Fellow Governors and donors of the Human Rights and Development Trust Fund,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by congratulating the World Bank Group on the establishment of the new Human Rights and Development Trust Fund. I think this is a testament to the commitment of the World Bank to a more human-rights centred development. I am glad to witness human rights occupy a more ambitious and visible space within the Bank‘s agenda.
Human rights are deeply integrated within Iceland’s foreign policy, as we believe that promoting and safeguarding human rights underpin our well-being and prosperity. For the first time, Iceland is now also explicitly implementing a human-rights based approach in its development cooperation, and our support to this trust fund aligns very well with our policy.
We are also proud to have been elected to serve on the Human Rights Council last year, as a first-time member but also the smallest country to be elected to the Council. We are adamant to use this important platform for the short time we have this seat, to debate and actively advocate for the advancement of human rights.
I can also assure you that we will continue to keep the international organisations that we work with and support accountable to treat all human beings free and equal in dignity and rights. The accumulated knowledge of the past 10 years of the predecessor of the new fund, the Nordic Trust Fund, has given the Bank a further understanding on the importance of human rights to development.
For example, on how sexual orientation and gender identity rights; sexual and reproductive rights and gender-based violence interconnect with development. That will no doubt serve the new trust fund well and lead to further application of human rights-based projects in the World Bank´s operations.
It is with sincere pleasure and sense of duty that Iceland has participated in the establishment of the new trust fund and we are happy to be one of its founding donors. I wish the new Human Rights and Development Trust Fund and its team all the best and I hope that we will see more countries, North and South, join as donors. May its operations fuel a renewed focus on a human rights-based approach to development within the Bank.
Congratulations once more.