SWEDEN - ACTORS AND DECISION-MAKING
Under the overall policy and decision-making authority of the Prime Minister, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) drives and oversees Sweden’s development policy and financing. The current Minister for Foreign Affairs is Carl Bildt (in office since 2006), a member of the Moderate Party and former Prime Minister (1991—1994). The Minister for International Development Cooperation, currently Gunilla Carlsson (in office since 2006 and member of the Swedish Moderate Party), reports to Mr Bildt and is responsible for Sweden’s humanitarian aid and the policy for global development. A number of MFA departments are responsible for policy making. The most important ones are the Africa Department, the Department for Development Policy, the Department for Management and Methods in Development Cooperation (coordinating the budget, management and other matters relating to Sida).
In April 2012, the Swedish government appointed the world’s first Global Health Ambassador, Anders Nordström, who is responsible for representing Sweden in its exchange with relevant international organizations including a number of institutions within the UN system (especially the WHO), the EU, and with regional development banks regarding development-related health issues. The work of Sadev, which used to be responsible for analyzing and evaluating bi- and multilateral development cooperation, was discontinued at the end of 2012 because of deficiencies in quality and efficiency. The government plans to appoint a commission to determine the future organization of development evaluation. Sida will have its activities evaluated by external consultants until new arrangements have been made. The development budget allocates US$3.5 million (SEK 23 million) to the “winding up” of Sadev.
In principle, the MFA concentrates on strategic planning and policy formulation, while Sida is the main coordinator of implementation. Sida also channels part of its support through multilateral mechanisms (mainly the UN and the World Bank) in the context of its budget line for global programs. These funds are channeled by Sida because they are normally earmarked to a specific country or region.
The Swedish agency Sida primarily manages program funding. In 2012, Sida employed approx. 730 staff (down from 920 in 2010). 160 employees are stationed abroad, who administer Sida’s financial cooperation but do not implement development cooperation projects (e.g. with medical or engineering staff). The Director-General, currently Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, has the ultimate responsibility for implementing government and parliament decisions.
US$2.67 billion of Swedish bilateral ODA was administered by Sida in 2011, and another US$739 million is targeted to multilateral support managed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and approved by the Prime Minister’s Office. This will also be channeled through Sida, usually benefitting a specific country or region.
While the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) has legislative power, the government introduces legislative proposals and amendments, and implements the parliament’s decisions. Ministries are comparatively small and the competencies of ministers in Sweden are strictly limited to policy formulation and oversight, excluding specificities of policy implementation. For instance, while the MFA is responsible for Sida and other development cooperation agencies, it has no power to instruct the agency on individual policy matters or intervene directly in its day-to-day operations. Law-making and enforcement is strictly separated: the government is not allowed to instruct authorities on how to implement a certain law; parliament is responsible for ensuring that such a “ministerial rule” does not occur. Decisions of individual ministries represent collective decisions of the government, which are often prepared by ad hoc specialized commissions (utredning).
Civil society involvement has a strong tradition in Sweden, and around 200,000 organizations are part of Swedish civil society, mostly non-profit organizations, foundations or registered faith communities. Civil society organizations (CSOs) undertake advocacy and also implement projects. There is a tradition of holding consultations on strategies and policies with CSOs, reflecting the government’s openness for feedback from civil society. Swedish development CSOs are organized in two platform organizations: Forum Syd is an umbrella organization with around 200 small and medium-sized members. Its operations are primarily funded by Sida and evolve around advocacy, capacity building, quality assurance and development programs. Concord Sweden comprises larger CSOs as well as the so-called framework organizations of Sida. Sida channels most of its funding for civil-society development in poor countries through these organizations in form of framework agreements. In 2011, 27% of Swedish ODA was channeled through NGOs and civil society, exceeding the DAC country average of 16%. Funding for CSOs engaged in the developing world increased to US$198 million (SEK 1.5 billion) in 2011, of which US$167 million (SEK 1.2 billion) were allocated to Sida’s framework organizations, including Africa Groups of Sweden, Save the Children Sweden and Swedish Cooperative Center. Framework organizations are grouped into two categories: umbrella organizations that administer and channel funding applications from member organizations, and organizations that operate their own programs. Framework organizations contribute 10% of costs for joint projects and are selected based on a set of criteria. According to the 2012 budget adopted in November 2011, funding to CSOs will increase to US$255 million (SEK 1.83 billion) in 2012. The MFA’s 2013 policy statement underlines the importance of civil society for poverty reduction.
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