Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region

Statement by Ambassador and Chair of the United Nations Advisory Board on Human Security Knut Vollebæk at the launch of The Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region, 27 November 2018.


Deputy Prime Minister Ramatov,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my sincere pleasure to be with you today to mark the launch of the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region, both in my capacity as the representative of the Government of Norway and as the Chair of the United Nations Advisory Board on Human Security.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his determined and tireless leadership and to express my sincere gratitude to President Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, Deputy Prime Minister Ramatov, and Ambassador Ibragimov for their commitment to endorse human security and promote its implementation, first through programmes supported by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and now through the establishment of the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund.

Initiatives such as these underscore the importance of the current reforms embraced by the Secretary-General and the membership of the United Nations.  

When environmental disasters hit, the immediate and devastating impact is undoubtedly the loss of innocent lives. But there are also more insidious and lingering effects: the sense of hopelessness that arises when development gains are repeatedly undone; the enduring dislocation of populations and communities; the destruction of foundations of prosperity; and the psychosocial impacts of living under a permanent cloud of risk. 

Combined with persistent poverty, the after-effects of environmental disasters put tremendous strain on systems of governance and community cohesion, triggering competition over increasingly scarce resources and, in worst case scenarios, fueling societal tensions.

It is for this reason that the comprehensive vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a priority for Norway.


For the international community to realize the promise of the 2030 Agenda will require significant structural, strategic and operational changes.

To this end, Norway has championed efforts for a more anticipatory, integrated and country-driven response by the UN system, one that encourages cross-sectoral initiatives for greater coherence on the ground.

We have encouraged the creation of new partnerships to combine resources and expertise and produce greater and more sustainable outcomes for people.

And, we have sought to emphasize the importance of assistance that unifies collaborative actions towards tangible and lasting improvements in the survival, livelihood and dignity of those most vulnerable.

In a world characterized by frequent and recurring disasters, the principles of human security contribute considerably to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

As defined by the UN General Assembly, the human security approach is an anticipatory framework for a people-centered development that is comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented, and that aims to strengthen the protection and empowerment of individuals and communities in face of current and emerging risks and vulnerabilities.

Notably, the application of human security forms a comprehensive schema for addressing the root causes and the wide-ranging consequences of environmental disasters, thereby compelling policymakers and practitioners to consider the complex interactions between catastrophic events and their societal impacts.

As such, a focus on human security encourages the assessment of the needs, vulnerabilities and capacities of people in a disaggregated manner, allowing for a more detailed understanding of the trend, level and distribution of risks amongst groups, communities, and regions.

Subsequently, more targeted and evidence-based strategies for expanding resilience and ensuring sustainability can be developed, centered on community-based adaptation and mitigation plans, and addressing gaps in existing strategies.

Distinguished colleagues,

The launch of today’s Multi-Partner Human Security Fund capitalizes on the successes and the lessons learned from two earlier programmes supported by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security; the first of which began in 2012 and brought together the necessary commitment and the combined expertise of a broad range of partners so well represented here today.

Through a rigorous methodology, anchored in the human security approach, these previous programmes proved successful based on an analytical framework that enhanced the operational effectiveness of the UN system, Government partners, and the communities themselves. As a result, people living in the Aral Sea region of Uzbekistan strengthened their capacities to live in greater resilience, with concrete benefits in their daily lives and aspirations.

Through more than 240 programmes in 90 countries, the UN Trust Fund has been a catalytic mechanism in providing seed money for innovative and integrated human security programmes that can be brought to scale through other sources of funding and partnerships.

Today’s event and the launch of the Multi-Partner Human Security Fund is exemplary of what the Trust Fund aims to achieve – to extend the lessons learned from successful initiatives into a much larger national and regional effort that will be more strategic, effective and impactful for communities affected by the Aral Sea disaster, as well as other crises.

In this regard, the new Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund holds much promise.

The Fund can further harness the power of multi-stakeholder partnerships to transform obstacles to opportunities; engage affected communities in the development and resilience of their communities; leave no one behind and give voice to those most vulnerable; and ensure that policies and programmes are evidence-based and support an inclusive sustainable development trajectory so aptly called for and agreed to in Agenda 2030.

As such, it is my distinct pleasure to announce the commitment of the Government of Norway in the amount 9, 5 million NOK, which is equivalent to approximately 1, 2 mill USD, to the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region.

We make this commitment with confidence that the human security approach is a powerful and proven tool to strengthen local, national and regional strategies towards greater resilience and sustainable development. Norway also welcomes the positive regional development in Central Asia and the Aral Sea region and hopes that this can contribute to the same end.

We recognize that the 2030 Agenda and our aspiration to live free from want, fear, and indignity depends on our continued partnerships.

Norway is and will be a consistent partner for a common future. It is our hope that other countries will join us in supporting this timely and effective initiative.


Crises such as the Aral Sea disaster present significant challenges to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda. However, they also present new opportunities.

By pooling our resources to address the root causes of these crises, we can respond to the interconnectivity of these and other challenges; call for integrated responses that generate greater synergies across interventions; and see our commitments result in greater resilience, prosperity and stability for all.

I thank you for your attention.