At a glance
Strategic priorities
  • Sweden’s 2016 ‘Aid Policy Framework’ is strongly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and outlines eight focus areas: 1) human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; 2) gender equality; 3) the environment and climate change; 4) peace and security; 5) inclusive economic development; 6) migration and development; 7) health equity; and 8) education and research.
  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment are a top focus of Swedish foreign and development policy. Sweden was the first country to implement a Feminist Foreign Policy, starting in 2014. It features sexual and reproductive health and rights as one of six objectives, and prioritizes women and girls’ participation in preventing and resolving conflicts.
  • Sustainable use of natural resources, marine resources, environment, and climate change is another top priority. It features as a priority sector in many new country strategies and is reflected in multilateral engagement. Sweden is the highest per-capita contributor to the Green Climate Fund and to the Global Environment Facility.
  • Following general elections in September 2018, lengthy negotiations led to the formation of a minority government in January 2019, a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green party, with the support of the Center and Liberal parties in Parliament. Stefan Löfven (Prime Minister) and Margot Wallström (Minister of Foreign Affairs), who remained in their positions, will largely continue steering policy with the same priorities: climate change and gender equality will remain at the heart of Sweden’s foreign and development policy.

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  • As a minority government, the government is under great pressure from the Center and Liberal parties, whose support it relies on. Democratic governance and human rights in development cooperation is a central issue for these two parties, placing them high on the agenda and potentially leading to increased funding for these areas.
  • The 2019 budget approved by Parliament in December 2018 had been put forward by the conservative Moderate Party (M) and Christian Democrats (KD), two parties which are now in the opposition. In April 2019, the government amended the budget (spring fiscal policy bill), and approved a SEK700 million (US$82 million) increase in deductions from the ODA budget to finance the costs of hosting refugees in Sweden. They are now set at SEK2.9 billion (US$40 million).