The proposed aid budget totals NOK 33.6 billion and is equivalent to 1 % of estimated gross national income (GNI) for 2016. This is an increase of NOK 575 million. Norway is one of three OECD-countries that have met the target of spending 1 % of GNI on aid (the other two are Sweden and Luxembourg).
The war in Syria has led to a humanitarian disaster. More than 7.5 million Syrians are internally displaced, and over 4 million have fled to neighbouring countries. Two-thirds of the Syrian people are in need of humanitarian aid. Since 2011, Norway has been one of the largest humanitarian donors; in 2015, we are the second largest per capita donor of humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflict in Syria.
‘The Syrian crisis is steadily worsening. There is no sign of any solution in the near future. NOK 1.5 billion of our aid budget will be earmarked for Syria and its neighbouring countries, including Iraq, and we are prepared to increase this further. The proposed amount will mean that we can considerably intensify our efforts for the people of Syria, both in their own country and in neighbouring countries. In addition, we will continue to strengthen protection for people who have fled their homes and to meet the challenges posed by migration around the Mediterranean and in Europe,’ Mr Brende said.
‘The 2016 budget is being presented against a backdrop of turbulence and humanitarian crises. Not since the Second World War have so many people been forced to flee their homes. But the overall situation is complex. There is progress and positive change in many developing countries. This progress must be maintained while we continue to help the countries that are at risk. The largest humanitarian budget ever will be combined with broader efforts in fragile states in order to avoid collapse and new humanitarian crises,’ said Mr Brende.
These broader efforts are intended to prevent crises and war through a targeted development policy in fragile states, in addition to addressing urgent humanitarian needs by alleviating suffering and helping refugees. The aid budget for 2016 gives special priority to emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, education, health care services, aid to Ukraine, private sector development and global security measures.
‘Norwegian investments in education, health care and job creation play a part in stabilising countries where the central government is not able to meet people’s basic needs. Attending school can safeguard children against attacks and abuse by providing security and stability in the midst of violence and unpredictability. Educating children is a long-term effort that helps to prevent crisis and conflict,’ Mr Brende said.
The Government proposes a NOK 500 million increase in support for education and a NOK 150 million increase in global health funding.
‘In order to be able to deal with the many protracted humanitarian crises, we need to think along new lines with regard to financing and how we use the total resources that are available. We must strengthen the links between humanitarian and long-term development efforts. Development actors must start working in crisis situations at an earlier stage in order to ensure that development really takes place and is sustainable, and that there is a future for the people affected by crises, in addition to saving lives,’ said Mr Brende.
The proposed humanitarian budget for 2016 comes to a total of NOK 4.8 billion. This includes funding for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme.