Iceland‘s Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, took part in yesterday‘s special event on achieving the Millienum Development goals and on a new development framework, at the UN General Assembly. There, the Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, presented his new report on the MDGs acceleration and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In his statement, Minister Sveinsson emphasized that in spite of substantial progress in reducing poverty, hunger and child mortality and increasing primary school enrollment, a lot remains to be done. Progress has been uneven, both within and between countries. The international community will need to adopt a new set of goals which will build on achievements already made, addresses hazards that threaten future generations and aims to create a just and prosperous world where all people realize their rights and live with dignity and hope.
The Foreign Minister discussed the focus areas of Iceland's development cooperation; social infrastructure, namely education and health; natural resources, that is fisheries and renewable energy; and peace building. He called for more focus on the oceans with a strengthened commitment to implement already agreed goals and targets. The Minister also called for meeting the energy needs of those lacking access to electricity by increasing access to renewable energy and to address the silent crisis of soil erosion and land degradation. He stressed that the global community will be unable to achieve its goals of food and water security and meeting greenhouse gas emission targets without a major improvement in conservation and restoration of the world's soil resources.
Finally the Minister stressed the importance of putting gender equality and the empowerment of women at the center of the new development agenda and setting it as a stand-alone goal as well as mainstreaming gender throughout the new framework.