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Norway, UNDP sign aid agreement for Caucasus
New York, 10 May 2005 — Zephirin Diabre, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Jan Petersen, Foreign Minister of Norway, signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing Norway to providing $10 million for UNDP projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia over the next three years.
“I am deeply grateful for this commitment from Norway, which builds on the country’s already substantial engagement, in partnership with UNDP, in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Mr. Diabre said during the signing ceremony.
“This Memorandum represents a great opportunity to strengthen our ties with UNDP,” said Mr. Peterson. “Norway would like to help shape projects by taking part in the implementation of programming in the South Caucasus.”
Norway will provide the funding for programmes in democratic governance, energy and sustainable development. The projects to be funded have yet to be specified, and funding is contingent upon approval by the Norwegian parliament.
UNDP country offices in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia already collaborate closely with Norway. In Armenia, for example, Norway support efforts aimed at fighting human trafficking, raising public awareness and assisting trafficking victims. In Azerbaijan, Norway is contributing to a UNDP Blood Bank project. And in Georgia, Norway has supported work on a child labour survey, which UNDP has conducted together with the Georgian Department of Statistics.
“These are very promising beginnings,” said Mr. Diabre. “We are confident that this will provide an excellent foundation for the expansion of our joint efforts.”
Diabre and Petersen stressed that both UNDP and the Government of Norway believe that effective democratic institutions are a key foundation for mediating and mitigating conflict and crisis by providing non-violent means of resolving political disputes and managing resources. They also provide a base for implementing strong, country-owned development strategies to handle political and economic shocks, to reduce corruption, and, critically, to give the poor a political voice to secure the services and protections needed to provide a better future for themselves and their families.
The Government of Norway plans involvement in the Southern Caucasus by contributing more directly to development on a larger scale, both regional and national, official said. In order to contribute in an efficient manner, Norway needs the unique development know-how and coordination skills of UNDP – especially in relations with local, regional and national authorities as well as with civil society organizations, according to Norwegian authorities.
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