Thank you Madam/Mr. Chair,
We join our colleagues in congratulating you, Ambassador Stoeva of Bulgaria, on your election as Chair of the Second Committee, and thank Ambassador Frazier and the outgoing Bureau for their excellent work.
The Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine, and its global ramifications, the dire impacts of climate change and consequences of COVID19 are reversing the delicate progress made these last few decades. It is evident that we need an effective multilateral system - now more than ever.
Iceland was pleased to co-facilitate this year’s Financing for Development Outcome Document, where member states strived to meet the moment and collectively move the needle on specific issues that affect some of the most vulnerable countries and people. Regrettably, the global economic outlook is darkening even further.
The significance of the Second Committee against the backdrop of the finance, food, energy, and cost-of-living crises is clear. It is also clear that we need to increase our focus and be more strategic in our deliberations this committee season.
Within the multilateral system, Iceland has historically focused on gender equality, renewable energy, oceans and land restoration. All four elements are SDG accelerators and key to achieving Agenda 2030 in time.
Human rights and gender equality lay the foundation for sustainable development.
However, as presented in the Secretary General’s report on Women in development, we need to correct course to achieve SDG5 in time.
Gender gaps in terms of poverty, food security and labor force participation remain unacceptably high. A concerted effort in terms of policies and investments in quality social services is needed.
Investing in the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls has a direct impact on labor force participation and gender equality more broadly. More attention needs to be directed towards addressing the disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work born by women.
Iceland is also a strongly committed co-leader of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence. The work of this action coalition becomes even more important in the context of increased rates of gender-based violence during the pandemic.
Iceland was proud to take on a role as a Global Champion for Just and Inclusive Energy Transition and aims to show leadership and has set itself the ambitious target of carbon neutrality and full energy conversion no later than 2040, which would make us the first state to be independent of fossil fuels.
We have also stepped up our climate finance, including through a focus on the transition to sustainable energy and on a balanced approach to mitigation and adaptation. With energy insecurity increasing, we need to accelerate progress towards universal energy access and a decarbonized, climate-resilient energy system.
A healthy ocean is critical to the planet and its people, including as a source of food. The solution to the current food crisis is multi-faceted, but oceans play a key part. Iceland is mindful of the fact that close to 3 billion people rely on nutrition from the ocean and inland waters - one way or another.
Iceland assumed a leading role in the Aquatic-Blue Food Coalition, which was formed at the UN Food Systems Summit a year ago. We have witnessed the need to advocate for the role of food from the ocean in food systems transformation to sustainably feed a growing population, and Iceland welcomes the inroads made at the UN Lisbon Conference in June.
We also applaud improvements made in the implementation of instruments to combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. Eliminating IUU fishing is pro-poor, pro-nutrition, and pro-nature.
Degraded land is the root cause of many pressing societal challenges we are facing today. On the other hand, land restoration offers multiple cross-cutting solutions to these challenges and is key to enhanced food security, water, biodiversity, reduced climate emissions, more social stability and, ultimately, sustainable development.
It is important to bear in mind that some of the most effective solutions to global issues are low cost, simple and nature-based, like land restoration. Here, Iceland is pleased to co-chair, along with Namibia, the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought.
On a more hopeful note, Madam/Mr. President, I believe we have the solutions to the world’s problems in front of us. What we now need is the political commitment to implement them fully. You can count on Iceland to play its part.
I thank you.