Town Hall: UN Systemic COVID-19 response

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul at the joint Town Hall meeting of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, UN-Women and WFP on systemic COVID 19 response, 21 April 2020.


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Thank you to Ambassador Salovaara, Ambassador Webson, and to the leadership of the UN Agencies, for convening this briefing.

At this time of great uncertainty and global disruption, we need a strong, coordinated multilateral effort – and the UN must be at its core.

I want to commend the UN agencies for your demonstrated ability to quickly adapt to the rapidly shifting needs. And for your dialogue with us here today.

Your leadership and support will continue to be crucial in the time to come, both at the global and at country level.

Norway stands fully behind your efforts.


We are a major provider of core resources, and we have seen recently just how critical this has been in times of crisis, allowing the UN organizations to be flexible, responsive and to channel resources to where they are needed the most.

We would encourage other member states to also consider increasing their un-earmarked funding.

We particularly welcome the opportunity today to hear from Dr. Tedros. We agree that the role of WHO in leading our efforts to fight the virus is crucial. Please be assured that you have our full support, indeed Norway has stepped up contribution to WHO to help build up the global response to the pandemic.

But we also need to make sure our global efforts are not just responsive but also preventative.

To this end Norway has provided roughly 210 million USD to CEPI’s global work to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus.


Dear colleagues,

We have seen clearly, and I’m sure my UN colleagues would agree,  that this pandemic has been a challenge for every government, even the strongest health systems and supply chains.

There is a huge need in many places for an urgent humanitarian response. This is why Norway has pledged nearly 9 million USD in support of the Humanitarian Response Plan and we remain a firm supporter of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).  

But the effects of this crisis will be long term, not only on lives but also on livelihoods.

Many countries, such as the small island developing states with already fragile economies will feel the severity of the effects of the crisis more acutely.  Pushing them further off track to achieve the SDGs.

It is evident that even at this early stage, that we must also begin to address the socioeconomic impact of the crisis, and employ a range of different measures simultaneously.

Norway’s initial contribution of roughly 14 million USD to the COVID 19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund builds on this analysis.

The trust fund offers a way forward to ensure a coherent response from the UN at country level, and a humanitarian-recovery-development nexus approach.


I also wanted to highlight, as underscored by our colleagues from UNFPA and UN-Women and others, that we must ensure that all our efforts, both nationally and globally, are gender-responsive.

And that women are always included in decision making processes. 

Let me also reiterate Norway’s support to the Secretary-General’s Call to Cease all Violence Against Women.

In closing, given that this is also an opportunity for dialogue, I wanted to pose a question to the agency heads:  Given that the funds and programmes are also executive agencies for the Peace Building Fund, how do you see COVID-19s impact on already fragile peace processes and how do you see your role in this on the ground?

Thank you.