GA: Humanitarian Assistance

Statement by Counsellor Hanne Melfald on Humanitarian Assistance, 14 December 2018.

| General Assembly


The scale and complexity of today’s humanitarian crises are unprecedented.

We must step up our collective efforts on several fronts. We support the Secretary-General’s efforts to reform the UN, strengthen international cooperation and promote partnerships that will deliver more sustainable solutions for the millions of people affected by humanitarian crisis.

Stronger partnerships between host communities, the UN system, the multilateral development banks and civil society are critical to a more effective and accountable response.

The resolutions we are discussing today must be the expression of a strong and united response. Let me emphasize four points of particular importance.

First, humanitarian crises are increasingly defined by crises of protection and access. Parties to conflicts often show disregard for International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian principles. Attacks on health facilities and schools have become appallingly commonplace.

The international community must unequivocally condemn and take effective measures against such attacks. We must fulfill our responsibility to protect children from armed conflict. This includes protecting schools, universities, students and teachers from attack.

Second, we must ensure that the safety and human rights of women and children are respected. This should be an integral and prioritized dimension in humanitarian responses. We need to promote participation of women and women’s organizations, and step up efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence.

Thirdly, we must redouble our efforts to address and reduce forced displacement. International refugee response is undergoing a major renewal with the Global Compact on Refugees. Internally displaced persons, however, have not so far received the same level of attention, even though the rising need for humanitarian assistance and protection is not in doubt. Strategies for solutions for IDPs, including in cooperation with development actors, should be a main concern for the UN as a whole in 2019 and beyond.

Finally, we must continue to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance and place people at the center our response.

Earlier this year, Norway presented our new Humanitarian Strategy, which will form the basis of our humanitarian policy and financial support in the years to come. This includes more flexible funding and multi-year commitments to enable predictable, adaptive and cost effective humanitarian response.

The humanitarian system faces enormous challenges in the years ahead, in the context of worsening, protracted crises and constrained funds. We are determined to work together to meet these challenges.

Lastly, Norway wishes to express its deep gratitude to the delegates who facilitated the various resolutions. The facilitators have invested time and energy and brought member states together for a strengthened and united reponse. 

Thank you.