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Assisting refugees

May 29, 2001, 15:00 CEST

Today, 29 May, Statoil signed an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide financial support to international humanitarian projects.

In 2001, Statoil will contribute NOK 1 million. The agreement is initially for one year, but can be extended.

Geir Westgaard, Statoil’s vice president for political risk and country analysis, says that the agreement is part of the group’s support of Global Compact, which is a partnership between the UN, the business community and voluntary organisations.

“We consider this to be a positive step, since the UNHCR is a source of knowledge that can provide us with the opportunity to learn more about humanitarian issues in areas of conflict,” says Mr Westgaard, who believes that the agreement may raise awareness and help to develop attitudes within the group.

The agreement was signed by Mr Westgaard and Gary Troeller in Stockhold. Mr Troeller is manager for the UNHCR’s regional office for the Baltic states and Scandinavia. Earlier this year, Statoil entered similar agreements with the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Red Cross.

But it is the knock-on effects of such investments that are Statoil’s most important contribution to countries in which the group operates. Mr Westgaard quotes examples such as providing jobs, buying goods and services, the transfer of technology and skills, and tax revenues.