Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at Barack Obamas high-level meeting “Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” New York, 20 September 2016.
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Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank President Obama for taking this timely initiative.
The complexity and magnitude of the challenge we are facing is staggering, and the human suffering is heart-breaking.
The refugee crisis is also having an impact on our security and our prosperity.
As leaders, we will be measured by how we deal with it:
By how we act to alleviate the suffering of today – and by how we address the root causes in order to find the solutions of tomorrow.
Norway will continue to take its share of the responsibility.
We have increased our humanitarian support by more than 25 percent this year.
At the Syria conference in London, Norway pledged more than one billion dollars over the next four years. I urge all partners to deliver on their pledges.
We are taking part in the EU’s relocation of asylum seekers from Greece and Italy. The two Norwegian ships that are taking part in the EU’s Frontex operation have rescued more than 15 000 people this year alone.
Norway is one of the largest per capita recipients of resettlement refugees.
Norway has always received a high number of resettlement refugees, and in 2016 we have increased our UN quota to 3 120. We have also strengthened our support to the UNHCR.
It is high time to scale up our common efforts to assist internally displaced persons, and it is a matter of urgency to appoint a special representative.
We must protect those in need. But we must also ensure closer cooperation on the return of people who do not qualify for asylum or protection. Otherwise, we risk undermining the entire institution of asylum.
We cannot choose between helping those who have already left their homes and helping to prevent people from having to leave in the first place.
We have to do both.
Reaching the sustainable development goals by 2030 will reduce the number of conflicts and refugees – and make us all more secure.
Norway will maintain a high level of development aid, focusing on trade, job creation, good governance, education and efforts to strengthen fragile states.
Norway has increased its long-term spending on education worldwide by 70 percent. We are setting aside more than 8 percent of our humanitarian support to provide schooling for refugee children.
The task ahead is enormous – but as political leaders we have to believe that the challenges facing us can be solved.