DCSIMG

U.S.-Nordic Countries Joint Statement on Global Issues including Human Rights

Office of the Press Secretary - The White House



The Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Finland, Republic of Iceland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, and the United States of America reaffirm our deep partnership based on shared fundamental values including our commitment to democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of law, and economic freedom.  We continue to deepen our collaboration on important shared global priorities, including climate change and clean energy, the Arctic, a strong, open multilateral trading system, emerging security challenges, global development and humanitarian assistance, and Europe’s regional economic and security environment.  This evening, we have come together at a defining moment in the transatlantic relationship to discuss our long-term goals in each of these areas and agree to take concrete steps to achieve those goals. 

United on Global Issues

The United States and the Nordic countries share the goal of a stable and peaceful Middle East.  We agree that all relevant parties must work urgently for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  We are determined to work together to promote respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Egypt.  With regard to the situation in Syria, we strongly condemn any and all use of chemical weapons, and we are convinced a strong international reaction is required.  Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

We recognize the importance of cooperation between our countries in building comprehensive security and addressing security issues in the 21st century, including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illicit international arms trade, and threats to cyber security.  We also recognize that we must address these challenges in a manner that respects our most cherished values and protects universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are at the foundation of all flourishing democracies.  We note the need to continue to strengthen our countries’ important contributions to regional, transatlantic, and international forums, including in the EU, NATO, and NATO Partnership context.  We recommit to continuing and expanding our security, recognizing that this cooperation – with and among the Nordic countries, with other regional partners, including especially the Baltic states, and in transatlantic and international fora – will be crucial to our success. 

To complement our already robust bilateral and regional security cooperation, we agree to launch a U.S.-Nordic Security Dialogue, which will meet annually to discuss opportunities for collaboration on global and regional security issues, focusing primarily on issues arising in the United Nations, including an integrated approach to preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and atrocity prevention.  Another stream of work will include joint capacity building efforts to promote stabilization in fragile and conflict affected states – linking up security and development efforts, and civilian and military partners.

Recognizing that we still have work to do closer to home, we agree on our mutual commitment to deepening regional cooperation and continuing to pursue our common vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. 

We underscore the importance of actions that can support a global economic recovery, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.   T-TIP aims to boost economic growth in the United States and the EU and add to the more than 13 million American and EU jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment.  We also look forward to exploring ways we can bolster trade and investment between the United States and Norway and Iceland.  We also emphasize our commitment to achieving significant and substantive outcomes at the 9th World Trade Organization Ministerial.

We agree that the fight against tax avoidance and evasion should be a top priority in all relevant international fora.  We support the work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and automatic exchange of information as the new global standard.  The engagement of the G-20 in these issues is important.  The misuse of shell companies can be a severe impediment to sustainable economic growth and sound governance.  We will make a concerted and collective effort to tackle this issue and improve the transparency of companies and legal arrangements.  

Partnering on Climate Change and the Arctic

Climate change is one of the foremost challenges for our future economic growth and well-being.  We underscore the importance of continuing to encourage innovative approaches to promoting energy efficiency and clean energy, including renewables, and of taking action on climate change, domestically and internationally.  This requires mobilizing scaled up climate finance.  We agreed on the importance of reaching an ambitious, comprehensive, fair, and inclusive climate agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015 that is consistent with science, mindful of the two degree target, and applicable to all.

As part of our commitment to accelerating the transition to low-carbon energy systems worldwide, the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden will join the United States in ending public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances.  We will work together to secure the support of other countries and multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies.  The Nordic countries and the United States agreed to continue their work, in all appropriate channels, to reduce the use of domestic fossil fuel subsidies globally.  The United States also agrees to join with the Nordic members of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform to undertake peer reviews of domestic fossil fuel subsidies.

Recognizing the rapid growth of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition over its first 18 months, we note the potential of the Coalition to catalyze significant global reductions of short-lived climate pollutants, which have major impacts on climate change and public health.  The U.S. and Nordic members of the Coalition agree to intensify our efforts and invite others to join to take full advantage of the Coalition’s potential.

The United States and Nordic members of the Clean Energy Ministerial continue to support various ministerial initiatives, including the 21st Century Power Partnership, which brings together government and private sector actors to help identify and promote successful technical, policy, and financial pathways to cleaner and more efficient power systems in both developed and developing countries.  Additionally, the United States and Nordic countries expressed our support for the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative of the UN Secretary-General.

We recommit to protecting the Arctic environment, working to improve living conditions and encouraging sustainable development in the Arctic region, particularly with respect to indigenous peoples, and ensuring that the Arctic remains a peaceful region of cooperation.  We will pursue opportunities in future Arctic Council meetings and other international fora to promote prosperity, foster scientific cooperation, and reduce emissions of black carbon in the Arctic region, as agreed upon in the Kiruna Declaration.

Advancing Global Development

As leaders in providing development assistance, we agree on the strategic, economic, and moral imperative of global development and humanitarian aid.  We are committed to aggressive efforts to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The MDGs continue to be a symbol of our common humanity and a statement of the world’s commitment to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, combating disease, achieving gender equality, free quality education for all,  and environmental sustainability, thus extending hope and opportunity to billions across the world.  We note the opportunities for using trade to boost economic growth and reduce poverty in developing countries, as well as the importance of promoting human rights and gender equality.  In addition, we agree that vaccination through GAVI represents one of the most cost-effective approaches to save children’s lives and that with enhanced efforts, polio can be eradicated within this decade.  Together, we envision a unified post-2015 agenda that addresses poverty, inclusive growth, and sustainability in clear, ambitious, and measurable goals. 

The United States and Nordic countries are critical donors in fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria worldwide.  We commend the reforms and results achieved by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria and will work together to ensure a successful replenishment.  In a demonstration of strong leadership, a number of Nordic countries are together pledging $750 million, with over $150 million in increased funds, for the Global Fund replenishment, subject to parliamentary approval.  This funding will leverage $375 million from the U.S. challenge pledge of $1 for every $2 donated.  These historic multilateral investments will work to turn the tide against these three devastating diseases. 

Access to electricity continues to be one of the most significant hurdles to economic growth and development.  In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than two-thirds of the population is without access to power.  To support a doubling of electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa the United States and Nordic countries have expressed our support for the Power Africa initiative and agree to work together to provide technical assistance, financing, and other support to enable additional investment in energy projects throughout the region.  

In support of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), we agree to promote transparency and accountability of expenditures and revenues related to the extraction of natural resources, including through support to the multi-donor trust fund for EITI or the EITI Secretariat.  EU member states Denmark, Finland, and Sweden intend to quickly transpose the EU Accounting and Transparency Directive, which requires mandatory disclosures of payments made to governments for extractive and logging projects.

Protecting Human Rights and Strengthening Governance

We will work together to eradicate poverty, promote good governance and human rights, combat all forms of trafficking in persons, and strengthen gender equality and the rights of women and girls, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

We agree to make real our respective obligations and commitments to promote and protect women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms as outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, and other international instruments and agreements on women’s rights.  We note in particular the importance of empowering women as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace and ensuring their protection from violence, and of our continued bilateral and multilateral engagement to this end in such countries as Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the Middle East.  In Afghanistan, for example, we endorse such flagship initiatives as PROMOTE, UNWomen’s Elimination of Violence against Women Special Fund, the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s EQUIP, and the National Solidarity Program's Community Development Councils, which together empower a critical mass of Afghan women to fully participate in Afghan society.

We strengthen our commitments to advance equality and dignity for LGBT persons through the Global Equality Fund.  This commitment reflects an increasingly growing global sentiment that all persons should be treated equally and with dignity regardless of who they are or who they love.

The United States and Nordic members of the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative that asks governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and strengthen governance, agree to redouble our efforts to develop ambitious “Race to the Top” commitments for the October 31 Open Government Partnership Ministerial.

Working together, we have a historic opportunity to make progress on issues of global significance, and we remain steadfast in our dedication to the pursuit of these goals. 

- Cross posted at whitehouse.gov

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