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Individual countries, however, can still have a positive impact. Minister Solheim stressed that a country like Norway has an important role to play in dealing with threats like climate change. The economic growth facilitated by Norway's oil extraction allows the country to fund important overseas environmental projects. By supporting rainforest conservation programmes in Brazil and Indonesia, for example, Norway is able to use its economic strength to play a significant role in global conservation efforts. The challenge for the United Nations member states is to act collectively and not solely unilaterally.
Minister Solheim predicted that COP 16 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will serve in that regard, as a significant assessment of states' abilities to compromise with each other. The ability to act unilaterally should not serve as a substitute to global cooperation. There are lessons to be learned from COP 15, which took place in Copenhagen in December 2009, where the world's most powerful countries were somewhat reluctant to accept the need to compromise. Nevertheless, Minister Solheim hopes that we can find ways to reconcile our differences in order to achieve the universal and lasting goal of environmental preservation.
Interview with Erik Solheim, Norway’s Minister of Environment and International Development
Minister Solheim reflects on global environmental governance in our multipolar world and puts forward the ability to compromise as a necessary step to achieve a legally-binding global climate deal, while stressing the interim benefits that unilateral and bilateral initiatives can provide. This interview was recorded after Minister Solheim delivered the 2010 Fridtjof Nansen Memorial Lecture at UNU in Tokyo on 27 November.
Video of interview with Erik Solheim, Norway's minister of the environment and international development
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