A total of 125 million people are in need of emergency assistance and protection, and the UN is calling for record levels of humanitarian aid. 'As well as mobilising more assistance, we also need to strengthen the UN's ability to coordinate this assistance. Norway is now providing NOK 70 million in core funding to support the UN's coordination efforts. The aim is to ensure that aid is provided in the most effective way,' said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
Mr Brende will meet Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Oslo today.
'The many large-scale and protracted humanitarian crises in the world today have meant that the need for assistance has increased considerably in recent years. The gap between the needs and the resources available continues to increase. Last year, the UN received only half the total amount requested in its appeals,' said Mr Brende.
OCHA is responsible for coordinating the international humanitarian efforts at country level to ensure the rapid, effective delivery of emergency relief. It also plays an important role in mobilising resources and manages the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the country-based humanitarian pooled funds, where Norway is one of the largest donors.
Norway has stepped up its humanitarian efforts significantly, especially in response to the Syrian crisis. The humanitarian budget was increased by more than NOK 1 billion from 2015 to 2016, and now totals nearly NOK 5 billion. The core funding it provides to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) makes Norway one of the largest donors to the UN's humanitarian efforts.
OCHA is playing a leading role in the preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit that will take place in Istanbul in May. Mr O'Brien is currently visiting Norway for OCHA's annual meeting with the Nordic countries. The Summit is one of the items on the agenda for this meeting, in addition to the Nordic countries' response to humanitarian challenges and their cooperation with OCHA.