Increased support from Norway for combating gender-based violence in crises

01 Jun 2022

Foreign Minister of Norway Anniken Huitfeldt and UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem signing the agreement. © Jens Chr. Boysen, Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Norway has allocated NOK 232 million (USD 24.4 million) to UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, to scale up sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response in conflict and humanitarian settings.

The agreement to provide NOK 120 million over the next three years was signed by Foreign Minister of Norway Anniken Huitfeldt and UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem on 1 June. The funding will help to increase flexibility and financial predictability for UNFPA’s humanitarian response in 2022–2025. In addition, Norway will dedicate NOK 112 million in 2022 to the response to ten specific humanitarian crises.

The support from Norway will enable UNFPA to provide life-saving humanitarian support in 61 countries and deliver sexual and reproductive health services and services to prevent and respond to gender-based violence to over 54 million women, girls and young people. The funding will increase access to specialised services to respond to sexual and gender-based violence in crisis-affected populations, including health care, psychosocial support and information through a survivor-centred approach.

Norway has taken a global leading role in the fight against SGBV together with the UN since it hosted the international conference ‘Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises’ in Oslo in 2019. Increasing awareness of sexual and gender-based violence and improving support for survivors of sexual violence are priority areas in Norway’s humanitarian assistance, and UNFPA is an important partner in accelerating progress towards these goals.

“What we are seeing in places such as Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the Sahel region is shocking, heartbreaking, and unacceptable," said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt. "We must work together with partners to fight impunity and strengthen operational measures, and we must give higher priority to providing protection against sexual and gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health services in all humanitarian responses," she added.

"Norway’s contribution to UNFPA’s humanitarian response comes at a critical time as we approach 100 days of war in Ukraine, where women and girls are in dire need of support – just as they are in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and many other countries affected by crises," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. "We need flexible and predictable funding to respond to these humanitarian situations by addressing gender-based violence, equipping health facilities to provide emergency obstetric and newborn care, and ensuring women and girls have access to reproductive health supplies, including family planning. Norway’s commitment will help UNFPA save many lives."

"Sexual and gender-based violence is a key topic in Norway’s dialogue with other states and key partners, including in the Security Council," said Ms Huitfeldt. She also stressed that Norway gives priority to ensuring the protection of people at risk of sexual and gender-based violence and strengthening SRH services in humanitarian settings.

‘We will continue to advocate for stronger operational focus, more global funding, and recognition of the key role of national and local organisations, including local women’s organisations, to prevent and protect people at risk of sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.  

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