development landscape with the planetary emergency and increased poverty, where Covid-19 both exposes and reinforces existing inequalities within and between countries, and where multilateralism is under pressure. UNDP’s new strategic plan is well-tuned to these trends, positioning UNDP as a crucial international development partner, in accordance with the intentions expressed in the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We appreciate UNDP’s high ambitions and note how UNDP underscores the importance of integrated solutions. While realizing that a main function of the strategic plan is to provide the overall strategic direction, we would have liked to see more elaboration on how UNDP will work, including how it will materialize integrated approaches, working towards systems change.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We are pleased to note how the strategic plan reaffirms that poverty eradication remains at the core of the work of UNDP, with the emphasis on leaving no one behind, founded on a human rights-based approach.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We commend UNDP for the overall approach to human development within planetary boundaries, mitigating and adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, and ensuring just and equitable development for all. Facing the climate emergency, we encourage UNDP to seek and support holistic solutions that combine adaptation and mitigation efforts. To the extent possible, we support special attention to the Least Developed Countries, Small Island Development States, and the most vulnerable countries when supporting climate resilience and climate change adaptation. In this regard, we see sustainable blue economies as part of integrated solutions to climate adaptation and food security. We expect an increase in joint programming with other UN agencies to reduce the fragmentation of climate and environmental projects. We would have liked to see information on how UNDP will work with its own environmental footprint during the next strategic plan period. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The strategic plan highlights the need for designing all interventions for deliberate impact on gender equality and putting equality at the centre of dialogues with partners. We are however concerned for the lack of adequate investments and resources to match the ambition. We ask UNDP what concrete measures will be taken to truly prioritize gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls during the next four-year period?</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Let me conclude, Mr. Administrator, by reiterating our support to UNDP. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p>
24. ágúst 2021Blá ör til hægriSameiginlegt ávarp NB8 á 31. Special Session um Afganistan<p>Ísland tók þátt í sérstökum fundi mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna um Afganistan sem fram fór 24. ágúst. Ísland vinnur náið með Norðurlöndunum og Eystrasaltsríkjunum í mannréttindaráðinu og flutti utanríkisráðherra Danmerkur sameiginlegt ávarp hópsins.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>UN Human Rights Council, 31st special session, 24 August 2021: <br /> Serious Human Rights Concerns and Situation in Afghanistan</strong> </span></p> <p><span>Statement delivered by Denmark on behalf of also Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden<br /> </span>Speaker: H.E. Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Madame President, </span></p> <p><span>I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span></span>We are alarmed and deeply saddened by the developments in Afghanistan. </p> <p>In the time ahead, the Taliban will be judged not by their words, but by their actions. </p> <p>We call on the Taliban, and all other parties, to live up to their promises, and to their obligations under international law. Including to protect civilians and respect human rights. </p> <p>We condemn the Taliban’s reported assassinations of civilians. Of human rights defenders. Of media workers. </p> <p>We condemn the reported violence against women and girls, and grave violations and abuses of their human rights. </p> <p>Such acts may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, as stressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN human rights experts. We recall that Afghanistan is a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. </p> <p>In the past two decades, Afghans have experienced wide-ranging human rights progress. Thousands of health centers and schools have been built. Millions of women and girls have been empowered. </p> <p>These hard-won advances must be protected.</p> <p><span>We are particularly concerned about the rights and the safety of women and&nbsp;girls, persons belonging to religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, and of the&nbsp;thousands of Afghans who have been promoting human rights and democracy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We will continue to support those, and the rest of the Afghan people.&nbsp;We call for freedom of movement, including in and out of Afghanistan, and for<br /> safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Human rights and fundamental freedoms must be respected. Further atrocities&nbsp;must be prevented. Perpetrators must be held accountable.<br /> </span></p> <p><span>The world is watching.</span></p>
18. ágúst 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic statement at the Security Council Open Debate on "Protecting the Protectors: Technology and Peacekeeping"<p style="text-align: center;">“Protecting the Protectors: Technology and Peacekeeping”</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Joint Nordic statement at the Security Council Open Debate</p> <p style="text-align: center;">delivered by Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland</p> <p style="text-align: center;">New York, 18 August 2021</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland – I wish to thank India for raising this important topic on the Security Council’s agenda. The Nordics are strong supporters of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, and we welcome the strengthened focus to integrate new&nbsp;technologies in the field, in the context of peacekeeping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries have been steadfast contributors to UN peacekeeping since its very beginning. The safety of our peacekeepers remains a funda­men­tal priority for us, as it is also a prerequisite for fulfilling the core task and mandate of peacekeeping; namely, to maintain international peace and security and to protect the local populations from conflict and violence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Responsible, effective and sustainable peacekeeping relies on our ability to protect the protectors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Integrating new technologies in peacekeeping operations is imperative in order to respond to the emerging threats and challenges of today’s operating environments. Technology can significantly increase the mission’s safety and security through, for example; better situational awareness, improved readiness, and enhanced field support, including medical and logistical support, and countering the threats posed by mines and improvised explosive devises. In this regard, it is essential to focus efforts and funding on new technologies to improve early warning systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>New technologies yield significant opportunities, they can increase effectiveness and bring savings. At the same time, their introduction must be field-focused, predictable and driven by the practical needs of the end users on the ground. And they must be matched with improved capacity and training, especially as increased use of new technologies may also create new risks for Missions including as vectors for hybrid threats. We, Member States have a shared responsibility to ensure, that the resources and capabilities match the requirements of today’s needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">***</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>New (digital) technologies have proven their value in protection of civilians and ensuring accountability, including in preventing conflict related sexual violence and bringing perpetrators to justice. The use of digital technologies must be in compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. In this context, it is particularly important to follow the ‘do no harm principle’ and to take gender-aspects into account. Norms of responsible state behavior provide important guidance for states in relation to the use of digital technologies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Climate change and environmental degradation are widely recognized as threat multipliers and, in many cases, drivers of conflict. Therefore, it is of utmost importance, that sustainable and responsible solutions are employed throughout all operations and mandate delivery. The Nordic countries encourage utilization of new technology in peacekeeping contexts in order to reduce the missions’ environmental footprint and, where possible, to improve the health, safety and security of local communities as well as UN personnel. The Nordics encourage the inclusion of climate-related security risks in the analyses of country and regional level conflicts. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">***</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>The Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and the UN Digital Toolkit in peace mediation context, have provided a useful framework and recommendations for integrating new technologies even more comprehensively into the agendas of the United Nations. We also welcome the UN’s new Strategy for the Digital Transformation in Peacekeeping</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Looking ahead to the UN peacekeeping ministerial in Soul later this year, the Nordic countries look forward to contributing to this discussion even more in the context of UN peacekeeping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p>
19. júlí 2021Blá ör til hægriSameiginleg ávörp Norðurlanda og NB8 hópsins HRC47<span></span> <p><span style="background: white; font-family: 'Fira Sans', serif; color: #4a4a4a;">Í mannréttindaráðinu þá vinnur Ísland náið með Norðurlöndum og NB8 hópnum svokallaða sem eru þá baltnesku ríkin auk Norðurlandanna.</span><span style="font-family: 'Fira Sans', serif; color: #4a4a4a;"><br style="text-align: start;" /> <br style="text-align: start;" /> <span style="background: white; text-align: start;">Tekur Ísland þátt í fjölda ávarpa með þessum hópum í hverri lotu en í 47 lotu mannréttindaráðsins voru þetta alls 29 ræður um ástand mannréttinda í einstökum löndum og þematísk málefni. Allar ræðurnar má finna hér:&nbsp;</span></span><span style="background: white; font-family: 'Fira Sans', serif; color: #4a4a4a;"><a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/R%c3%a6%c3%b0ur%20Nor%c3%b0urlanda-NB8%20-%20HRC47.pdf">Ræður Norðurlanda-NB8-HRC47</a></span></p>
08. júlí 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á viðburði á vegum íslenskra stjórnvalda og Þróunarmálaáætlunar Sameinuðu þjóðanna (UNDP) um kynjajafnrétti í opinberri stjórnsýslu. <p>Thank you, Dr. Goetz,</p> <p>It is my pleasure to address you at today´s launch of this report on gender equality in public administration.</p> <p>The theme is surely important – not only as a fundamental rights issue, but also because bringing women´s perspectives to public policy and decision making is essential to make government more responsive and effective.</p> <p>We have been fortunate to see valuable progress in this field in Iceland - progress that can largely be attributed to the hard work of pioneering women that originally brought the importance of gender equality and women´s empowerment to the political agenda. </p> <p>Since then, some of the good practices that have delivered concrete results include special measures and legislation, such as paid parental leave for both parents and affordable day care. </p> <p>Together, these measures have undoubtedly made a significant contribution to the high level of women’s labour participation in Iceland, now ranked at the top of the OECD countries. </p> <p>However, we do realise that more needs to be done, and we must continue to do our utmost to ensure that equal participation in public life can thrive.</p> <p>The report provides important insights into the challenges women face in public administration, while also highlighting substantial opportunities for further progress and offering specific recommendations to that effect. </p> <p>Through our participation in the UNDP Gender Equality Seal Programme, the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs is firmly focused on seizing these opportunities by implementing gender equality reforms in our own work.&nbsp; </p> <p>Overall, it is clear, that we all must work to unleash the full potential of gender equality for peace, progress, and development – including in our national public administrations.</p> <p>The report being launched here today is an important contribution to these efforts.</p> <p>I thank you.</p>
06. júlí 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á ráðherrafundi Equal Rights Coalition <p style="text-align: left;">Exellencies,</p> <p>I would like to thank the co-chairs, Argentina and the United Kingdom, for hosting this conference and welcome this opportunity to highlight Iceland’s support for the Equal Rights Coalition.</p> <p>Let me first say that we are a proud member of this Coalition and fully committed to its vision, mission, and values. </p> <p>The Icelandic government places a strong emphasis on the rights of LGBTI+ people and works diligently to make improvements within this policy area in Iceland, as evidenced by the recent changes to the law on gender autonomy and the law on equal treatment in the labour market.</p> <p>Moreover, ensuring fundamental human rights is an integral part of Iceland’s foreign policy and strategy for international development cooperation – and the advancement of equal rights for LGBTI+ people is critical to achieving progress in this regard.</p> <p>This was a key priority for Iceland during our term in the Human Rights Council and continues to be considered in all our work on human rights. </p> <p>Around the world LGBTI+ people are subject to discrimination and violence for simply being who they are. Criminalization, social stigma and discriminatory laws and policies represent some of the severe barriers to the inclusion and meaningful participation of LGBTI+ people in many societies today. </p> <p>These barriers also affect the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as the achievement of the 2030 Agenda is intimately linked with the recognition of human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>The Equal Rights Coalition has an important role to play in bringing together governments and civil society to demonstrate our collective action in promoting inclusion and diversity, sharing experiences, and combatting inequalities and discrimination.</p> <p>This five-year strategy and implementation plan is an important step in achieving and monitoring concrete progress. Iceland commits to contribute to the elimination of violence and discrimination against LGBTI+ people and to share our experiences when it comes to laws and policies on gender recognition and outlawing harmful practices.</p> <p>We are dedicated to the work ahead with the Equal Rights Coalition in promoting increased social acceptance in our societies. Together we must work closely in partnership with stakeholders to take coordinated action to advance the fundamental human rights of LGBTI+ people. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><em>Ávarpið var flutt á ráðherrafundi Equal Rights Coalition, 6. júlí 2021</em></p>
02. júlí 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi Alþjóðamálastofnunar með Sviatlönu Tsikhanouskayu<p>Mr. President, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya, ladies and gentlemen.</p> <p>While Iceland is a relatively young republic, we pride ourselves of the oldest surviving parliament in the world, Alþingi. Our democratic values are a part of our identity and, along with our own recent history of fighting for our independence, form the basis for Iceland’s pioneering role in recognizing the independence of the Baltic states three decades ago. </p> <p>These values also underpin our active role as proponents of human rights and gender equality at the United Nations and other international organizations. Our recent membership of the Human Rights Council shows that small states can indeed have an impact.</p> <p>I believe we stand at an important point in history – a point which we will later look upon to reflect on our success or our failure to uphold democratic values, human rights, and the international rules-based order. </p> <p>Despite its imperfections, democracy, based on the rule of law, is the best system we have to increase the well-being of all people. The end of WWII saw the establishment of the United Nations based on democratic principles, later fleshed out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. </p> <p>Important progress has been made but the high ambitions of the UN have not been fully achieved. This should not lead us to abandon the multilateral system and its ideals and turn to isolationism and autocracy. Quite the contrary. We must increase our efforts to achieve a world of international peace and security, where human rights and fundamental freedoms are the reality for all people. </p> <p>Iceland is a founding member of NATO, a defence alliance of countries determined to safeguard the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. At the recent summit in Brussels, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to these values – with developments in neighbouring countries being a special cause for concern. </p> <p>For the second half of the last century, we saw democracy slowly gaining ground around the world in newly independent countries, along with significant progress on human rights and prosperity. Recently we have seen a reversal of this trend, including in our own backyard. The Belarusian autocratic government does not even pretend anymore to be on the right side of democracy and human rights – their actions speak louder than words and show a complete disregard for international law and the rights and well-being of their own people. </p> <p>In the face of such developments, we need to speak out and support the millions of Belarusians who are fighting for the democracy and freedom we enjoy, and they deserve. We must demand that all those unjustly detained, including political prisoners, be released at once; that peaceful protesters are allowed to have their views heard; and that the people of Belarus can express their will through free and fair elections as soon as possible. </p> <p>From the outset, Iceland has voiced its clear criticism of Lukashenko’s regime and its support for the people of Belarus. We will continue to do so – already on Monday, Iceland will state its position on Belarus at the Human Rights Council, in not one statement but three. </p> <p>We have also provided support for Belarusian civil society and are implementing western sanctions on Belarus, which we hope will send a clear message to the authorities that democratic countries will not stand idly by when faced with such grave human rights violations and restrictions of freedom. </p> <p>The Nordic Baltic countries have stood shoulder to shoulder on the issue of Belarus, and Iceland appreciates in particular the important contribution of Lithuania and the other Baltic countries to this cause. </p> <p>I am delighted that Ms. Tsikhanouskaya was able to visit Iceland. Her courage and determination are an inspiration to us all. The fact that there are people like her, willing to risk their own security to fight for democracy and human rights, gives us hope that eventually we can turn the tide and continue on a steady path to democracy around the world.</p> <p><em>Ávarpið var flutt á opnum fundi Alþjóðamálastofnunar Háskóla Íslands með Sviatlönu Tsikhanovskayu 2. júlí 2021.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
23. júní 2021Blá ör til hægriStatement at the Thirty-first Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea<p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Thirty-first Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Agenda item 13 – Report of the Secretary-General under article 319 </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>New York, 23 June 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by Iceland</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To begin with I would like to congratulate Vladimir Jares on his appointment as DOALOS Director. This appointment is excellent news for us State Parties. Mr. Jares thoroughly knows the work of DOALOS. Since I am mentioning DOALOS, I´d also like to warmly thank our dear Secretariat, that during this meeting has taken excellent care of us and worked day and night to make sure the meeting runs smoothly and to keep all State Parties well informed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>---</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, my delegation thanks the Secretary General for the informative report that this agenda item refers to. We also thank for the information we´ve received at this meeting on the implementation of UNCLOS at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority with its growing importance and last but not least the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland continues to emphasize the crucial role of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; the Constitution of the Oceans as it is commonly referred to. Its contribution to the whole of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, should not be underestimated. It can – and has - among other, contributed to stability, peace and security in this world. Its full and effective implementation needs to remain high on the agenda. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The same applies to SDG14, which unfortunately is known to be an under-funded Sustainable Development Goal. Achieving it and its ten targets will, however, contribute to combatting poverty and hunger to name some prominent examples of what sustainable management and utilization of marine resources can lead to. Iceland is looking forward to discussing SDG14 and how to achieve it by 2030, in Lisbon next year under the able leadership of our co-hosts, Portugal and Kenya.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President. </p> <p>In the context of SDG 14; I´d like to touch upon some of its targets that have already passed their 2020 deadline. Notably, in July this year, there is an opportunity for the WTO to put an end to subsidies that contribute to overcapacity, overfishing and IUU fishing; as provided for in SDG target 14.6; by concluding a new Agreement that bans such subsidies. This is an important issue for Iceland, as we do not subsidize our fisheries and we are of the view that fisheries subsidies are harmful and represent one of the main obstacles that prevent fisheries from being managed sustainably today. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Regarding IUU fishing in general, Iceland urges State Parties to take every action possible to combat it. This is, among other, important in the context of blue foods; which Iceland has strongly advocated for appropriate attention to at the Food Systems Summit this fall.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, Iceland has long highlighted the necessary role of science in political decision-making on the oceans, not least the use of its living resources. We hope that the UN ocean science decade which has just been launched, will help guide States in the quest towards healthier oceans. In the context of science, let me also mention the recent report of the Regular Process. We thank the great number of scientists involved in this achievement and hope the report will help States underpin firmer action to combat threats to the ocean, not least the environmental ones.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of these threats is plastic pollution. During a successful two year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which ended in May this year, Iceland made addressing plastic pollution one of the chairmanship priorities. Iceland is also one of the states that call for a new legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>The interlinkages between the ocean and climate change are increasingly being recognized and for good reason. As for our part of the world: Greenhouse gas emissions contribute among other to ocean acidification – and this development is happening faster than the average in the cold, Arctic waters. Another, grave aspect of the ocean and climate change is sea level rise, which we discussed last week at the ICP21. Iceland thanks all who contributed to these discussions. It is evident that discussions like these will need to continue; specifically also on of the law of the sea. In that context, Iceland thanks the ILC for its work so far.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President.</p> <p>For the proper sustainable management of our ocean, we need all hands on deck. This means we need gender equality; women in positions of power and a gender transformative approach where all people are enabled to contribute as well as to enjoy the benefits we reap from the ocean. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President.</p> <p>The negotiations on an internationally legally binding Instrument under the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), are some of the most important negotiations on the Law of the Sea since the UNCLOS entered into force more than 25 years ago. Iceland has actively participated in these negotiations and has emphasized the importance of that these negotiations adopt a regional approach to governance. This ensures that decisions are taken as close as possible to those communities that are directly affected by them, and that have a direct stake in such decisions. Furthermore, Iceland has strongly emphasized that the BBNJ will be an Implementing Agreement under UNCLOS, like the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the Part XI Agreement. The outcome of the BBNJ negotiations must complement – and not undermine – the Convention, its other implementing Agreements or other existing, relevant instruments, frameworks and bodies. In addition, it is important that the outcome of these negotiations be based on a scientific approach to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction and be adopted by consensus. We look forward to continuing the negotiations on this important Agreement when circumstances allow in 2022. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The next year or so is shaping up to be a big year for the ocean, as many meetings that had to be COVID-postponed are now getting back on the programme. Let us make good use of time. We certainly don´t have too much of it. And let us remember that the Convention provides us with the appropriate legal framework to address the issues we need to act on; so that Agenda 2030, along with its SDG14 and others can be reached by 2030.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
22. júní 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint statement at Executive Board of UN Women Annual Session 2021<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Executive Board of UN Women</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Annual Session 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Agenda item 4: EVAW corporate evaluation</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>22 June 2021</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Thank you Madam/Mr President. I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland as well as Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>I would like to begin by thanking UN Women’s Independent Evaluation Service for the corporate evaluation of UN Women’s coordination role in ending violence against women.</li> <li>The findings, conclusions and recommendations are well received, and we thank UN Women for its management response which clearly articulates when and how the recommendations will be addressed. </li> </ul> <p>Madam/Mr. President,</p> <ul> <li>No country has been spared from the shadow pandemic. The prevalence of violence against women has been rising and increasingly so over the past year due to the multiple impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. </li> <li>A concerted effort in ending violence against women is needed now more than ever. UN Women, with its triple mandate, plays a key role here. Providing normative support, coordinating the UN system and implementing operational activities are all important elements in the global effort of ending violence against women and girls. </li> </ul> <p>Madam/Mr. President, </p> <ul> <li style="text-align: left;">I would like to highlight four areas of the evaluation: one – the value of coordination, two – accountability frameworks, three – the right skillset and experience among staff, and four – funding of coordination activities.<em><br /> </em></li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><span><em>[Coordination mandate]</em></span></em></p> <ul> <li>The evaluation rightfully highlighted UN Women’s position as the ‘go-to’ organization for external actors at country level for this thematic area. </li> <li>However, the evaluation finds a lack of acknowledgement of UN Women’s coordination role when it comes to larger UN institutions. It points to UN Women’s responsibility to gain this acknowledgement while recognizing the duty of the wider UN system to request UN Women’s engagement. What steps can be taken by UN Women, the UN system as a whole and member states to address this challenge?</li> <li>We take note of the evaluation’s conclusion that in the current strategic plan, UN Women’s coordination role is treated as a contributor to operational efficiency and not as a critical component in and of itself and that operational programme management often supersedes coordination as a priority. </li> <li>Given that the size of UN Women’s field programme has an impact on its ability to coordinate thematic areas, and that coordination successes are more based on individual characteristics and capacity rather than institutional arrangements, how can these institutional arrangements be strengthened at country level? What role can the RC system play? </li> </ul> <p><em>[Accountability]</em></p> <ul> <li>One of the major findings of the evaluation is the lack of a system-wide accountability instrument for ending violence against women. </li> <li>This lack of an accountability framework for SDG target 5.2 ultimately leads to a voluntary, rather than mandatory, nature of coordination for UN entities in the global effort to end violence against women. </li> <li>How does UN Women plan to operationalize a system-wide accountability and reporting framework on ending violence against women and do you currently have the capacity and resources required? </li> </ul> <p><em>[Staff]</em></p> <ul> <li>As noted in the evaluation, UN Women staff at country-level is often junior and inexperienced and lack the necessary capacity to fulfill UN Women’s crucial coordination role.</li> <li>We strongly encourage UN Women to recruit experienced and more senior staff with the necessary skills, or to strengthen staff competence and capacity for this purpose.</li> </ul> <p><em>[Funding]</em></p> <ul> <li>Coordination requires resources and we take note of the lack of funding for UN Women’s coordination mandate. We urge all donors to contribute with core resources to enable UN Women to perform at its best and fulfill its mandate. We further encourage UN Women to contribute flexible and predictable funding to women’s rights organization, which are central to the work on eliminating violence against women.</li> <li>In this regard, we echo the recommendations of the evaluation and encourage UN Women to capture the important results of its coordination role to the thematic area of ending violence against women, as well as the actual resources needed for coordination. </li> <li>We would also encourage UN Women and donors to include coordination elements in its programme budgets. </li> <li>Could you elaborate why coordination of e.g. thematic areas is currently not properly funded from assessed or core contributions? </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr./Madam President, </p> <ul style="list-style-type: disc;"> <li>To conclude, we would like to reiterate our appreciation for UN Women’s role in ending violence against women and girls and would like to thank UN Women for its support to the global COVID-19 response, ensuring gender equality is fully integrated.</li> <li>We count on UN Women to coordinate and lead the way in improving the lives of women and girls around the world</li> </ul>
03. júní 2021Blá ör til hægriJafnréttismálin eiga alltaf við - líka í fríverslun<p>Lengi vel var litið svo á að alþjóðaviðskipti hefðu ekkert með jafnréttismál að gera. Tollar væru bara tollar og alþjóðaviðskiptakerfið án kyngreiningar. Ísland hefur síðustu ár unnið markvisst að því að færa jafnréttisumræðuna inn í þennan málaflokk og hefur góður árangur náðst.</p> <p>Nú þegar hillir undirlok fríverslunarviðræðna við Breta er ljóst að blað verður brotið við gerð samningsins að þessu leyti. Ein helsta áhersla Íslands í viðræðunum um kaflann um sjálfbæra þróun og viðskipti var að kynjajafnrétti yrði gert hátt undir höfði, í takt við áherslur ríkisstjórnarinnar. Það er því gleðiefni að nú þegar viðræðum um þann kafla er lokið liggur fyrir að samningurinn við Breta mun innihalda sérstakan undirkafla um efnahagslega valdeflingu kvenna þar sem mikilvægi jafnréttismála og kynjasjónarmiða við framkvæmd samningsins er undirstrikað. Einnig eru þar talin upp ýmis verkefni um hvernig ríkin geti unnið saman að því að efla þátttöku kvenna í fjárfestingum og viðskiptum milli landanna og alþjóðlegar skuldbindingar á sviði jafnréttismála eru áréttaðar. Þá er einnig lagalega bindandi ákvæði um að ekki megi mismuna kynjunum þegar kemur að leyfisveitingum til handa þjónustuveitendum og fjárfestum.</p> <p>Fríverslunarsamningurinn við Breta verður sá fyrsti sem Ísland gerir þar sem sérstaklega er fjallað er um kynjasjónarmið og jafnréttismál. Við höfum á undanförnum árum lagt mikla áherslu á jafnréttismál í alþjóðaviðskiptum. Var það meðal annars að frumkvæði Íslands sem slík ákvæði voru tekin upp í samningsmódel EFTA árið 2019. Jafnrétti er einn af hornsteinum utanríkisstefnunnar og er unnið að því að efla jafnrétti kynjanna þverlægt í öllum málaflokkum ráðuneytisins. Líka hvað varðar utanríkisviðskipti.</p> <p>Á alþjóðavettvangi hefur Ísland leitt sérstakt átak hvað þetta varðar ásamt Síerra Leóne og síðar Botsvana, í samstarfi við Alþjóðaviðskiptamiðstöðina (ITC) í Genf. Það leiddi til þess að á ráðherrafundi Alþjóðaviðskiptastofnunarinnar (WTO) í desember 2017 var samþykkt yfirlýsing um viðskipti og efnahagslega valdeflingu kvenna sem um 130 ríki styðja nú. Síðasta haust var málið fært á dagskrá WTO með stofnun vinnuhóps þar sem Ísland er í formennsku ásamt Botsvana og ITC. Árangur starfsins verður kynntur á næsta ráðherrafundi WTO á haustdögum og nýtur vinnuhópurinn mikils stuðnings frá nýjum framkvæmdastjóra stofnunarinnar, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, fyrstu konunni sem gegnir því embætti. Í takt við þessar áherslur höfum við fjallað sérstaklega um jafnréttismálin í reglulegri úttekt á viðskiptastefnu Íslands hjá WTO &nbsp;og spyrja fulltrúar Íslands í Genf önnur ríki ætíð um stöðu kvenna í alþjóðaviðskiptum þegar þau undirgangast þá úttekt. </p> <p>Það er ánægjulegt að sjá þennan mikla árangur sem orðið hefur frá því Ísland hafði frumkvæði að því að hefja samtal ríkja um þessi málefni. Og það verður spennandi að vinna með Bretum að verkefnum á þessu sviði á grundvelli fríverslunarsamningsins sem nú er nánast tilbúinn. Það hefur nefnilega sýnt sig að auðvitað eiga jafnréttismálin fullt erindi í umræðu um alþjóðaviðskipti eins og aðra málaflokka.</p> <p><em>Greinin birtist í Morgunblaðinu 3. júní 2021</em></p>
18. maí 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á sameiginlegum blaðamannafundi með utanríkisráðherra Bandaríkjanna Antony Blinken<p><strong>Reykjavík, 18. maí 2021</strong></p> <p>Good morning everyone and thank you for being here.</p> <p>It has been my great pleasure to receive US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, here in Iceland.</p> <p>We see your visit here as a strong testament the deep and long-standing friendship between our countries, founded on shared values, ideas, and interests.</p> <p>Not only have you come for the Arctic Council Ministerial – a meeting which Iceland, as the outgoing Chair, attaches great importance to - but you have also taken time out of your busy schedule for an extensive bilateral visit.&nbsp; </p> <p>We appreciate this very much – especially in this year when we mark 80 years of US-Iceland diplomatic relations and the 70<sup>th</sup> anniversary of our bilateral defense agreement. </p> <p>Today´s meeting was an opportunity to strengthen our relationship even further, with a very productive discussion on many issues of mutual concern and interest. </p> <p>Let me provide you with some key take-aways:</p> <p>We talked about our long-standing cooperation on security and defense, where I emphasized the central role of our bilateral defense agreement in Iceland´s national defense strategy, as well as our NATO cooperation.</p> <p>We agreed that we need to continue to nurture this important aspect of our relations, with the Keflavík airbase playing a critical and strategic role in the North Atlantic.</p> <p>We also talked about the extensive and growing trade relations between our two countries and agreed on finding ways to strengthen these even further. </p> <p>The US is Iceland´s single largest trading partner – this is therefore a priority for us.</p> <p>tI was pleased that we agreed to deepen and broaden our trade relations even further, and seek concrete results.</p> <p>We also discussed global issues of common concern and mutual interest.</p> <p>In the area of climate change, I applauded the Biden administration´s swift return to the Paris Agreement. </p> <p>This was a critical step, which I believe will have a long-lasting positive impact on the implementation of the Agreement.</p> <p>In this regard, I stressed Iceland´s commitment to the Paris Agreement, as demonstrated by enhanced ambition when it comes to emission cuts, carbon removal and international climate finance.</p> <p>We agreed that there are a range of opportunities when it comes to enhanced collaboration between Iceland and the US in these areas and decided to continue discussions on how to take our collaboration to the next level. </p> <p>Lastly, we had a very good conversation about our shared values and ideas, in particular when it comes to human rights, democracy, and gender equality – all of which are at the heart of Iceland´s foreign policy. </p> <p>In this regard, I warmly welcomed the US return to active engagement with the UN Human Rights Council and also took the opportunity to highlight Iceland´s positive experience from sitting on the Council in 2018-2019 when I think we showed that it can be a body of some consequence.</p> <p>Overall, the US and Iceland have a lot of convergence of views and positions when it comes to human rights, and we decided to continue our discussions on how we can put this convergence to work.</p> <p>Lastly, we had the opportunity to discuss the very grave situation in Israel and Palestine, and the need to break the spiral of violence and work towards a sustainable political solution.</p> <p>So, as you can hear, this was a very productive meeting, with a range of important issues discussed. </p> <p>Thank you again for coming to Iceland, thank you for our good discussions today, and thank you for your demonstrated commitment to the friendship between our two countries.</p> <p>Over to you.</p>
17. maí 2021Blá ör til hægri38. lota jafningarýnis mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna<p>Ísland tekur virkan þátt í jafningarýni mannréttindaráðsins en um mikilvægan vettvang er að ræða þar sem mannréttindaástand í öllum ríkjum heims eru rædd á tæplega 5 ára fresti.</p> <p>38. lota jafningarýninnar fór fram 3. til 15. maí sl. Að þessu sinni voru 14 ríki tekin fyrir: Namibía, Níger, Mósambík, Eistland, Belgía, Paragvæ, Danmörk, Sómalía, Palaú, Sólómon eyjar, Seychelles eyjar, Lettland, Singapúr, Síerra Leóne. Ísland var með tilmæli til allra ríkja og má finna þau á hlekknum hér að neðan.</p> <ul> <li><a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/UPR38%20Final%20statements%20by%20Iceland.pdf" target="_blank">Ræður</a> (pdf)</li> </ul>
14. maí 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á viðburði í tilefni af útkomu skýrslu um stöðu kynjajafnréttis á norðurslóðum<p><span><br /> Dear ladies and gentlemen,&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <p><span>I am both excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to address you all on the launch of this ambitious report on Gender Equality in the Arctic. I would like to start by thanking the project partners and the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group, sponsors, and especially the many authors who contributed both time and effort to the report. I would like to mention the Permanent Participants and thank them for their support, cooperation and contribution to the repot. However, I cannot go on without thanking specifically Embla Eir Oddsdóttir, director of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network, for leading the Gender Equality in the Arctic project from the beginning in 2013 and for all of her hard work and determination to the project.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>For over a decade, Iceland has been ranked at the top of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. This is something we are proud of and comes with a responsibility to lead by example. In Iceland, we have been fortunate to see valuable progress on this front which is due to continuous efforts that have delivered results. Advancing gender equality has long been an area of importance for Iceland and one which we emphasise both domestically as well as in our foreign policy. We also believe that it is a fundamental component of sustainable development not just in the Arctic but globally. Therefore, it wasn’t exactly a coincidence that Iceland initiated a dialogue on Gender Equality in the Arctic [GEA] in 2013 and has kept the ball rolling, together with a growing number of project partners, ever since. We like to believe that GEA has become a household term, at least within the Arctic Council family. This made it an obvious choice for us to include gender equality as one of our priority areas for our Chairmanship in the Council, which is coming to an end this month after a two-year term in the driver’s seat.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>As the Arctic gathers more international attention our region is also going through rapid ecological, social, and economic changes. These changes affect the people of the Arctic differently, affect men and women differently, and not only because the Arctic covers a large and geographically diverse area. The need for gender-based analysis and gender mainstreaming are identified throughout this report as a way to promote gender equality. The Arctic Council can lead the way in this regard by continuing to support research and action to improve and promote gender equality in the region. For us to get a better understanding of the issues and inequality often facing individuals both in their everyday lives in the Arctic and across different regions, sectors and genders, we need consistent and comparable data. That is how we can inspire international policy making as well as bringing attention to the importance of gender equality in the Arctic.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The objective of the GEA project has been to raise the visibility and understanding of gender issues in the region. Increasing diversity and gender balance in both policy and decision making is important. The project, has from the outset, been aimed at strengthening a network of experts and stakeholders in the field and providing them with a platform to promote and expand dialogue on gender equality in the Arctic. It also contributes to identify and fill the knowledge gaps on this subject.</span></p> <p><span>Gender equality in the Arctic is an ever-important issue and one close to our hearts here in Iceland. It is a must for us, political leaders in the region, to do our best to put in place policy measures and legislations to better support the communities in their efforts to make progress when it comes to gender equality. Track records show that increased gender equality goes hand in hand with improved social and economic well-being and is therefore of the utmost importance for all of us.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Ladies and gentlemen,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>If there was one thing that we knew with absolute certainty about Gender Equality in the Arctic, before this report, it was that there are huge knowledge gaps to be filled on this topic. The report we are launching here today certainly contributes to strengthening our knowledge base and close some of those gaps, while providing policy makers with the understanding that is needed to foster resilient and thriving communities in the Arctic.</span></p> <p><span>I take this opportunity to congratulate all of you, who contributed to this impressive and important report. Many of you have participated in the GEA project throughout its three phases. It will be exciting to see the project develop further and continue through its fourth phase under the next Chairmanship. A project like this one would never have been possible without people who believe in it and believe in making a difference for future generations.&nbsp;<br /> I am certain that the discussions here today will be both fruitful and interesting as you will hear from many of our leading experts in the field. We need to continue to address gender inequality together, by calling attention to the issues surrounding it so that we may correct past and existing discriminations in our communities.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <p><span>Thank you.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <p><span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; font-size: 16px; color: #4a4a4a;"><em>Ávarpið var flutt á rafrænum útgáfufundi Norðurslóðanet Íslands 14. maí 2021 í tilefni af útgáfu&nbsp;</em></span><em>skýrslu um stöðu kynjajafnréttis á norðurslóðum (e. Pan-Arctic Report: Gender Equality in the Arctic).</em><em><br /> &nbsp;</em><br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>
16. apríl 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi norrænna og afrískra ráðherra um græna atvinnuuppbyggingu<h3 style="text-align: left;">SPRING MEETINGS 2021 EVENT:</h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>BUILDING BACK BETTER AND GREENER – SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE GROWTH THROUGH JOB CREATION<br /> </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to my colleagues from Denmark and Sweden and the World Resources Institute for organizing this interesting event. It is important that we continue to engage with our African partners, the Multilateral Development Banks, and UN Institutions regarding how we ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, post-Covid.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We have an opportunity to focus on creating green jobs when rebuilding our economies and thereby support green and blue growth and address climate change. Green, resilient, and inclusive recovery will not be successful without a strong private sector, the protection and creation of jobs and by increasing innovative efforts to mobilize private capital. Focus on small and medium sized enterprises is of key importance, as these are often the largest source of employment in low-income countries.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We appreciate the swift response of international organizations and would like to underline the key role of the MBDs in response and recovery efforts. On that note we welcome the WBG paper on GRID and its emphasis on job creation and private sector solutions. In line with the joint Nordic approach to Building Back better and Greener we recently took on a role as a Global Champion for the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy to be held in September. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We will champion the theme of <strong><em>Enabling SDGs through Inclusive, Just Energy Transition,</em></strong> which is key to achieving the objectives of many, if not most of the SDGs. This theme will focus on maximizing the positive impacts of an inclusive and just energy transitions on the achievement of the SDGs, including on gender equality, job creation, youth empowerment, agriculture, and food systems.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Investing in sustainable energy provides an opportunity to create green jobs for and to empower women and youth, the groups that are in many aspects most impacted by the pandemic. We have long championed gender equality in the transition to sustainable energy production and energy use. This is particularly important in the context of the pandemic where economic fallout has had a negative effect on gender equality, which must be addressed.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Let me also mention the role of sustainable energy in sustainable food systems, both “green” and “blue”. We have a long history of utilizing sustainable energy in food production, processing, and value addition in fisheries and agriculture which has greatly increased GDP and created more valuable jobs. Job creation in the sustainable blue economy is of particular importance for small island developing states and coastal low-income countries. The MDBs will have a crucial role in realizing this agenda and ensuring its success.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"> I am optimistic that by being innovative in our approach and engaging with the private sector we can succeed in Building Back Better and greener. </p> <p style="text-align: left;"> Thank you for your attention.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Ávarpið var flutt á fjarfundi norrænna og afrískra ráðherra 16. apríl 2021</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
14. apríl 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement on the occasion of SC Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>JOINT NORDIC STATEMENT<br /> by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden<br /> on the occasion of the Security Council Open Debate on<br /> “Sexual Violence in Conflict”<br /> 14 April 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong></strong><br /> I deliver this statement on behalf of Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Denmark. Allow me to thank Vietnam for organizing today’s open debate as well as to express sincere gratitude to SRSG Pramila Patten and her Office for their important work and ceaseless commitment to ending sexual violence in conflict.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Conflict-related sexual violence is a horrifying reality. It is always a violation of international humanitarian law, and may constitute international crimes such as war crime or crime against humanity. It is a pervasive and life-threatening health, human rights and protection issue. It remains a cruel tactic of war, terror, political repression and torture aggravated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has gone hand-in-hand with a spike in sexual and gender-based violence worldwide. Survivors have lost access to essential services, training of judicial and security actors has been suspended, humanitarian access has been limited, and sociocultural and structural impediments to reporting have been amplified. The needs of survivors at this challenging time should be taken into account, including in all aspects of COVID-19 responses.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We the international community, have a responsibility to provide protection, uphold human rights, and address these setbacks. The fight against sexual violence is key in our work to secure international peace and security.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In 2019, the Nordic countries together with representatives from 100 states, organizations, survivors and experts came together and made several hundred commitments to end SGBV in humanitarian crises at the Oslo Conference, a number of which have been fulfilled. Much remains to be done in the field of implementation of sexual violence responses and the wider WPS agenda.<br /> We must acknowledge the urgent need for concrete action. It is important to respond to the needs of victims and survivors in, amongst others, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Yemen. We must not be afraid to<br /> try innovative approaches. We need to increase partnerships with local communities and with survivor-focused women’s rights organizations. We must promote their safe and meaningful engagement and full, effective and meaningful participation in decision-making. This includes ensuring that they receive flexible and sustainable financial support.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must ensure that efforts to fight SGBV are integrated into all action dealing with conflict situations and crises. To do this, survivors – women, girls, men and boys –must be at the centre of shaping prevention and response. As recognized in UNSCR 2467, a survivor-centered approach is crucial for preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, and survivors of sexual violence must receive non-discriminatory access to services such as medical and psychosocial care. The Nordic countries call for a strengthening of services for survivors of sexual violence, including through ensuring comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights such as access to emergency contraception and the safe termination of pregnancies.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">It is key to fight impunity and to hold perpetrators accountable. We must establish credible systems of accountability, including by supporting law enforcement institutions to fight impunity, not least through collection of documentation and evidence, as well as capacity-building of national judicial systems. We recall the important role that the International Criminal Court plays at the international level, complementing the work undertaken at the national level. Accountability mechanisms must be informed by survivors. The Nordic countries call on the Security Council to include and apply sexual violence as a designation criterion in UN sanction regimes in contexts where such crimes are continuously committed as this can act like an effective deterrent.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Moreover, we must address root causes and adopt preventive measures to address the structural gender inequalities that underpin sexual and gender-based violence. To this end, we must focus on the full implementation of the WPS Agenda and an increased use of intersectional approaches, e.g. gender, age and disability disaggregated data and knowledge to inform policy and action. Frameworks and mechanisms only function if they receive the necessary priority and funding. This calls for political will at the highest level.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Let me highlight the work of the Global Network of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, which Denmark is currently leading. The network counts more than 90 members - states, donors, UN organizations and NGOs - who have come together to advocate and implement concrete actions to prevent and respond to conflict-related gender-based violence. We aim to increase our voice and promote improved action on the ground and hope that many more partners will join the network. The Nordic countries continue to advance these goals – in our bilateral work, in collaboration with a wide range of partners and in our active multilateral cooperation.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p>
30. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á áheitaráðstefnu um Sýrland<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Brussels V Conference<br /> Supporting the future of Syria and the Region<br /> Ministerial Segment, 30. March 2021<br /> Video statement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarsson<br /> Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Ladies and Gentlemen, </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">With the devastating conflict in Syria raging for a decade now, the international community’s sustained support to the Syrian people remains as vital as ever. If there ever was a protracted crisis, the conflict in Syria sadly fulfils the criteria. We cannot afford to look away. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">After ten years of destruction and violence, the Syrian people’s coping mechanisms are surely beyond exhaustion. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn have further deepened their suffering, not least that of women and girls. They continue to bear the brunt of this crisis. It is therefore imperative that we address the most critical protection and resilience needs, both inside Syria and across the region. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland remains committed to contribute to the response, and today, I am pleased to announce a new multi-year pledge of a total of four hundred and twenty million Icelandic krona. This will bring the total value of Iceland’s support for the period 2021 till 24 to close to seven hundred million Icelandic krona. These funds are in addition to Iceland’s multi-year and unearmarked contributions to our key humanitarian and development partners. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The new funds will be directed through Iceland’s priority humanitarian partners - UNHCR, WFP and OCHA - with emphasis on the Humanitarian Funds for Lebanon and Syria. Furthermore, to help drive a gender transformative response to the crisis, Iceland will channel funding to UNFPA and UN Women in the region. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In closing, the Syrian refugee crisis is currently the largest displacement crisis in the world. Conditions must be in place for voluntary, safe, and dignified return for all persons – this is a critical component of a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis in Syria. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Meanwhile, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, both crossline and cross-border, is absolutely imperative for the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is simple: adherence to international humanitarian law and human rights law should not be optional. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you. </span></p>
23. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriSameiginleg ávörp Norðurlanda og NB8 hópsins HRC46Í mannréttindaráðinu þá vinnur Ísland náið með Norðurlöndum og NB8 hópnum svokallaða sem eru þá baltnesku ríkin auk Norðurlandanna.<br /> <br /> Tekur Ísland þátt í fjölda ávarpa með þessum hópum í hverri lotu en í 46 lotu mannréttindaráðsins voru þetta alls 36 ræður um ástand mannréttinda í einstökum löndum og þematísk málefni. Allar ræðurnar má finna hér: <a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/R%c3%a6%c3%b0ur%20Nor%c3%b0urlanda-NB8%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">Ræður Norðurlanda-NB8-HRC46.pdf</a><br />
22. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp í umræðum um mannréttindaástandið í Úkraínu<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you, Mr. President. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland supports the High Commissioner and her office as well as special procedures mandate holders who report on the situation in Ukraine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Despite the improved security situation during the reporting period, Iceland continues to have grave concerns about the human rights and the humanitarian situation in the conflict areas in Ukraine. The prolonged armed conflict continues to impact the civilian population hard economically and socially, only exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We are also concerned about the continued denial of access to detention facilities in areas temporarily outside control of the government, despite repeated requests by international observers to monitor the treatment of detainees and detention conditions. This is particularly concerning given the widespread credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment of both conflict and non-conflict related detainees.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Finally, Iceland&nbsp;reiterates its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognized borders and call for the full respect of the rights of all residents of Crimea. We urge the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power of Crimea, to grant OHCHR full access to the peninsula.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>
22. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp í umræðum um mannréttindaástandið í Mið-Afríkulýðveldinu fyrir hönd Norðurlanda<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We thank the Independent Expert for his continued efforts to highlight human rights concerns in the Central African Republic. We remain thankful for OHCHR´s continued support of the human rights mandate of MINUSCA and pay tribute to the peacekeepers that lost their lives in recent months. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We continue to follow with great concern the human rights and humanitarian situation in the CAR and are appalled by reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses by armed groups, as well as by national security forces. Attempts to destabilize and hinder the legitimate aspiration of the people of CAR to determine their own future in free and fair elections must end.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">All allegations of violations and abuses, including of the very prevalent sexual and gender-based violence against women and children, must be thoroughly, impartially, and effectively investigated. Accountability for past and recent human rights violations and abuses and an effective process of transitional justice is the only way to bring peace and stability to the country.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me ask the panel, how can we support accountability in the aftermath of presidential elections?</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span class="s19" style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>
18. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi Sameinuðu þjóðanna um heimsmarkmið sex<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">High-level Meeting on</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">„Implementation of the Water-related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda“</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement on behalf of</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">the Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson</span></strong></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Iceland</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">18 March 2021</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I am pleased to address you on behalf of the Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought; a group of states co-chaired by Namibia and my own country, Iceland.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">While today’s High-Level Meeting is about water, we must not forget that water and land are interconnected; these are two sides of the same coin.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In order to achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2030, the problem of land degradation, desertification and drought, not least in Africa, needs to be addressed. When land degrades, it loses its natural ability to absorb, filter and store water. Restoring degraded land and fighting land degradation, coupled with sound water management, are therefore a key to ensure availability of water by 2030.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">To frame this in the context of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, progress on land issues under SDG15 can be a</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">factor towards reaching SDG6 on Clean Water and Sanitation. It is therefore imperative that we, on a global scale, strive to attain a state of <span style="text-decoration: underline;">land degradation neutrality</span> by 2030.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is important to note the significant progress that has already been achieved in curbing land degradation and investing in land restoration.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Countries have, for example, committed to restore close to a billion hectares of land through their Land Degradation Neutrality plans and the Bonn Challenge.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">And, at their last Summit, G20 leaders announced that they share the ambition of achieving a 50 percent reduction of degraded land by 2040. G20 environment ministers, furthermore, launched “the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats”.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In the context of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, we must continue to scale up efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, both water and land ecosystems.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. President.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The most water-stressed people in this world share both a geography and a gender: they are women and girls located in dry lands in charge of collecting water for their families.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Indeed, UN Water estimates that globally women spend 200 million hours every day collecting water - time that could otherwise be spent on education, or income generating activities, or with their loved ones. The fact that women also play a critical role in agriculture and food production calls for gender responsive policies on both fronts – on water and on land.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is simple: To ensure success, women must be a part of the solution.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Overall, we need to fight land degradation in practical terms, focusing on capacity building and financing to achieve the SDGs. Doing so, will have multiple co-benefits: Not only enhanced sustainable water management, but also, for example, decreased risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases and future pandemics - or more efficient carbon sinks.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought welcomes the increasing recognition of integrated land and water-based solutions in the implementation of Agenda 2030.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We look forward to continuing these discussions, including at the upcoming High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>
18. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriStatement delivered by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson at High-level Meeting on "Implementation of the Water-related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda"<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>High-level Meeting on</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>„Implementation of the Water-related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda“</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement on behalf of</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>the Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><strong>Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson</strong></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>18 March 2021</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President.</p> <p>I am pleased to address you on behalf of the Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought; a group of states co-chaired by Namibia and my own country, Iceland.</p> <p>While today’s High-Level Meeting is about water, we must not forget that water and land are interconnected; these are two sides of the same coin.</p> <p>In order to achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2030, the problem of land degradation, desertification and drought, not least in Africa, needs to be addressed. When land degrades, it loses its natural ability to absorb, filter and store water. Restoring degraded land and fighting land degradation, coupled with sound water management, are therefore a key to ensure availability of water by 2030.</p> <p>To frame this in the context of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, progress on land issues under SDG15 can be a factor towards reaching SDG6 on Clean Water and Sanitation. It is therefore imperative that we, on a global scale, strive to attain a state of land degradation neutrality by 2030.</p> <p>It is important to note the significant progress that has already been achieved in curbing land degradation and investing in land restoration.</p> <p>Countries have, for example, committed to restore close to a billion hectares of land through their Land Degradation Neutrality plans and the Bonn Challenge.</p> <p>And, at their last Summit, G20 leaders announced that they share the ambition of achieving a 50 percent reduction of degraded land by 2040. G20 environment ministers, furthermore, launched “the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats”.</p> <p>In the context of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, we must continue to scale up efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, both water and land ecosystems.</p> <p>Mr. President.</p> <p>The most water-stressed people in this world share both a geography and a gender: they are women and girls located in dry lands in charge of collecting water for their families.&nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed, UN Water estimates that globally women spend 200 million hours every day collecting water - time that could otherwise be spent on education, or income generating activities, or with their loved ones. The fact that women also play a critical role in agriculture and food production calls for gender responsive policies on both fronts – on water and on land.</p> <p>It is simple: To ensure success, women must be a part of the solution.</p> <p>Overall, we need to fight land degradation in practical terms, focusing on capacity building and financing to achieve the SDGs. Doing so, will have multiple co-benefits: Not only enhanced sustainable water management, but also, for example, decreased risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases and future pandemics - or more efficient carbon sinks.</p> <p>The Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought welcomes the increasing recognition of integrated land and water-based solutions in the implementation of Agenda 2030.</p> <p>We look forward to continuing these discussions, including at the upcoming High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought.</p> <p>I thank you.</p>
16. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi kvennanefndar Sameinuðu þjóðanna<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Ministerial Roundtable 1 at the Commission of the Status of Women</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Getting to parity: good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">15 March 2021</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement by</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson,</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Dear chair, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I am glad to join you today to share some good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Ensuring women’s participation in public life is a fundamental element of an open society, in which people can determine their own future and shape their community. Doing so, also ensures that women’s needs, interests and experiences are reflected and addressed in decision-making processes, resulting in outcomes that are more inclusive and democratic.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In Iceland we have been fortunate to see valuable progress on this front.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Good practices that have delivered results include the introduction of special measures and legislation such as paid parental leave for both parents and affordable day care.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Not only have these measures contributed directly to the high level of women’s labour participation, which ranks at the top of the OECD countries, but they have also ensured that women increasingly have a seat at the decision-making table, be it in the public or private sector.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In our experience, it has also become evident that these special measures have changed social norms in Iceland. Indeed, it is becoming socially accepted, and expected, that women are equally represented in all spheres of society.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The path towards gender equality has certainly not always been a smooth sailing and trailblazers often play a key role in driving transformative changes. In Iceland, for example, we would not be where we are today without the pioneering women that brought these issues to the political agenda in the first place.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I believe it is also of utmost importance to involve male decision-makers in this dialogue. Engaging men and increasing awareness is a key contributor in making inclusive decision-making processes and equal opportunities the new normal.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We need to keep in mind that gender equality and women’s empowerment benefit us all and lead to greater prosperity for everyone.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let us work together and learn from each other by sharing knowledge and good practices - and support one another on the journey towards gender parity.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you.</span></p>
15. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriStatement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson at the 65th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Ministerial Roundtable 1 at the Commission of the Status of Women</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Getting to parity: good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>15 March 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson,</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Dear chair, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I am glad to join you today to share some good practices towards achieving women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life. </p> <p>Ensuring women’s participation in public life is a fundamental element of an open society, in which people can determine their own future and shape their community. Doing so, also ensures that women’s needs, interests and experiences are reflected and addressed in decision-making processes, resulting in outcomes that are more inclusive and democratic.</p> <p>In Iceland we have been fortunate to see valuable progress on this front. </p> <p>Good practices that have delivered results include the introduction of special measures and legislation such as paid parental leave for both parents and affordable day care. </p> <p>Not only have these measures contributed directly to the high level of women’s labour participation, which ranks at the top of the OECD countries, but they have also ensured that women increasingly have a seat at the decision-making table, be it in the public or private sector. </p> <p>In our experience, it has also become evident that these special measures have changed social norms in Iceland. Indeed, it is becoming socially accepted, and expected, that women are equally represented in all spheres of society.</p> <p>The path towards gender equality has certainly not always been a smooth sailing and trailblazers often play a key role in driving transformative changes. In Iceland, for example, we would not be where we are today without the pioneering women that brought these issues to the political agenda in the first place.</p> <p>I believe it is also of utmost importance to involve male decision-makers in this dialogue. Engaging men and increasing awareness is a key contributor in making inclusive decision-making processes and equal opportunities the new normal.</p> <p>We need to keep in mind that gender equality and women’s empowerment benefit us all and lead to greater prosperity for everyone. </p> <p>Let us work together and learn from each other by sharing knowledge and good practices - and support one another on the journey towards gender parity.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
10. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp í umræðu um Venesúela<span></span> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">Madame President,</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">We thank the members of the independent international fact-finding mission for their work.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">Last September, Iceland condemned here in this Council the systematic violence committed by Venezuela´s authorities, aimed at suppressing political opposition in the country. </span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">Efforts to refuse ordinary citizens and opposition politicians their human rights, including civil and political rights, have continued in Venezuela with the elections held last December a case in point. The electoral process was marked by repression and the outcome was far from credible, but rather one more example of the undemocratic nature of President Maduro´s rule.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">Madame President,</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">We note once more that Venezuela is an elected member of this Council and as such should be seeking to uphold the highest standards of human rights. Clearly its government is not doing so and we both regret this and find it deplorable.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">We would like to ask the members of the fact-finding mission whether they can see any indication that the Maduro regime may in the near future begin to take steps that would guarantee the respect and protection of human rights in Venezuela.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">I thank you.</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: #4a4a4a;">&nbsp;</span></p>
10. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi Sameinuðu þjóðanna um sjálfbæra orku og heimsmarkmiðin<p><span><strong>Global Champion of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy<br /> Virtual Launch Programme<br /> High-Level Dialogue on Energy 2021: A Year of Energy Action<br /> 10<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span> March 2021</strong><br /> </span></p> <p><span>Excellencies.</span></p> <p><span>It is with great pleasure that I participate in this virtual launch of the high-level dialogue on energy, which I believe could be the beginning of something really meaningful.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland has joined the dialogue as a Global Champion for Theme three on enabling the Sustainable Development Goals through inclusive and just energy transitions.</span></p> <p><span>We believe that sustainable energy for all is critical for achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals and see this High-level Dialogue as part of a long-term push towards achieving SDG7.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland has a long history of utilizing sustainable energy. For almost 100 years our heating and electricity has been generated through sustainable means, not least hydro and geothermal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Our food, fisheries and agricultural sectors have also benefitted from clean energy and I believe there is great potential for developing countries in harnessing geothermal resources to enhance food security.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>This calls for an increased focus on green investment in direct geothermal use in agriculture and aquaculture to increase production, and to minimize food waste.</span></p> <p><span>We have also long championed a focus on gender equality in the transition to sustainable energy production and use – and we see it as a fundamental aspect of inclusive and just energy transitions.</span></p> <p><span>Excellencies.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland will gladly co-host the planned Ministerial-level Thematic Forum for Theme III and is looking forward to coordinating with the other Global Champions, as well as a wide range of other actors, including civil society. We also stand ready to conduct outreach and mobilize Energy Compacts.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Let 2021 be a year for energy action. I am looking forward to champion inclusive and just energy transitions.<br /> </span></p>
10. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriStatement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson at Global Champion of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy - Virtual Launch Programme<h3 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Global Champion of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Virtual Launch Programme</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>High-Level Dialogue on Energy 2021: A Year of Energy Action</strong></p> <p>Excellencies.</p> <p>It is with great pleasure that I participate in this virtual launch of the high-level dialogue on energy, which I believe could be the beginning of something really meaningful. </p> <p>Iceland has joined the dialogue as a Global Champion for Theme three on enabling the Sustainable Development Goals through inclusive and just energy transitions.</p> <p>We believe that sustainable energy for all is critical for achieving <span style="text-decoration: underline;">all the</span> Sustainable Development Goals and see this High-level Dialogue as part of a long-term push towards achieving SDG7.</p> <p>Iceland has a long history of utilizing sustainable energy. For almost 100 years our heating and electricity has been generated through sustainable means, not least hydro and geothermal. </p> <p>Our food, fisheries and agricultural sectors have also benefitted from clean energy and I believe there is great potential for developing countries in harnessing geothermal resources to enhance food security. </p> <p>This calls for an increased focus on green investment in direct geothermal use in agriculture and aquaculture to increase production, and to minimize food waste.</p> <p>We have also long championed a focus on gender equality in the transition to sustainable energy production and use – and we see it as a fundamental aspect of inclusive and just energy transitions.</p> <p>Excellencies.</p> <p>Iceland will gladly co-host the planned Ministerial-level Thematic Forum for Theme III and is looking forward to coordinating with the other Global Champions, as well as a wide range of other actors, including civil society. We also stand ready to conduct outreach and mobilize Energy Compacts. </p> <p>Let 2021 be a year for energy action. I am looking forward to champion inclusive and just energy transitions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
08. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement at the Arria Formula Meeting on "Ensuring the Full, Equal and Meaningful Participation of Women in UN-led Peace Processes"<span></span> <h1>Statement by Finland on behalf of the Nordic countries at the Arria Formula Meeting on 'Ensuring the Full, Equal and Meaningful Participation of Women in UN-led Peace Processes' 8 March 2021</h1> <p>Read the statement by Finland on behalf of the Nordic countries at the Arria Formula Meeting on 'Ensuring the Full, Equal and Meaningful Participation of Women in UN-led Peace Processes' delivered by H.E. Mr. Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN on March 8th, 2021.</p> <p>Thank you Mister/Madam Chair</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.</p> <p>Today we celebrate the intrinsic value of women’s full, equal and meaningful participation, and its crucial benefits for our societies. Without women, there can be no inclusive and sustainable peace. Unfortunately, inclusive peace processes are still a rare exception. We need concrete steps to change that.</p> <p>We fully support the Secretary-General’s System-Wide Gender Parity Strategy, and welcome his Call to Action to Advance Women’s Role in Transforming Peace and Security. We reiterate our call for concrete steps to make women’s full, equal and meaningful participation a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and peace processes that the UN leads or co-leads.</p> <p>***</p> <p>The Nordics work hard to enhance the implementation of the WPS agenda.</p> <p>We commit to including the views and competences of women living in conflict or crisis-affected areas, in all peace and conflict resolution efforts. At the Security Council, briefings from women civil society representatives lead to better-informed decisions.</p> <p>We pay attention to linking formal and informal processes and ensuring a gender focus in all stages of the peace and conflict continuum. Regular consultations with women’s organizations are crucial, and their recommendations must be followed up and acted upon, including in the Security Council. The Nordics continue efforts to strengthen mandates and to monitor that they translate into concrete action on the ground.</p> <p>Gender analysis and gender disaggregated data in reporting from conflict situations are another imperative. Security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes must include a gender perspective in order to achieve inclusive transitions.</p> <p>We emphasize the need for sustainable funding and call for increased official development assistance to promote women’s participation and leadership in building and sustaining peace. To that end, the Nordics will secure sustainable and long-term investments to promote women’s and girls’ rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.</p> <p>***</p> <p>The Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks is one example illustrating the vast number of women with relevant expertise and experience. Women, including young women, are strong agents for positive change. Their potential and participation is required in all peace negotiation delegations and relevant mechanisms for the implementation of peace agreements.</p> <p>We call on the UN to ensure that Special Envoys and Special Representatives take steps towards women’s systematic inclusion in peace processes, for example by urging parties in a conflict to include women in their delegations and by consulting regularly with women’s civil society groups. Gender Advisors should be appointed in all missions. Training and practical guidance are a must.</p> <p>***</p> <p>Our to-do list is long. We must urgently act on our promises and make women’s leadership and meaningful participation in peace processes a norm, not an exception.</p> <p>Thank you and let us keep the focus on this important topic – not only on the International Women’s Day but consistently, throughout the year!</p>
08. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriA statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security at UNSC open Arria-Formula Meeting<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>United Nations Security Council Open Arria-Formula Meeting<br /> <br /> Call to Lead by Example: Ensuring the Full, Equal and Meaningful Participation of Women in UN-led Peace Processes<br /> <br /> Statement by Canada as Chair of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><br /> 8 March 2021</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam / Mister President / Moderator,</p> <p>I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace, and Security, an informal network of 64 interested Member States<a href="file:///C:/Users/r03viol/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/BKP8U4SY/FINAL%20Arria-Formula%20Meeting%20Full%20Equal%20and%20Meaningful%20Participation%20of%20Women%20in%20UN%20Led%20Peace%20Processes.docx#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1">[1]</a> and the European Union, chaired by Canada, representing all five regional groups of the United Nations. </p> <p>On this International Women’s Day, our Group thanks the co-sponsors of this Arria-Formula meeting and the briefers for convening this important meeting to highlight the importance of the full and effective implementation of the WPS agenda as it relates to the leadership and participation of women in UN-led peace and political processes.</p> <p>The Group emphasizes that women’s participation in peace processes is not only desirable, it is essential to achieving sustainable peace. It is critical for women to have full, equal and meaningful participation in all aspects of peace and security.</p> <p>The UN must lead by example in this regard. The Group would therefore like to reiterate its call made last October “on the UN to aim towards making women’s full, equal and meaningful participation a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and the peace processes it leads or co-leads”.&nbsp; </p> <p>In closing, the Group recognizes that respect for women’s human rights and gender equality are critical and complementary in order to ensure women’s full participation. This includes participating without fear or risk of any form of violence or retaliation. These issues are key and need to be addressed concurrently to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes.</p> <p>Thank you.&nbsp; </p> <div><br clear="all" /> <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div id="ftn1"> <p><a href="file:///C:/Users/r03viol/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/BKP8U4SY/FINAL%20Arria-Formula%20Meeting%20Full%20Equal%20and%20Meaningful%20Participation%20of%20Women%20in%20UN%20Led%20Peace%20Processes.docx#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1">[1]</a> Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States of America, Zambia. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div>
05. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp í umræðu um vernd þeirra sem berjast fyrir mannréttindum fyrir hönd Norðurlanda og Balta<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you, Madame President.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We thank the Special Rapporteur for her efforts for the protection of those who daily put their lives at risk to promote and protect human rights. It is the sad reality that human rights defenders too often are subject to violent attacks, harassment, death threats and killings.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We express our dismay that many of these threats that are made against women and LGBTI+ defenders are gendered.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">As the Rapporteur highlights, these attacks rarely happen in a vacuum. They take place in a context of structural violence and inequality and they are often preceded by threats, including death threats.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">States cannot feign ignorance or avoid addressing the structural issues that underpin such threats and attacks. Human rights defenders play a critical role in advancing human rights and States have a responsibility to ensure a safe and enabling environment for them. We need to act before smears and other abuse escalate into physical assaults and killings. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President, </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We would like to ask the Rapporteur what more the UN and Member States can do to step up efforts of early intervention in response to threats against human rights defenders to prevent attacks and killings?</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>
04. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÖflug málafylgja á mannréttindasviðinu<p><span>Mannréttindi eru einn af hornsteinum íslenskrar utanríkisstefnu og þess vegna tölum við í utanríkisþjónustunni hvarvetna fyrir mannréttindum, bæði á vettvangi alþjóðastofnana og í tvíhliða samskiptum við önnur ríki.</span></p> <p><span></span>Í þessum efnum er mannréttindaráð Sameinuðu þjóðanna mikilvægasti vettvangurinn. Fjögur ár eru síðan ég ávarpaði ráðið fyrstur íslenskra utanríkisráðherra og í síðustu viku flutti ég þar ræðu í fimmta sinn. Reynslan sýnir að með skeleggri framgöngu getum við vel látið gott af okkur leiða þannig að eftir sé tekið. </p> <h4>Mikilvægasta verkefnið</h4> <p>Ísland átti sæti í mannréttindaráðinu á árunum 2018-2019 en um er að ræða eitt mikilvægasta verkefni sem íslenskri utanríkisþjónustu hefur verið falið. Þótt kjör Íslands hafi borið brátt að náðum við öllum þeim meginmarkmiðum sem lagt var upp með. Þar bar hæst þegar Ísland leiddi hóp 36 ríkja í gagnrýni á stjórnvöld í Sádi-Arabíu og skoraði á þau að bæta mannréttindi í landinu, ekki síst réttindi kvenna. Þetta var í fyrsta sinn sem staða mannréttinda í Sádi-Arabíu var tekin fyrir með þessum hætti í mannréttindaráðinu og vakti fyrir vikið heimsathygli. Mannréttindaráðið samþykkti einnig að okkar frumkvæði ályktun sem fól í sér að tekin yrði saman skýrsla um gróf mannréttindabrot á Filippseyjum.</p> <p>Þótt erfitt sé að meta beinan árangur af málafylgju af þessum toga er það staðreynd að í kjölfar þessarar gagnrýni fundu stjórnvöld á hvorum stað sig knúin til að bregðast við. Hvað Filippseyjar varðar þá áttum við í kjölfar þess að umrædd skýrsla kom út samstarf við stjórnvöld þar um nýja ályktun sem fól í sér að þau eigi samstarf við skrifstofu mannréttindafulltrúa Sameinuðu þjóðanna um úrbætur. Að því er varðar Sádi-Arabíu bárust þau gleðitíðindi fyrir skemmstu að stjórnvöld leystu úr haldi kunna baráttukonu fyrir mannréttindum, Loujain al-Hathloul. Hennar helsti glæpur var sá helst að tala fyrir því að konur fengju að aka bifreiðum. </p> <h4>Jafnréttis- og hinseginmál í forgrunni</h4> <p><span>Á vettvangi mannréttindaráðsins lögðum við líka áherslu á að leiða í jákvæðan farveg umræður um brotthvarf hins sérstaka dagskrárliðar mannréttindaráðsins um málefni Ísraels og Palestínu en ekkert annað ríki en Ísrael þarf að sæta því að heyra undir sérstakan dagskrárlið, hvorki Venesúela né Mjanmar, svo dæmi séu tekin. Þetta ójafnvægi í umfjöllun ráðsins hafa gagnrýnendur þess einmitt oft hent á lofti til að rökstyðja hvers vegna ekki eigi að virða það viðlits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Í núverandi fundarlotu ráðsins leiðum við nú í fyrsta sinn hóp ríkja sem leggur fram ályktun um stöðu mannréttinda í Íran en með henni er tryggt að sérstakur skýrslugjafi ráðsins um þau mál hefur áfram umboð til starfa. Þá hefur þegar farið fram sérstök umræða um stöðu mála í Mjanmar og tók Ísland þar drjúgan þátt.</span></p> <p><span>Jafnréttismál eru ætíð ofarlega á dagskrá í málflutningi okkar, í mannréttindaráðinu sem annars staðar, og við tölum líka skýrt og skorinort um réttindi hinsegin fólks. Við tökum þátt í starfi sérstaks kjarnahópi ríkja um LGBTI-málefni í mannréttindanefnd allsherjarþings Sameinuðu þjóðanna, sem er auðveldara um að tala en í að komast, og við gerðumst líka aðilar að Equal Rights Coalition, bandalagi ríkja sem beitir sér fyrir réttindum hinsegin fólks.&nbsp;</span>Þá höfum við gerst aðilar að fjölmiðlafrelsisbandalagi sem Bretland og Kanada höfðu frumkvæði að því að stofna sumarið 2019 (Media Freedom Coalition) og erum við þar virkir þátttakendur síðan.&nbsp;</p> <h4><span>Leiðarljós þróunarsamvinnu</span></h4> <p><span>Mannréttindi eru enn fremur höfð að leiðarljósi framvegis í allri þróunarsamvinnu Íslands og aukin áhersla lögð á málsvarastarf í samstarfsríkjum okkar, m.a. með tilliti til réttindastöðu hinsegin fólks. Í þessu sambandi má nefna að við höfum beint fjármunum til verkefnis í þágu hinsegin fólks, Free &amp; Equal, sem skrifstofa mannréttindafulltrúa Sameinuðu þjóðanna stendur fyrir. Við höfum einnig styrkt Global Equality Fund en á vettvangi hans taka líkt þenkjandi ríki höndum saman og styðja við málsvara mannréttinda og grundvallarréttinda hinsegin fólks í þróunarlöndum.</span></p> <p><span>Þegar ég lít yfir farinn veg get ég ekki annað sagt en að ég sé stoltur af frammistöðu starfsfólks utanríkisþjónustunnar og þeim árangri sem náðst hefur. Ég er einnig stoltur af því hversu góðan málstað Ísland hefur að verja og beinskeyttan boðskap að flytja, boðskap sem byggist á trúnni á algild mannréttindi sem allir eiga að njóta, óháð uppruna, trú eða húðlit. Ég er sannfærður um að í náinni framtíð eigum við eftir að ná að stíga enn fleiri skref saman í rétta átt.</span></p> <p><span><em>Greinin birtist í Morgunblaðinu 4. mars 2021.</em></span></p>
03. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp í umræðu um trúfrelsi fyrir hönd Norðurlanda og Balta<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Madame President.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We thank the Special Rapporteur for his presentation and underline the importance of our collective efforts for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief, work that is as important now as ever with reports of rise in religiously motivated violence and discrimination.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We take note of the report, which we look forward to examine in detail.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is crucial to tackle widespread discrimination, hatred and unfair and illegal treatment of Muslims in all parts of the world, including State policies that penalize or marginalize Muslims.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me underline the commitment of our countries against any form of violence, discrimination, intimidation or harassment, based on a person’s beliefs or the perception thereof. As part of our efforts to build tolerant and inclusive societies we have implemented national policies to counter any such action.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Finally, Madame President, as the Rapporteur highlights, the term islamophobia has at times been unfairly misused, including to target legislators and human rights activists such as those supporting women’s human rights and others. How can we work together to ensure that our efforts to tackle hate directed at Muslims do not jeopardize free speech and advocacy?</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>
01. mars 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á framlagaráðstefnu vegna Jemen<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Ávarp ráðherra á framlagaráðstefnu vegna Jemen <br /> 1. mars 2021<br /> <br /> </strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Ladies and Gentlemen, </p> <p style="text-align: left;">As we gather here today, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world. The country is on the brink of a famine, a famine, which will be the most dire we have seen in decades, if not stopped.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The need for effective, efficient, and strategic funding for humanitarian operations in Yemen has therefore never been as urgent. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Iceland is committed to play its part, and today I am announcing a three-year pledge of a total value of 285 million Icelandic krona, or 95 million per year. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The funds will be directed through three of Iceland’s priority humanitarian partners, WFP, UNFPA and OCHA – all of which are playing a critical role in Yemen. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">This year, the breakdown will be as follows:</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: left;">25 million Icelandic krona will go to OCHA’s Yemen Humanitarian Fund, enabling OCHA to mobilise and channel resources to humanitarian partners based on critical needs of millions of Yemenis affected by the&nbsp;crisis;</li> <li style="text-align: left;">30 million Icelandic krona will go to WFP which is providing food assistance to the most vulnerable, but malnutrition rates among women and children in Yemen are among the highest in the world; and</li> <li style="text-align: left;">40 million Icelandic krona will go to UNFPA, which plays a leading role in protecting Yemeni women and girls from gender-based violence and maintaining their dignity and respect. It is a well-known fact that in times of crisis, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence and exploitation as families and communities become dispersed and chaotic conditions contribute to a sense of lawlessness. It is, therefore, critical to provide funding for humanitarian actors such as UNFPA.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;">Iceland is a devoted human rights advocate, and as such I would also like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of respect for international humanitarian law and unhindered humanitarian access in Yemen. It is absolutely vital that all aid agencies operating in the country can deliver effective assistance and that civilians are protected. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">In closing, let me stress how the vicious cycle of violence in Yemen remains deeply concerning. The people of Yemen have suffered too much and too long. The conflict needs to be brought to an end through a durable political solution. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you. </p>
26. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriRæða Íslands í umræðum um munnlega yfirlitsskýrslu mannréttindafulltrúa Sameinuðu þjóðanna-HRC46<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Madame President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland thanks the High Commissioner for her Oral Update. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We remain concerned over reports from <strong>Ethiopia</strong> of human rights violations and abuses, with the humanitarian crisis in <strong>Tigray </strong>of particular concern. We call for the full and unhindered access to the region, so relief can be brought to those in need and reports of violations and abuses investigated.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We would like to raise concerning reports of rise in religiously motivated violence and discrimination. In <strong>Sri Lanka</strong> we have seen an intensification of discrimination against ethno- religious minorities, with increased surveillance and monitoring of Christian places of worship and government mandated cremation. In <strong>Algeria </strong>we have reports of forced closures of Protestant churches and other places of worship, as well as arbitrary application of COVID-19 restrictions. In <strong>India </strong>reports of Christians and other ethno- religious minorities being targeted for their beliefs seem to support this worrying trend.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Finally, Madame President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me reiterate that international humanitarian law must be respected when it comes to <strong>Nagorno-Karabakh </strong>and the provisions of the November cease-fire agreement on the exchange of prisoners of war and the repatriation of human remains should be fully implemented. We join calls for the negotiation of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict resulting in lasting peace in the region.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p>
26. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriRæða Íslands í umræðu um skýrslu mannréttindafulltrúans um stöðu mannréttinda í Hvíta-Rússlandi<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Madame President, and thank you to the High Commissioner for her report and the panelist today for their presentations.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We reiterate our concerns over the use of widespread violence against peaceful demonstrators, journalists and other media workers, as well as harassment, persecution, and unlawful detention of political activists, human rights defenders and others following the recent election in Belarus. All perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">As highlighted in the High Commissioners report, this unfortunately is underpinned by a long-standing, chronic pattern of systemic violations and impunity in the country, with the recent violations in the context of the elections leading to a human rights crisis of a magnitude unprecedented in Belarus.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We urge the Belarussian authorities to fully implement the recommendations of the High Commissioner and release unlawfully detained persons and support efforts to conduct an independent and transparent investigation into allegations of torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and other ill-treatment of detained persons.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We will continue to support a democratic, independent, and prosperous Belarus and call on the current Government to initiate a dialogue that will contribute to that end; as well as foster a new climate of respect for human rights and democracy.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>
24. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriÁvarp á fundi ríkjabandalags um fjölþjóðasamvinnu<p><strong>Ávarp á fundi ríkjabandalags um fjölþjóðasamvinnu (Alliance for Multilateralism)</strong></p> <p><span>Excellencies,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Over the past year, the world has faced the enormous challenge of a global pandemic.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>It has underscored that in tackling global challenges, we need to pursue multilateralism and cooperation, not unilateralism and confrontation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>And the global challenges of our times are many.</span></p> <p><span>First, securing human rights in the online environment is becoming ever more pertinent.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Indeed, while modern technology has brought valuable benefits, it has also provided tools to negatively disrupt civil discourse, sometimes undermining our democratic values and freedom of media.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Multilateral initiatives can play a key role in countering these trends, such as the Media Freedom Coalition, of which Iceland is a proud member.</span></p> <p><span>Second, as we jointly address our greatest common challenge - climate change - it is imperative to consider human rights in climate action.</span></p> <p><span>Climate change disproportionally effects the poorest and most vulnerable, not least women and girls. We therefore need to incorporate gender perspectives in all climate-related initiatives.</span></p> <p><span>Lastly, global health emergencies such as Covid-19 can only be addressed through concerted multilateral efforts.</span></p> <p>Equal access to vaccines is critical, and so is a multilateral approach to the indirect economic and social impacts of the pandemic.</p> <p>Iceland is committed to play its part, including through support to Act-A.</p> <p>It is also key that lessons from this pandemic feed into a strong global health emergencies’ preparedness and response framework.</p> <p>In closing, multilateralism cannot be taken for granted. It needs to be continuously nurtured and adapted to the evolving global landscape. </p> <p>We are stronger together, than apart.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div>
23. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement delivered at High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Climate related Risks<div> <h1>Joint Nordic Statement delivered at High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Addressing Climate-related Risks to International Peace and Security Through Mitigation and Resilience Building on 23 February, 2021</h1> </div> <div> <div>Delivered by H.E. Mr. Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark</div> </div> <div class="col-sm-12 module richtxt" style="box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; min-height: 1px; padding-left: 10px; padding-right: 10px; float: left; width: 716px; clear: both; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,<br /> <br /> Members of the Security Council,<br /> <br /> I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Addressing climate-related security risks is key to sustaining peace. Allow us to suggest four key actions for member states, the Security Council and the UN:<br /> <br /> First, in countries affected by the dual burden of climate change and conflict, climate-related security risks must be part of national mitigation and adaptation policies and plans.&nbsp;Climate action should be conflict sensitive; and conflict interventions should be climate sensitive.&nbsp;This includes considering climate risks in conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, and ensuring that post-conflict economic recovery is not based on unsustainable use and management of natural resources.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Second,&nbsp;the Security Council should continue to mandate and resource UN peace operations to consider climate-related security risks where relevant.&nbsp;This includes strengthened cooperation with civil society, weather organizations and regional and sub-regional actors on climate-sensitive analysis and early warning. We should build on the good work of the UN Climate Security Mechanism in this regard.&nbsp;We also hope to see closer engagement between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Third,&nbsp;a regular report by the Secretary-General on climate-related security risks could improve our ability to take action on climate-related security risks.&nbsp;There are also linkages with human rights, violent extremism, gender equality, displacement and irregular migration.<br /> <br /> Finally, in support of the Women Peace and Security-framework,&nbsp;we must advance women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in defining and addressing climate-related risks.&nbsp;Women and girls play key roles in sustainable solutions in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, health and water. And they are often disproportionately affected by climate change and insecurity. Applying a gender-transformative approach to climate and security interventions is crucial.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> In closing, climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Fragile contexts and vulnerable communities suffer the biggest impact, but addressing the problem is a collective responsibility. It requires cooperation, renewed multilateralism and solidarity.<br /> <br /> Thank you.</p> <br /> <div>&nbsp;</div> </div>
23. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriRæða utanríkis- og þróunarsamvinnuráðherra í 46. fundalotu mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna<p><span>Mannréttindaráð Sameinuðu þjóðanna<br /> Ræða Guðlaugs Þórs Þórðarsonar utanríkisráðherra<br /> Genf, 23. febrúar 2021<br /> <br /> Madame President,<br /> Excellencies,<br /> <br /> Since we last came together at the High-Level week of the Human Rights Council, humanity has been faced with the extraordinary challenge of a global pandemic.&nbsp;<br /> There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has tested governments and ordinary citizens alike. Finding the appropriate balance between restrictions and openness has been a challenge for all of us, as we strive to safe both lives and livelihoods.&nbsp;<br /> Nevertheless, the pandemic should not be used to justify long-term restrictions of civil liberties and freedom. We need to call out efforts to this effect and we must, as a matter of priority, re-double our efforts on behalf of the values we hold so dear: peace and security, rule of law and human rights, including those of women and girls and the LGBTI+ community.&nbsp;<br /> It is true, without a shadow of a doubt, that building back from COVID-19 will be a challenge – but it is also an opportunity to do it better and greener, with human rights at the centre.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Madame President,</span></p> <p><span>Human rights are a fundamental part of Iceland’s foreign policy and over the past few years, Iceland has significantly raised its engagement with the Human Rights Council.<br /> Human rights are universal, and Iceland will not shy away from calling on all and any of the members of this Council to live up to their human rights obligations and commitments. Together, we must bring attention to serious violations, as millions of people are not able exercise their fundamental human rights and freedoms.&nbsp;<br /> In 2019, Lujain al-Hathloul was one of ten human rights defenders mentioned in the first joint statement on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, given by Iceland on behalf of 36 states.&nbsp;<br /> We welcome the Saudi government’s decision to respond to the international call for her release. I sincerely hope that this is a sign of a more profound reform and brighter days for the women and human rights defenders of Saudi Arabia.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>In keeping with our approach of constructive criticism, we do not hesitate to work with those countries on paving the way forward.&nbsp;<br /> Iceland had been a vocal critic of the Philippine’s human rights record, calling for an end to extrajudicial executions, and harassment of journalists and human rights activists. A report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, issued by this Council in June of last year, laid bare the extent to which these issues had become endemic.&nbsp;<br /> However, to move the dial on this, it was imperative to find a practical way forward. That is why Iceland worked with the Philippines on a joint resolution addressing their human rights situation, which was passed by this Council in September. Allow me to use this opportunity to thank the Philippines for their cooperation on the resolution.&nbsp;<br /> Of course, actions speak louder than words. It is now up to the Government of the Philippines to continue working with the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant stakeholders to implement the resolution.</span></p> <p><span>Madame President,</span></p> <p><span>When Iceland was elected to serve on the Human Rights Council for half-a-term in mid-2018 it was to take the seat of the United States of America, following their resignation. We are pleased to see the US now returning to active engagement with this important institution.<br /> Let me stress that to me this Council is by no means a perfect body. However, a dialogue is always for the good, even when we disagree, while the absence of dialogue only serves to protect human rights violators. That is why we must work hard to reform the Council, rather than to disengage and leave it to others to shape as they wish.<br /> An issue which I personally keep returning to concerns the elected membership of this Council. I have said this before, but I believe it is worth repeating: Council members must be held to high standards when it comes to the respect for human rights. It does not help neither the credibility, nor the functioning, of the Council when gross human rights abusers are repeatedly elected to serve in this forum.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Last year, I noted that the election of Venezuela had sent all the wrong signals in this respect. This year I must stress that recent developments in the Russian Federation – a newly elected member of the Council – give a serious cause for concern. We call on Russian authorities to use their membership of the Human Rights Council as a springboard for a new approach, where universal human rights truly mean every individual is guaranteed full rights, including the freedom of speech and peaceful protest, as well as other civil and political rights.<br /> We have regrettably seen a deterioration of respect for civil and political rights in many other states, including in Russia´s neighbouring state of Belarus and in Hong Kong, where authorities have taken steps to undermine democracy, civil rights, and the rule of law. Elsewhere, in places such as Myanmar, imperfect democracy has been done away with altogether.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Madame President,</span></p> <p><span>In too many countries, people are persecuted because of their faith, their political views or their sexual orientation. Human rights defenders and journalists risk their lives and liberties every day for calling out these injustices and for engaging in an open, democratic debate. We have a collective duty to promote and protect the human rights and freedom of all.&nbsp;<br /> The role of this Council has perhaps never been as important, and it is incumbent on us to engage in an open dialogue on how to correct the course and head towards greater respect for human rights and the sanctity of human life, everywhere and at all times.&nbsp;<br /> I thank you Madame President.<br /> <br /> <em>Ræðan var flutt í 46. fundarlotu mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna 23. febrúar 2021</em></span></p>
15. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Statement at the Executive Board of UN Women First Regular Session 2021 delivered by Mr. Jónas G. Allansson, Deputy Permanent Representative<p>Thank you Madam/Mr President. I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland as well as Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. </p> <p>I would like to begin by thanking UN Women’s Independent Evaluation Service for the evaluation of UN Women’s support to National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. The evaluation’s findings, conclusions and recommendations are well received. We commend the evaluation team for finalizing this evaluation despite the limitations faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of focus group discussions with direct beneficiaries limited the ability to evaluate to what extent national action plans are valuable tools for driving the women, peace and security agenda, especially at national and local levels. </p> <p>We thank UN Women for its management response, which clearly demonstrates its commitment to act on the recommendations provided, and we take particular note of the added focus on transformative change which we believe is important to guide future interventions. However, we would welcome more detailed information on when various measures should be implemented and how they will be followed-up.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Madam/Mr. President,</p> <p>Last year marked the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, emphasizing the importance, and the inherent right, of women to fully, equally and meaningfully participate in peace, security and reconstruction processes at all levels of decision making. </p> <p>The National Action Plans, or NAPs, are important tools for translating global women, peace and security commitments into concrete strategies at a national level. </p> <p>Currently about 90 UN member states have prepared their own NAPs, but unfortunately not all are adequately resourced, implemented or monitored. These action plans have the potential to move us from rhetoric to action and to achieving transformative results throughout the full 1325 agenda. </p> <p>We welcome the new strategic plan’s further articulation of how UN Women will implement its coordination mandate and ensure increased synergies between its triple mandate at global, regional, and national level, both within UN Women and across the UN Development System and beyond. </p> <p>While the responsibility for the implementation of NAPs lies with national governments, UN Women and its partners, including other UN Agencies, play a pivotal role at all levels, providing leadership, sharing knowledge, advocating for and mainstreaming the women, peace and security agenda. This demands strategic approaches to implementation based on evidence and well documented practices of what works. Hence, we welcome further elaboration of UN Women’s operationalization of findings and recommendations in the evaluation.</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Madam/Mr. President,</p> <p>We note the evaluation’s finding that UN Women’s support to NAPs advances gender equality more broadly by promoting inclusive processes, supporting women’s empowerment and leadership, and raising awareness of gender equality. </p> <p>UN Women’s strong focus on the importance of national ownership and implementation of NAPs for long-term sustainability is much appreciated. It could be further strengthened through the inclusion of actors not directly involved in NAP processes, as highlighted in the evaluation. This is important to build broader ownership among a wider set of actors. </p> <p>In this regard, the evaluation also points to the importance of UN Women supporting the integration of NAPs into other national strategies and plans, integrating its WPS efforts into its other thematic result areas such as violence against women, women’s political and economic empowerment and participation, as well as preventing and countering violent extremism and promoting safety online. This approach would strengthen the NAPs.</p> <p>Adequate level of funding and human resources is needed to provide meaningful support to NAP implementation. The funding also needs to be sustainable and long-term. Therefore, we fully agree with the evaluation’s recommendation that UN Women should assess the level and type of funding required and articulate how financial resources are linked to results. We would also welcome increased allocations of regular resources to the WPS agenda, noting 96 per cent of resources are non-regular. </p> <p>Finally, we would like to thank UN Women for its support to the global COVID-19 response, ensuring gender equality is fully integrated. This also includes adapting and refocusing the WPS work to directly address the challenges posed by COVID-19. Ensuring flexibility to adapt to emerging situations is critical for a high-impact NAP. </p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Mr./Madam President, </p> <p>With conflicts and crises becoming more complex and protracted, it is more important than ever to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts and that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout all stages of peace and security-related work. We count on UN Women to lead the way in enhancing women’s engagement for sustainable peace and to continue to advance the women, peace and security agenda.</p>
12. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriRæða Íslands í sérstakri fundalotu mannréttindaráðsins um stöðu mannréttinda í Mjanmar<span></span> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">Madame President,</span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">Iceland is deeply concerned over the situation in Myanmar. </span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">We condemn the recent military coup and the subsequent actions of the Myanmar security forces who have arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of people. We call for the immediate release of all civilians, including all political leaders. </span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">We remind the Myanmar military of their duty under international law to refrain from using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators protesting against the military coup. The world is indeed watching.</span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">Madame President,</span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">This is not the first time the situation in Myanmar is discussed by this august body. </span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">The Myanmar security forces stand accused of having committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. The civilian leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi has faced condemnation as well for defending these acts. </span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">However, Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the NLD, were the clear victors of the recent election. Its results must be recognized and the democratically elected government of Myanmar reinstated. Only with proper democracy, respect for human rights and accountability for serious international crimes can the people of Myanmar enjoy the future they rightly deserve.</span></p> <p class="paragraph-paragraph-2bgue" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #313132; font-size: 16pt;">I thank you.</span></p>
09. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriStatement on behalf of LGBTI UN Core Group at the 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development <p style="text-align: left;"><strong style="text-align: left;">59<sup>th</sup> SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>GENERAL DEBATE</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Statement delivered on behalf of </strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>LGBTI UN Core Group by</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>H.E. Vanessa FRAZIER</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the LGBTI Core Group for the first time in the Commission for Social Development.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The LGBTI Core Group is an informal cross regional group established in 2008. The group is co-chaired by Argentina and The Netherlands, and includes Albania, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, the European Union, as well as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the non-governmental organizations Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our overarching goal is to work within the United Nations framework to ensure universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals without distinction, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, including lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons. Our particular focus is on protecting LGBTI persons from violence and discrimination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The main theme of this session “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all” is fundamental for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals contained in the 2030 Agenda and the pledge that all of us made to leave no one behind, including LGBTI persons.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Digital technologies offer new opportunities for achieving the SDGs and the objectives defined in the World Summit for Social Development and they are key instruments for eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive employment and fostering social inclusion for all, including LGBTI persons. But there are also some risks that have to be addressed, when talking about digital technologies, for example to the right to privacy of children and adults, the negative impact artificial intelligence or machine-learning technologies can have, in particular when employed for identification, tracking, profiling, facial recognition, classifying and behavioral prediction or scoring of individuals without proper technical, regulatory, legal and ethical safeguards, transparency policies as well as data protection frameworks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore, we need to promote the use of digital technologies &nbsp;as a tool to protect human rights of persons in vulnerable situations, such as LGBTI persons, and foster their use to counter the multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination faced by them, including hate speech, cyberbullying, cyberstalking and online violence. We should make sure to bridge the digital divide between countries as well as between privileged and disadvantaged persons that are excluded by the digital divide. In that regard, we encourage this Commission to highlight the importance of implementing national policies based on international human rights law and full inclusion for LGBTI persons across the globe, so that no one is left behind.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The COVID-19 has increased the pace of digital technology. It is also an opportunity to re-evaluate the benefits and challenges of new working methods that we adopted in less than a year. While incorporating these new changes to our work, we should embrace all kinds of diversities, be inclusive to the needs and of the sensitives of all persons belonging to minorities, including LGBTI. We should be able to use digital transformation as a platform to spread the message of diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance for everyone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With ten years left for the completion of the 2030 Agenda, the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is posing unprecedented and multifaceted challenges to social development and the well-being of people worldwide, hitting those in vulnerable situations the hardest. Among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the vulnerable situation of LGBTI persons worsened. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the economic situation of LGBTI individuals, who face greater risks of unemployment, poverty and exclusion. &nbsp;Because many in the LGBTI community work in the informal sector, they often lack access to paid sick leave, unemployment compensation, and coverage. As a result of the dramatic economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and the lack of sustainable structure to maintain economic well-being in times of crisis, these individuals are even more exposed to poverty and multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Restrictions on the freedom of movement may impede access to medical treatment and care. This affects individuals on medication for chronic conditions and persons with disabilities, as well as transgender and intersex individuals who may have specific health requirements. Given overloaded health systems, treatment and medical needs of LGBTI persons, including HIV testing and treatment, hormonal treatment and gender affirming treatments for trans persons, may be interrupted or deprioritized. Equal access to medicines, vaccines and medical commodities for all, including LGBTI persons, must be ensured to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the World Summit for Social Development.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are fully committed to tackling these issues in this session of the Commission for Social Development and as we seek support from all Member States to this cause, we would like to stress that standing up against violations and abuses of human rights, including violence and discrimination, in all its forms and in all spaces, including online, is not and should never be a matter of controversy. It is just right and humane.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you.</p>
03. febrúar 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Statement at Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS First Regular Session 2021 delivered by H.E. PR Jörundur Valtýsson<p><strong>Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS</strong></p> <p><strong>First Regular Session 2021</strong></p> <p><strong>UNFPA Segment – statement by the executive director</strong></p> <p><strong>1 – 4 February 2021</strong></p> <p><strong>Statement delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</strong></p> <p><strong>Permanent Representative of Iceland</strong></p> <p>Thank you, Madam/Mr President,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and my own country, Iceland.</p> <p>I would like to begin by thanking Dr Natalia Kanem for her excellent presentation and will focus our intervention on the next strategic plan as well as UNFPA’s COVID-19 response.</p> <p>Madam/Mr President,</p> <p>While the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions, such as lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, have negatively impacted human development, it is clear that UNFPA has been well positioned to respond. We commend UNFPA for its agile and impactful response and have just a few questions:</p> <p>First. Noting the commitments of the Funding Compact and encouraging member states – that are in position to do so – to consider contributing to UNFPA’s core resources, how have these core or unrestricted resources helped UNFPA in its COVID-19 response?</p> <p>And second. How have you ensured continuity of supplies during the pandemic?</p> <p>Madam/Mr. President,</p> <p>In the current context, where we are witnessing the possibility of a reversal on key development indicators, the development of an ambitious and focused Strategic Plan is more important than ever. We must do all we can to protect the hard-won gains already made on sexual and reproductive health and rights and accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs. UNFPA’s leadership role on this will be critical.</p> <p>We appreciate the background note on the Strategic Plan and use this opportunity to thank UNFPA for the consultative and inclusive approach taken in the development of the plan. The note contains some excellent questions for our consideration, and allow me to highlight a few points:</p> <p>Our joint position is that the new strategic plan must be human rights-based, focused on results and aligned with the SDGs. Particular attention must be given to the most vulnerable groups and those who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence. </p> <p>It must strengthen its focus on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Safeguarding UNFPA’s normative and global role is for us of utmost importance. </p> <p>We also encourage you to include lessons learnt from the pandemic in the development of the plan, including when it comes to UNFPA’s role in supporting countries to strengthen the resilience of their health systems toward achieving Universal Health Coverage as well as last mile delivery of health supplies. </p> <p>The plan should also have a strategic focus on leaving no one behind, which is critical to reaching the most vulnerable first, including persons with disabilities. Here, quality and disaggregated data is key. Overall, we believe UNFPA is on strong footing in this regard, including through census data, and encourage you to keep a strong focus on achieving scale and impact in this aspect of your work.</p> <p>UNFPA has a growing role in humanitarian action, which we look forward to seeing clearly reflected in the new plan, including its gender advisory role in acute crises and supporting preparedness and crisis response in protracted settings. UNFPA’s coordination role on gender-based violence in these settings must also be clearly articulated.</p> <p>To further guide our input for the next step of the strategic plan development, we would like to ask:</p> <p>How UNFPA will further grow its partnerships with key actors, including International Financial Institutions?</p> <p>Mr./Madam President,</p> <p>Let me conclude by reiterating our support for UNFPA and take the opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks to the frontline workers who continue to deliver life-saving services during the pandemic, ensuring that women and girls can access safe, quality healthcare services and psychosocial support.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>
29. janúar 2021Blá ör til hægri37. lota jafningarýnis mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna<span></span> <p><span>Ísland tekur virkan þátt í jafningarýni mannréttindaráðsins en um mikilvægan vettvang er að ræða þar sem mannréttindaástand í öllum ríkjum heims eru rædd á tæplega 5 ára fresti.</span></p> <p><span>37. lota jafningarýninnar fór fram 18. til 29. janúar sl. Að þessu sinni voru 14 ríki tekin fyrir: Míkrónesía, Líbanon, Máritanía, Sankti Kitts og Nevis, Ástralía, Sankti Lúsía, Nepal, Óman, Austurríki, Mjanmar, Rúanda, Georgía, Naúrú og Saó Tóme og Prinsípe. Ísland var með tilmæli til allra ríkja og má finna þau á hlekknum hér að neðan.</span></p> <p><span><a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/UPR37%20Final%20statements%20by%20Iceland.pdf">Ræður</a>&nbsp;(pdf)</span></p>
28. janúar 2021Blá ör til hægriJoint Nordic Statement at the 51st Plenary meeting - Debate on the Report of the Secretary General on the work of the Organization<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Nordic Joint Statement </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Delivered by</p> <p style="padding: 0cm; border: none; text-align: center;"><span>Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden. </p> <p>Since we met at this time last year, the world has faced unprecedented crises. We commend you, Secretary-General, for your leadership since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. We, the Nordic countries, pay tribute to you and your UN colleagues around the world, whose efforts and determination over the past year have shown the enduring relevance and strength of the United Nations as a force for peace, development and human rights. We welcome your readiness to serve for a second term as Secretary-General and your commitment to transparency and inclusivity in this process. </p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>In times of crises, when much is at stake, our commitment to our core values and principles becomes even more important.&nbsp; As Nordics, we do not waver in our conviction that a rules-based international order and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, is fundamental for achieving peace and prosperity. Such an order will always have the United Nations at its core. </p> <p>This was also reaffirmed in the UN75 Political Declaration, adopted unanimously in September. The Declaration, together with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, now serve as our Common Agenda towards building back better and greener. It represents the strongest commitment for a reinvigorated and inclusive multilateralism that this body has produced in recent times. We look forward to your recommendations on its implementation. You can count on our strong commitment and our full political support in moving this agenda forward. </p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>The most immediate opportunity to showcase that multilateralism delivers is in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Our priority must be to ensure universal, equitable and affordable global access to safe and effective vaccines. COVAX is the best tool to do this. We have joined and invested in COVAX and remain committed to ensuring its success. </p> <p>With the pandemic, the Decade of Action got off to a rough start. It is imperative that we get back on track in implementing the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Addressing the disproportionate and devastating socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on women and girls globally must also be a priority. We should build the foundation for a renewed social contract with equal opportunities for all.</p> <p>The climate catastrophe and our collapsing ecosystems remain top priorities, requiring urgent action, including at the important CoPs in Kunming and Glasgow this year. We support the Secretary-General’s call to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050. The High-Level Dialogues on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought in April and SDG7 in September will be key milestones towards achieving these ambitions at COP26. We also look forward to the High-Level meeting, Stockholm+50, to take place in Sweden in June 2022, to address some of the key political challenges of our time, including redefining our relationship with nature and promoting sustainable consumption and production. </p> <p>The Nordic countries strongly support the SG’s continued emphasis on prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. We agree with the Secretary-General that we need to see a “<em>collective new push for peace and reconciliation”. </em>The recent review of the Peacebuilding Architecture will facilitate further advancements in building and sustaining peace. We now need to increase our efforts to ensure implementation, including adequate, long-term, and sustainable financing. We thank the SG for hosting the Peacebuilding Fund Replenishment Conference two days ago. We reiterate our call for increased and meaningful participation of women in peace processes and mediation efforts.</p> <p>Gender equality is fundamental across UN’s three pillars. Mainstreaming gender equality and implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda requires a whole-of-UN approach and a closer linkage between the General Assembly and the Security Council. We are fully committed to the efforts made through the Generation Equality Forum to achieve transformative and immediate progress towards gender equality.</p> <p>The pandemic has put further strain on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We strongly welcome the Secretary General’s <em>Call to Action on Human Rights</em> and call for stronger protection for human rights defenders as well as engagement with civil society. There must be accountability for human rights violations or abuses committed during this crisis, and for undermining of democratic principles or the rule of law. We urge the Secretary-General – in the spirit of the Call to Action – to promote a sufficient budget for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. </p> <p>Mr. President, </p> <p>We remain concerned over the financial situation of the UN, which the Secretary-General has repeatedly highlighted to member states. Recurrent liquidity crises seriously affect the Organization’s ability to deliver on the mandates decided by Member States. We encourage all member states to pay in full, on time, and without conditions. </p> <p>The Nordic countries remain steadfast supporters of the Secretary-General’s reform efforts. They need to continue, not least to strengthen the linkages between peacebuilding, humanitarian, human rights and development efforts. </p> <p>To conclude, rest assured that the Nordic countries will continue to be steadfast partners of a strong United Nations, its Secretary-General, and its staff around the world. </p> <p>Thank you. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
06. janúar 2021Blá ör til hægriNordic Joint Statement in the UN Security Council on the Challenges of Maintaining Peace and Security in Fragile Contexts<div> <h1 style="text-align: left;">Nordic Joint Statement on the occasion of the UN Security Council<br /> Open Debate on the Challenges of Maintaining Peace and Security <br /> in Fragile Contexts</h1> </div> <div class="col-sm-12" style="color: #3b3b3b; background-color: #ffffff; width: 716px; padding-right: 10px; padding-left: 10px; font-size: 16px; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif;"> <div class="module module-html module-html-one"> <p style="text-align: left;">Mr President,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Members of the Security Council,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">As we turn the page and look back on a most extraordinary and challenging year, we have an occasion to renew and strengthen our joint resolve to address drivers of conflict and fragility to achieve stability and sustainable peace. We welcome today’s debate on how to address the challenges to peace and security in fragile contexts, and consequently how the Security Council can play its part in this important effort.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing local, regional and global conflict dynamics and drivers of fragility. As you have done, Mr President, we will focus particularly on Africa. As the African continent is battling the combined consequences of the current pandemic, key existing and underlying challenges persist. The consequences for the poorest and those in vulnerable situations are most severe. Furthermore, the spread of conflict and violent extremism in parts of Africa, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has seriously affected countries’ development and in some areas led to unprecedented levels of displacement.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">For many African nations, the pandemic has already reduced government revenue and increased health expenditure.&nbsp; We risk that hard-earned development progress is undermined and that Africa’s progress towards attaining the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is further constrained.&nbsp;As we strive to build back better and greener, an integrated approach must be at the heart of our efforts to address the drivers of fragility in order to attain international peace and security.&nbsp;This includes addressing the challenges of chronic poverty, socio-economic inequalities, human rights violations, youth marginalisation, marginalisation of women, sexual and gender-based violence, weak governance and institutions and security risks related to climate change and environmental degradation. A strong African leadership in responding to these multifaceted challenges on the continent remains key.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We must ensure&nbsp;closer and more systematic cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission as well as the Human Rights Council and ECOSOC respectively, including in briefing and advisory capacity. In this connection, we wish to reiterate our support for the Secretary General’s&nbsp;<em>Sustaining Peace Agenda</em>, as well as the&nbsp;<em>Action 4 Peacekeeping Agenda.</em>&nbsp;Following the&nbsp;<em>Informal Interactive Dialogue</em>&nbsp;between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, we encourage the Security Council to adopt peace operation mandates that are adequately resourced, adaptable to changing conflict dynamics on the ground, and already from the start planning for a transition to broader peacebuilding efforts. This will enable those operations to contribute to breaking the vicious cycle of fragility and violence.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We see an increased number of protracted crises, exacerbating humanitarian needs, internal displacement, refugee flows and irregular migration, not least on the African continent.&nbsp;We strongly support the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire to provide space for efforts to ensure sustaining peace.&nbsp;We know that efforts to prevent conflict and sustain peace are more effective when we also consider sustainable development, human rights and inclusive approaches. We must therefore accelerate a&nbsp;coherent and integrated approach across the humanitarian, development, human rights and peace nexus.&nbsp;Our efforts to address fragility must at all times be coupled with a strong emphasis on protecting and promoting human rights and ensuring women full, equal and meaningful participation in societies as well as in peacebuilding, peace processes and conflict resolution. We know that peace is more sustainable when women participate.&nbsp;Advancing the full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda must remain a priority. It is also critical to ensure the full participation of youth in all efforts to sustain peace.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In order to handle an increasingly complex set of inter-related conflict and fragility drivers,&nbsp;we must ensure close cooperation and coordination between UN peace operations and other UN entities as well as with broader humanitarian, development, human rights and peacebuilding efforts.&nbsp;This requires strong coordination and collaboration between all partners on the ground, not least the UN, the African Union, the EU, the World Bank and IMF, the regional banks and the regional economic communities. In this regard, we must draw on the lesson learned from&nbsp;the historic and recently completed African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to protect civilians and help build peace in Darfur.&nbsp;The UN Security Council must ensure to engage with all relevant actors, especially civil society and local actors, so that we can understand the specific drivers of conflict and fragility, and tailor mandates and adapt approaches to achieve sustainable peace.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In closing, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing fragilities around the globe. The impact of the pandemic also increases the obvious need for the UN and global actors to foster increased cooperation to ensure women’s fullenjoyment of human rights and women’s equal and meaningful participation in all aspects of peace and security, bolster institutions, leverage regional and continent-wide capacity and support, and prohibit current socio-economic challenges to become reinforcing cycles of fragility. We all have an obligation to ensure that human rights and the rule of law are ensured.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The Nordic countries remain committed to supporting the UN in preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacemaking and peacebuilding by effectively addressing the drivers of fragility. As we embark on a new year, we have a renewed opportunity to turn the tide on conflict and insecurity and build sustaining peace and a more sustainable futuretowards realizing the agenda 2030. The UN 75 Declaration is guiding us in the way forward and we stand ready to support its implementation together with other Member States.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p> </div> </div>
13. nóvember 2020Blá ör til hægri36. lota jafningarýnis mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna<p><span>Ísland tekur virkan þátt í jafningarýni mannréttindaráðsins en um mikilvægan vettvang er að ræða þar sem mannréttindaástand í öllum ríkjum heims eru rædd á tæplega 5 ára fresti.<br /> <br /> 36. lota jafningarýninnar fór fram 2. til 13. nóvember sl. Að þessu sinni voru 14 ríki tekin fyrir: Hvíta Rússland, Líbería, Malaví, Panama, Móngólía, Maldív-eyjar, Andorra, Hondúras, Búlgaría, Marshall-eyjar, Bandaríkin, Króatía, Líbía og Jamaíka. Ísland var með tilmæli til allra ríkja og má finna þau á hlekknum hér að neðan.<br /> </span></p> <p><a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/UPR36%20Final%20statements%20by%20Iceland.pdf">Ræður</a>&nbsp;(pdf)</p>
07. október 2020Blá ör til hægriSameiginleg ávörp Norðurlanda, NB8 hópsins og fjallahópsins<span></span> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;">Í mannréttindaráðinu þá vinnur Ísland náið með Norðurlöndum og NB8 hópnum svokallaða sem eru þá baltnesku ríkin auk Norðurlandanna. Að auki er Ísland hluti af fjallahópnum svokallaða sem í eru Ísland, Noregur, Sviss, Liechtenstein, Ástralía, Kanada og Nýja Sjáland.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;">Tekur Ísland þátt í fjölda ávarpa með þessum hópum í hverri lotu en í 45 lotu mannréttindaráðsins voru þetta alls 27 ræður um ástand mannréttinda í einstökum löndum og þematísk málefni. Allar ræðurnar má finna hér:&nbsp;<a href="/library/09-Sendirad/Genf/R%c3%a6%c3%b0ur%20Nor%c3%b0urlanda-NB8-Fjallah%c3%b3psins-HRC45.pdf">Ræður Norðurlanda-NB8-Fjallahópsins-HRC45.pdf</a></p>
11. nóvember 2019Blá ör til hægriGrein norrænu þróunarmálaráðherranna í tilefni af leiðtogafundi alþjóðaráðstefnunnar um mannfjölda og þróun (ICPD25)<p>Sameiginleg grein norrænu þróunarsamvinnuráðherranna í aðdraganda Naíróbí leiðtogafundar&nbsp;<span>alþjóðaráðstefnunnar um mannfjölda og þróun (ICPD25).</span></p> <p><em><span>Peter Eriksson, ráðherra þróunarsamvinnu, Svíþjóð</span></em></p> <p><em>Rasmus Prehn, ráðherra þróunarsamvinnu, Danmörku </em></p> <p><em>Ville Skinnari, ráðherra þróunarsamvinnu og utanríkisviðskipta, Finnlandi</em></p> <p><em>Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, utanríkisráðherra, Íslandi</em></p> <p><em>Dag-Inge Ulstein</em><em>, ráðherra þróunarmála, Noregi </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hagsæld og góð lífskjör á Norðurlöndunum má ekki aðeins rekja til skóga, landbúnaðar, tækni eða gnægðar auðlinda á borð við fisk og olíu. Áratugum saman hafa konur á Norðurlöndunum notið jafnra réttinda, ókeypis menntunar og aðgengis að getnaðarvörnum, ásamt öruggum og löglegum fóstureyðingum. Aðgengi að ódýrum, opinberum leikskólum fyrir börn er tryggt, ásamt veglegu fæðingarorlofi og lagaramma sem gerir foreldrum kleift að sinna starfsframa jafnhliða barnauppeldi. Sókn í réttindamálum og valdeflingu kvenna hefur leikið lykilhlutverk við þróun samfélaga okkar og gert þjóðum okkar í heild sinni kleift að taka þátt í atvinnulífinu og uppbyggingu efnahags okkar.</p> <p>Jákvæð áhrif félagslegs og efnahagslegs kynjajafnréttis eru vel þekkt.&nbsp; Þrátt fyrir þetta skortir hundruði milljóna kvenna aðgengi að nútímagetnaðarvörnum og hætta þannig á ótímabærar þunganir. Á hverjum degi eiga sér stað 33 þúsund giftingar stúlkubarna, og dag hvern deyja 830 konur við barnsburð eða af völdum þungunartengdra fylgikvilla eða óöruggra fóstureyðinga. </p> <p>Í mörgum löndum er rétturinn til umráða yfir eigin líkama enn umdeildur, jafnvel þótt alþjóðasamningur um þetta efni hafi verið samþykktur fyrir 25 árum síðan. Á alþjóðaráðstefnunni um mannfjölda og þróun árið 1994 í Kaíró, samþykktu 179 ríkisstjórnir að allir einstaklingar – hvort heldur ungmenni eða fullorðnir, giftir eða einhleypir – skyldu hafa rétt til að ákveða hvort og hvenær þeir stofnuðu fjölskyldu. Þessi samhljóða samþykkt markaði tímamót. Hún gerði það að verkum að litið var á mannréttindi og kynjajafnrétti sem lykilatriði í sjálfbærri þróun, og þjóðir heims stóðu sameinaðar á þessu sviði. </p> <p>Alþjóðasamfélagið mun innan tíðar koma saman á ný í Naíróbí til að fagna aldarfjórðungsafmæli alþjóðaráðstefnunnar um mannfjölda og þróun og til að leitast við að ljúka því starfi sem hófst í Kaíró. Leiðtogafundurinn verður í boði Kenya, Danmerkur og Mannfjöldasjóðs SÞ, en þar koma saman leiðtogar ríkja, ráðherrar, embættismenn, fulltrúar borgaralegs samfélags, einkageirans og fræðasamfélagsins, ásamt ungu fólki, til að ræða hvernig þoka megi þessari vinnu áleiðis.</p> <p>Við höfum þungar áhyggjur af því að réttinum til að taka upplýstar ákvarðanir um eigin líkama er ógnað í mörgum löndum. Mikil andstaða er víða gegn almennri kynfræðslu, réttinum til öruggra og löglegra fóstureyðinga og jöfnum réttindum til handa LGBTQ fólks. Ríkisstjórnir okkar eru staðráðnar í að vinna með vaxandi fjölda stuðningsmanna þessara réttinda í því skyni að stuðla að framgangi í þessum efnum.</p> <p>Ímyndum okkur heim þar sem deilur um þessi málefni hafa verið leiddar til lykta og þar sem við getum þess í stað beint athyglinni að þeim ávinningi sem felst í að veita öllum óskoraðan sjálfsákvörðunarrétt yfir eigin líkama.</p> <ul> <li>Við myndum koma í veg fyrir 67 milljón óæskilegar þunganir í þróunarlöndum ár hvert ef konur og ungmenni byggju við aðgengi að nútímagetnaðarvörnum. </li> <li>Við myndum binda enda á barnahjónabönd og með almennri kynfræðslu væri ungu fólki gert kleift að taka upplýstar ákvarðanir um líkama sinn og líf, ásamt því að hagnýta sér möguleika sína til fulls.</li> <li>Við myndum tryggja að stúlkur byggju við jöfn tækifæri til menntunar, til að fá tilgangsrík, launuð störf og til að taka þátt í samfélagi sínu til jafns við piltana. </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Það er svona veröld sem við óskum okkur. </p> <p>Valdefling kvenna og ungmenna er ekki aðeins mikilvægt markmið í sjálfu sér, heldur beinlínis forsenda þess að ná markmiðunum um sjálfbæra þróun. </p> <p>Við – Danmörk, Finnland, Ísland, Noregur og Svíþjóð – munum áfram vera traustir pólitískir og fjárhagslegir stuðningsaðilar fyrir bætt kyn- og frjósemisheilbrigði, sem og fyrir réttindum öllum til handa. </p> <p>Við getum ekki liðið að konur deyi enn af barnsförum, né heldur að börn skuli neydd í hjónaband eða að milljónir kvenna og stúlkna skuli enn í dag óttast ótímabærar þunganir.&nbsp; </p> <p>Við höldum til Naíróbí með þann skýra ásetning að ljúka þessum verkefnum.</p>
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