Significant increase in aid to Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and refugees in neighbouring areas
According to new figures, refugee-related costs in Norway for 2017 are NOK 1,36 billion lower than projected. The Government has proposed that most of the unused funds should go to parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa that are severely affected by war and conflict.
‘I am pleased that the revised budget proposal will allow us to increase aid to countries in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. The needs in these countries are huge, both for long-term development assistance and for humanitarian aid,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
A large part of the proposed increase of NOK 453 million to the humanitarian aid budget will be used in South Sudan, Somalia, the Lake Chad region, and underfunded crises in sub-Saharan Africa. The Government will also increase its support for the humanitarian response in Bangladesh. ‘The situation of the 620 000 Rohingya who have been driven out of Myanmar into Bangladesh since August is precarious. Much of additional funding under the humanitarian budget will therefore be used on measures to alleviate their situation,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide. The Government also plans to increase Norway’s humanitarian aid to Yemen.
‘For many years, the Middle East has been plagued by wars and conflicts, and instability in one country threatens the stability of neighbouring countries. That is why we will intensify our efforts to promote stability and development in this troubled region,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Under the budget chapter for transitional assistance, the Government has proposed an increase of NOK 117 million to support UNDP’s stabilisation efforts in Iraq. The Government has also proposed an increase of NOK 120 million for the World Bank’s fund for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. The priorities set out in the revised budget mean that Norway’s efforts to help refugees and internally displaced people in neighbouring areas will be intensified.
The Government has proposed that the regional allocation for Africa in the revised 2017 budget should be increased by NOK 90 million. The additional funding will go to stabilisation funds in Somalia and DR Congo, the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, the World Bank’s and the UN’s efforts relating to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and a fund that supports the peace process in the Central African Republic.
In addition, the Government plans to allocate NOK 20 million to Norfund. This funding will be earmarked for a Nordic investment fund in Somalia.
As far as thematic priority areas are concerned, the Government has proposed to increase Norway’s support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, by NOK 200 million, and to increase funding for the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative by NOK 90 million.