Norway PM Erna Solberg’s open letter on sustainable development

In April, 2015 Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg visited Indonesia and Vietnam. During the trip the Prime Minister, accompanied by fellow members of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s MDG Advocacy Group, Dho Young-Shim and Stine Bosse, visited the exquisite Bujang Raba rainforest ecosystem on the island of Sumatra where the Orang Rimba live, one of Indonesia’s most vulnerable indigenous tribes.


They also visit Lao Cai province in Vietnam, where they locals have succeeded in reducing emissions from the forest sector to prevent negative effects of climate change through forestry projects, including the UN-REDD+ Programme.

They, writes Erna Solberg in an open letter published by, met with forest rangers, local authorities and representatives of the local community who help protect watersheds, prevent landslides and provide livelihoods for local communities, thus contributing to sustainable development.

“What role do indigenous people and forests have in a sustainable future? Development planning must focus on the most vulnerable and include indigenous people in decision making,” writes the prime minister.

The United Nations begins the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established 15 years ago, to a new global sustainable development agenda be adopted by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in September, and as it prepares for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

United Nations has just finished hosting the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, followed by the United Nations Forum on Forests. Close to 1.6 billion people – more than 25 per cent of the world’s population – rely on forests resources for their livelihoods. Approximately 1.2 billion use trees on farms to generate food and cash.  Of these an estimated 60 million are indigenous peoples.

“While preparing for these summits we must address the unfinished business and refocus development planning on the most vulnerable. We must leave no one behind, and this includes building a strong framework for sustainable forests and including indigenous peoples in the decision-making process.”

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