This profile has been updated in October 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • Sweden’s 2016 ‘Aid Policy Framework’ outlines eight focus areas: 1) human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; 2) gender equality; 3) the environment and climate change, and the sustainable use of natural resources; 4) peace and security; 5) inclusive economic development; 6) migration and development; 7) health equity; and 8) education and research.
  • Sweden’s focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment is expected to continue. Sweden’s ‘feminist foreign policy’ features sexual and reproductive health and rights as one of six objectives and drives increases in funding for global health in general.
  • Sweden increasingly focuses on conflict prevention, further shifting funding to conflict-affected areas. It strongly focuses on the participation of women in mediation processes.
  • The sustainable use of natural resources, marine resources, environment, and climate change is another top priority: they feature as priority sectors in many new country strategies, and are reflected in multilateral engagement. Sweden is the highest per capita contributor to the Green Climate Fund.
Key opportunities
  • Recent elections held on September 9, 2018, may lead to changes in Sweden’s priorities, despite inconclusive results. While development priorities are largely rooted in long-term strategies, and therefore unlikely to change significantly in the short-term, flagship issues of the current government are more likely to be adjusted. These include the ‘feminist foreign policy’, a hallmark of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, and the climate change and marine focus, a specific interest of Minister of Development and Climate Change Isabella Lövin.

Key Questions

the big six

As the Sahara desert makes up most of northern Mali, sustainable  use of resources is critical to the country's stability and food security; in its cooperation with Mali, Sweden supports strategies for sustainable resource management



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

How will Sweden's ODA develop?

  • Sweden is committed to spend 1% of its GNI on ODA. Because of this and Sweden’s strong economic growth, ODA is expected to continue to increase in absolute terms. In addition, costs of hosting refugees in Sweden are much lower than in previous years, freeing up funding for development programs.
  • Inconclusive general elections, held in September 2018, and ongoing government negotiations may lead to changes in the funding volume for development. Currently, it is set to increase to SEK53.0 billion in 2020 (US$6.2 billion, from US$5.4 billion in 2017), according to the 2018 budget. Concerns have been raised about the rate of these increases in parliamentary debates by the Moderate Party (conservative).

What will Sweden's ODA focus on?

  • Climate change and the environment will remain at the center of Swedish development policy, including a strong emphasis on the use of marine resources. A March 2018 strategy document outlines Sweden’s policy in this area for 2018 to 2022. A total of SEK6.5 billion is currently planned for the period (US$759 million).
  • Sweden is focusing increasingly on humanitarian assistance and peace-building. In the framework of its feminist foreign policy, Sweden places a strong focus on ‘women, peace and security’, including advocating for the inclusion of women in peace processes and negotiations.
  • Inconclusive elections in September 2018 and the subsequent formation of a new government may lead to changes in the long-term priorities of Sweden’s development policy, although the direction of these changes remains to be seen. The feminist foreign policy and the strong focus on climate and marine resources are flagship initiatives of the current government; although likely to remain high on the agenda independently of the elections results, the strength of the focus might change.

What are the key opportunities for shaping Sweden's development policy?

  • The ‘Results Strategy for Global Action on Socially Sustainable Development 2014-2017’ governs the funding allocations and activities of Sida in a wide range of social sectors, including global health. A new strategy is being developed in the first half of 2018. The new strategy is expected to be operational from the last quarter of 2018 onwards.
Further readings

Government sources

Other official sources