STATEMENT OF NORWAY - Agenda item 7
The High Commissioner mentioned the institutional reform briefly in his opening statement to the general debate. In Norway’s view UNHCR has managed to significantly improve organizational performance and efficiency and responded favourably to member states request for a result based framework. We commend the achievements made through the structural and managerial reform. We would also like to commend the division of financial and administrative management for the budget information and presentation received for the SC and ExCom, it is done with a high level of professionalism and is appreciated-.
The increase in funding from key donors is a response to the needs of people of concern, but also an expression of trust in UNHCRs ability to deliver. Norway believes that UNHCR must remain committed to its responsibility following the humanitarian reform and show this commitment also in its spending authority.
The gap between the budget and the actual funding has been a recurrent theme during this year’s debate. It is a great concern to all of us. Nontheless, it remains a fact that there has been a tremendous growth in funding since the introduction of the biannual budgets based on the Global Needs Assessment. This has enabled UNHCR to respond to an increasingly challenging, complex and dangerous environment, where new refugee situations emerge while old and protracted situations remain. The reform of the UNHCR and the renewed trust from donors has been crucial in this regard.
We are all aware of the Global Strategic Priorities, but the before-mentioned gap between the budget and the funding has lead to increasing demands for transparency towards members. Norway believes that in light of the new budget methodology there is a need for increased transparency over both needs assessments and subsequent funding decisions. There is also a need for further clarity and regular updates on budget status, in particular when the funding leads to re-prioritisation and changes in field operational budgets.
We would like to have more information on the priorities and criterias determining spending authority to regional and country offices.
Another recurring theme has been the relationship between UNHCR and Non-governmental organisations. Norway is a staunch supporter of the priority UNHCR has given to partnership with civil society, not only regarding NGOs as implementing partners, but strategic partners as well. Without the growth of budget channelled through NGOs, UNHCR would have failed to deliver. However, the use of NGOs must be sound and efficient. There must be high levels of transparency and accountability both in the selection, insurance of quality and with regard to financial control. Norway would like to see UNHCR giving higher priority to local NGOs as implementing partners. This would help build local and national capacity in the long run.
Madame chairperson, there is evidently a growing impatience with regard to Protracted Refugee Situations. This is exemplified by the many that have made references to Transitional Solutions Initiative. Time has come to work closely with development actors in cooperation and understanding with host countries. Making use of development funding is necessary and can be done either directly or through cooperation with UNDP and the World Bank in order to invest in a durable solution for refugees as well as host communities. The Peace Building Fund is also a possible funding source under The General Secretary’s Framework for Ending Displacement in the Aftermath of Conflict.
In conclusion, I would like to draw attention to pillar 3 and 4 in the budget. Behind these technical terms we find millions of people, either in search of a durable solution or displaced internally.
Madame chairperson, Norway believes that UNHCR must remain committed to its responsibility for all people of its concern, and show this commitment also in its spending authority. It is on this basis Norway gives most of its grant to UNHCR as un-earmarked funding.