Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, is currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, participating in the third International Conference on Financing for Development.
The conference has focused on launching “a renewed and strengthened global partnership for financing people-centered sustainable development,” according to a press release.
It is “an important milestone” on the road towards two major upcoming international agreements—the new sustainable development agenda in September, and a universal climate change agreement that will be decided upon at the Paris Climate Conference in December.
Gunnar Bragi addressed a seminar on sustainable energy initiatives, and highlighted the importance of utilizing geothermal energy wherever possible. He also met with the African Union’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, the Egyptian Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim to discuss collaboration between Iceland and the union on strategies for harnessing geothermal heat.
Several heads of state and other higher level politicians are in attendance, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
In his address, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon focused on the importance of reducing gender inequality, if sustainable development is ever to be possible, and emphasized the fact that only 10 percent of official development aid targets women.
“This has to change now if we are to achieve sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and development. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is clear about the need to invest in policy making and legislation to ensure women’s equal rights and their participation and leadership in the economy,” said the Secretary-General.
The Icelandic Minister also participated in a panel hosted by NGOs, UN Women, Iceland and Uruguay on the topic of gender inequality.
At the conclusion of the conference, Gunnar Bragi will head to Malawi to meet with government representatives and discuss development projects the two states have jointly worked on.