Statement in Bogotá, Colombia
Thank you Mr President, for welcoming me to Colombia. I am very happy to be here. Thank you for a very constructive meeting and for being a wonderful host.
It is a true privilege to be here in Bogotá. Both UNDP and Norway are committed partners to Colombia in promoting sustainable development, environmental protection and not least in consolidating peace.
As UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador, I want to commend you Mr President, for the progress your country is doing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Colombia has been a true champion since the launching of the 2030-Agenda.
Your new national development plan, based on the three pillars of equality, legality and entrepreneurship, provides ample opportunity to unite society around key priorities embedded in the SDGs. I trust the UNDP is committed to continue working with your government in its efforts to reach the SDGs.
Mr President, Colombia is a key partner also for Norway. The relationship between our two countries goes beyond the peace process. Multilateral issues figure prominently, and there is bilateral cooperation through oil and fish for development.
Norway is also one of Colombia's main partners in fighting climate change and deforestation. I am sure our bilateral relations will continue to grow and prosper in the time to come.
This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with your foreign minister, Mr Holmes Trujillo. We had an excellent conversation about the role of the UNDP in this country, and about the unique relationship between Norway and Colombia. As a former ambassador to Oslo, Mr Holmes is indeed very knowledgeable about my country.
Just before coming here, I had the honor of meeting victims of the armed conflict and listening to their testimonies. I also had the opportunity to meet the heads of the three institutions making up the integral system of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition.
Allow me to congratulate you, Mr President, and the Colombian people for choosing to create an institutional framework that will help you heal the wounds of the past.
The achievements you have made in the progress towards peace and reconciliation are indeed an example to the world.
I will spend the next two days traveling to different parts of the country. Tomorrow I will go to La Mojana and the launch of a project by the Green Climate Fund involving cooperation between the Government of Colombia, local communities and UNDP.
On Thursday I will travel to Mesetas, visiting the "Environments for Peace programme" - an initiative aimed at promoting reintegration while protecting the environment - both key factors in securing lasting peace for all Colombians.
I have now been working with UNDP for more than 15 years. During these years, I have travelled to more than 15 different countries and witnessed the great work of the UN in cooperation with national governments.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that there is nothing more important for development than peace. And that real development - inclusive, involving development - is crucial for lasting peace.
In this sense, Colombia’s experience stand out as a source of inspiration. You are demonstrating for us all that it is indeed possible to leave years of conflict behind and to move ahead towards peace.
In doing so you are building a better future for the millions of Colombians who aspire to a better future for themselves and their families.
Mr President, thank you for receiving me. I look much forward to the rest of my stay here in Colombia.