Reception in Kaan Bank Theatre, Mongolia: Speech
Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs
UNDP Resident Representative;
It is a great pleasure to be with you tonight and address you in both my capacaties as UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador as well as the Crown Prince of Norway.
The past three days have given me the unique chance to learn so much about your country, your traditions and your people.
It has been an extraordinary visit, meeting people in their everyday lives. I talked to herders - I saw a Legal Aid Centre and talked to the lawyers and beneficiaries. I talked to ordinary citizens participating in local governance programmes and I saw children in a school where they really made an effort despite difficult conditions. I have seen challenges, as well as real solutions and dedication to tackle them.
The trip has shown me that Mongolians are working very hard to make the promise of a better life come true for everyone. Both the parliamentarians I met and the President told me about Mongolias commitment to the Millenium Development Goals and special focus on MDG 9. Mongoilan children go to school, child mortality has come down a lot since 1990 and maternal health has improved. But the president and the parliamentarians also pointed to challenges such as corruption and poverty that needs to be adressed
Today Mongolia stands at the crossroads to decide whether the economic growth will lead to the MDGs achievement. I believe it is possible to reach the Millennium Development Goals, but - it will require additional hard work, additional political will, additional resources, and additional efforts on all levels. In the wake of the global financial crises, developing and deloped countries alike, have to make special efforts not to loose sight of the MDGs and to continue fighting poverty.
My visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and my own country, Norway. I am confident that the next 40 years will see a further development of bilateral ties and exchanges, to the benefit of both countries.
Looking at history, it is quite interesting to note that Mongolia and Norway were both at their height of power about the same time at the beginning of the second millennium. Chinggis Khan and the vikings never met, for which the vikings probably should be thankful, even if they were warriors and conquerors too.
In modern times, we share a relatively recent independent statehood. Both our countries are committed to a democratic way of government and to the rule of law. In this regard, I am happy to learn that Norway has given support to the UNDP’s efforts aimed at strengthening democratic institutions in Mongolia, and that there are fruitful relations between the Parliaments in our respective countries.
Both our countries are large in size with comparatively small populations. We share the fortune of having a significant wealth of natural resources, upon which our prosperity largely depends. The way these resources are managed and, not least, how the revenues are distributed, are of particular importance to the welfare of our peoples.
As small nations, Norway and Mongolia also share a belief in multilateral co-operation based on international law, with the United Nations at the centre. In his speech to the United Nations’ Sixtythird General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Bayar reaffirmed Mongolia’s strong commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He named poverty reduction and ensuring environmental sustainability among the most challenging goals for Mongolia.
In conclusion let me thank the Government of Mongolia and the United Nations Development Programme, who have made this extraordinary visit possible. I would also like to thank everybody else who has dedicated their time and efforts to the preparation of this visit, as well as all of you for coming to this reception.