Photo: Library of Congress on Unsplash

Why voice matters? Seminar with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Date: Wednesday, 29 May. (Registration deadline 27. May)

Time: 10:30 – 12:00

Place: Norad, Infocenter

Light refreshments will be served from 10:00

In September 2024, world leaders will gather at the United Nations Headquarters for the Summit of the Future. Building on the SDG Summit in 2023, Member States will consider ways to lay the foundations for more effective global cooperation that can deal with today’s challenges as well as new threats in the future. Against this backdrop, the UN Special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Dr Irene Khan, calls for renewed political commitment to uphold freedom of expression, an enabler of sustainable development.

In her most recent report, Sustainable development and freedom of expression: why voice matters, the Special rapporteur emphasizes that both access to information and the effective participation of youth, indigenous communities, human rights defenders, civil society actors and others are essential for the 2030 Agenda to truly leave no one behind.  

However, the digital divide, misinformation and disinformation, attacks on journalists, and shrinking civic space pose ongoing threats to both freedom of expression and sustainable development.

Norway has a longstanding commitment to promoting freedom of expression in its international human rights work. The International strategy for freedom of expression, launched in 2021, places a high priority on freedom of expression as a cornerstone for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Norad and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) are honored to host an event with the participation of Dr Irene Khan. We take this opportunity to discuss some of the longstanding and emerging challenges in this field and explore how development actors can invest in safeguarding freedom of expression as a linchpin for effective, inclusive, participatory, and accountable sustainable development.


  • Dr. Irene Khan, UN Special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression
  • Vebjørn Heines, Policy Director Democracy and Human Rights, MFA
  • Lisa Knutsen Sivertsen, Head of Department for Human Development, Norad

Closing remarks:

Bård Vegar Solhjell, Director, Norad


Liv Hernæs Kvanvig, Policy Director Human Rights, Norad  

Registration is now closed. You may follow the livestream of the event on this page.