2015 was a promising year with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the commitment on Financing for Development. However, the scale and the complexity of humanitarian and protracted crises continued to increase, affecting a growing number of children and their families.
37 million children and young people are out of school due to conflicts and crises. Many more find their classrooms closed down for weeks, months or years. 75 million children and youth are in urgent need of support to get the education they are entitled to.
The international community deliver too little, too late in this field. Despite urgent needs, less than 2 percent of global humanitarian aid is allocated for education. We hope that the newly launched ‘Education Cannot Wait Fund’ can be a ‘game changer’ in order to fulfil the right to education for children and young people affected by crises. I would like to express my gratitude to the Executive Director for the great job UNICEF is doing in the development of the fund.
Closing the humanitarian financing gap will require political will and collective action beyond the Grand Bargain launched at the World Humanitarian Summit. More needs to be done to shrink humanitarian needs, with a stronger focus on prevention and better linkages between humanitarian and development aid in fragile situations. Norway remains committed to deliver on this.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to UNICEF’s staff, in particular those working under challenging conditions in the field.
We acknowledge the human resources reform mentioned by the Executive Directors this morning. Performance management is important to protect and deliver services for children in an effective and efficient manner. Thus, I would like to stress the importance of improving analysis, programming, monitoring and reporting at country level, which was one of the recommendations from last year’s Evaluation Report of Norway’s multilateral support to basic education through UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education).
Another issue highlighted by this Evaluation Report was that UNICEF mainly reported on output and immediate results, like teacher training, rather than on outcomes, such as whether this training had in fact led to children learning more at school.
I would like to underline that UNICEF’s annual reporting has improved after the new Results Framework was established. However, the reports could be further strengthened on the outcome level and by providing a better analysis of deviations.
We also appreciate the progress reported by UNICEF on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review indicators. Clearly, the UN Development System cannot do everything everywhere. Functions must be defined according to the comparative advantages of the UN, such as international legitimacy, the close link between normative and operational mandates and the presence at country level.
Norway’s contribution to UNICEF will remain high, and we hope that other Member States will contribute to a more equal burden sharing in providing UNICEF with predictable and flexible resources, which are crucial for achieving results for children.