Significant increase in Norway's aid to Iraq

'The people of Iraq are in urgent need of aid. Norway is already providing a considerable amount of humanitarian assistance to the region. We are now increasing our support to Iraq by NOK 50 million, to a total of NOK 325 million,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, who is today attending the Pledging Conference in support of Iraq in Washington, DC.

Over ten million people in Iraq are in need of humanitarian aid. Around 3.4 million of them are internally displaced. Families that have been forced to flee their homes live in overcrowded camps where hygiene is poor and temperatures are often extreme, and they have little access to food, water and medicines. Despite this, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is often overshadowed by the situation in neighbouring Syria.

'The humanitarian actors in Iraq have only received a third of the aid funds they need. The UN has warned that lifesaving programmes will have to be closed if additional funding is not provided immediately. Norway is now further increasing its support for humanitarian efforts, mine clearance and stabilisation projects,' said Mr Brende.

The highly volatile security situation in Iraq is being compounded by Isil's campaign of terror in the country. There is also a pressing need for assistance in areas freed from Isil's control. More than NOK 100 million of Norway's total contribution of NOK 325 million has been earmarked for stabilisation projects in these areas. Norway intends to further intensify its stabilisation efforts next year, both in Iraq and in Syria, by increasing its support for this purpose to a total of NOK 400 million. These funds will be channelled through the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and aid organisations involved in efforts to clear mines and explosives.

The Pledging Conference is being held at ministerial level, and has particular focus on the humanitarian situation, stabilisation and reconstruction in Iraq. It is being co-hosted by the US, Canada, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, and Germany.