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Norway contributes $159 million to UNICEF under new cooperation programme

OSLO, 17 December 2008 - The Government of Norway renewed its commitment to children today, signing an agreement to provide an additional financial contribution to UNICEF programmes for children, with a particular focus on girls, approximately $159 million for the 2008-2009 period - an increase of $9 million over previous years.

The donation comes as an addition to Norway's contribution to UNICEF regular resources in 2008, amounting to $74 million.

Hilde F. Johnson, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director and Erik Solheim, Norway's Minister of the Environment and International Development, sealed the agreement during a meeting on "Girls' education as a driver for gender equality and development." The meeting was held on the occasion of the Education for All High-Level Meeting which brings together education and development ministers, leading officials from international organizations and agencies, and representatives from civil society to urge strategies for accelerating progress towards achieving quality Education for All by 2015.

"Education, and especially girls' education, is a critical investment in the future," Johnson said. "When girls go to school, every development goal set by the international community becomes achievable."

Most of the funding - 85 per cent - will go toward supporting UNICEF programmes in basic education and gender equality. The remaining funds will be allocated for programmes in water and sanitation, child protection, policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights.

"Let us not forget that every child has a right to education. More than 70 million children are still not in school. Together with UNICEF, we now focus on reaching the girls and the many children living in countries experiencing situations of fragility who still do not have access to basic education", said Solheim.

Norway is UNICEF's second largest government donor, contributing nearly $198 million in 2007.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1-212-326-7162, nmekki@unicef.org




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