Check against delivery
Secretary-General, Emergency Relief Coordinator, Excellencies, colleagues,
It is an honour for me to be part of this panel. Alice’s story from Democratic Republic of Congo makes a great impression on me and is very emotional to watch. Supporting survivors of gender-based violence is a priority to Norway and we highly appreciate CERF supporting emergency surgery as described in this short clip.
Norway has been a consistent partner and significant donor to CERF from the outset:
- Firstly, because CERF is an effective instrument for providing protection and rapid, life-saving assistance to people affected by humanitarian crises.
- Secondly, because it provides much-needed support for underfunded and often neglected emergencies.
- And thirdly, because it helps to strengthen humanitarian leadership and coordination.
Delivering a rapid response, ensuring that priority is given to those who are most in need, and providing well-coordinated and effective assistance: these three elements have been key to CERF’s work in the past, and in our view, they will remain so as we work to further develop and strengthen the fund in the time ahead.
CERF is a key instrument for supporting operational humanitarian responses to the complex crises we are facing. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who make those responses possible - the many aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service.
Last year, Norway signed a four-year agreement with CERF on the provision of 1.68 billion Norwegian kroner in funding – about 200 million US dollars. This is the largest agreement ever signed by Norway in the humanitarian field.
We believe this kind of multi-year agreement helps to ensure greater predictability and flexibility for humanitarian partners, and contributes to a more effective humanitarian response.
Given the support Norway is providing and the confidence it has shown in CERF, we expect the Emergency Relief Coordinator and his team to push for innovation and efficiency gains, while at the same time preserving CERF’s core mandate: To deliver swift support for protection and life-saving assistance wherever and whenever crises strike.
Let me take this opportunity to highlight one challenge in particular that Norway believes should be given higher priority by humanitarian agencies and leaders , including CERF and the agencies it supports – namely sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). We have just listened to Alice’s story, and we know many more have been suffering for years.
SGBV is widespread in humanitarian crises today and causes immense suffering. This is clearly unacceptable. The issue of SGBV has received far too little attention and resources in humanitarian response to date. This is surprising, given its importance.
It was precisely for this reason that we organised the Oslo conference on ending SGBV in May this year, in cooperation with Iraq, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates, OCHA, UNFPA and the ICRC.
Throughout our humanitarian response efforts, we must give priority to SGBV programming, protection, prevention, and risk mitigation across all sectors. And we must ensure that the necessary funding is in place.
Moreover, we must put survivors at the centre of the response, and we must recognise that women and girls are powerful agents of change in their own lives and communities.
The SGBV conference in Oslo brought us one step forward in this regard, and I’m glad that the Emergency Relief Coordinator is calling for action, including through CERF, to address SGBV in acute crises where tough choices have to be made and clear priorities set.
Leadership and ownership at all levels of humanitarian response are needed if we are to make further progress in this field.
Before I finish, I’m delighted to be able to announce that we have decided to provide an additional 40 million Norwegian kroner to CERF, as an end-of-year top-up for 2019. This brings our 2019 contribution to a total of 460 million Norwegian kroner.
And, early next year, in accordance with our four-year agreement, I can confirm that we will disburse 420 million Norwegian kroner to support CERF’s humanitarian response plans for 2020.