Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
Norway warmly welcomes all the panellists. We recognize your expertise and dedication, and we appreciate your comprehensive statements. We also recognize and appreciate your efforts to promote the integration of human rights within your own organisations.
At the same time we feel compelled to raise a major concern.
The aim of this panel is to interact with “heads of UN agencies and funds [...] with the objective of promoting the mainstreaming of human rights throughout the United Nations system”.
With the exception of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, there are no UN leaders here today.
Our first question to the panel is very simple, but very important. Should we read the lack of participation by the top of the UN system as a lack of priority of the human rights dimension in their work?
In contrast to the signal sent by the UN leaders that are not here today, the last year’s events underline the urgent need to strengthen the third pillar upon which the United Nations was founded, namely the pillar of human rights.
Experience from the field has also demonstrated that by strengthening this third pillar we can improve the effectiveness and credibility of the UN as a whole.
Development is more sustainable if the principles of participation, non-discrimination and accountability is adhered to in practice.
And for international human rights law to become the common normative framework it is intended to be, UN personnel both at head quarters and in the field must be aware of relevant human rights norms and standards. And they must know how to assist States in applying them in a meaningful way.
To achieve all this we need to change the focus of the UN in several ways, including through policies, training, resource allocation, goal-setting and incentive structures for managers. But this will not be possible without leadership from the very top of the UN system, as well as from the Member States.
Our second question relates therefore to next year’s high level panel on mainstreaming of human rights in the UN. What can we do to ensure that the invited heads of funds and agencies decides to join us next year? We need them with us here in the Human Rights Council to be able to move this agenda forward!
I thank you.