Crown Princess Mette-Marit addressed the United Nations in New York on Monday, becoming the first Norwegian royal to give a keynote speech at the UN. Mette-Marit joined Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende at the high-level meeting, where she spoke in connection with her role as an International Goodwill Ambassador for the UNAIDS program.
The crown princess’ address followed a speech by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a meeting on the UN’s new sustainable development goals after 2015, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). She called for more youth involvement in the development of policies to combat HIV and AIDS, arguing disease awareness is too low and adolescent health issues aren’t taken seriously enough.
“Today there are 1.8 billion young people in the world,” she said to the assembly. “Despite this, youth health problems are largely ignored. Every day there are 2,1000 new cases of HIV among youths between 15 and 24. Even though we have come a long way, it is important to stay focused on everyone’s universal right to medicine and continue the good developments. To put an end to the AIDS epidemic is possible after 2015, and it is a question of human rights.”
“It was a great honour for me to participate and give a speech on a matter which is so important to me, and something that I have been doing for so many years,” she told NRK. She was also due to receive an award from the non-profit American Foundation for Aids Research during her New York visit.
“What we have seen in the HIV and AIDS work has a completely different impact now,” said Foreign Minister Brende. “We see that the number of new infections is going down and the work of the UN and crown princess, who has been a goodwill ambassador for many years, is very important.”
New development goals
Brende himself spoke on behalf of the Nordic countries about the importance of human rights and good governance under the post-2015 development goals. Negotiations over the new sustainability targets are expected to be agreed upon by 2015, to be achieved by 2030.
Brende said neither human rights nor good governance had a central enough position in the UN’s original millennium development goals, which dealt with issues including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality and the empowerment of women, a reduction of deaths during pregnancy and child mortality, combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing global development partnerships.
“Good governance, fighting against corruption, human rights and the rule of law are crucial for the eradication of poverty and sustainable development,” Brende told news bureau NTB. “In the negotiations on the targets Norway will actively work to implement good governance.”
Norway is heading up the work on financing the new objectives, which Brende said was going well so far. He has previously said his priority would be the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030, which Norway believed was the most important development goal.