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Norway pledges NOK 290 million to UNHCRs annual budget for 2009

At the December 9 pledging meeting, Norway announced a contribution of NOK 290 million (approximately, 41, 5 million US $) to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and its 2009 appeal. The pledge represents an increase in NOK 50 million or about 17 % in Norway's non-earmarked core contribution to the Office.

Statement by Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen to the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the Programme of UNHCR   9 December 2008

Madame Chair,

                        The UNHCR 2009 appeal conveys clearly the magnitude and the complexities facing the Office as 2008 draws to a close.

                        Norway appreciates the hard work that has been put into the appeal – including the guidance it provides on the way forward in addressing the needs of approximately 33 million people of concern worldwide.

                        It is widely predicted that the current financial crises will impact on the funding made available for humanitarian organisations.  Notwithstanding this, it is our hope that as a community we will be able to shield this crucial field of activity from the most dire consequences of the crises - and thereby protecting the most vulnerable among us.

                        Allow me in this regard to underline the timeliness of the structural and change management process at UNHCR.  Particularly in times with tougher competition for funds, agencies demonstrating enhanced efficiency and beneficiary focus are likely to become winners.

                        The fact that the percentage of UNHCRs expenditures on operations have increased for the second successive year  - and that the number of staff at HQ has continued to decrease is therefore most appreciated. It ensures trust in the organisation’s leadership and provides a good basis for further fundraising.

                        We look forward to the completion of the internal reform process in the course of 2009 as indicated, and we encourage the High Commissioner to ensure that the major changes undertaken are properly consolidated throughout the organisation.

Madame. Chair,

                        Norway welcomes the progress made by UNHCR in conducting its cluster coordination responsibilities for conflict affected IDPs. We trust the ability of the organisation to fully mainstream these activities into its overall work as the cluster approach is now taken into its fourth year of operation. In line with this, we encourage UNHCR to continue the strengthening of its in-house capacity on IDPs.

                        We are pleased with the focus provided to age, gender and diversity mainstreaming in the 2009 appeal. As is well known, efforts in this field are most effective when they are part and parcel of operational activities and regular budgets. 

                        The ongoing violence in the DRC is a sad reminder of the relevance of strategies and initiatives aimed at combating Gender Based Violence. We therefore encourage UNHCR to keep up its good work in this crucial area of intervention.

Madame Chair,

                        For the year 2009, pending final parliamentary approval, the Norwegian government will contribute  NOK 290 million  - (or approximately 41,5 million $US) -  to UNHCR’s annual budget.  This represents an increase from last year of NOK 50 million or approximately 17 % in our non- earmarked core contribution. The pledge will be disbursed in two equal portions - one in January and one in July.

                        It is our hope that this will contribute towards the much needed flexibility and predictability for the organisation and thereby ensuring uninterrupted operations.

                        Moreover, in line with established practice Norway will continue its generous contribution to country appeals and specific undertakings by the Office – based on humanitarian needs as they unfold throughout the year.

I thank you Madame Chair,

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