Thank you Madam / Mr Chair,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
The theme of this year's HLPF is highly relevant. Extreme poverty has not been eradicated, and multidimensional poverty affects all societies, having linkages to all SDG's.
We align ourselves with the statement made by the EU. We want to point out four issues specifically important for poverty eradication:
Firstly, climate change is one of our greatest challenges and its impacts burden the poorest most. We need to fully implement the Paris Agreement without delay.
Secondly, we need to empower women and girls by eliminating discriminatory laws and policies, and securing full equal and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is one of the priorities of our development policy. Last week we announced additional support of 21 million euros to the United Nations Population Fund and international civil society organisations.
Thirdly, we need to grow our economies in an inclusive way that guarantees decent work for all. In particular, we need to tackle youth unemployment. A socially and environmentally responsible private sector plays a key role in job creation, as do private financial flows that support sustainable development.
Fourthly, we must respect planetary boundaries. Poor populations are most affected by environmental degradation, disasters, and loss of livelihood, as has been well pointed out by United Nations Environment Assembly.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I congratulate all VNR-countries for their reports and presentations.
Finland participated in the VNR last year. Since then, a lot has happened. The government has prepared a national implementation plan that was introduced to the Parliament in February. The Parliament has discussed the report in plenary session and in different committees. We believe we are on a good track in ensuring accountability, as well as systematic follow-up and review of our implementation
From now on, we will update our national plan every four years right after the parliamentary elections. We are planning to report at the HLPF again in 2020.
We have strengthened the participation of youth in the implementation by setting up a youth group for the 2030 Agenda. These young agents from different backgrounds and regions will challenge the work of the Government. They also act as sustainable development spokespersons in places where young people meet.
We have also included a youth representative in our multi-stakeholder delegation (she is with me also here today). Our experience on multi-stakeholder participation is very positive.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires participation of all. Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development is our innovation and tool that enables meaningful participation of Finnish individuals, municipalities, companies and organizations. To date, we have over 700 concrete commitments made. This is three times more than a year ago.
The HLPF has developed into right direction as a forum for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.
We look forward to the adoption of a strong ministerial declaration. It should give guidance to the UN system as well as to the member states on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Finally, I would like to mention SDG's without a dedicated political home, such as SDG 6 on water and sanitation. We hope to make progress towards a more coordinated and impactful global water architecture.Thank you.