WHO and Red Cross urge action from world leaders on pandemic preparedness

The secretary-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gro Harlem Brundtland, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, are urging world leaders to avert the next pandemic. Today, no country's authorities have fully funded or implemented International Health Regulations, the foremost international health security agreement that all countries have signed.

The authors of the opinion piece state that the world is unprepared if a fast-moving airborne pandemic should occur. The world's leaders are not doing enough to make vaccines, diagnostics, and medications available at the necessary scale. Should a pandemic break out, there are not efficient funds to avert serious social harm.

The two authors urge state leaders to think further into the future and increase funding at the local, national, and international levels needed to strengthen health systems, improve our response capacity in crises, and counteract outbreaks.

Op-ed – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

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Norwegian minister of foreign affairs speaks to UN Security Council on women’s role in peacebuilding

Norway’s minister of foreign affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, spoke on behalf of the Nordic countries on women, peace, and security in an open debate at the UN Security Council. In the statement, she emphasized that the inclusion of women in both peacebuilding and peacekeeping will lead to better odds at lasting peace. Inclusion entails including different women: rural and urban, women of all ages, differently-abled, indigenous women, and women of different sexual orientations. 

Research links gender-based violence and gender inequality to the vulnerability of society to civil war and conflict. In the statement, Søreide announced that Norway will support the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. 

Speech transcript - Ine Eriksen Søreide 


Norway increases support for humanitarian relief in South Sudan

Norway is increasing its humanitarian assistance by NOK 30 million (US$4 million) to help save lives and meet basic needs in South Sudan. 7.2 million people are suffering in humanitarian crises, according to the UN, now exacerbated by heavy rains and flooding. 

This contribution brings Norway’s total allocation to humanitarian assistance in the country and support for South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries to a total of NOK 172 million (US$21 million). In addition, Norway has provided around NOK 11 million (US$1 million) through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).   

Norway’s support will be channeled through humanitarian actors that are present in South Sudan and can respond to the humanitarian needs rapidly and effectively. 

Press release – Norwegian government  

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Norway launches strategy to combat human rights violations against girls and women

On the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child, October 11, 2019, the Norwegian government launched a new strategy with the intention to contribute to the elimination of 'harmful practices', defined as violations of human rights that predominantly affect girls by harming their health, depriving them of educational opportunities, or curtailing their participation in working life and society.   

The strategy is in cooperation with Plan International Norway. Civil society actors and religious leaders will be important partners in this work, particularly with regard to changing attitudes in local communities. 

Press release - Norwegian government 

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Global Fund releases table showing total pledges by country

At its sixth replenishment conference in Lyon, France, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised a record-breaking US$14 billion in commitments from public and private donors, the largest amount of funding ever raised for a multilateral health organization. The Global Fund has since released a table showing the amounts pledged by each attendant.

Pledges at Global Fund Sixth Replenishment Conference - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Norway to intensify efforts on human rights

The Norwegian Government is increasing support for human rights under the national 2020 budget by providing a total of NOK825 million (US$99.7 million) in humanitarian assistance financing. The government aims to prioritize the promotion of women’s rights, respect for human rights defenders, freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, and democracy. 

The government will also maintain the current allocation of NOK165 million (US$19.9 million) to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2020. Furthermore, the promotion of human rights will be included as a cross-cutting issue in all of Norway’s development efforts. 

Press release – Norwegian Government  


Norway budgets NOK500 million for climate-related risk reduction and food security

In its 2020 budget proposal, Norway has proposed to allocate NOK500 million (US$61 million) to climate-related disaster risk reduction. The funds include a contribution to the United Nations (UN) Adaptation Fund and to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Other funding has been allocated to promote sustainable use of the oceans in the context of climate change adaptation, disaster resilience, and the fight against hunger. The allocation to food security, fisheries and agriculture, including climate-resilient agriculture, has  increased by NOK 100 million (US$12 million) over 2019.  

Norwegian Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein also announced the drafting of a strategy for strengthening Norway’s efforts in these areas.

Press release – Norwegian Government  

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Norway increases support to stabilize crisis-affected countries

Norway has allocated NOK835 million (US$101 million) to stabilize countries affected by conflict and crisis in its 2020 budget proposal, an increase of NOK 1230 million (US$16 million) from this year’s budget. The increased funding will primarily be used to provide long-term support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, with the aim of strengthening efforts to promote stability, prevent conflict, reduce fragility, and increase resilience at the local level. Some of the funding will go towards efforts to address the root causes of migration.   

Press release – Norwegian government  


Norway proposes largest humanitarian budget to date

The Norwegian Government has proposed an increase of NOK115 million (US$13.9 million) to the overall humanitarian budget for 2020, bringing the budget to a sum total of NOK5.5 billion (US$664.9 million). The humanitarian budget has increased by 68 % since 2013 and this new proposal makes the 2020 budget to be Norway’s largest humanitarian budget presented to date.  

Under the 2020 budget, Norway aims to prioritize the issue of protection including protection against sexual and gender-based violence, the protection of children and young people, and the protection of civilians from land mines and other explosives. Another key area of humanitarian assistance priority includes assistance for education in situations of conflict and crisis.

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)


Norwegian development budget includes new item for vulnerable groups

The Norwegian Government has proposed to increase Norway’s support for vulnerable groups by creating a new budget item for such groups on the national budget for 2020. The funding consisting of NOK466 million (US$56.3 million) is proposed to be used to support efforts to combat modern slavery, to improve the situation of people with disabilities and to provide assistance to groups at risk of being infected by HIV and AIDS. Addressing the needs of the most vulnerable groups, Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein stated that in order to attain the sustainable development goals by 2030, new and more accommodating ways of thinking and political will must be developed.

Press Release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

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