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Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir's speeches and articles

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Sep 05, 2022Address at the international summit of the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic Council with guests from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine<p><span><em>Address delivered at the international summit of the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic Council with guests from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine in Harpa Conference Center in Reykjavík.</em><br /> </span></p> <p>Chair, members of the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic Council, distinguished guests.</p> <p>It is a pleasure to be addressing this meeting today.</p> <p>But much more importantly - to be present and to listen to our guests from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.</p> <p>We are all gathered here today in the name of our commitment to democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The citizens of these three countries in Europe are all denied these rights, and the people of Ukraine suffer from a brutal invasion by their Russian neighbour.</p> <p>It will remain vitally important that we all maintain our steadfast commitment to the justified aim of the people of Ukraine to expel the invaders and reclaim full control over the internationally recognized territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine. This will require patience and resolve. We must also stand strong with the brave people who stand up against the regimes of Putin and Russia. It is an honor to be in your presence.</p> <p>Threats to stability, resulting from Russia´s actions in Ukraine, now come at us from many directions. Lies, distortions and discontent are being spread. The aim of Putin and his acolytes is to sow discord and attempt to destabilize European democracies through the economic effects of his war.</p> <p>Events such as this today are of crucial importance to fight against his propaganda machine. The stories of the people that are being imprisoned, tortured and murdered by the authoritarian regimes in Europe must be told.</p> <p>It is our duty as politicians and concerned citizens, to amplify these voices and make sure that they are heard.</p> <p>It is also our duty to continue to provide support to Ukraine in line with their needs. They need assistance to defend their people and their land against a brutal invasion. We also need to provide financial help for the running of critical infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. And we need to show them support by continuing to sanction Russia.</p> <p>The price that we in the west pay will be in currency - but the people of Ukraine are paying in blood, and dissidents in Belarus and Russia are also paying a heavy price. We must stand by them. It is the right thing to do. And not only is it the right thing to do - it is the sensible thing to do, as Putin and those who look up to him, will not stop at Ukraine if they get away with it.</p> <p>For a small country like Iceland, respect for international law, and the rules-based order, is an existential issue, and I actually believe this to be the case for every country, even the largest ones.</p> <p>The heroic defense of Ukraine and the struggle of dissidents in Belarus and Russia are therefore also our fight - and we must all find ways to contribute.&nbsp; </p> <p>Finally, let me express my gratitude to the Baltic Assembly and Nordic Council. I would also like to thank the Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council for its initiative and our distinguished guests for participating in this event.</p> <p>I wish you a fruitful discussion and hope that this event will strengthen the cooperation between the nations represented around the table. </p> <p>Thank you.</p> <br />
Sep 01, 2022NORDIC FOREIGN MINISTERS: Making the case for democracy <div> <p><em>An article on democracy by the Nordic foreign ministers.</em></p> <p>The last thirty years of democratic advances have been eradicated. This means that the global level of democracy is back to where it was before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Development and democracy are interlinked, and we must not take either of them for granted.</p> <p>The democratic decline constitutes a real threat to sustainable development, global peace and the health of the planet that we share. This threat is reflected in the inaction on the climate crisis, the increasing number of wars, economic downturns, growing inequalities and the pushback on gender equality and human rights.</p> <p>It’s time to make the case for democracy.</p> <p>New research from the V-Dem Institute, a global independent research institute, shows that democracy outperforms autocracy. We would like to highlight four vital and evidence-based conclusions:</p> <p><strong>1. The return of democracy as a norm would significantly strengthen global peace and security</strong></p> <ul> <li>Democracy promotes peace. Democracies do not wage wars against each other.</li> <li>Democracy promotes stability. Civil wars are much less likely in democratic countries and, when they do occur, they are less deadly.</li> <li>More democracies in the world will lead to fewer wars. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine would probably not have happened if the level of democracy in Russia had been higher.</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Democracy is critical to mitigating the environmental and climate crisis</strong></p> <ul> <li>Democracies have almost a 20 per cent higher policy commitment to climate change mitigation and adopt stricter national environmental policies than do autocracies.</li> <li>Democracies are better equipped to implement the Paris Agreement.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Democracy is vital for economic and social development</strong></p> <ul> <li>Economic growth is generally higher in democracies than in autocracies. Countries that democratised increased their GDP per capita by about 20 per cent in the 25 years following democratisation.</li> <li>Democracy provides mechanisms for more equitable growth that reduces poverty.</li> <li>Democracies have fewer and less severe financial crises.</li> <li>Life expectancy increases when countries democratise. Infant mortality is markedly lower in democracies.</li> <li>Democracies provide 23 per cent more safe water access, 35 per cent more child immunisation and up to 40 per cent more electricity access than autocracies.</li> </ul> <p><strong>4. Democracy promotes gender equality</strong></p> <ul> <li>Democracy increases women’s political participation and representation.</li> <li>Women’s political empowerment and peace are closely linked. The annual risk of civil conflict drops from roughly 30 per cent in the least gender equal country to around 5 per cent in countries where women are fully empowered.</li> <li>Gender equality is much more likely to be the norm in democratic countries.</li> </ul> <p>The worrying trend of democratic backsliding around the world erodes democratic norms and institutions; it weakens checks and balances on power and restricts people’s ability to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.</p> <p>We need to take collective action to protect democracy, now.</p> <p>We will intensify our efforts to make the case for democracy as a global norm. Intergovernmental platforms for cooperation among democracies, such as the Summit for Democracy, International IDEA and the Community of Democracies, are vital. We will seek to build stronger alliances – across regions – and work together for democracy.</p> <p>We need to make the case for democracy, because democracy delivers – for all of us.</p> <p>Denmark:<br /> Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Jeppe Kofod</p> <p>Finland:<br /> Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Pekka Haavisto</p> <p>Iceland:<br /> Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir</p> <p>Norway:<br /> Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Anniken Huitfeldt</p> <p>Sweden:<br /> Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Ann Linde</p> </div>
Mar 16, 2022Statement at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen 2022<p><strong>High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen,<br /> 16 March, 2022<br /> </strong></p> <p><strong>Statement by H.E. Minister for Foreign Affairs<br /> Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir</strong></p> <p>Excellencies, co-chairs, ladies and gentlemen.</p> <p>The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues to be among the most catastrophic in the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>After seven years of conflict, more than twenty million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance. The country’s infrastructure is in ruins and the people of Yemen have exhausted all means to cope with the situation.</p> <p>The need for predictable and flexible funding to sustain our partner’s operations in Yemen has therefore never been greater.</p> <p>Today, I reconfirm Iceland’s multi-year pledge for 2021-2023 of 285 million Icelandic Krona, or 95 million per year, directed towards OCHA’s Yemen Humanitarian Fund, UNFPA and WFP.</p> <p>In addition, I am announcing a new pledge for 2022 of 30 million Icelandic Krona for UNHCR’s activities in Yemen, bringing our support to 125 million Icelandic Krona in 2022.</p> <p>This is in addition to a 50 million Icelandic Krona allocation to UNHCR in Yemen at the end of 2021.</p> <p>Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>It is a sad fact that extreme poverty is on the rise after two decades in decline, and many countries are facing severe food security concerns. The need for humanitarian help is increasing correspondingly.</p> <p>While the outlook is bleak, our only option is to step up to the task and work harder in support of those in need.</p> <p>Iceland aims to do so, as is reflected in our planned increase in overall humanitarian assistance this year.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

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