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Tale ved reception i forbindelse med FN-konference om ulighed

Udviklingsministerens tale ved receptionen i forbindelse med FN-konference om ulighed, 18. februar 2013, i FN byen i København.

Your Royal Highness, ministers, excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to Copenhagen – and welcome to the new UN building.  In this cold winter weather, it is very heart-warming to see all of you, who have travelled here from all over the world to discuss the important topic of ‘addressing Inequalities’.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ghana, Mr. Obeng, UNICEF, Mr. Lake, and UN Women, Madame Bachelet as our co-convenors of this conference. It is a pleasure to work with you to put spotlight on the important challenge of addressing growing inequalities.

It is a vital issue - for the 1,3 billion people still living in extreme poverty, for all children, women, marginalised groups, religious or sexual minorities who face inequalities, barriers, discrimination. Who cannot realise their full potential who cannot participate in building prosperous societies. Thus it is a vital issue for all countries, for all societies, for all families. It is a vital issue for the world.

The good news is that we can act. We can do something about it. When my father who is now old was a boy he lost his own father to tuberculosis, he grew up as a child under very poor conditions. Only a few years earlier a Danish women Nina Bang was elected as the worlds first female minister in a democratically elected government. Within my fathers lifetime Denmark has moved from a country with fairly large inequalities - in health and education, in economy and in gender equality - to become one of the most equal societies in the world. It has brought with it a society with, according to comparative studies, is rich on trust and tolerance, growth and innovation, solidarity and openness. Equity has created a much stronger society.

This is the vision we are here to discuss for the world. How can we create a much more equal, prosperous, tolerant world together.

We do so in these beautiful halls of the new UN city that will soon be officially inaugurated. The starhall reminds me of Hogwards from Harry Potter with its moving stairs. I hope the building will inspire, perhaps some witchcraft - which we definitely could use to fight  poverty and inequality - but more likely the wisdom, that Hogwarts also symbolises, the wisdom we need to combat poverty and inequality. I hope the building will become an inspiring and productive space for the United Nations.

Spending this evening in a UN building and in a highly green and energy efficient building reminds us of the essential role the UN plays in advancing human rights, eradicating poverty, ensuring sustainable development and improving the lives of millions of people around the world. It reminds us of how all these topics must come together to find the solutions of the future.

Today, I have had the pleasure of participating in the first part of the conference - the ‘Public Dialogue Meeting on Inequalities’. The overwhelming interest in participating bears witness to the strong commitment and engagement from all sides - government, UN, private sector, researchers and not least from a vibrant civil society - in shaping the future development agenda – now and beyond 2015. This is what we need. This is what the world needs. Thank you for the valuable input and inspiration.

We have been entrusted to shape a new agenda for sustainable development for the next decades. It is a huge responsibility. It must be an agenda that creates hope for the millions of people around the world who still face poverty, hunger, marginalisation and profound inequalities. It must be an agenda that helps to empower everyone to take charge of their own lives – without being hampered by injustices and inequities. An agenda where the core human rights of every individual in the world will be respected and where we have demolished the very structures and societies that keep people in extreme poverty and discrimination. This is the task that unites us here tonight. It is not a task we must take easy. We have the power and the possibility to create positive change for millions of people, for millions of families, for all societies and countries in the world. This is what we should do, must do. This is what we can do.

Finally, let me close by underlining, what a special privilege and great honour it is to have Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary with us tonight. Her Royal Highness is doing invaluable work and showing remarkable dedication in furthering the important issues of women’s empowerment and rights. It is my distinguished pleasure to now give Her Royal Highness the floor….Thank you.


Your Royal Highness, thank you.

I am thrilled to have Mingas and her excellent band with us tonight. Mingas comes from Mozambique, where I heard her perform last year and immediately signed up as a fan. She is internationally famed as an artist and much loved in her country.

Apart from her music, Mingas has also impressed and inspired Mozambiquans and people all over the world with her social engagement.  In Mozambique, she has played an active role in promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS for youth through her music, and she has been recognised internationally for her work. In 2010, Mingas was named United Nations Millennium Development Goals Envoy for Africa in recognition of her efforts to support children’s health in Africa.

I am sure you will agree that it is a privilege for us all tonight to be able to experience the performance by an artist, who shows that music can be a powerful instrument to promote social awareness and change.

Enjoy the music. Obrigado, Mingas.