Norway has already provided NOK 2.4 billion for these efforts. The Government will now present its proposal for an allocation of an additional NOK 500 million to humanitarian efforts in Syria, Iraq and the neighbouring countries to the Storting (parliament). If the proposal is adopted, Norway will be well on the way to achieving its goal of providing a total of NOK 10 billion over a four-year period, as pledged at the donor conference in London earlier this year.

‘The humanitarian crisis in Syria is becoming increasingly critical. It has driven millions of people from their homes and is affecting the whole world. This is why Norway took the initiative for an international donor conference in London earlier this year, and I am very pleased that Norway is fulfilling its pledge and may even exceed it,’ said Mr Brende.

The UN and various humanitarian organisations have only received half of the funding they have appealed for to relieve the situation in Syria, where 13.5 million people are in need. The new allocation from Norway will be used for humanitarian efforts and will be channelled through UN organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Much of this funding will be targeted at the 6.1 million displaced people in Syria and the 4.8 million Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries. Food, medical assistance, shelter for the winter, and emergency aid to the areas under siege are the most urgent needs at the moment. In Iraq, the campaign to liberate Mosul has forced tens of thousands to flee, and there are now 3.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq.

‘One fifth of Norway’s assistance is earmarked for education, which is crucial both in the short term and in the long term. Syrian children and young people have been living through war for nearly six years. Many have lost their homes and families. Yet it is they who will have the task of rebuilding the country in the time to come,’ said Mr Brende.

The Government proposes a reallocation of NOK 662 million in the aid budget for 2016, as fewer asylum seekers have come to Norway than originally expected, and the associated costs have been significantly lower. In addition to the NOK 500 million for the Syria crisis, the Government proposes an allocation of NOK 162 million to other areas. This includes NOK 50 million for Uganda and Somalia, NOK 50 million to the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund for Syria’s neighbouring countries and a new fund for water, NOK 20 million for UNAIDS, and NOK 15 billion for the UN Peacebuilding Fund.