Last updated : May 2017. US$ amounts in this profile are shown in 2015 prices.
Strategic priorities
  • Prime Minister Erna Solberg defined education, and particularly girls’ education, as a top thematic priority. Funding doubled between between 2013 and 2017, reaching NOK3.4 billion in 2017. As her government remains in power after the September 2017 elections, focus on education will remain.
  • 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 in September 2017 saw the victory of the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Erna Solberg, in coalition with the Progress Party, the Liberal Party, and the Christian Democrats. Priorities and strategies developed under the former government will continue, including a strong focus on girls’ education.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a ‘North Star’ for the government. They are at the heart of the White paper on development cooperation. To engage effectively with the Norwegian government and other stakeholders, it is important to frame suggestions within the SDG context.
  • Norway focuses increasingly on involving the private sector in development cooperation and emphasizes public-private partnerships, and significantly increases funding to Norfund, a state-owned investment fund.

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.



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 2018 budget is set to reach this level. Due to the cross-party consensus around this target, the ODA/GNI share is likely to remain at around 1%. 
  • 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 since 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 are education, humanitarian assistance, private sector development and job creation, global health, and climate, environment, and sustainable energy.
  • Over the past two decades, global health has traditionally been a focus area for Norwegian ODA, and is therefore likely to  remain so, especially as the government has been reelected in September. Likewise, focus on education will likely remain strong.

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

  • During the electoral campaign in the run-up to the September 2017 elections, there was 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 by the Christian Democratic Party (September 2016), and provides an opportunity to advocate for a more long-term commitment to high ODA spending. 
  • 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.