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Panel #2: Human-made crises as drivers of migration

Statement held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, 22-23 May 2017.

As we all are well aware, migration is the result of a multiple combinations of different causes that can be traced to an almost unique set of reasons for each individual, but there are drivers bigger than others. War and conflict are the most obvious ones. The erosion of conflict are often the consequence of deep underlying root causes.

Preventing social exclusion, is in our view a key factor in preventing conflict and in reducing forced migration.

If we do not become better at addressing those root causes our efforts to avoid and end conflict and forced migration will be short sighted and unsuccessful.

The UN is devoting more energy and efforts on prevention but still has a long way to go in being more proactive in prevention. Because ultimately, we cannot respond to the number and intensity of today’s crises by focusing only on the consequences. We need to stop them from occurring. Once the conflict is there, the UN must see as its primary responsibility to identify and implement the political solutions.  

Prevention is often misunderstood as undermining states sovereignty. It is rather the opposite. Prevention means actively supporting states to steer away from the traps of conflict and actually strengthen their sovereignty. 

We need to be better at supporting states who are in a vulnerable situation and at risk of conflict. This is a long-term job and requires joint international effort led by the UN. The UN needs to bring all its resources to bear, including the UN Development System. This is what the UN agenda for sustaining peace is all about. While the UN system spends close to 9 billion USD annually on peacekeeping missions, only a fraction of this is goes to conflict prevention. There is a need to revise and restructure the fundamental way the international community supports sustainable peace.

Behind Norway’s investment in peace and reconciliation diplomacy, is the recognition that preventing and resolving violent conflict is a cost-effective way of fostering inclusive development. Norway has put a lot of money into peace and reconciliation efforts throughout the years. If you take into account the costs of military engagement, the human suffering and the negative impact conflict has on development, you will find that mediation is a cost effective tool in promoting development, peace and security.

We welcome initiatives to reduce drivers of irregular migration, through prevention by supporting the Secretary Generals agenda for sustaining peace. More focus on early action is needed to address the underlying factors that lead to conflict and displacement.

The large majority of global mobility occurs domestically, within countries. Last year the overwhelming majority of new displacement by conflict occurred in fragile states. Weak governance and scarce resources of the affected states further augment the situation where governments struggle to protect those displaced and to prevent the accumulation of new displacements, creating new vulnerabilities and drivers of crises.

The relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movement, upon flight and return, is currently poorly understood. A better understanding of the factors that push those internally displaced across borders, as refugees or migrants, is required for global agenda setting as well as for national planning and international support.

Norway also welcome the provision for developing non-binding principles and voluntary guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations. In this context we need give particular attention to the participation of the most affected and vulnerable groups such as minorities, youth and women in the process.