Last updated : April 2017
Strategic priorities
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg has defined education, and particularly girls’ education, as a top thematic priority. According to the 2017 budget, ODA spending on education is projected to increase to NOK3.4 billion (US$540 million) in 2017, double the amount spent in 2013 (NOK1.7 billion or US$270 million).
  • The 2017 ‘White paper on the Sustainable Development Goals and Norwegian Development’ highlights education, global health, private sector development and job creation, humanitarian assistance, and climate, renewable energy and environment as priorities of Norway’s development policy.
  • Climate change and tropical forest protection is a key issue for Norway. The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative receives about NOK3 billion per year, or US$350 million, until 2020), and aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
Key opportunities
  • Parliamentary elections will take place on September 11, 2017. While ODA is likely to remain at high levels, the outcome of the elections may lead to shifts in priority setting, and may provide opportunities to shape the future direction of Norway’s development policy.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a ‘North Star’ for the government.  It is at the heart of the new policy document on development cooperation. To engage effectively with the Norwegian government and other stakeholders, it is thus important to frame new initiatives and suggestions within the SDG context and emphasize the links between the individual goals.
  • Norway is focusing increasingly on involving the private sector in development cooperation and emphasizing public-private partnerships. Norway has significantly increased funding to Norfund, a state-owned investment fund. This may lead to more funding provided in the form of loans and equity investments in coming years, however, Norfund’s investments have not yet been counted as ODA.

Key Questions

the big six

For Syria, where an estimated 2.8 million children are out of school because of conflict, Norway and partners are funding an international competition to develop an open-source smartphone app to help Syrian children learn how to read in Arabic.

Norway

Outlook

How will Norway's ODA develop? — What will Norway's ODA focus on? —What are key opportunities for shaping Norway's development policy? read more

How will Norwegian ODA develop?

  • Norway has spent at least 1% of its GNI on ODA since 2013, and the 2017 budget is set to reach slightly higher levels. While future ODA levels are dependent on the outcome of the 2017 elections, the ODA/GNI share is expected to remain at around 1%. There is a cross-party consensus to keep ODA at this level.

  • The 1% commitment means that it is likely that Norway’s ODA will increase in absolute terms if the economy continues to grow. However, reduced oil prices in 2016 have put pressure on public expenditures as Norway’s oil revenues have decreased. This will likely limit the number of new development-related initiatives launched by the government and might require a prioritization of initiatives it supports.


What will Norway’s ODA focus on?

  • Norway’s current top priorities, including education, humanitarian assistance, private sector development and job creation, global health, and climate, environment, and sustainable energy, will remain in focus throughout 2017.
  • Beyond 2017, strategic priorities may shift, depending on the outcome of the elections in September 2017. Over the past two decades global health has traditionally been a focus area for Norwegian ODA, and is therefore likely to  remain so despite a change in government. The focus on education is potentially more subject to change given that it is a concrete focus of the current leadership.

What are key opportunities for shaping Norway’s development policy?

  • The election campaigns in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in September 2017 present opportunities to engage with leadership in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), parliament, and civil society, and work towards modifying or strengthening Norway’s thematic priorities and future levels of funding. There is some question as to whether the 1% commitment should be set for a period of years rather than annually reconfirmed as part of the budget process. This debate was triggered by a proposal in a development paper published in September 2016 by the Christian Democratic Party.
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg has made education a cornerstone of development policy during her tenure, with a particular focus on girls’ education. This provides opportunities to leverage more funding for areas with close links to education.
  • In April 2017, the MFA published a new white paper on ‘the Sustainable Development Goals and Norwegian Development Politics’. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key pillar of the new framework. Linking initiatives with the SDGs is thus crucial when engaging with the Norwegian government and other stakeholders.