GA: ECOSOC General Debate Humanitarian Affairs Segment

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Odd-Inge Kvalheim in the ECOSOC General Debate Humanitarian Affairs Segment, 21 June 2022.

Almost four months into Russia´s war of aggression, a grim humanitarian outlook has turned ever darker. While the Ukrainian people bear the brunt of Russia´s attack, the costs of war reach far beyond Ukraine.

Rising food prices account for the dramatic increase in global humanitarian needs.

We must strengthen humanitarian assistance, and find solutions to the drivers of armed conflict. Norway remains committed to providing quality funding, and supporting cash responses in humanitarian action.

Let us use this opportunity to discuss how we can mobilise and reinforce humanitarian action, in a way that puts people affected by crises at the centre. I would like to highlight three issues of particular importance for Norway:

First, civilians must be protected.

Norway strongly urges all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law. Children are made particularly vulnerable by conflict. Yet, we know that attending school substantially reduces risks to a wide range of threats.

This includes: child marriage, child labour, sexual and gender-based violence and recruitment and use by armed forces and groups. Therefore, its vital to uphold the right to education. Education protects children.

We call on all states to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

Second, we must work smarter and better.

Developing innovative solutions will be key to close the growing gap between needs and resources. We give high priority to this because we believe it will improve the humanitarian response, and lead to better protection of people affected by conflict.

We must also look at ourselves. Reforming the humanitarian system to ensure efficiency is a continuous challenge. Considerable progress has been made the recent years. Still, we need to reinforce local humanitarian action and ensure more accountability to affected populations.

Norway will continue to push for reforms that put the needs of people affected by conflict and crisis at the centre.

Third, we need to ensure closer collaboration between humanitarian efforts, long-term development assistance, and peacebuilding. Where there are gaps, they must be closed. Complementarity must replace competition. 

Allow me to give one example. Improved data and new technology now allow us to anticipate crises before they arise. Anticipatory action is more effective and cost-efficient. We therefore must ensure better coordination and more efficient modalities to act ahead of the curve. And make anticipatory action the preferred option.

More development funding is also needed to scale up our response.

In conclusion,

The ECOSOC humanitarian resolution is an important guiding document toward these aims. Norway is pleased that it was possible to reach consensus on a technical rollover this year, and look forward to its adoption by consensus at the end of the week. Norway continues to support the bi-annualising of this resolution.