Increased funding for humanitarian efforts highlighting protection and food security

‘Norway is increasing its support for efforts to protect civilians, improve food security and provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people in countries affected by crisis and conflict, and is providing a record-high NOK 6.3 billion in humanitarian funding,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Most of Norway’s 2021 humanitarian budget is being channelled through the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Norwegian humanitarian organisations. 

‘Today, many countries are experiencing complex crises. The humanitarian situation can change very quickly. The combined impacts of armed conflict, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and extreme poverty are exacerbating humanitarian crises. It is vital for Norway to work with flexible humanitarian organisations that understand the local conditions,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide. 

The number of people in need of humanitarian aid and protection worldwide is higher than ever before. According to UN estimates, some 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2021. This is an increase of 40 % from last year.

‘An increasing number of people do not have enough food. Some 270 million people in 79 countries are now on the brink of or are already facing a hunger crisis, and armed conflict is the primary cause. At the same time, more and more people are being forced to flee their homes, either across national borders or within their own country. Increased core funding to humanitarian organisations provides both predictability and flexibility for our partners and helps to promote a more effective humanitarian response,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

This year, Norway has increased its core support to the World Food Programme (WFP) to NOK 800 million and to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to NOK 680 million. These are extraordinary increases in funding, allocated in response to growing needs arising from food insecurity and increased displacement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far this year, Norway has provided NOK 420 million in funding to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Norway is one of CERF’s largest donors. CERF ensures that humanitarian assistance reaches people in need quickly when crises emerge or escalate, and provides funding for underfunded emergencies. In 2021, the funds have been allocated to provide food assistance in Nigeria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Norway also supports the work being done by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to protect and assist people living in conflict-affected countries. Norway has provided NOK 163 million to the ICRC, among other things to support the organisation’s efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).  

Food security and protection of civilians are the most pressing humanitarian issues in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. These are the countries that have received the most humanitarian support from Norway in 2021, as in recent years. So far this year, Norway has allocated NOK 700 million to humanitarian efforts in Syria, NOK 200 million in Yemen and NOK 166 million in South Sudan. This funding are being channelled through the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Norwegian humanitarian organisations. Norway will provide further support to the humanitarian response in these countries during the course of the year.    

Lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic have increased the risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This year, Norway will provide at least NOK 310 million to efforts to enhance protection against SGBV and access to sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian crises.  

Protection of civilians against landmines and other explosives is another important priority for Norway. This year, Norway will provide at least NOK 300 million to global mine action.

‘Norway will continue to play a leading role in global humanitarian efforts both as a donor country and as a humanitarian actor. Our overall aim is to save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity in conflict and crisis situations. At the same time, we will continue to promote innovation and an integrated approach in order to achieve better results with existing resources and counter the negative trend we are seeing in which more and more people are trapped in protracted humanitarian crises,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

Facts

  • 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2021. This is 40 % more than in 2020.
  • Worldwide, there are over 26 million refugees and more than 45 million people are internally displaced.
  • Norway is providing a record-high NOK 6.3 billion in humanitarian support, to be used, among other things, to protect civilians, improve food security and provide assistance to displaced people in countries affected by crisis and conflict.
  • Protection of civilians is a key focus area for Norway. It is also one of Norway’s priority thematic areas in the UN Security Council, where we currently chair the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. 

Source: UN and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs