‘Humanitarian needs worldwide are record high. The Government has increased Norway’s support to humanitarian crises by about 50 % since 2013. In addition to providing more funding, we also need to make sure that assistance reaches as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. This is why we are signing a four-year agreement amounting to NOK 1.68 billion with the UN humanitarian fund today,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) ensures that aid reaches people in need quickly when acute crises arise. It also provides sorely needed funding for underfunded emergencies. CERF makes it possible to start a humanitarian response before donors provide funding through other channels. The agreement will be signed during the visit of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock to Oslo on 14 September.
‘Armed conflict, climate change and poverty in countries and regions affected by fragility are creating protracted, complex crises that are affecting increasing numbers of people. More funding is therefore needed for emergency relief, but it is also necessary to find innovative ways of organising humanitarian efforts. This is why the Government launched a new humanitarian strategy this August. The strategy sets out concrete measures in a number of areas related to humanitarian policy,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
‘Hostilities in densely populated areas affect civilians particularly severely, as we have seen in Syria, Yemen and several other places. Our new humanitarian strategy emphasises the importance of protection, humanitarian innovation and an integrated approach to preventing humanitarian crises and reducing humanitarian needs. These will be important items on the agenda in the meetings with the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will be in Oslo on 14 September. His programme includes meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, State Secretary Marianne Hagen, and representatives of civil society.
In line with normal practice, the agreement with CERF will be subject to the approval of the Storting (Norwegian parliament).