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Statement delivered by H.E. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, at the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights to Development in New York

23.09.2016  17:54

(Check against delivery)

Mr President, colleagues

Today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights to Development. This year we have also marked the 50th anniversary of the international human rights covenants. And just one year ago we committed ourselves to the new Sustainable Development Goals.  Goals, which set a universal agenda,  addressing universal concerns.  Goals which align the development framework with human rights, including the right to development.

The SDGs have brought about an important change by underlining how all human rights are fundamental factors in achieving sustainable development. They build a bridge between our development efforts and our human rights obligations.  This is an important new synergy that has the potential to bring progress on both counts. 

Mr. President,
Implementing the SDGs is a task for everyone. They are universal, and they apply to all of us. Denmark is dedicated to turning the SDGs into reality. We welcome their innovative solutions and approaches to financing and partnerships. And we welcome that they bring to the table a broader set of stakeholders than just states and public authorities – from private sector and civil society to research institutions and youth.

Our national follow up will follow several tracks. Let me mention two. Firstly, the Danish Government is currently finalizing our new strategy for development policy and humanitarian assistance. The SDGs form an integral part of this strategy.  Inclusive, sustainable growth and development have been identified as a priority area, where Denmark can deliver based on our experience and expertise, helping to create economic opportunities and jobs – especially for young people. Supporting human rights, democracy and good governance is another key feature of the new strategy and will cut across all our work.

Secondly, we are developing a national Action Plan to follow up on our own SDG implementation. Our priorities will be centred on the core strengths of Danish society - sustainable growth, a strong welfare system, solid development cooperation, gender equality and of course the respect for human rights.

Mr. President,
In Denmark, we are fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. We stand by our international obligations as set out in the international conventions and we will continue to be a strong partner in facilitating progress and inclusive development.

We have announced our candidacy for the Human Rights Council for 2019-2021. We focus on three D’s – of which one is development. The other two are dignity and dialogue. The SDGs figure prominently in our approach as we know that fulfilling human rights is key to reaching sustainable development. And sustainable development can advance human rights. They go hand in hand. If elected to the Council, we will bring this principle to the table.

Dialogue as it is an important element of change. Only by talking to each other can we understand and learn from each other. Denmark will be strong proponents for an open, direct and honest dialogue. We will seek to build bridges across the Council chamber.

Through a coordinated effort, we will advance the SDGs and the individual’s right to development.

I thank you.