World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, 23-24 May 2016

Statement at the World Humanitarian Summit Plenary Session

Foreign Minister Børge Brende's statement at the World Humanitarian Summit Plenary Session in Istanbul 24 May 2016.

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Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

The gap between global humanitarian needs and the resources to meet them is widening at an alarming rate. We have to adjust our humanitarian response to the realities on the ground. Extraordinary challenges must be met with extraordinary efforts.  

Our goal must be to prevent more crises, save more lives, alleviate suffering and preserve human dignity.  

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Norway supports the Core Commitments and the UN Secretary-General´s agenda for humanity, and and we give particular priority to the following:  

First, reducing the needs for humanitarian assistance by addressing root causes. We must deal with fragility and engage in conflict prevention and resolution more consistently.  

Second, more support to education in emergencies. Norway is committed to set aside more than 8% of our humanitarian support to education, and today we are launching the new platform for education in emergencies: “Education cannot wait”.  

Third, ensuring the protection of civilians is more important than ever.  Safe schools and protection of health care are two of our main priorities. We must always insist on compliance with international law so that those in need can be reached by humanitarian assistance.

Fourth, increased and more efficient humanitarian assistance is necessary to address protracted crises. We give high priority to following up the Supporting Syria Conference, and I urge all partners to deliver on their pledges.

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We must make use of the full range of tools available to us. Life-saving response must be matched by longer-term investments. Principled humanitarian action and development assistance must work in parallel.

Our success will be measured by how we meet the needs of the most vulnerable, the children, persons with disabilities - leaving no-one behind.  Reaching women and girls is a prerequisite for effective humanitarian assistance.

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I welcome the summit´s objective of engaging more countries and actors as well as the private sector.  The importance of partnerships and cooperation across regions, mandates and organizational structures cannot be overstated.

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Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the many humanitarian workers who - sometimes at great risk to themselves - deliver vital assistance to those affected by conflicts and disasters.  

They remind us that even when the tasks are daunting, we cannot let the magnitude of the challenge paralyze us. On the contrary, it is time we mobilize our best and most strategic resources to alleviate human suffering and prevent new crises from developing.   

Thank you.