Norway to increase support for humanitarian efforts and government administration in Ukraine

‘The brutal war continues and Ukrainians are facing a cold winter. The scale of humanitarian need is enormous. We have proposed that NOK 2 billion of Norway’s support for Ukraine in 2022 should be used for humanitarian efforts and to help the Ukrainian government administration to maintain critical services,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

In July, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced that the Government would provide an additional NOK 10 billion for Ukraine in the 2022–2023 period. In a proposition submitted to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) (only in Norwegian) today, the Government has proposed that NOK 4 billion of this amount is used for humanitarian aid in 2022:

  • NOK 2 billion has been allocated to help Ukraine to procure natural gas for the coming winter. Norway will channel this support through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  • NOK 1 billion will be used for humanitarian efforts, primarily through established humanitarian organisations.
  • NOK 1 billion has been allocated to help the Ukrainian government administration to maintain critical services such as hospitals, schools and other public services. This support is being channelled through the World Bank.

The increase in aid to Ukraine in 2022 will not mean a reduction in aid to other countries and recipients this year. In addition, NOK 3 billion in military support is being provided under the 2022 Ministry of Defence budget.

In total, Norwegian support for Ukraine in 2022 has been increased by NOK 7 billion. This comes in addition to the nearly NOK 4.5 billion that the Government has already provided to Ukraine in 2022 – of which roughly NOK 2.3 billion was allocated under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget and approximately NOK 2 billion under the Ministry of Defence budget. The Government will provide more detailed information about Norway’s support to Ukraine in 2023 in the 2023 national budget.

‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created the worst crisis in Europe since the Second World War and is having a devastating effect on the Ukrainian people, Ukraine as a country and the Ukrainian economy. The invasion poses a threat to European security and is affecting Norway as well. Norway is doing its part to support the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom, which is also a fight to safeguard our core values and interests such as security and democracy in Europe,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

More than seven million people have fled from Ukraine, and roughly the same number are internally displaced. In addition to the vast humanitarian needs, Ukraine is in need of support to maintain critical government services and infrastructure. There is also a need for support to ensure continued supplies of energy and gas for heating, food, medicines and other basic items.

‘Norway stands together with other countries and international organisations in the effort to support Ukraine. The funding Norway is providing will be channelled through established, internationally recognised organisations. Norway will seek effective, joint European and international solutions, also in connection with the reconstruction efforts to come. This is in our interests and will ensure that the funding is used where it is needed the most,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

Humanitarian efforts

Norway’s key partners for providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine are the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Norwegian and international humanitarian organisations, and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Norway works closely together with the UN, which cooperates with national and local authorities and with civil society organisations in Ukraine and in its neighbouring countries.

The efforts will be targeted towards protection of civilians, including internally displaced persons and refugees. When winter sets in there will be a greater need for food, shelter and basic services. Areas to be given high priority include protection against sexual and gender-based violence, and clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance. Cash assistance to people in need is an important means of enabling people to preserve their dignity during this crisis.

‘Norway has already provided considerable humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. This support, and the additional funding now proposed by the Government, are part of a large-scale international effort to provide people in need with the necessary protection, assistance and aid,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

Support for the Ukrainian government administration

The World Bank is playing a key role in supporting the Ukrainian government administration as it confronts an extremely difficult task. According to the World Bank, Ukraine’s GDP is expected to fall by 30–50 % in 2022. To coordinate and ensure effective financing of the Ukrainian government administration, the World Bank has set up the Ukraine Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund (URTF). The World Bank will use this fund to continue to mobilise crisis support to the Ukrainian authorities alongside new support for reconstruction. The Norwegian Government proposes to allocate an additional NOK 1 billion to this fund in 2022.

‘It is extremely challenging to run a country in times of war. Norway will provide budget support to the Ukrainian government administration so that it can deliver public services to its people, such as paying salaries for health care personnel, teachers and rescue teams, and for maintaining operational infrastructure,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

Support for procuring gas by winter

The Ukrainian authorities have asked Norway for support to procure natural gas this year. There is an acute shortage of electricity, and gas will facilitate the production of heat and alleviate the grave humanitarian situation in the coming winter. The Government therefore proposes providing NOK 2 billion in 2022 to help procure natural gas for Ukraine. The funding will be channelled through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD is a well-established institution that Norway has an existing agreement with, and that can ensure effective and transparent use of the funding.

Ukraine was known to have a history of corruption before the war started, and the risk of corruption grows when a country is at war. There is always a risk that Norwegian aid funding may be diverted for other purposes. It is therefore very important to ensure sound financial management. This can best be achieved by coordinating funding with other donors and channelling it through internationally recognised organisations that have systems in place for effective, verifiable use of support.