‘The need for humanitarian assistance is greater in 2014 than ever before. In the revised national budget, the Government proposes an increase of NOK 166 million in allocations for this purpose. This will enable us to provide more emergency aid for South Sudan, Syria and other crisis areas,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The humanitarian situation is particularly critical in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. The UN is warning that there is a risk of catastrophic famine in South Sudan, which could affect up to 7 million people. The Government is increasing its humanitarian aid allocations in order to provide more food, water, shelter, schooling, medicines and protection in this and several other crisis areas.
The Government also proposes an increase in funding from NOK 40 million to NOK 150 million for projects in Ukraine in the areas of democracy building, energy efficiency, the environment and education.
‘Ukraine needs international support to prevent the economic crisis from further destabilising the country, which would also have major consequences for Norway. We have proposed an increase in funding for projects administered by Norwegian and international organisations, and we will consider increasing budget support for Ukraine in 2014,’ said Mr Brende.
In addition, the Government proposes an increase of NOK 20 million in support to Moldova. In both Ukraine and Moldova, support will primarily be channelled through Norwegian NGOs and international partners such as the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
‘It is most encouraging that the authorities in Moldova, despite the difficult political and economic situation the country is experiencing, have implemented tough reforms. It is important to show that Norway supports Moldova’s ambition of closer European integration given the difficult situation in the region,’ said Foreign Minister Brende.
Other changes in the revised budget include an allocation of NOK 6.9 million to cover expenses associated with Jens Stoltenberg’s appointment as Secretary-General of NATO, and NOK 118 million for expenses incurred in transporting chemical weapons out of Syria. For further information, see regjeringen.no.