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The Triple Nexus in Practice

Statement by State Secretary Marianne Hagen at the Side Event on The Triple Nexus in Practice: Toward a New Way of Working in Protracted and Repeated Crises, 9 December 2019.

The humanitarian landscape is constantly changing. Armed conflict, climate change and persistent poverty are creating complex crises that last longer and affect a growing number of people.

Now, more than ever, we need to work together across the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and human rights pillars.

Working across the nexus is not a new agenda, but it gained new momentum at the World Humanitarian Summit with the  New Way of Working initiative.

We know that humanitarian action sometimes means that parallel structures co-exist for many years, while national capacity in countries affected by protracted or repeated crises remains low.

Development actors are often not present in areas affected by fragility and crisis – or they get involved too late.

How can we transcend the humanitarian-development divide?

How can we anticipate a crisis rather than waiting for it to develop?

Is it possible for humanitarian actors to address root causes of conflict and strengthen local leadership and resilience without compromising the humanitarian principles?

Are development actors willing to become engaged in protracted humanitarian crises at an earlier stage, and thereby accept greater risk?

These are some of the questions that we wanted answers to.

We wanted evidence of what works on the ground, and information about bottlenecks and other challenges that need to be addressed. This is why Norway has invested in this study.

I want to thank the Center on International Cooperation for considering these and many other difficult questions in the review we are launching today: The Triple Nexus in Practice: Toward a New Way of Working in Protracted and Repeated Crisis.

I will not discuss the findings of the review, as they will be presented in due course. But I would like to emphasise Norway’s commitment to this agenda.

First, Norway supports an integrated approach and is committed to the principles of the nexus­ as exemplified in the Grand Bargain, the New Way of Working, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the reform of the UN Development System.

In our Humanitarian Strategy, which was launched last year, we give priority to strengthening the nexus, alongside an increased focus on protection and humanitarian innovation.

This strategy provides the framework for our humanitarian policy and operational approaches.

Second, we are working to align humanitarian, development and peace financing more closely. Better financing across the nexus is one of the ways in which donors can create the right incentives for our partners to move beyond institutional silos and deliver results together, in line with the New Way of Working.

Norway is committed to providing flexible, un-earmarked humanitarian financing. We are strong supporters of the humanitarian pooled funds, which help to ensure that responses are effective, principled and coherent. We are also increasingly providing multi-year financing.

At the same time, we are working to increase flexibility and risk tolerance in our long-term development efforts in states and regions affected by conflict and fragility, and we give priority to providing relevant development aid in these areas.

For example, we have significantly increased our flexible budget line for transitional assistance to countries affected by fragility.

Finally, I would like to add a few words of caution.

We need to be clear that operationalising the nexus is not about merging everything. It is about cooperation and coordination between stakeholders with different mandates.

We need to find the right mix of approaches and financing instruments for each situation, while protecting the space for principled humanitarian action.

A more integrated approach should not undermine the ability of humanitarian organisations to respond rapidly to crises and reach those most in need.

Our approach will always need to be country- and context-specific. Different situations require different approaches. The nexus approach may be entirely appropriate in some situations, but not feasible or even desirable in others – for example in some conflict settings where protection is the biggest challenge.

Impact on the ground takes time. This is also a question of changing mindsets.

I believe these topics will be addressed in more detail by the Center on International Cooperation.

We are eager to hear more about your review and look forward to  following up the findings and recommendations.

Thank you.