More relief aid granted during crisis

Norway provides record-high support to United Nations emergency fund

Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks with the press ahead of the UN’s high-level meetings in September 2020.


At the high-level pledging event for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in New York on Dec. 8, over 50 donors announced pledges totaling more than $370 million for 2021, higher than those made at the pledging event a year ago for the current year. With top-ups for 2020 also announced, overall funding for this year has reached $620 million.

“This year was like no other, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding a layer of suffering on top of existing crises, brought on by conflict and the intensifying impacts of climate change,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at the event’s opening. “This fund is one of the fastest ways to help people trapped both in sudden-onset and deteriorating crises, as well as underfunded ones that are not at the top of the world’s radar.”

Following the Secretary-General’s remarks, a high-level panel discussed CERF’s results in the last 12 months. For 2020, CERF provided time-critical, innovative, and life-saving assistance that benefited some 65 million people across 52 countries and territories, at a total value of more than $900 million—the highest-ever amount allocated by CERF in a single year. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, CERF funding helped people affected by COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks, conflict, and natural disasters, such as droughts, earthquakes, and hurricanes.

Norway will increase its contribution to CERF in 2020 with an additional NOK 58 million, which makes the total 2020 contribution a record-high NOK 476 million—nearly $55 million.

“When the COVID-19 crisis hit us and everything else faced an abrupt halt, CERF took the lead by quickly releasing funds. By doing this, CERF made it possible for operational agencies to ensure continued operations, and lives were saved,” said State Secretary Marte Ziolkowski.

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund ensures that aid reaches people in need quickly when acute crises arise. It also provides sorely needed funding for underfunded emergencies.

“Norway is a strong and committed supporter of CERF. CERF is not only delivering on its mandate of being rapid, efficient, and needs-based, CERF is an agenda-setter and in the forefront when it comes to finding innovative solutions and new ways of working. Norway is proud to be one of the largest donors to CERF since the establishment,” Ziolkowski said.

In 2018, Norway signed a four-year agreement with CERF, totaling NOK 1.68 billion, or approximately $200 million. The new pledge is a top-up of this agreement.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 25, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.