Norway has adopted a rights-based approach in agriculture sector with a focus on furthering a sustainable fishery management system
Norway was ranked the sixteenth donor-country in development funding for agriculture, forestry, fishing and rural development in 2016. It invested a total of US$125 million, corresponding to 3% of its official development assistance (ODA). This is below the members’ of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) average of 7% and ranks Norway 28th in relative terms among the 29 DAC members (in 2016). Between 2015 and 2016, ODA to agriculture, forestry, fishing and rural development dropped by 22%, driven by decreases in bilateral funding. Although agriculture is currently not a priority within Norwegian development policy, it has the potential to gain importance as part of Norway’s growing engagement in action on climate change.
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As of February 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is conducting an evaluation of its agriculture ODA efforts, following the phasing out of its previous strategy in December 2016. Norway follows a rights-based approach; its support includes increasing smallholder’s participation in decision-making, building resilience, and enhancing productivity, particularly towards women.
Drawing on his expertise with marine resources, Norway is increasingly engaged in sustainable fishery management system. In 2016, it launched a national program, ‘Fish for Development’. The Norwegian government sees this program as a way to reduce poverty through promoting food security, sustainable fisheries management, and more profitable business activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries are responsible for the program’s funding and implementation, and the secretariat sits within Norad. Priority countries of the initiative are Colombia, Myanmar, and Ghana. Norway is one of very few countries who focus on fishery development within their agriculture ODA.
Norway channels the vast share of its ODA to agriculture and rural development through bilateral cooperation. In 2016, it amounted to US$86 million (69% of total agriculture ODA), down from US$120 million in 2015. The decreases affected all sub-sectors rather equally. The sub-sector that received the largest amount of funding was agricultural development (17% of agriculture ODA), followed by fishery development (14%), and agricultural policy and administrative management (12%).
About a third of Norway’s bilateral cooperation is in fact channeled to multilateral organizations as earmarked funding (US$28 million in 2016). For instance, US$22 million went to specific programs carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Core multilateral contributions to agriculture and rural development stood at US$39 million in 2016, remaining stable compared to 2015. The largest recipients were the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the African Development Fund (AfDF). With regards to international commitments, Norway joined the new Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, launched at the UN Climate Summit in September 2016. It also committed US$100 million to the new ‘Tropical Forest Alliance 2020’, a fund that aims to kickstart investments in deforestation-free agriculture.
Norad’s department for climate, energy, environment and research leads on agriculture
Because a lot of Norway’s support for agriculture is channeled through private-sector development, research programs, and international financing channels (e.g., the FAO, IFAD, the World Food Program (WFP), the most relevant departments in setting agriculture priorities within the MFA are the Department for UN and Humanitarian Questions, the Section for UN Politics, and the Private Sector Section under the Department for Economy and Development. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) steers programming through its Department of Climate, Energy and Environment and the Section for Environment and Food Security. The Norwegian private sector plays a lead role in the country’s agriculture ODA.