Humanitarian efforts

Protection against sexual and gender-based violence

Norway is stepping up its efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises.

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in humanitarian crises is a global problem. Around 140 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, and it is estimated that 35 million of them are women and girls of reproductive age. Although women are particularly vulnerable, boys and men are also subjected to this kind of horrific abuse.

The Norwegian Government was the initiator of an international conference on ending SGBV, which was held in Oslo on 23-24 May 2019. The key objectives of the conference were to highlight the importance of anti-SGBV work, to promote a more effective humanitarian response to SGBV, to mobilise stronger political commitment to preventing SGBV in humanitarian crises, and to mobilise increased funding.

The conference was a great success; it raised political awareness and secured funding for the work of combating sexual and gender-based violence. It also highlighted the importance of placing survivors of SGBV at the centre of the response and ensuring that their needs are heard. Norway will work to maintain the political awareness and financial support generated by the conference.

Norway organised the conference in cooperation with the UN, Iraq, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The conference brought together SGBV survivors and experts, members of 167 national and international civil society organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, representatives of 100 countries, global leaders, and regional and international organisations.

Until now, too little political attention has been given to the issue of SGBV in humanitarian crises, and the response has been critically underfunded. The international community must improve its prevention efforts, provide better protection and assistance to survivors and people at risk, and work to ensure that many more of those responsible for SGBV crimes are brought to justice. For these reasons, protection against sexual and gender-based violence is identified as a key priority area in Norway’s Humanitarian Strategy, which was presented in 2018.

Norway will allocate NOK 1 billion to efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises in the period 2019 to 2021. The Government has earmarked NOK 350 million for this purpose in 2019.