NORWAY - ACTORS AND DECISION-MAKING
Overall responsibility for policy making lies with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (in office since 2005 and a member of the Norwegian Labour Party, Arbeiderpartiet; Ap), who has championed global efforts for maternal and child health (see section on global health). Within the Norwegian cabinet, the responsibility for development policy lies with the MFA. The ministry is led by Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (Ap) who has been in office since September 2012 and leads on global health. The Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås (Socialist Left Party of Norway, Sosialistisk Venstreparti; SV) has the same rank as the foreign minister. He came into office in March 2012, succeeding Erik Solheim (2005-2012) who also served as Minister of the Environment (2007-2012). The Minister of International Development is assisted by State Secretary Arvinn Gadgil and a political advisor, Unni Berge.
The MFA has 840 staff members and an additional 640 are delegated to Norway’s foreign service missions (embassies, delegations and consulates). The MFA has eight departments, two of which mainly deal with development policy: the Department for Regional Affairs and Development is responsible for relations with countries outside Europe and North America (foreign policy as well as bilateral economic and development cooperation). It also manages the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), a technical directorate with 230 employees reporting to the MFA that serves as an advisor to MFA leadership and the embassies. The Department for UN, Peace and Humanitarian Affairs is in charge of multilateral policy and cooperation and sectoral issues.
In 2010, the MFA administered 65% of total Norwegian ODA, including funds for multilateral organizations. In addition, 20% of ODA was delegated from the MFA to Norwegian embassies and 12% to Norad. Norad manages funds for the development activities of CSOs, Norwegian enterprises, educational and research organizations, and is in charge of evaluation and quality control. The remaining 3% go to the state-owned investment fund Norfund that supports private sector activities in developing countries, and to the Peace Corps. The latter is responsible for the exchange of personnel between Norway and developing countries. It reports to the MFA.
Within the Norwegian Parliament (the Storting), the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense is in charge of development policy. Its main role is to scrutinize government. It prepares recommendations on draft legislation for the debate by the Plenary. For instance, it comments and votes on the government’s White Papers, which summarize governmental strategies within development and regarding the MFA’s budget. Usually, the Storting only passes minor amendments to government drafts, especially in times of growing budgets when the need for prioritization is low.
Norwegian CSOs and faith-based organizations play an important role in development policy; they lobby the Storting and - to a lesser extent - government. They also implement development projects. 54 civil society organizations coordinate their advocacy and research work in the umbrella association Forum for utvikling og miljø (Forum for development and environment; ForUM). The 2008 DAC peer review characterized the dialogue between CSOs and the government as “open and frank”. Civil society is even involved in the recruiting of future members of the Foreign Service. The Norwegian public values the work of civil society: according to the OECD DAC, 44% of the population regarded CSOs as the most effective channel to deliver ODA (in 2008).
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