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Statement on the humanitarian situation

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By State Secretary Marianne Hagen (24 September)

Statement by State Secretary Marianne Hagen at UNGA 75 side event on the humanitarian situation in the world and the pandemic's devastating impact.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In 2020, the number of people affected by humanitarian crises will reach a new record high.

This should serve as a reminder of our collective responsibility to do more. We must do what we can to prevent crises from occurring and support people in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.

I would like to thank the United States for this opportunity to come together as humanitarians. Global cooperation is more important than ever before.

I would also like to thank the humanitarian partners who are participating in this event for their efforts to protect and assist people in need, often working under extremely difficult circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a devastating impact on the world's most vulnerable people and is putting an unprecedented strain on the humanitarian community.

I would like to commend WHO and OCHA for their leadership and coordination of the global response to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan is an important tool in this work. Norway will continue to support the coordinated international effort, including by providing further funding.

I would like to draw your attention to three points:

  1. We must make it possible for humanitarian organisations to respond quickly. They need to be able to adjust their priorities to meet rapidly shifting needs. Early this year, Norway provided substantial un-earmarked and flexible funding to key humanitarian organisations and the Central Emergency Response Fund. We call upon all donors to do the same.
  2. COVID-19 is further aggravating protection challenges. We need to keep a focus on protecting those who are vulnerable, for example by ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services. In tomorrow's follow-up event to the Oslo Conference, Norway will stress that prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence must continue to be a key humanitarian priority. We will also encourage all parties to fulfil the commitments they made at the conference last year.
  3. We should build on lessons learned and use the COVID-19 situation to further strengthen local humanitarian action. Norway consistently stresses the key role played by local, first-line humanitarian actors. Resources must reach them quickly. In particular, we recognise the importance of country-based pooled funds in this context. Norway has increased its funding to this mechanism significantly in recent years. We call upon other donors to do the same.

We are facing unprecedented humanitarian needs. By working together, we can achieve better results.

Thank you.