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Tal vid Boao Forum for Asia i Hainan, Kina

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Boao Forum for Asia i Hainan, Kina 28 mars 2015
Det talade ordet gäller.

Mr President, Mr Chairman, Exellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the invitation to speak here today. Sweden’s relations with the Asian region are strong. Sweden was the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and we are proud to celebrate the 65th anniversary of our relationship this year. We were also among the first Western countries to recognise Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Most countries in the world have benefited from globalisation. The rapid growth here in Asia has brought enormous benefits - reduced poverty and rising living standards. Globalisation brings countries together. It promotes strengthened political, economic and commercial contacts, and also people-to-people exchanges. The distance between Asia and Europe has never been shorter than now. Because we are a global community, we also share global challenges. In the upcoming months, some of these will be addressed. We have the UN Summit on a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda, and the Paris Conference on Climate Change. I will make three points in this connection.

First: The post-2015 development agenda must be a joint effort. We will need the creativity and commitment of civil society, of a responsible and sustainable business sector, and – most importantly – of citizens. I have therefore asked my post-2015 team to consult widely with civil society and the business community on how they can contribute. Another key is resources. Official development assistance remains important, especially for low-income countries. Sweden will continue to use 1 per cent of its GNI to ODA. We urge other developed countries to also honour their commitments.

Second: When I was in Beijing yesterday, I thought about the ground-breaking World Conference on Women, held there 20 years ago. To recognize gender equality as key to the world’s future is long overdue. Overcoming gender inequality must be at the centre of the post-2015 goals, as a human right, but also to achieve sustainable development.
Significant economic gains can be made when women are able to develop their full labour market potential. Raising the female labour force rate to male levels would, for instance, raise GDP in the United States by 5 per cent, in Japan by 9 per cent, in Sweden 10 per cent, and in Egypt by 34 per cent.

And third: There is great potential, everywhere, to cut emissions whilst improving economic performance – with positive effects for health, poverty reduction and energy security.

Many countries have taken important steps to curb emissions. Like China has already done, all countries ought to present national contributions to the climate conference in Paris. Sweden has a target of reducing emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. We aim for a new climate policy framework that stretches until 2050. Our experience is that very clear climate objectives help mobilise stakeholders such as businesses and cities. We have also seen good results from using economic instruments to reduce emissions, such as a carbon tax of 150 USD per tonne. Such instruments can reduce environmental impact, improve health, and promote innovation and green investments - resulting in green jobs. I am convinced that what we agree in Paris in December, will result in an ambitious commitment to our common goal: to keep the global temperature increase below two degrees.

These three issues are all interlinked – cooperation between all sectors in society; ensuring gender equality; and halting climate change. All are fundamental to ensure sustainable development. And all are discussed in depth here at the Boao Forum for Asia. Thank you all for making that possible.