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 his government will largely continue steering policy with the same priorities as before: 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 government’s 2020 draft budget, presented to Parliament in October 2019, set ODA at SEK52.1 billion (US$5.4 billion using the September 2019 exchange rate) in 2020. This is an increase in SEK, but a decrease in current US$ due to strong exchange rate fluctuations. The European Economic Forecast foresees a slowdown of Sweden’s economic growth in 2020, with growth rate projected at 1.5% (down from an estimated 1.7% in 2019). This might affect development spending in two ways: ODA increases driven by economic growth under the 1%-of-GNI target might be lower, and further fluctuations in exchange rates could impact the availability of funding in US$.