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Norway Donates Record Amount to UNICEF

On June 9, Norway contributed $98.5 million USD to UNICEF. The money was donated thematically, making it the largest amount of money donated in this fashion. The donation covers the entirety of Norway’s contributions for 2014.

The donation is targeted specifically at the thematic funds for Education, Child Protection and Social Inclusion and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The thematic fund for Education has been the main focus area for the U.N., with this area receiving the majority of funding since 2003. It’s expected that the newly gained funds from Norway will be going towards the education fund, considering that Norway has been the largest supporter of this area since 2006 and many countries still have yet to hit the education-related Millennium Development Goals.

Thematic funding essentially is earmarked funding that is combined into larger pools, which helps saves costs and allows for streamlined management throughout the entire process. Thematic funding helps out longer-term planning and sustainability, and has a lower cost recovery thanks to the reduced transaction costs. Many nations that are member states of the U.N. view thematic funding as a progressive avenue to increase the predictability of U.N. funds and programs.

“We are thankful to Norway for being a champion of our work for children. Thematic funds help us to deliver programs when and where they are needed most,” says Dominique Hyde, who is the Deputy Director for UNICEF’s Public-Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office, “We hope this will encourage other partners to follow suit as the strategic value of these funds for UNICEF in delivering results for children cannot be underestimated.”

The sizable donation should come as no surprise considering Norway’s generous history when it comes to foreign aid. While Norway hasn’t donated the largest amount in terms of sheer monetary value, the amount they have donated in comparison to the size of their economy is rivaled only by their Scandinavian neighbors. In 2013 Norway had the highest net aid volume as a share of the economy, and donated no tied or partially tied aid. Furthermore, their aid has been steadily increasing in successive years, with an increase of 17.4 percent from 2012 to 2013. Norway also provided 77 percent of the funding for the entire focus area of Education in 2013.

While the UN is still struggling to hit its goals for donations from developed countries, Norway has set an impressive benchmark for other nations to strive towards. With any luck this record donation could motivate other nations to step up and increase their funding for UNICEF and similar programs.

– Andre Gobbo

Sources: Center for Global Development, Statistics Norway, UNICEF(1), UNICEF(2), UNICEF(3)