‘Worldwide, around 125 million girls and women have been subjected to genital mutilation. The fight to eliminate female genital mutilation in Norway and internationally is a high priority for the Government. Norway has set the new and ambitious goal of eliminating this harmful practice in the course of one generation,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Every year, around three million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM), which is the cutting or removal of the external genitalia. The negative health effects of the practice are many, including problems related to intercourse, pregnancy and childbirth. At worst, the effects can be fatal. Norway has been actively engaged in the fight to eliminate FGM for many years, and is one of the most important contributors to this work. Norway is now intensifying its international efforts to combat FGM with the launch of a new strategy for the period 2014–17.
‘We have achieved good results from projects in local communities that focus on bringing about change from within, especially when the central and local authorities in the country concerned have also exerted pressure for change. Norway will now double its support for civil society and international organisations working in this area, from NOK 25 million to NOK 50 million during a three-year period. In addition to focusing on prevention, we will seek to ensure that those who have already been subjected to FGM are given the health care they need,’ Mr Brende commented.
Ensuring that girls have access to education is a crucial factor in the work to eliminate FGM.
‘Girls who stay at school have a significantly reduced risk of being subjected to FGM, child marriage and too-early pregnancy, when compared to girls who do not. Education helps to give girls higher social status and greater opportunity to make their own decisions. Educated girls are also more likely to participate in the fight to eliminate FGM, which is often performed by women,’ said Mr Brende.
Norway’s efforts to fight FGM are coordinated with its efforts in other development policy priority areas, such as education, human rights, global health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s rights and gender equality.