Norway remains a strong supporter of the United Nation’s humanitarian work.
We support the reform agenda and the efforts made to strengthen the humanitarian response system. A lot has been done in this regard. However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed.
Norway would like the UN to intensify its work to integrate a gender perspective in all UN programmes in a systematic manner.
Evaluations of the recent emergency responses following the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and Darfur demonstrate that gender issues were neglected, to a large extent.
Gender aspects must be integrated in the cluster reform agenda and in disaster risk reduction strategies. More effective preventive and protective measures are needed to address sexual and gender based violence. We are pleased with the ongoing work in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on concrete measures to mainstream gender in humanitarian action.
It is safe to conclude that the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has been a success so far.
The CERF has led to improved response and more predictable funding, both as regards sudden onset emergencies and neglected crises. It is vital to maintain speed and flexibility, while at the same time ensuring sufficient financial control. In line with the recommendation by the High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence, Norway intends to increase its contribution to the CERF in 2007.
We encourage other donors to increase their contributions. At the same time, a wider donor base is needed, and we encourage member states, that have not yet contributed, to do so.
Effective humanitarian coordination on the ground is of utmost importance. Strengthening the Humanitarian Coordinator System is all about having the right people with the right skills in the right places at the right times. Recent initiatives, such as developing a stand-by capacity of trained humanitarian coordinators, are steps in the right direction.
Norway remains fully committed to the cluster approach as a key element of humanitarian reform. Important improvements have been achieved, but a lot remains to be done to ensure a clearer division of labour, better capacity and defined operational targets.
We need to develop more effective partnerships between the UN and non-UN humanitarian actors, such as NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.
Prevention of humanitarian crises needs to be put higher on the UN agenda. We are faced with prolonged armed conflicts, as well as climate change, environmental degradation, floods, droughts, hurricanes, population growth, uncontrolled urbanisation and corruption. We need to be better prepared to respond to humanitarian crises that result from these challenges.
Norway would like to underline that cooperation between military forces and humanitarian agencies in disaster relief must be approached from a humanitarian perspective. Recent emergencies have demonstrated the need for better coordination between humanitarian and military responses, based on clear guidelines.
OCHA has now updated the “Oslo Guidelines” on the use of military and civil defence assets in disaster relief. These guidelines will be relaunched in Oslo on November 27th. We hope that the updated guidelines will contribute to a better understanding and better practices in civil-military coordination in the years to come.
Also in conflict situations, such as Afghanistan, it is vital to ensure effective civil-military coordination, while at the same time respecting the different roles and responsibilities of civilian and military actors.
There is a need for a change of pace in the civilian efforts to build a durable peace in Afghanistan. In order to achieve this, civil-military coordination must be improved. In particular, we would like to see a strengthened coordination role of UNAMA, in close collaboration with the Afghan authorities. We look forward to discussing further how this can be achieved.
The High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence has called for a more unified UN country presence, the so-called “One UN”.
The panel confirms the need to continue the humanitarian reform efforts vigorously. The recommendations must be followed up, and we look forward to the continued leadership of the Secretary-General and the incoming Secretary-General in this respect.
Finally, Norway wishes to express its gratitude to the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Jan Egeland, for his tireless efforts in mobilising the United Nations and the entire humanitarian community to respond to humanitarian emergencies.
His strong leadership following the Indian Ocean tsunami set new standards for emergency response. He has brought the world’s attention to neglected and under funded crises, such as Darfur and Northern Uganda.