Norway announces $6.5m support for Rohingya refugees

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News Desk

State Secretary to the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ragnhild Sjoner Syrstad on Wednesday announced her country’s contribution of NOK 70 million, equivalent to $6.5 million, for the energy and environment programme of the Rohingya response in Bangladesh.

The contribution will support the provision of cleaner cooking energy to Rohingya refugees, the continued rehabilitation of biodiversity and ecosystems and the facilitation of enhanced skills development for refugees and Bangladeshi host communities, a press release said.

These activities are part of the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy Plus, phase 2 program (SAFE+2), a joint UN initiative which brings together the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the World Food Program (WFP).

“I am happy that our contribution will support the provision of cleaner cooking energy and continued rehabilitation of ecosystems for refugees and host communities. Without access to safe cooking fuels the forest will be lost again, and the dangers related to collecting firewood will return”, she added.

“The contribution from the Government and the people of Norway comes at a critical time and will allow us to continue providing some 190,000 refugee households with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG),” said Johannes van der Klaauw, UNHCR representative, speaking on behalf of the UN agencies.

“It will also support the Bangladeshi host communities, who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, through successful rehabilitation of the environment and ecosystems of Cox’s Bazar, and by substantially reducing CO2 emissions,” he added.

SAFE+2, which was launched as a joint UN programme in July 2022, is supported by the Governments of Canada, Sweden and now Norway. It builds on the successes and learnings from a SAFE+ first phase programme initiated in 2019 and then led by IOM.

As the Rohingya humanitarian crisis is well into its sixth year, after more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to flee violence and persecution in Myanmar, it now is officially considered a protracted refugee situation and faces dire funding prospects. The nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (930,000 hosted in densely populated camps in the Cox’s Bazar area, with an additional 30,000 refugees living on Bhasan Char) remain dependent on international assistance.

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