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Norway commits more than $163 million to UNICEF education, health and inclusivity programmes for children

NEW YORK/OSLO, 1 December 2020 – The Government of Norway has committed USD 163.3 million in flexible funding to help UNICEF reach children with quality education, protection, health and nutrition interventions, focusing specifically on the world’s most marginalized, including children with disabilities.

With COVID-19 threatening budgets worldwide, thematic funds from Norway will play a crucial role to respond, recover and reimagine education, health, nutrition and social protection services and strengthen resilience to future shocks.

“We thank Norway for its commitment to helping us build a fairer post-COVID world for children,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “The most marginalized children are paying the heaviest price of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the financial fallout of the pandemic leads to job losses and budget cuts, support from our partners like Norway is critical to help us meet children’s pressing needs.”

Under these funding agreements – signed by Norway and UNICEF last month – more than USD 126.2 million will be allocated to education programmes in 2020-2021. The funds will help ensure that children with the greatest risk of losing their education – including those living in poverty, marginalized girls, children with disabilities, and refugees – are able to access quality learning.

An additional USD 13.2 million will be committed to UNICEF health and nutrition programmes to help protect children and their families from exposure to COVID-19. The funds will also ensure the continuation of life-saving health and nutrition services and the strengthening of primary health care.

A further USD 12.9 million will go toward education and health programmes for children affected by humanitarian crises in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger and Somalia.

Norway and UNICEF are also embarking on a new USD 11 million partnership to support children with disabilities. This investment aims to make sure communities are fully inclusive and that children and adolescents with disabilities can gain access to essential services.

“Investing in a child’s education is investing in a nation. With the current pandemic too many children and their families are falling through the cracks and need basic support such as food and health assistance. Yet, the focus on providing immediate support should not go at the expense of a longer-term vision. For many children across the globe, the pandemic’s consequences will continue to hit hard long after we have stopped worrying about infection rates. It is the most marginalized children that bear the brunt of the school closures and increase in poverty. Ensuring access to education is a much needed life-line,” said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister of International Development Aid.

Norway is one of the top contributors to UNICEF's work, committing USD 188 million to programmes worldwide in 2019. Norway is also one of the top contributors to UNICEF's flexible funding which allows UNICEF to implement programmes for children in places where the need is greatest.