At a glance
Norway is the tenth-largest donor country on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), spending US$4.7 billion on official development assistance (ODA) in 2021 (current prices, US$3.7 billion in constant 2020 prices). It is the second-largest donor in proportion to the size of its economy; ODA stood at 0.93% of Norway’s gross national income (GNI). There is a cross-party consensus for Norway to return to a 1% ODA/GNI ratio.
- ODA decreased by 12% between 2020-2021, driven by high inflation (15% based on OECD statistics) due to an increase in raw materials such as oil and gas, electricity, and fish, of which Norway is a large producer. In 2015 and 2016, in-country refugee costs strongly impacted Norway’s ODA volume. In the 2022 budget, they stand at 1% of total ODA, well below peak levels (18% in 2016).
- For 2022, the government’s proposal set the ODA budget at NOK40.8 billion (US$4.3 billion in 2020 prices), in line with Norway’s 1%-commitment. The revised budget approved in June 2022 increased funding for in-country refugee costs and food security, largely in response to the Russian war in Ukraine, bringing the ODA budget to NOK47.3 billion (US$5 billion).
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form the basis of Norway’s development policy. To engage effectively with the Norwegian government, it is important to frame suggestions within the SDG framework.
- The government spells out six priority areas for its development policy: 1) climate and clean energy; 2) the fight against hunger; 3) the fight against inequality; 4) women’s rights; 5) humanitarian assistance; and 6) the fight against infectious diseases.
- Norway’s commitment to spend 1% of its GNI on development cooperation means that increases in ODA are closely linked to Norway’s economic growth. The government, put into place in September 2021, is committed to spending 1% of its GNI on development cooperation. Norway did not reach its 1% ODA/GNI target in 2021 because of high inflation toward the end of the year; GNI reached levels above what was anticipated during the budgeting process, but Norway’s commitment to 1% ODA/GNI remains.
- In June 2022, the government approved a revised version of the 2022 budget, which includes a development assistance budget of NOK47.3 billion (US$5 billion). This corresponds to 1.09% of Norway’s estimated GNI for 2022. The increase from the original draft of NOK40.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) is largely driven by an increase in in-country refugee costs and spending on food security, as a reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, between half and two-thirds of the projected ODA budget for 2021-2025 have already been earmarked due to the government’s many multi-year commitments, leaving little flexibility within the budget in upcoming years.
Norway is committed to continue spending 1% of its GNI on ODA
Norway is the second-largest donor in relation to the size of its economy among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). In 2021, it spent 0.93% of its gross national income (GNI) on development cooperation, or US$4.7 billion (in current prices; US$3.7 billion in 2020 constant prices). In absolute terms, this makes Norway the tenth-largest DAC donor. Norway has reached the United Nations’ (UN) 0.7% ODA/GNI target since 1976 and is committed to maintaining ODA levels at 1% of GNI. The target of spending 1% of GNI on ODA has cross-party backing within the new government, in place since September 2021. Norway has managed to meet the 1% commitment every year since 2013, except in 2018 and 2021. In both years, the government fell short of reaching the target, because GNI grew more than originally expected during the budgeting process in the previous year. In 2021, growth in GNI was mainly due to record high oil and gas prices toward the end of the year and the re-opening of society after the restrictions connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. With soaring petroleum revenues in the wake of the war in Ukraine, Norway's economy continues to grow, and the gap between economic growth and the levels of funding for international development assistance may persist into 2022. For 2022, the budget foresees an increase in both absolute and relative terms, with ODA set at NOK47.3 billion (US$5.0 billion in 2020 prices). This corresponds to 1.09% of Norway’s estimated GNI for 2022.
In past years, high costs of hosting refugees in Norway (some of which are ODA-eligible) have impacted Norway’s overall ODA volume in two major ways. First, funds were reallocated from development programs, and second, reported ODA increased, driven by additional refugee-related costs outside of the ODA budget. In-country refugee costs have recently decreased from their peak at 18% of ODA in 2016 to between 1- 2% from 2018-2021. Due to the current war in Ukraine, the government has decided to increase the use of ODA for refugee-related projects. Based on current statistics and numbers presented by the government, these estimated costs will make up around 13% of ODA in 2022. However, the numbers are expected to remain low going forward.
Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on the grant-equivalent measurement system. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.
The SDGs guide Norwegian ODA policy; Climate change, food security, and humanitarian assistance are top priorities
The Norwegian government grounds its development policy in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring alignment with global priorities.
Norway’s development policy priorities are spelled out in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA’s) white paper, ‘Common responsibility for a common future – the Sustainable Development Goals and Norwegian Development Policy’, published in 2016. They include:
2. Global health;
3. Humanitarian assistance;
4. Private sector development, agriculture, and renewable energy; and
5. Climate change, environment, and oceans.
ODA increases since 2017 mainly went towards these areas. These priorities are also reflected in the 2022 budget (see box), however education has been deprioritized and a greater emphasis has been set on food security,
Norway’s development priorities:
- Humanitarian assistance: Norway’s funding for humanitarian assistance has steadily increased in past years, reaching NOK7.8 billion (US$827 million) in the 2022 budget. It is the largest thematic budget line in Norway’s ODA budget.
- Global health: Global health is a long-standing priority of the Norwegian government, which plans on sustaining high levels of funding to the sector until 2030. Focus is on non-communicable diseases, women’s and children’s health, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), universal health coverage and global health security.
- Education: Norway is committed to working on the goal of providing at least NOK 3.4 billion (US$361 million) to education from 2022 onwards. Within education, priority areas include, enhancing opportunities for women and girls as well as learning opportunities for children in crisis and conflict situations. Norway provides strong support to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It committed NOK3.7 billion (US$393 million, in 2020 prices) for 2021 to 2025, and is currently the fourth-largest donor.
- Climate, environment, and oceans: A total of NOK4.9 billion (US$521 million) has been budgeted in 2022: NOK3.1 billion (US$329 million) from the Ministry of Climate and NOK1.8 billion (US$191 million) from the MFA.
The new government, in place since September of 2021, spelled out their priority areas for development policy in the “Hurdalen” platform, the coalition agreement published in October of 2021, that outlines the overarching direction of the government to the parliament for the period between 2021 and 2025. These areas include: 1) climate and clean energy; 2) the fight against hunger; 3) the fight against inequality; 4) women’s rights; 5) humanitarian assistance; and 6) the fight against infectious diseases. Detailed strategies by the new government for Norway’s development policy are expected to be drafted in late 2022.
The Norwegian government’s commitment to climate change, the environment, and oceans is reflected in its substantial funding for this issue. One of the government’s largest development programs is the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), through which it has pledged up to NOK3 billion (US$319 million) per year to reduce deforestation. Funding for this comes from the Ministry of Climate and the Environment. Norway is also a strong supporter of multilateral organizations for climate. In 2020, the government announced a doubling of its annual contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) between 2020 and 2023, reaching a total of NOK3.2 billion (US$340 million) for the entire period and making it third largest donor per capita. Other key investment partners for climate include the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank. In May 2022, Norway’s new climate investment fund also became operational. The fund is described as one of Norway’s most important tools in accelerating the global energy transition by investing in renewable energy in developing countries that have large emissions from coal and other fossil power production. The fund will be capitalized with NOK2 billion (US$212 million) each year for the next five years and will be managed by Norfund.
The former government under Prime Minister (PM) Erna Solberg placed a strong focus on education, particularly for girls and women. Between 2013 and 2017, funding to the sector doubled and has remained high since. The new government under Prime Minister Gahr Støre is committed to working on the goal of providing at least NOK 3.4 billion (US$361 million) to education from 2022 onwards. Within education, priority areas include, enhancing opportunities for women and girls to complete high-quality and free primary and secondary schooling; gender-equal access to higher education (including university education) and quality technical and vocational training; as well as learning opportunities for children in crisis and conflict situations. Norway provides strong support to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It committed NOK3.7 billion (US$435 million according to the GPE) for 2021 to 2025, and is currently the fourth-largest donor.
Norway regards education as a core component of its humanitarian assistance policy and shows international leadership in the area. It is one of five founding donors to the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) initiative, a special fund launched in 2016 that aims to improve access to education services in humanitarian emergencies and crises. In total, Norway has contributed US$83 million to the fund. In 2020, it announced an additional NOK20 million (US$2 million) for ECW to support the education of children and youth impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Global health has been a longstanding priority for Norway and Norway’s commitment to the sector has been reinforced by COVID-19. The ‘health’ budget line within Norway’s ODA budget, stands at NOK3.8 billion (US$415 million) for 2022. According to Norad’s 2021 statistics, Norway’s contributions towards health-related ODA, including core support for multilateral organizations, stood at NOK7.9 billion (US$489 million) in 2021. NOK2.9 billion (US$308 million) of that went toward fighting COVID-19 and its impacts in low-income countries. The bulk of Norway’s financing to the sector is channeled through multilateral organizations, with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund); and the Global Financing Facility (GFF) as major investment partners. In the fall of 2019, the government launched its strategy ‘Better Health, Better Lives,’ which focuses specifically on combatting non-communicable diseases within its development cooperation (2020 to 2024).
Humanitarian assistance has steadily grown since 2016 (by NOK4 billion, or US$280 million), in line with increasing needs linked to armed conflict, climate change, and poverty in countries and regions affected by fragility. The 2022 budget outlines a total of NOK7.7 billion (US$673 million) in funding for humanitarian assistance. Focus areas will include protection (especially against sexual and gender-based violence) of children and young people, protection of civilians from land mines and other explosives, and the promotion of a green humanitarian response. Moreover, the government’s 2018 humanitarian strategy emphasizes the connection between long-term development assistance and emergency humanitarian activities, proposing an integrated and rights-based approach, and promoting effective, flexible, and predictable funding. Norway’s multi-year pledges include NOK1.7 billion (US$178 million) for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF; 2018 to 2022).
Civil society and human rights is another large priority for Norway, receiving substantial amounts of funding (see ‘ODA breakdown’).
Other relevant development strategies (white papers):
- Fair distribution and growth (2013)
- Global education (2014)
- Private-sector engagement in development cooperation (2015)
- Human rights in development policy (2015)
- Equality and foreign development policy (2016)
- Humanitarian strategy (2018)
- Non-communicable diseases (2019)
- Eliminating harmful practices (2019)
- Norway’s role and interest in multilateral cooperation (2019)
- Better Health – Better Lives (2020)
- Norway’s strategy for disability-inclusive development (2022)
Norway relies heavily on multilateral organizations and CSOs to channel its ODA
Norway is a strong supporter of multilateral organizations. In 2020, it channeled 25% of its ODA as core contributions to multilateral organizations, significantly below the 42% average among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC); however, in 2020 Norway channeled another 34% of its ODA in the form of earmarked funding through multilaterals (reported as bilateral ODA to the OECD, see details below).
Alongside multilaterals, civil society organizations (CSOs) are key implementers of Norwegian ODA. In 2020, 27% of Norwegian bilateral ODA was channeled through CSOs (DAC average: 19%).
Norway’s bilateral funding is in line with its overall priorities
Norway’s strategic priorities are largely reflected in its bilateral funding allocations. According to OECD data, in 2020 15% (US$473 million) of bilateral ODA went to humanitarian assistance. The sector to receive the second largest share of bilateral ODA was government and civil society (12%, or US$380 million). These were closely followed by funding for projects supporting health and populations (12%, or US$374 million), and environmental protection (11%, or US$358 million).
In recent years, private sector development and job creation have become more important to Norway’s development cooperation. Much of Norway’s support to economic development goes through Norfund, a state-owned investment fund supporting private-sector activities in partner countries, whose investments are not ODA-eligible.
Since 2014, Norway has provided all its bilateral ODA in the form of grants.
Norway differentiates partners for long-term development cooperation and partners for conflict prevention
Norway’s ODA is mostly directed towards low-income countries, although this is not immediately evident from the ODA data. Because of the large share of Norway’s ODA channeled as earmarked funding to multilaterals, to support CSOs and toward in-country refugee costs, 55% of Norway’s bilateral ODA in 2020 was not allocated to a specific income group. This means that low-income countries officially accounted for only 22% of bilateral ODA in 2020. However, when only considering bilateral ODA allocated to a specific income group, they received 50% of bilateral ODA.
Geographically, ‘sub-Saharan’ Africa (which includes Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa) receives by far the largest share of Norway’s bilateral ODA (23% in 2020, according to OECD data), followed by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (11%), and Asia (9%). Funding to the MENA region nearly doubled between 2013 and 2015, plateauing at a high level ever since; funding to the region in 2022 stood at US$412 million. This is driven by a large amount of funding for humanitarian assistance directed toward the region.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)’s 2017 ‘white paper on the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs), Norway focuses its bilateral cooperation on 16 countries, with the aim of pursuing a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to development in each of its partner countries. It outlines two categories of partners:
Partners for long-term development cooperation, with which Norway already has long-standing engagement: Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Partners for stabilization and conflict prevention with a holistic and long-term perspective, as Norway aims to reinforce its overall efforts in vulnerable states: Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, Palestine, Somalia, and South Sudan.
In addition, Norway will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to other ODA-eligible countries, as needed.
Norway is a strong supporter of the multilateral system
Norway’s government considers funding through multilateral organizations an effective way to pursue its priorities. Norway supports multilateral organizations both through large core contributions (US$1.1 billion, or 25%, of its total ODA in 2020) and through significant earmarked funding amounts channeled through multilateral organizations for specific sectors or regions (US$1.4 billion, or 34% of total ODA). This brings Norway’s total multilateral ODA to US$2.5 billion, or 59%, of its total ODA, putting it just above the OECD DAC average of 56%. Funding channeled through multilateral institutions has increased by an annual average rate of 7% between 2015 and 2020 (it was US$1.8 billion in 2015). According to Norad’s 2021 statistics, this share remained stable at 58% in 2021. Guidelines for Norway’s multilateral policy were published in 2019 in a MFA white paper titled ‘Norway’s Role and Interest in Multilateral Cooperation.’
Norway has been a strong supporter of the United Nations (UN) system. UN agencies received 38% of Norway’s core contributions to multilateral organizations in 2020. 15% went to the World Bank, and 11% to regional development banks. The current government strongly supports vertical funds, especially in the global health sector. Key partners for Norway’s multilateral ODA include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi; 13% of multilateral contributions in 2020, according to OECD DAC data – 15% when including the International Finance Facility for Immunisation); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund; 8%); and the Green Climate Fund (10%).
Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on the grant-equivalent measurement system. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.
For more granular and up-to-date development finance data on Norway, including information on where and in which sectors it is spending both ODA and non-ODA funds, please consult the IATI d-portal. IATI is a reporting standard and platform on which organizations and governments voluntarily publish data on their development cooperation.
MFA steers strategy; Norad’s role strengthened after a 2020 reform
Norway’s coalition government is led by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of the Labour Party. The Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiert - Ap) and the Center Party (Senterpartiet - Sp) are part of the coalition government and have both been in power since the general elections in September 2021.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for setting the strategic direction of development cooperation. Since October 2021, it has been led by Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap). In January 2018, the Minister of the European Economic Area and EU Affairs within the MFA was replaced with a Minister of International Development, who is a co-minister to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim (Sp) has held the position as Minister of International Development since October 2021 and is in charge of development policy. In February 2020, Norway’s first-ever Ministry of Sustainability was created to coordinate the government’s work on the SDGs.
The MFA is responsible for the organization, coordination, and implementation of Norwegian foreign policy, including international negotiations, processes, and global cooperation structures (e.g., United Nations, UN). It is also responsible for development cooperation within members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan, as well as humanitarian assistance.
Other relevant ministries include the Ministry of Climate and Environment, which manages the budget for the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the Ministry of Justice, which manages budget lines for costs related to hosting refugees in Norway (partly reported as ODA), and the Ministry of Education and Research.
Within the MFA, the Minister of International Development oversees the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Norway’s development finance institution (Norfund), and the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec). The Minister for Development is responsible for development cooperation outside of the states listed above, and with the United Nations (UN) system, the World Bank, and regional development banks.
In an effort to increase transparency and to allow Norway to have a more strategic approach to development issues, a reform process shifted the distribution of roles and responsibilities between the MFA and Norad, which came into effect in February 2020. The MFA’s policy development competence was strengthened and consolidated by the reform, whereas Norad’s ODA management responsibilities were extended.
Under the new system, the MFA is in charge of developing policy, determining Norway’s main focus areas, and representing Norway in international arenas. The MFA then delegates much of Norway’s ODA management to Norad, with the exception of humanitarian assistance and human rights efforts which remain under the MFA’s purview. Concretely, this means that the responsibility for assessments, quality assurance, project implementation, follow-up, control, and reporting goes to Norad. Norad published a new strategy in June 2021, which focuses on the ODA managed by Norad to be operationalized through strategic funds management, knowledge dissemination, and innovation. Against the backdrop of this strategy, Norad established new thematic divisions within its organization:
Human development: responsible for global health, education, higher education and research, gender equality and human rights
Climate and environment: responsible for issues such as food, energy, forests, oceans, and nature and the climate
Partnership and shared prosperity: responsible for multilateral partnerships, civil society, governance and transparency, innovation, and the private sector and new partnerships.
Norad now has a staff of 270 (an increase from 230 before the reform). It has no country offices but works closely with Norwegian embassies, which administer the majority of development assistance.
Norwegian embassies lead programming of bilateral cooperation in partner countries, based on the priorities outlined by the MFA. Leadership and program officers in Norwegian embassies, and regional sections within the MFA’s Department for Regional Affairs and Development play a key role in outlining these priorities. Within them, embassies have ample financial and programming authority.
Norway’s development finance institution Norfund is a state-owned investment fund, operating under supervision of the MFA. Established in 1997, it supports private-sector activities in developing countries and focuses on renewable energy, agribusiness, and financial institutions. By the end of 2020, Norfund was managing investments worth NOK28.4 billion (US$3 billion), almost half of which is in clean energy projects.
The Parliament, largely through its Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense, scrutinizes government policy and prepares recommendations on draft legislation. It comments and votes on the government’s ‘white papers,’ which outline strategies regarding development and the MFA’s budget. The Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is the most relevant to budget development, including for ODA.
Norwegian CSOs and faith-based organizations play an important role in development policy. Domestically, Norwegian CSOs educate the public about development issues, act as watchdogs by critically assessing development policy, and carry out lobbying activities targeted at Parliament and the government. CSOs also implement development projects, partly with government funds: Norway channels more than one-quarter of its ODA through CSOs. In total, 48 CSOs coordinate their advocacy and research work within the umbrella association, ‘Forum for Utvikling og Miljø’ (Forum for Development and Environment; ForUM).
Norway uses ’thematic cooperation’ budget lines to pursue its strategic priorities
Norway’s ODA budget for 2022 stands at NOK47.2 billion (US$5.0 billion), or over 1.09% of Norway’s projected gross national income (GNI). According to statistics from Norad, there has been an increase of NOK1.3 billion (US$140 million) in total health funding. This additional investment, particularly in strengthening health systems and COVID-19 response, drove the increase in funding for MFA in 2021 and 2022. Other priorities in the 2022 budget witnessing a funding increase are food security, agriculture, and renewable energy.
The budget includes a large increase in spending on in-country refugee costs, with a large jump from NOK504 million (US$54 million) in 2021 to NOK6.4 billion (US$677 million) in 2022, as well as agriculture and food security (budget line ‘Business development, agriculture and renewable energy’). The changes stem from addressing the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have resulted in a food security crisis and an increased number of refugees.
Following an increase in 2021 due to COVID-19 response, the health budget remains at a high level in 2022 (NOK 3.9 billion, or US$412 million). The health budget was slightly restructured in 2021, and some parts of the funding have been moved to the regional allocations budget line to support continued health efforts in partner countries. This restructuring is ongoing in the 2022 budget.
In addition, one can see a substantial increase in the funding towards ‘business development, agriculture, and renewable energy,’ including funding for food security. These are top priorities within the ODA budget for 2022. This can also be seen in the increased funding to the budget line in 2022, compared to 2021. NOK3.5 billion (US$368 million) was allocated to this budget line in 2021, compared to NOK5.4 billion (US$578 million) in 2022.
ODA comes from two main sources: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Climate and Environment. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, between half and two-thirds of the projected ODA budget for 2021 to 2025 has already been earmarked through multi-year commitments. This leaves little flexibility within the budget in upcoming years.
The MFA provides 93% (NOK44.1 billion, or US$4.6 billion) of the ODA budget. The MFA’s ODA budget provides detailed information on the allocation of funding and can be divided into four major categories: 1) thematic cooperation, 2) bilateral cooperation, 3) multilateral funding (outside of specific thematic cooperation), and 4) administration costs.
Thematic cooperation combines bilateral and multilateral funding to advance specific areas. It receives the largest share of funding by the MFA, 69% of all Norway’s ODA expenditure in 2022. There are currently 10 thematic budget lines in Norway’s ODA budget. Those that receive the most funding are in line with Norway’s strategic priorities (see table).
Bilateral cooperation comprises regional budget lines for Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), and Latin America.
Multilateral funding includes spending not connected to a specific thematic area, funds disbursed to United Nations (UN) development agencies, and certain international financial institutions.
In addition to the MFA, the Ministry of Climate and Environment provides NOK3.1 billion (US$328 million) in ODA, mainly for Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). The initiative aims to slow, halt, and eventually reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in partner countries.
2022 ODA budget
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs||44,103||4,685|
|Business development, agriculture and renewable energy||5,442||578|
|Education, research and professional cooperation||2,265||241|
|Peace, security, and global cooperation||1,404||149|
|Climate, environment and seas||1,675||178|
|Costs of refugees in Norway||6,373||677|
|Multilateral financial institutions||2,407||256|
|UN development agencies||877||93|
|Ministry of Climate and Environment||3,083||328|
|Ministry of Finance||88||9|
|Ministry of Knowledge||17||2|
|Total ODA Budget||47,291||5,024|
Indicative ministerial budget ceiling is set in March; budget details are determined from April to August
The budget process runs over a two-year period. Preparatory work starts about a year before the actual fiscal year and the ongoing budget may be amended in the March/April and in the August.
- Ministries prepare initial internal budget drafts: From November to the end of January, Norway’s development agency, Norad, and Norwegian embassies prepare budget input to submit to the relevant ministries, which in turn start their preparations for developing their budget for the following year. Budget suggestions by the ministries are due by January 25 each year. Key stakeholders during this period are senior staff at the Norwegian embassies, Norad, and senior officials from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA).
- First budget conference – government decides on indicative ministerial budget ceilings: By March, Norwegian embassies and Norad have prepared their preliminary internal budgets. MFA and Norad leadership ultimately make decisions on budget allocations. In parallel, embassies start identifying bilateral projects for the coming year. Ministerial budget proposals are presented to the government at its first budget conference around March 10, on the basis of which the government sets indicative budget ceilings for each ministry. Budget ceilings are handed out around March 20.
- The MFA further refines internal budgets: Once the government has set the MFA’s indicative spending, the MFA further develops its budget from April to July/August.
- Second budget conference – government makes final decision on overall draft budget: Usually in late August/September, the government holds its second budget conference to agree on final ministerial budget caps and political priorities. At this stage, the government approves the overall ODA volume and funding for major initiatives. It usually does not debate further details of the ODA budget.
- The government presents its budget proposal to Parliament: Around September 20, the government approves its ‘Yellow Book’, its first budget proposal. In the beginning of October, the budget proposal is presented to Parliament. From October to December, the MFA and the other ministries adapt their budget draft to fit within the final caps.
- Parliament debates draft budget: From October to November, Parliament debates the government’s budget draft. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs can amend the proposed ceilings and detailed allocations for main expenditure areas until November. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense may propose amendments, but in practice, the Committee on Finance leads on reallocations between budget lines. The additional proposals need to be presented by November 10.
- Parliament approves budget: By mid-December, the Parliament signs off on the budget for the upcoming year.