Humanitarian action is an important part of the Government’s international engagement, and Norway has increased its humanitarian budget by more than 50 % since 2013.
The new humanitarian strategy will guide Norway’s efforts in this area over the next five years. The main priorities will be protection of civilians, reform and innovation, and a more integrated approach to preventing humanitarian crises. Our efforts will be based on international humanitarian law, the humanitarian principles, and human rights. We will ensure that our humanitarian efforts, development cooperation and peacebuilding efforts complement each other.
‘Norway aims to be at the forefront of efforts to ensure a rapid and effective humanitarian response. In Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and many other conflict-affected countries, people in need are being subjected to violence and abuse, and humanitarian aid workers are being denied access. The Government will give special priority to protecting children and young people, combating sexual and gender-based violence, and protecting civilians against mines and other explosives,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Armed conflict, climate change and poverty in countries and regions affected by fragility are now creating protracted, complex crises that are affecting increasing numbers of people. The needs are increasing, even though donors are providing more funding and humanitarian organisations are reaching more people than ever before. Some 136 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
‘Norway has a strong humanitarian voice. We will maintain a high level of humanitarian support, identify new priorities, and seek to achieve even better results with the existing resources through innovation and reform and by taking an integrated approach. We must do our part to address the current situation, where large numbers of people are in need of humanitarian aid year after year,’ Ms Søreide Eriksen said.
Innovative approaches and new technology are helping to save more lives and to meet the changing needs of people affected by crisis. A new humanitarian innovation programme will be established in cooperation with Innovation Norway to test out and scale up new humanitarian approaches.
A number of humanitarian organisations and research communities have provided input to the new strategy.
The strategy is being launched on 13 August at Arendalsuka, an annual national event designed to promote political participation and civic engagement. Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide will present the strategy and participate in a panel debate together with Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup and representatives from humanitarian organisations.