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Simon Coveney speaks onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Sept. 29, 2018 in New York City.
Mohamed Sadek for Global Citizen
ImpactCitizenship

Norway and Ireland Came Through With Some Big Commitments at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival

Two countries showed up to the 2018 Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 29 in a big way, with Norway and Ireland making some significant commitments to help in the fight to end extreme poverty.

Norway has taken significant strides to protect the world’s oceans throughout 2018. After announcing that they would no longer invest in companies that harm the ocean, Prime Minister Erna Solberg addressed Global Citizens at the festival to call on other countries to come together to combat marine pollution.

“Ocean pollution does not respect borders,” Solberg said. “We can only solve this world’s problems when countries work together. This is why Norway works hard to secure pledges from countries around the world to combat marine pollution; and this is why Norway is increasing our own investments in Ocean protection.” 

Minister Nikolai Astrup then addressed the audience from the stage and promised that Norway will make a significant commitment to spend $200 million USD to combat marine litter and microplastics over the next four years. 

Norway also showed its leadership at the Global Citizen Festival by committing $360 million through to 2023 to the Global Financing Facility (GFF). Norway will be co-hosting the GFF replenishment event next month. The event aims to raise $2 billion to reach 50 countries that are most in need with quality health and nutrition services for women, children, and adolescents. 

Together with Canada and the United Kingdom, Norway is a founding donor of GFF. The GFF was formed to help countries transition from lower income status by planning sustainable investments and cost-efficient interventions. It works with ministries of finance and health in the respective countries to allocate existing and additional resources to wherever they are most needed — often to the frontlines of health care.

“We must secure health and nutrition services for all,” Astrup said. “Every woman. Every child. Every youth. Our tool for achieving this is GFF, the Global Financing Facility. In November, Norway will host the GFF replenishment conference in Oslo. If we succeed in raising two billion dollars for GFF, up to thirty-five million lives could be saved between now and 2030.”

Take Action: Call on Canada to support the GFF

Ireland also made major commitments. 

In 2015, Ireland spent 0.36% of its Gross National Income on foreign aid, yet the country has one of the highest growth rates in Europe. The international benchmark for overseas aid spending is 0.7%, so Ireland would have to double its budget to meet that mark. At the Global Citizen Festival, and in response to nearly 50,000 actions by Global Citizens, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney reiterated Ireland’s pledge to increase the country’s foreign aid budget to 0.7%, and also committed to increase the country’s overall investment in education. 

"Tonight, I am committing that Ireland will increase our overall investment in education and spend a minimum of a quarter of a billion Euro over the next five years,” Coveney said. “We will do this as part of a sustained increase in Ireland’s development cooperation budget beginning in a fortnight’s time. And we will fulfill my Government’s commitment to reach the target of point seven percent by 2030."