Norwegian Government calls on aid sector to intensify efforts to prevent sexual exploitation


Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide and Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup are urging all partner organisations that receive funding from Norway to intensify their efforts to prevent sexual harassment, violence and abuse committed by employees in the aid sector.

‘In crises all over the world, aid workers are doing invaluable work in challenging conditions. Also, this is a large sector with tens of thousands of employees. Cases that have come to light recently in the Norwegian and international press show that the aid community needs to do far more to combat misconduct and a negative culture in its own ranks. All forms of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse are unacceptable, and in many cases they are also criminal acts. Norway will put this issue even higher on the agenda, both at political level and at senior official level,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Norway is one of the world’s largest donor countries and allocates approx. 1 per cent of its GNI to fight poverty and alleviate suffering in humanitarian crises around the world.

‘Norway is a significant actor in the field of international aid and development assistance. We expect all our partners to take their responsibility as employers seriously, whether they are UN organisations, parts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, multilateral actors or non-governmental organisations. Employers must have adequate measures in place to prevent employees from sexually harassing or exploiting colleagues or members of the local communities they are serving,’ said Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup.

In a letter to all partner organisations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) set out the following expectations:

  • Norway expects all its partners to actively endorse the message that all forms of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse are completely unacceptable.
  • Norway expects all organisations that receive funding from the MFA and Norad to have ethical guidelines and good systems in place for preventing, reporting, and dealing with sexual harassment, sexual abuse and gender-based violence carried out by, or against, their own employees.
  • Addressing this issue is an important part of the organisations’ responsibility as employers, and they also have a responsibility in relation to their partners and the local communities in which they are working.
  • The MFA and Norad will raise this issue routinely in their meetings with partners.
  • The MFA has separate procedures for following up Norwegian Junior Professional Officers in the UN.

Read the letter from the ministers.

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