International pledging conference for South Sudan in Oslo
Addis Ababa, 21 May 2014 (WIC) - The international humanitarian pledging conference, attended by delegations from 41 donor countries, being held this week in Oslo, is hosted by Norway with the cooperation with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
It is aiming to raise extra funds and find ways to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.
The ongoing conflict has exacted a terrible human toll, causing severe disruptions to livelihoods and crop planting across the country, leading to a steep decline in food production and raising fears of a possible famine.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said on Monday “the crisis is expected to escalate significantly in the months ahead. The Norwegian Government is therefore allocating a further $63 million to humanitarian efforts in South Sudan,” adding that "by making this substantial contribution, Norway is sending a clear signal about the gravity of the situation."
The funds, he said, will be “channeled through humanitarian actors on the ground” in South Sudan and through the neighboring countries which are hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled the fighting.
This in addition to the $17 million Oslo has pledged in emergency aid to South Sudan this year.
The UK has also pledged $100.97 million to help alleviate the country’s humanitarian crisis, with the United States announcing it would provide up to $50 million in assistance to help support South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries.
The United Nations has now increased the funding requirement for humanitarian assistance from $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion. So far, donors have provided $590 million.
Norway said the gravity of the situation in South Sudan, and the impact on neighboring countries, called for immediate action. The Foreign Minister said he was “deeply concerned” about the targeting of civilians by both parties to the conflict.
The two sides signed another ceasefire agreement on May 9 in Addis Ababa and affirmed their commitment to “a month of tranquility”, but since then the two sides have traded accusations of violations by each other.
South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told the opening session in Oslo on Monday that the ceasefire agreement was holding, reiterating his government’s commitment to reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict. (MoFA)
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