World Humanitarian Day: A look at Norway’s efforts in 2016

World Humanitarian Day was established by the UN to draw attention to humanitarian crisis and to highlight the tremendous efforts made by aid workers in the face of adversity and danger throughout the world. In response to the world’s growing humanitarian needs the Norwegian government decided to boost the humanitarian aid budget in 2016 to an all-time high of 5 billion Norwegian kroner.

The recent conflicts, especially in African and Middle Eastern regions have created a growing global need for aid. The amount of people fleeing from their homes has not been higher since the Second World War. This year the United Nations launched the, to date, largest global appeal for humanitarian aid, 21, 6 billion USD.

The Syrian crisis has high priority and Norway was both initiator and co-host of The Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London earlier this year. Norway was a strong advocate for prioritizing funding for education for children and young people in Syria and neighbouring countries. Thus, Norway earlier this year announced a plan to give 10 billion NOK, spread over a period of 4 years, in aid to both Syria and neighbouring countries.

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit took place in Istanbul this past May. 9,000 participants from 173 member states, together with representatives from NGOs and the finance sector, convened to make the gathering the largest of the UN’s 70-year long history. The Norwegian delegation, spear-headed by foreign minister Børge Brende was an active participant, especially in the launching of the Education Cannot Wait fund, and leading the Safe Schools event. Norway has a history of focusing its foreign aid on education, health and job-creation, as the best means of creating stability.

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