Last updated : April 2017
Strategic priorities
  • Sweden’s focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment is strong and expected to rise. The government put into effect a ‘feminist foreign policy’, which features sexual and reproductive health and rights as one of six objectives and announced increases to organizations working in the sector in 2017.
  • In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, Sweden launched a new strategy for humanitarian assistance for 2017 to 2020, which will further shift funding to conflict-affected areas. The strategy covers Syria, Yemen, the Sahel Region, South Sudan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Key opportunities
  • The number of asylum-seekers arriving to Sweden is likely to continue to decrease in 2017. This means that a large part of the funds that had been earmarked to cover the costs of hosting refugees are being reallocated to international development, as Sweden is dedicated to its commitment of 1% of GNI to ODA.
  • Sweden’s economic vitality drives ODA increases: its growth domestic product is expected to grow by 2.4% in 2017 and by 2.1% in 2018.

Key Questions

the big six

As the Sahara desert makes up most of northern Mali, sustainable  use of resources is critical to the country's stability and food security; in its cooperation with Mali, Sweden supports strategies for sustainable resource management

Sweden

Outlook

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

How will Swedish ODA develop?

  • Sweden is committed to spend 1% of its GNI on ODA. Its strong economic growth is likely to drive increases in ODA: according to the 2017 budget bill, the Swedish Government plans to increase budget allocations to ODA by 14% between 2017 and 2020, from SEK46.1 billion (US$6.7 billion) to SEK52.4 billion (US$7.6 billion).

What will Sweden’s ODA focus on?

  • Climate change and the environment are among the issues at the center of Swedish development policy. In the short term, Sweden will focus on supporting developing countries in the implementation of their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
  • Sweden is focusing increasingly on humanitarian aid and peace-building, as part of its policy to tackle root causes of conflict and of migration. It plans to leverage its seat at the UN Security Council for 2017 to 2018 to this end. In the framework of its feminist foreign policy, Sweden places a strong focus on ‘women, peace and security’ including advocating for the inclusion of women in peace processes and negotiations. It also provides training on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, a resolution that aims to foster the participation of women in peace and security processes.
  • Against the backdrop of its feminist foreign policy, Sweden will continue to focus extensively on women and girls. This is also true in the health sector: sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a key area of Sweden’s engagement, along with maternal and child health, and health systems strengthening (HSS). Looking forward, it is likely to increase further: early 2017 the government announced increased support to the UN Family and Population Fund (UNFPA), to the ‘She Decides’ initiative – a fund established by the Netherlands to counter the anticipated impact of cuts in US funding to organizations providing abortion-related services, and strengthened involvement towards organizations working around abortion.

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

  • The government plans to increase ODA by 14% from US$6.7 billion in 2017 to US$7.6 billion in 2020. Within Sweden’s international development budget, the costs of hosting refugees will significantly decrease from 2018 onwards, freeing up additional funding for development programs abroad.
  • The ‘Results Strategy for Global Action on Socially Sustainable Development 2014-2017’ governs the funding allocations and activities of development agency Sida. The strategy is likely to be extended for a year; a new strategy is expected to be operational from 2019 onwards. Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the renewal process provides an opportunity to shape the allocation directions of Sida.