OECD DAC holds meetings in Paris to discuss ODA

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held key meetings this week at its headquarters in Paris, hosting delegations from the 30 richest donor countries to discuss the rules surrounding ODA. A number of controversial issues were debated, including 1) the amount of ODA that donors can spend on in-country refugee costs, 2) the cap on the amount of ODA that can be directed towards multilateral peacekeeping efforts in conflict-affected countries, and 3) how to measure ODA spent through blended finance mechanisms.

The UK in particular has been critical of existing ODA regulations, having previously suggested that it may pull out of OECD-DAC if rules surrounding spending on military and security costs remained unchanged.

News article - Devex

Norway commits US$1.24 million to WHO’s emergency appeal for Madagascar

Norway has committed US$1.24 million through the World Health Organization (WHO) to Madagascar, which suffers from serious pneumonic plague outbreaks. Pneumonic plague is particularly hard to control, and has resulted in more than 1,100 cases and more than 70 deaths so far. Norway's contribution will be spent on limiting the spread of the outbreaks and improving the country’s capacity to prevent future outbreaks.

Press release – Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health

Norway announces US$3.1 million in humanitarian relief for Rohingya refugees

At a donor conference co-organized by the UN, the EU, and Kuwait, Norway’s foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide announced that Norway will increase its contribution to Rohingya refugees in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Bangladesh by an additional US$3.1 million. This brings Norway's total humanitarian support to the crisis to US$9.9 million.

Eriksen Søreide called on authorities in Myanmar to provide international humanitarian organizations with access to vulnerable citizen populations in Rakhine.

Press release - Government of Norway (in Norwegian)


Norway's new Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research focuses on unifying research, policy, and practice

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, UNICEF, and The Norwegian Research Council have opened the new Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) with the goal to improve public health on all continents, by reducing inequality in health with adjusted interventions in each country. CHAIN seeks to reduce the distance between research, practice, and policy, by bridging the gap between actors in academia, the civil society, private sector and the UN system. Its focus will be on new insights from social, laboratory-based, and natural experiments into the causal mechanisms linking socioeconomic status and health.

Webpage - CHAIN

News article - Universitat Avisa (in Norwegian)


Norway appoints new ministers of foreign affairs and defence

Norway has announced Ine Eriksen Søreide, previously the Minister of Defence, as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, in effect from October 20, 2017. Her appointment follows outgoing Minister Børge Brende’s decision to take up the position of President of the World Economic Forum. Replacing Eriksen Søreide as defence minister is State Secretary Frank Bakke-Jensen, who also continues as Norway’s representative at the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Other new appointments include Former State Secretary Marit Berger Røsland as Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and Jens Frølich Holte as State Secretary for the Minister of EEA and EU Affairs.

Press release - Government of Norway (in Norwegian)


Norwegian NGOs lobby for re-establishment of Ministry of International Development

Norwegian NGOs are lobbying for the re-establishment of the Ministry of International Development, in order to make Norway more relevant in the international development policy arena. According to an op-ed by Gunvor Knag Fylkesnes, head of Politics and Society with the Norwegian chapter of Save the Children, having a development minister would allow Norway to better implement cohesive development policies and ensure that the development portfolio receives sufficient attention. Additionally, maintaining a state body for development cooperation - rather than pushing the role of development onto private companies - supports strong civil societies, which is key to strengthening education, institutions, and free press in developing countries.

Norway currently ranks ninth of 27 countries in the Commitment to Development Index.

News article - BistandsAktuelt (in Norwegian)


Norway pledges US$11.2 million to female entrepreneurs in developing countries

The Norwegian government has announced a contribution of US$11.2 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which was launched by the G20 with a goal of raising up to US$1 billion. The idea behind the initiative is that female entrepreneurs often experience more challenges than men when starting a business, including lack of access to capital and networks, in addition to legal policies working to their disadvantage, all of which hinders economic growth and prosperity in developing countries. The World Bank will be the Trustee and invest in projects and programs that support women entrepreneurs.

Press release – Norwegian government (in Norwegian)


Norwegian think tank challenges definition of extreme poverty

Norwegian think tank Civita has published a report on the challenges related to SDG 1: eliminating poverty in all forms by 2030. According to the report, the number of people in extreme poverty - defined as those living on US$1 a day or less - has fallen from 25% in 1990 to 9% in 2017. However, if the definition of poverty is expanded to encompass those living on US$5 a day or less, nearly half of the world's population would qualify. The report argues that the world needs to look beyond job creation and economic growth to lift the remaining 9%. Although inclusive economic growth does contribute, significant official development assistance (ODA) will be needed, the report argues. The authors call on the Norwegian government to develop a clear strategy on poverty alleviation.

Publication - Civita (in Norwegian)


Norwegian development fund launches new initiative to end hunger

The Norwegian Development Fund has launched a campaign called 'Start a New War', to lobby the government to increase its development focus on nutrition and agriculture. According to the Development Fund, at least 10% of Norway's ODA budget should be focused on food security and nutrition. Current levels are at 3%, down from 30% in the 1970s. The rationale for an increase is that a greater focus on nutrition and agriculture will, in turn, improve results in other priority areas such as global health and education, as having access to substantial, nutritious food is a prerequisite to the ability to learn and remain in good health. 

News article - BistandsAktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Agriculture Nutrition

Norway’s total commitments to women's health and safety reaches US$89 million

The Norwegian government has proposed an increase in earmarked support to women's health and safe abortion of US$2.2 million for 2018. This will go to UNFPA and other international organisations that have a strong track record of results. The funding is in on top of the ‘She Decides’ commitment and brings the total support for women's health and safe abortion in the period 2017 to 2020 to US$89 million.

Website - Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)