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Norway in Saudi Arabia Royal Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh

Norwegian support for UN humanitarian aid efforts

The UN has announced an increase in humanitarian needs in 2020 due to protracted armed conflicts and more frequent extreme weather events. This year, Norway is providing NOK 420 million to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and NOK 90 million to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

‘The funding we are providing ensures predictability for our partners and helps to promote a more effective humanitarian response, in line with the priorities set out in our humanitarian strategy,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.  

According to UN estimates, 167.6 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2020. The UN’s global humanitarian appeal for 2020 is for USD 28.8 billion.

Norway is one of the largest contributors to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).  CERF ensures that assistance reaches people affected by humanitarian crises quickly. It also provides much-needed funding for underfunded emergencies. Norway’s contribution is provided under an agreement between Norway and CERF on the provision of funding totalling nearly NOK 1.7 billion over a four-year period.

Every year, some 20 million people receive urgent medical assistance through CERF, and 10 million people receive food aid. In 2019, CERF provided funding to alleviate humanitarian crises in 47 countries, including Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen and Venezuela. This year, CERF has already provided funding to help tackle the desert locust outbreak in East Africa, and to provide shelter for those most in need in conflict-ridden Niger.  

The UN plays a key role in ensuring effective coordination, planning and implementation of humanitarian responses.

‘A well-functioning UN is vital for ensuring that humanitarian action is effective and that it meets the needs of those who are most severely affected by crises. The UN resident coordinators and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) play a key role in this regard,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

In 2020, Norway is providing NOK 90 million in funding for OCHA’s efforts to promote coordinated humanitarian action. In addition, Norway will provide support for OCHA’s country offices and country-based pooled funds in particularly vulnerable countries.

One of the biggest challenges in humanitarian work is to ensure protection for and provide assistance to internally displaced people. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over 41 million people worldwide were internally displaced at the end of 2018. This number is increasing, and there is a need to step up the response in this area.  

On 3 December last year, the UN Secretary-General established a High‑level Panel on Internal Displacement, which is tasked with proposing recommendations for how countries can provide better protection for internally displaced people and with finding long-term solutions to internal displacement. Norway has actively supported this initiative and will provide NOK 6.55 million in funding from this year’s humanitarian budget to the secretariat that has been established to support the work of the Panel.

See also Norway’s Humanitarian Strategy.