Date: 23 March 2020
Norway takes initiative for new coronavirus fund at UN
The coronavirus has spread rapidly to all continents and is expected to have a serious impact in many countries, especially those that are highly vulnerable. Norway is therefore taking the initiative now to establish a new multi-donor fund that will better equip the UN to help developing countries to tackle the long-term consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The initiative was well received by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. The UN has responded quickly and is aiming to launch the fund shortly, perhaps within the next few days.
‘A multi-donor fund under UN auspices will provide predictability for our partners and help to make the efforts more effective,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide. ‘Experience from other crises shows that the earlier you start long-term response planning, the more precise and successful the effort becomes. It is important to fight the virus all across the world, and to succeed, all countries and organisations will have to work together effectively.’
The UN is our most important international cooperative body and plays a key role in ensuring effective coordination, planning and implementation of a wide range of initiatives. During the Ebola crisis in 2014, a joint fund was established at the UN to help bring a more integrated approach to response efforts in the affected countries, including both emergency aid and longer-term development. The Ebola response fund was seen as having positive effects and is the background for Norway’s present initiative.
‘In global crises like this, international cooperation is absolutely necessary. We are concerned about how the virus will affect developing countries already struggling with poor health systems. International solidarity across borders is more important than ever. That is why it is important for us to contribute financially to a UN fund of this kind,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.