Agriculture is not among Norway’s top development priorities

Norway spent US$170 million on ODA to agriculture and rural development in 2015. This corresponds to 4% of its ODA, which is below the members’ of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee average of 7%. Though agriculture is not a major priority within Norwegian development policy, it has the potential to gain importance as part of Norway’s growing engagement in action on climate change. Norway joined the new Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, launched at the UN Climate Summit in September 2016.

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Unlike with health, Norway channels the vast share of its ODA to agriculture and rural development through bilateral cooperation: this share amounted to US$127 million in 2015, or 75% of agriculture ODA. The sub-sector that received the largest amount of funding was agricultural development (16% of agriculture ODA), followed by policy and administrative management (13%), agriculture extension (training on more effective farming), and rural development (12% each).

About a third of Norway’s bilateral cooperation is in fact channeled to multilateral organizations as earmarked funding (US$37 million in 2015). For instance, US$24 million went to specific programs carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Core multilateral contributions to agriculture and rural development stood at US$43 million in 2015. The largest recipients were the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA, 37% of total bilateral ODA to agriculture), the African Development Fund (AfDF; 25%), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, 23%). Norway also supports the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): funding stood at US$11 million in 2015. In addition, Norway started funding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2015. The government plans on allocating NOK4.5 million (US$558,000) per year to the alliance until 2020.

Norway is increasingly engaged in sustainable fishery management. In 2016, Norway launched a national program, ‘Fish for Development’, with funding of US$150 million for 2016 to 2020. The Norwegian government sees this program as a way to reduce poverty through promoting food security, sustainable fisheries management, and more profitable business activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries are responsible for the program’s funding and implementation, and the secretariat sits within Norad.

Norad’s department for climate, energy, environment and research leads on agriculture

Because a lot of Norway’s support for agriculture is channeled through private-sector development, research programs, and international financing channels (e.g., the FAO, IFAD, the World Food Program (WFP)), and CGIAR), the most relevant departments in setting agriculture priorities within the MFA are the Department for UN and Humanitarian Questions, the Section for UN Politics (headed by Hans Jacob Frydenlund), and the Private Sector Section under the Department for Economy and Development (headed by Katja Nordgaard). The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is the key stakeholder responsible for implementing agricultural programs. Its Department of Climate, Energy and Environment and the Section for Environment and Food Security both steer programming.

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