Norway’s funding to UNHCR prevents ‘lost generation’ in situations of crisis and conflict

Humanitarian crises have become more complex, longer-lasting, and affecting more people. Norway recently launched a new humanitarian strategy focusing on protection, the humanitarian-development nexus and commitment to providing effective, flexible and consistent funding.

Syrian refugees renew their status at the UNHCR Khalda Refugee Registration Centre in Amman. © UNHCR/Annie Sakkab.

As of September 2018, UNHCR has received USD 74 million from the Norwegian Government. The majority of the funding (USD 42.5M) is unearmarked, which gives UNHCR a global presence and increased ability to reach those in greatest need, including overlooked, forgotten or protracted refugee situations. In addition, Norway provides earmarked funding to refugee situations in Africa (USD 2.2M), Asia (USD 7.5M), the Middle East and North Africa (USD 18.1M), and Europe (USD 1.6M).

Norway promotes access to education for millions of refugee children

Norway’s humanitarian strategy puts particular emphasis on education in countries affected by crisis and conflict, including Syria. Moaed, 13, fled Raqqa four years ago with his family to escape the extremists who controlled the city. After missing two years of schooling because of the war,he now attends afternoon lessons at Bar Elias School in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. .

“I was very happy to have this opportunity to attend school. I loved it from day one,” he says.

Moaed’s teacher, Mohammed Araji, describes Moaed and his Syrian classmates as smart students with great hopes for the future.

“With this education, they will build something for their future. They will tell their children: ‘We were once Syrian refugee students away from home in Lebanon, and there was war, but we had ambitions and we were able to reach them.’

Syrian refugee Moaed (left) attends lessons in Bar Elias School in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. © UNHCR/Houssam Hariri.

In 2018, Norway has donated USD 638,651 specifically earmarked for UNHCR’s global education activities, promoting access to education for the 4 million refugee children currently out of school. On top of that, the funding allocated by Norway for specific situations is used  to provide education, among other things.

This funding has been vital for UNHCR to enroll refugee children in schools worldwide, especially regarding the Syria Situation, where 56 per cent of the Syrian refugee children currently receive the education they deserve, compared to 46 per cent at the end of 2015.

With funding from countries like Norway, UNHCR provides material support and financial assistance to public schools in Lebanon, promoting access to education for all children in the country, including the 270,000 Syrian refugee children still out of school.

“UNHCR is grateful to have donors like Norway, whose funding makes a difference to the lives of millions of forcibly displaced people around the world. UNHCR acknowledge Norway’s new humanitarian strategy and welcomes its firm commitment in working towards a Global Compact for Refugees. With its support to refugee education at a time when it is becoming more and more challenging to ensure that new generations of displaced children get the education they deserve, Norway stands out as an example for other countries to follow”, says Regional Representative for Northern Europe, Mr. Henrik Nordentoft.

Click on the strategy to read it (opens in a new tab).

Norway as a donor to UNHCR

Norway is one of UNHCR’s most important strategic partners and a generous donor to UNHCR. In 2017, Norway was UNHCR’s largest donor per capita (total USD 99M), and fourth largest donor of unearmarked donations (USD 41M). In 2018, Norway continues to support UNHCR with generous unearmarked funding, while  contributing with life-saving earmarked funds to  Afghanistan Situation (USD 3.1M), Congolese situation ( 320K USD), Myanmar Situation (USD 4.5M),   ), South Sudan Situation (USD 1.9M), Syria Situation (USD 18.3M, Ukraine Situation (USD 599K)  and the Central Mediterranean Route Situation (USD 235K). Norway has also earmarked 1.8 million USD to UNHCR’s resettlement activities.