Norway quadruples grant to World Bank for tax and customs reform in vulnerable states

Norway will increase its contribution to the World Bank’s Global Tax Program (GTP) with NOK88 million (US$10 million) to promote taxation and customs reform in vulnerable states. Having previously granted NOK21.5 million (US$2 million), the move represents an increase of more than 400%. The World Bank intends to use the funds to facilitate customs reform in Niger, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The decision also reflects the Norwegian government’s greater effort to prioritize taxation-centered efforts in its development work. Norway plans to contribute a total of NOK300 million (US$ 34 million) in tax-related development assistance in 2019. 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

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Norway's key priorities at the United Nations General Assembly: UN Security Council, international cooperation, sustainable development

The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs has announced Norway’s key priorities for the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA). In addition to securing a Norwegian spot on the UN Security Council for 2021-2022, Norway’s priorities contain a common thread of revamping international cooperation and scaling up efforts to promote sustainable development. 

Norway is concerned that multilateral organizations are being less frequently utilized to solve common challenges. Three of Norway’s six priorities, therefore, center around the promotion of international cooperation and the multilateral system, the strengthening of the UN’s ability to prevent and solve conflicts, and the increase of the UN's ability to deal with humanitarian crises. Norway sees these priorities as paramount for achieving peaceful sustainable development.  Norway also emphasizes achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a priority of its own and will place additional weight on efforts related to climate, ocean preservation, education, gender equality, healthcare, and national resource mobilization.  

Press release - Government of Norway (in Norwegian) 

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Norway sends medical experts, equipment to DRC in fight against Ebola

Foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide has announced that Norway will send an expert team and medical equipment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in response to the worsening Ebola outbreak. An expert team from the University of Oslo hospital will also provide training in Uganda.

Norway has supported the DRC's efforts to combat the epidemic in the past, most recently in 2018, when it contributed NOK 29 million (US$3 million) to the cause. This year, NOK 17 million (US$2 million) are earmarked for the fight against Ebola from the overall humanitarian budget.

Press release - Norweigan government

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Norway increases funding to UNEP

Norway is increasing its support to the United Nations' Environment Program (UNEP) to NOK360 million (US$43 million): an increase of NOK90 million (US$11 million) from the previous three-year period. The announcement was made in New York, as the Norwegian minister of climate and environment met with UNEP. The minister, Ola Elvestuen, will also be president for the next UNEP meeting in 2021. 

Though the majority of funds are not earmarked for specific spending purposes, NOK43 million (US$5 million) have been designated for spending on the following:

  1. Global governance to fight marine pollution, plastic and microplastics;
  2. Preventative work related to the nexus of climate, security and migration; and
  3. Strengthening knowledge and the effect of antibiotic resistance on the environment.

Press release - Government of Norway


Norway announces record-high 2019 funding to UN organizations

The Norwegian government is increasing its core contribution to the UN and providing an all-time-high contribution to six UN organizations. The contributions are as follows:

  • UNICEF: NOK 1 billion (US$126 million)
  • UNDP: NOK 615 million (US$74 million)
  • UNFPA: NOK 530 million (US$6 million)
  • UN Women: NOK 100 million (US$12 million)
  • UNHCR: NOK 380 million (US$46 million)
  • WFP: NOK 300 million (US$36 million).

These are the highest contributions Norway has given to these organizations collectively. The Norwegian government expects the funds to be spent in an efficient and transparent manner.

Press release - Norweigan government

Norway, Germany, and Ghana initiate cross-sectoral action plan to achieve SDG 3

Norway’s Prime Minister, the German chancellor, and the President of Ghana initiated a cross-sectoral action plan to achieve SDG3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. The plans will be presented at the UN General Assembly in September, 2019. 

Report - Government website (in Norwegian)

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Norway releases report on role and support in multilateral cooperation

The Norwegian government has released a report on Norway's role in multilateral cooperation, a topic which is increasingly central to Norway's development assistance aims. The government sees multilateralism as crucial to delivery on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The white paper presents a five year perspective, and highlights good health and well-being as a high priority in Norwegian development cooperation. The report also calls for Norway to continue contributing to innovation in the multilateral system, taking a lead in efforts to solve new cross-border health challenges, and combining political leadership, expertise, funding, long-term perspective, and innovation to reach the SDGs.

In 2017, 54% of Norwegian development assistance was channeled through multilateral organisations: an increase from 43% in 2016.

Report – Norwegian government website (in Norwegian)


Norway launches action plan for sustainable food production systems

Five Norwegian ministers launched the government’s action plan for sustainable food production systems within the spheres of Norwegian foreign and development policies from 2019 to 2023. The plan emphasizes four different areas (food production, value creation and markets, nutrition and diet, policies and governance) that are to become the focus of Norway in its development work, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.                                                        

Action plan– Government website (in Norwegian)

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Norad report says Norwegian development assistance has unclear roles and responsibilities

The evaluation department of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) has released its annual report, which offers a sharp critique of Norad's operations, specifically regarding a lack of clarity surrounding roles and responsibilities in the administration.

According to the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norad and Norwegian embassies often have different understandings of who is responsible to whom and for what. Much Norwegian development assistance is channeled through international funds, but it is often unclear who at the agency is responsible for these funds' results.

Norad evaluation department - Annual report (in Norwegian)


Norwegian education networks object to the use of development funding for for-profit schools

In a June 4, 2019 op-ed on the allocation of Norwegian funding for education, authors Gina Ekholt and Ingrid Rostad argued strongly against the direction of Global Partnership for Education (GPE) funds towards for-profit schools. Ekholt and Rostad, coordinator for Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Norway and acting managing director for Forum for utvikling og miljø (ForUM) respectively, represent two major education development networks.

The piece was published as part of an ongoing Norwegian national dialogue around education spending in the leadup to a decision to be made by GPE, expected June 11, 2019, that will dictate the organization's future policy on funding commercial education providers. GPE is a major recipient of Norwegian development financing. Norway has historically been recognized as a standard-bearer in global education development; Ekholt and Rostad urge Norwegian GPE board members to vote against funding for-profit schools and to encourage other board members to do the same.

Opinion piece - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Education