On behalf of Norway, allow me to extend our sincere thanks to the Governments of Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United States, in collaboration with the Governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, for organizing this year’s conference alongside aksOCHA.
Norway has a longstanding engagement on the Horn of Africa. We have over decades developed our relations, both with countries on the Horn itself and in the wider region. Areas such as climate, education, governance and gender equality have been central elements in our policies. This engagement will continue.
Tragically, conflict, war and climate change has brought hunger to millions of people and has provoked unprecedented displacements across borders and within states. Fundamental human rights are violated and the democratic space is severely limited. I need not elaborate in this forum, you are all well aware.
In addition to our humanitarian budget, the Norwegian government has allocated extraordinary resources in 2023 to countries that are hit particularly hard by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. We focus on food and food security, and displacement and host communities, both in our humanitarian and development efforts. The Horn of Africa is a prioritized region for this funding.
The urgency of humanitarian interventions here, and in other parts of the world, has diverted resources and attention away from the development agenda. Fundamental issues related to climate change, democracy and peace and reconciliation are not addressed adequately. Norway is playing our part, but the global needs increasingly exceed available resources.
Humanitarian aid is not the answer to these profound challenges. The Norwegian government focuses on the interconnectedness between our tools, and has established a budget line within the humanitarian field addressing host communities and durable solutions as well as displaced populations.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian imperative prevails. I am pleased to be able to announce that Norway will increase our humanitarian funding to countries in the Horn of Africa and regional response plans compared to last year. So far in 2023, we have allocated approximately 380 million NOK (ca. 35 million USD.) from the humanitarian budget, and expect this to increase through the second half of the year. In addition we are also allocating 200 million NOK to food security on the Horn of Africa from our development budget. This is part of our integrated approach to support climate-smart agriculture and building resilient communities.
Before closing, we would like to acknowledge the generosity and solidarity shown by host communities and governments in the region, to the many refugees and migrants. Rest assured that Norway will remain a committed partner to OCHA, and to the people and countries of the Horn of Africa.