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Norway renews large scale support for UNICEF’s education programmes and focus on equal rights for girls


NEW YORK, -The Norwegian Government renewed its long commitment to children today, by signing a new cooperation agreement to provide additional funds for UNICEF’s work with children, especially for education and girls’ rights.

Nearly $200 million (NOK 1.14 billion) will be provided over the period 2010-2011. The new agreement further solidifies Norway’s continued investment in children and their futures.

“Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, but millions of the world’s most vulnerable children – especially girls -- are denied its benefits,” said UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake. “Norway’s remarkable commitment to education will not only help more children go to school, it will help more girls stay in school and make the most of their potential.”

Since 2005, Norway and UNICEF have partnered to achieve Millennium Development Goal 2 of primary education for all children and to ensure that girls and boys have equal rights and access to education by 2015.

Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim stressed the importance of educating girls.

”Every child has a right to education. We must not forget that this includes girls. Giving girls the chance to learn to read and write not only increases their opportunities in life, but also makes them more likely to be educated mothers, care better for their children and have a better chance to break out of the cycle of poverty”, says Norway’s Minister for the Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim.

Most of the funds, nearly 90 per cent, will go towards increasing children’s access to quality learning, ensuring that education is restored as quickly as possible after an emergency and making sure that all children, particularly girls, are able to complete and move on from primary to post-primary education.

The remaining funds will be shared among programmes in child protection, water and sanitation and policy advocacy for children’s rights.

Mr. Lake and Ambassador Morten Wetland, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, signed the new agreement in New York today.

Norway is by far the largest per capita donor to UNICEF, contributing $45 a year on behalf of every Norwegian citizen. This makes Norway the second largest donor to UNICEF with an annual contribution of close to $199 million and the largest supporter to UNICEF’s work in education.

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.
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