This profile has been updated in April 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • Education for girls is a leading priority for Norway: since 2013, Prime Minister Erna Solberg has prioritized girls’ education, doubling funding between 2013 and 2017, reaching US$405 million in 2017 (NOK3.4 billion), according to the government.
  • Humanitarian assistance receives significant attention in Norway’s 2018 ODA budget: A 2017 white paper on the ‘Sustainable Development Goals and Norwegian Development’ highlights humanitarian assistance as a key priority. This is cemented by clear allocations for this focal area in their 2018 ODA budget.
  • Climate change and tropical forest protection is a key issue for Norway: The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative receives about NOK3 billion per year (US$350 million) until 2020 to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions  in partner countries.
Key opportunities
  • Priorities are likely to remain unchanged, as the government of Prime Minister Solberg was reelected in the fall of 2017. This continues to provide opportunities for advocates to shape the government’s work within the priorities it has defined since 2013, especially education and global health.  
  • To engage effectively with the Norwegian government, it is important to frame suggestions within the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) context and to emphasize alignment. The SDGs serve as the  ‘North Star’ for the government and is the foundation of their white paper on development cooperation.
  • Norway focuses increasingly on supporting private-sector development in partner countries, especially where access to capital is scarce. Norfund, a state-owned investment fund that supports the building of sustainable businesses in partner countries, has increasingly received additional governmental funding, reaching US$200 million for 2018.

Key Questions

the big six

For Syria, where an estimated 2.8 million children are out of school because of conflict, Norway and partners are funding an international competition to develop an open-source smartphone app to help Syrian children learn how to read in Arabic.



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

How will Norwegian ODA develop?

  • Norway spends 1% of its GNI on ODA: It has done so since 2013, and there is a cross-party consensus to keep this target. This commitment means it is likely that Norway’s ODA will increase in absolute terms if the economy continues to grow. However, reduced oil prices since 2016 have put pressure on public expenditure as Norway’s oil revenues have decreased. This might limit the number of new development-related initiatives launched by the government and require a prioritization of initiatives it supports.
  • Costs of hosting refugees in Norway are sharply decreasing since 2017: they will likely remain at low-levels in the coming years. Within the 1% framework, this means that funding for development programs abroad is likely to increase.

What will Norway’s ODA focus on?

  • Norway will likely maintain its current top priorities: education; humanitarian assistance; private-sector development and job creation; global health; and climate change. This opens up opportunities around these issues and around intersection between these sectors.
  • Private-sector development is a key focus of Norwegian ODA: It is a tool intended to support partner countries in becoming independent from ODA. Norfund is the government’s main investment body, aiming to facilitate growth in partner countries. It focuses strongly on renewable energy (more than a quarter of its investments in 2016).

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

  • The MFA’s 2017 white paper is strongly aligned with the SDGs: they are a North Star for Norwegian foreign and development policy. Linking initiatives with the SDGs is crucial when engaging with the Norwegian government and other stakeholders.
  • Education is a cornerstone of Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s development policy: she has made  it a top priority of her government, with a particular focus on girls’ education. Funding has doubled between 2013 and 2017, and further increases are planned in the 2018 budget. This provides opportunities to leverage more funding for areas with close links to education.
  • The MFA is currently conducting a review of its former strategy on agriculture ODA: the previous one phased out in 2016. The results of this review will shape Norway’s future policy on agriculture, and thus provide opportunities to engage around allocations to the sector.  
Further readings

Government sources

Other official sources