“We must work to reduce the number of suicides,” says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H). In her New Year’s speech, she recalled Ari Behn, who took his life on Christmas Day.
– “Norway lost an innovative artist and writer. Family and survivors lost a dear family member and a close friend,” Solberg said in the traditional New Year’s Day speech.
“I send my warmest thoughts to all those who have lost one of their loved ones over the past year,” she continued.
The prime minister points out that 674 people died by suicide in this country in 2018.
– “They had 674 different reasons. Anyway, we have to work to get the number down. Openness, daring to talk about emotions, is important,” she said, encouraging people to give each other time to talk.
Want to find the causes
The government will now take the initiative to identify the reasons why more young people have mental health challenges, states Solberg.
– “Then we can also come closer to solutions that work,” she said in the speech.
Promoting good health, including mental health, is part of the UN Sustainability Goals, which Solberg has engaged in internationally. But the goals are also something to strive for here at home, she stressed, pointing to school dropouts, mental health and child poverty.
From the New Year, all municipalities will have a psychologist, while the child benefit will be increased, the prime minister emphasized.
Promises powerful climate cuts
Solberg devoted much of the New Year’s speech to climate and the environment. Emissions in Norway are almost as large now as in 1990, but she points out that at the same time we have become one million more Norwegians, and that the economy has had a formidable growth.
– But in the future, emissions must be greatly reduced, she emphasized, adding that it will require a lot from us.
I can’t promise that everything will be as before.
However, the prime minister is putting her protective hand over the Norwegian oil industry.
– Even if the world reaches the climate targets, oil and gas will be needed. That is why we should not liquidate an industry that employs many thousands and that helps to finance our welfare, she argued.
Warns against symbolic measures
On the other hand, she warns against “expensive and poor symbolic measures”.
– “If we choose the good and effective measures, we can cut emissions faster, while at the same time we have money left to invest in knowledge in the schools and treat more in the health service,” said Solberg.
She warns that the government will create emissions budgets from 2021. From then on we will have to release less year by year.
Norway has set itself the target of cutting emissions in the non-quota sector by 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2030. But the projections the government made just before Christmas, indicate a cut of just under 26 percent.
Solberg encourages everyone to contribute by choosing a more climate-friendly car and traveling collectively and cycling.
“Each may not mean much, but keep in mind that it is the sum of all the small choices that decides,” she stressed.
Optimistic Prime Minister
Despite the emphasis on climate, Solberg did not mention the disappointment of the Madrid climate summit at the end of the year. The serious refugee crisis affecting the Mediterranean region was also not mentioned, nor was the large negotiating job the government has ahead, when the British leave the EU.
Solberg chose instead to end with an optimistic tone. In many areas, things are going the right way, she said, pointing out that fewer people live in poverty, more mothers and newborns survive and more finish school. All are among the UN goals to be achieved by 2030.
“In ten years, today’s New Year’s children will be able to see that we have achieved our goals,” she said.
– “We have a long road ahead. But when we know where we are going, it is just to give way. Everyone can do a little. Together we will make it,” she encouraged.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today