Increased support for religious minorities

‘Religious minorities are particularly vulnerable in situations of war and conflict, and are overrepresented among those living in extreme poverty. In the revised budget, the Government has proposed an additional allocation of NOK 10 million to efforts to protect religious minorities and safeguard their rights,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Earlier this year, the Government increased its support for promoting sexual and reproductive health by NOK 85 million. Today’s proposal means that the total increase in funding for this area, compared with the allocation in 2016, will be NOK 117 million. The additional funds will be channelled through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and international NGOs. In this way, the Government will help UNFPA to remain a strong and relevant actor, both globally and at country level. Norway is also providing considerable funding for UNFPA’s humanitarian efforts, including in Syria and its neighbouring countries.

‘Norway is continuing to play a leading role in promoting women’s health internationally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 47 000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions, and 225 million girls and women do not have access to contraceptives. Efforts to promote women’s health are particularly important now, at a time when the results we have achieved in the past and further progress in this area are being threatened,’ said Mr Brende.

‘Sexual and reproductive health services are important for enabling women and girls to plan their pregnancies, get an education and participate in the workforce. By enhancing women’s health, we increase women’s opportunities for economic and political participation. Improving women’s health is also vital for fighting poverty and promoting development,’ said Mr Brende.