News story | Date: 12/05/2015
'The civil war in Syria has resulted in one of the largest humanitarian crises since the Second World War. In the revised budget, the Government proposes an increase in Norway's support to Syria and its neighbouring countries of NOK 250 million. This means that Norway's total contribution so far this year is NOK 1 billion,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The UN has asked the international community to provide NOK 59 billion this year to meet the humanitarian needs in Syria and its neighbouring countries. Only 18 % of the UN appeal has been raised so far. Larger contributions are therefore needed.
'Norway is one of the largest donors to Syria and the region. On the basis of the pledges made at the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria that was held in Kuwait at the end of March, Norway is the seventh largest national donor in absolute figure and larger than all the other Nordic countries together. With the additional allocation of NOK 250 million in the revised budget, Norway's contribution since the start of the civil war totals nearly NOK 3 billion. The funding we are providing will be used for food, shelter, health services, water and sanitation, among other things,' said Mr Brende.
Since the conflict in Syria broke out in 2011, the number of refugees in Syria's neighbouring countries has grown to more than 3.8 million. Of the population remaining in Syria, more than half – 12.2 million people – are dependent on humanitarian aid. It is the children who are hardest hit, and at least NOK 150 million of the 'Syria billion' has therefore been earmarked for education and protection measures.
'The refugee crisis is putting a severe strain on the neighbouring countries. The situation is particularly dramatic in Lebanon, where almost one person in four is a Syrian refugee. It is important to support refugees in the neighbouring countries, in order to prevent the crisis from destabilising the entire region. But it is also important to support effective humanitarian measures to help the sorely tried population still in Syria.
'It is crucial to bring about a rapid end to the violence in Syria. Norway supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Misturas, and other dialogues aiming to find a political solution. This is a very challenging task,' said Mr Brende.