Norway reverses US$281 million in cuts to development due to Ukraine crisis after pushbacks

The Norwegian governing parties (Labor Party and Center Party) along with their budget partner, the Socialist Left Party, have come to an agreement on a revised state budget for 2022, which includes a provision for the new development assistance budget. According to the Ministry of International Development, NOK2.5 billion (US$281 million) will be reallocated back to international development after pushback on the previously discussed reallocation of the development budget due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This initial reallocation of NOK4 billion (US$417 million) was directed toward in-donor refugee costs for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.
 
Based on the updated revised budget, a total of NOK3.6 billion (US$405 million) has been reallocated back from the total budget during the negotiations between parties. Within the revised total budget reallocation, NOK2.5 billion (US$281 million) is related to international development. According to sources in parliament, these reallocations represent unusually large reversals on decisions compared to previous negotiations related to revised state budgets.

Previous cuts in funding to the following budget lines have been reversed entirely:

  • Human rights: funding through both civil society and to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has been restored;
  • CSOs;
  • UN Women and Gender Equality;
  • Regional allocations to Afghanistan, Asia, and the Middle East; and 
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Cuts in funding to the following budget lines have been reversed in part:

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): Of core support to UNDP and UNICEF, NOK390 million (US$44 million) and NOK308 million (US$35 million) have been reversed. Originally proposed cuts included NOK440 million (US$49 million) and NOK358 million (US$40 million);
  • Education: NOK300 million (US$34 million) has been reversed for education, compared to an original cut of NOK553 million (US$62 million);
  • Health: For health, NOK250 million (US$28 million) has been reversed, compared to an original cut of NOK470 million (US$53 million);
  • WHO: For the World Health Organization (WHO), NOK60 million (US$7 million) has been reversed, compared to an original cut of NOK118 million (US$13 million);
  • Africa: For the regional allocation to Africa, NOK220 million (US$25 million) has been reversed, compared to an original cut of NOK250 million (US$28 million); and
  • The Knowledge Bank: NOK200 million (US$22 million) has been reversed from a cut of NOK250 million (US$28 million); the 'Tax for Development; program will also be shielded from cuts in 2022. 

For the 'Stabilization of Countries in Crisis and War' budget line, the governing parties had originally proposed a cut of NOK140 million (US$16 million). At this point, the cut proposal has been maintained.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)