Prime Minister of Norway Speaks at Peking University
On April 10, 2017, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Erna Solberg, visited Peking University (PKU), gave a speech, and engaged in a discussion with PKU students and faculty. The meeting was held in Sunlight Hall at the Overseas Exchange Center of PKU. It was the first time that Ms. Solberg visited PKU since she took office in 2013. She and her delegation, including the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to China, Svein Ole Saether, received a warm welcome by the Chair of the PKU Council Hao Ping and PKU President Lin Jianhua. The meeting was hosted by PKU Vice President Li Yansong.
PKU Vice President Li Yansong, PKU Chair Hao Ping, Norway Prime Minister Solberg, and PKU President Lin Jianhua
As she is the incumbent Prime Minister of Norway, Ms. Solberg has also been the co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group since its establishment in 2016. Her speech at PKU was focused on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of these goals during the process of globalization.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations
Ms. Solberg agreed that unregulated globalization will bring devastating consequences. Then she asked a question to the audience: “How can we manage globalization to the benefit of everyone while protecting the climate and the environment?” She found the answer in the implementation of SDGs, which provides a roadmap of an ideal future. Yet, she claimed that a roadmap can only show us the ideals, and we have to work hard to actualize it. She stated that China has been working hard in increasing the feasibility of SDGs, including its substantial contribution to combating global poverty.
She explained that the 17 SDGs are integrated, which means that progress in one goal can positively effect other goals. She emphasized the importance of education, as it can be the catalyst in achieving multiple SDGs at the same time. She additionally mentioned that education can provide a contribution to the community as well. Since Ms. Solberg’s inauguration, the Norwegian government has been working arduously to enhance global education.
Group photo of the Norwegian delegation and PKU representatives
Ms. Solberg said that SDGs require innovation, and she thanked China again for its progress in providing innovative ideas to the world. She recognized that commercializing innovative ideas is important, and that, if market forces could not drive innovation, providing innovators adequate partnerships with international organizations could help solve this issue. She specifically mentioned vaccinations and emphasized innovation in medical fields to combat epidemics.
Ms. Solberg also expressed the importance of preserving the Arctic, and she explained that the Norwegian government has accumulated scientific research to help prevent climate change. She stated that climate change is a global problem and that it requires a global solution, and that she is hopeful that international commitment and cooperation to solve global warming will successfully create safe and sustainable development in the Arctic.
Ms. Solberg writing a message to PKU
Ms. Solberg mentioned a major obstacle in reaching the SDGs is global conflicts. Yet, improvement in education and funding can reduce global conflicts. Education can help bring about a more peaceful global development. She stated that Chinese government has put a lot of efforts into peace keeping, which is one of the priorities of the United Nations. The United Nations in 2015 introduced the 17 SDGS to make a peaceful, safe, and inclusive society, and to achieve sustainable development. Ms. Solberg urged students and future political leaders to work hard on promoting globalization for the benefit of all people.
The event ended with a question and answer session between Ms. Solberg and PKU students and professors. The questions were based on gender equality, global economic development, and politics. After the event, Ms. Solberg had a discussion session with students.