Norway to increase support for women's health and safe abortion

'Norway is at the forefront of efforts to promote gender equality and women's health at the international level. We are among the biggest donors to efforts in this field, but there are still many unmet needs. The Government therefore proposes an increase of NOK 180 million in earmarked support for women's health and safe abortion in 2018. This increase comes in addition to the major increase in funding earlier this year, in connection with the SheDecides initiative,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The additional funding will be channelled to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and international NGOs that have achieved good results. Some of Norway's humanitarian aid also targets this field.

The support for UNFPA and NGOs will strengthen the organisations that play the most important role in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, both globally and at country level. According to the World Health Organization, some 214 million women and girls do not have access to contraceptives. Every year, unsafe abortions cause the deaths of as many as 47 000 women.

'It is vital to invest in women's health if girls and women are to be able to plan their pregnancies, complete their schooling and studies and participate in the labour market. We know that women's economic and political participation is essential if we are to succeed in fighting poverty and promoting development. At a time when women's sexual and reproductive rights are coming under pressure, it is particularly important to strengthen our common global efforts to promote these rights,' said Mr Brende.

The Government has already announced an increase of NOK 700 million in funding for the period 2017-2020 for efforts to promote women's health and safe abortion. Norway is supporting the Dutch initiative SheDecides.