Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Norad presents 2023 ODA statistics, shows 18% overall increase

May 7, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, International development, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On May 7, 2024, Norad presented the statistics on Norwegian development assistance in 2023, showing that Norwegian ODA reached a record high of NOK58.6 billion (US$5.4 billion), an increase of 18% or NOK9 billion (US$832 million) compared to 2022.

ODA increased in all regions, significantly affected by the one-time additional allocation of NOK5 billion (US$462 million) to LICs particularly affected by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

By region, the largest increase in ODA was to Europe. In total, European countries received NOK9.1 billion (US$842 million) in funding. Of the total European allocation, the largest share of funding went to Ukraine and Moldova. The funding to Ukraine in 2023 stood at NOK7.9 billion (US$730 million).

Development assistance to the African continent increased by NOK2.5 billion (US$321 million), reaching a total of NOK10.2 billion (US$943 million). Africa remains the region receiving the most development assistance from Norway. The increase in funding to Africa is explained by long-term assistance to agriculture, fisheries, food security and emergency relief.

Development assistance to the Middle East increased by over NOK1 billion (US$92 million), reaching NOK3.8 billion (US$351 million) in 2023. The increase was almost exclusively in emergency assistance. Palestine was the second-largest recipient of Norwegian development assistance in 2023, receiving NOK1.2 billion (US$111 million). The majority of the funding was given as humanitarian assistance and emergency relief.

By partner, multilateral organizations were the largest partner group for Norwegian ODA, followed by CSOs and the public sector. Multilaterals received NOK31.7 billion (US$2.9 billion) in 2023, an increase of NOK6.3 billion (US$582 billion) from 2022. CSOs received NOK13.2 billion (US$1.2 billion) in 2023, compared to NOK10.3 billion (US$952 million) in 2022.

The World Bank Group was the largest partner with NOK7.4 billion (US$684 million) in 2023, of which slightly over one-fifth was core support. The WFP was the second-largest recipient with NOK2.4 billion (US$222 million), approximately half of which was earmarked for emergency relief. Overall, multilateral organizations were the dominant partner group for Norwegian health assistance, with over 80% being channeled through multilateral partners in 2023.

By sector, emergency relief and multisectoral support saw the largest growth from 2022 to 2023, while there was a decrease in refugee expenses and earmarked assistance for education.

ODA to agriculture, fisheries, and food security significantly increased from NOK3.9 billion (US$360 million) in 2022 to NOK6.4 billion (US$592 million) in 2023. Most of the increase of NOK2.5 billion (US$231 million) was funded by the one-time funding package for LICs particularly affected by Russia's war against Ukraine.

Total Norwegian ODA to health stood at NOK6.5 billion (US$601 million) in 2023, up from NOK6.3 billion (US$582 million) in 2022. This is significantly lower than in 2020 and 2021, when development assistance globally was influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between 2014 and 2023, health assistance slightly increased when measured in 2024 prices, from NOK4.7 billion (US$434 million) in 2014. The largest partners in health assistance in 2023 were Gavi at NOK1.5 billion (US$138 million), UNFPA at NOK1.1 billion (US$101 million) and the WHO at NOK687 million (US$63.5 million). Of the earmarked health ODA, totaling NOK3.5 billion (US$323 million) in 2023, 58% went to programs targeting LICs not geographically earmarked. Africa received the most of the geographically earmarked health support, with around NOK600 million (US$55.5 million).

In 2023, NOK1.7 billion (US$157 million) went to SRHR, down from NOK1.8 billion (US$166 million) in 2022. Multilateral organizations, an important partner group in Norwegian SRHR efforts, received 51% of the earmarked support in addition to the calculated core support, totaling 81% of SRHR support. UNFPA was the largest individual partner and received nearly half of total SRHR support.

News article - Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (in Norwegian)

Norwegian Church Aid calls for political parties to take greater development responsibility, initiative

February 12, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On February 12, 2024, Norwegian Church Aid launched a report titled The West against the rest, which contained several development suggestions to Norwegian political parties as the parties draw up their programs for the 2025-2029 parliamentary period.

Norwegian Church Aid argued that, compared to most countries, Norway has a unique financial leeway considering its notable additional income from oil and gas sales following the war in Ukraine. As such, Norway has an opportunity and a special responsibility to contribute to worldwide development.

Norwegian Church Aid presented a variety of program proposals with the expressed hope that the political parties will take them into consideration.

The suggestions included:

  • Ensure that, as a general rule, investments in global common goods are financed outside the one percent. The investments should still be earmarked for development assistance for poverty reduction and emergency assistance;
  • Step up climate financing in line with Norway's fair climate responsibility;
  • Work on international regulations making it possible to collect illegal or illegitimate debts;
  • Support a tax convention in the UN;
  • Actively support free media, independent courts, and local civil society;
  • Step up work against GBV in areas of crises and conflict;
  • Invest a larger share of the Norwegian Oil Fund in low-income countries; and
  • Enshrine further measures to ensure that Norwegian weapons are not used in violation of humanitarian law and human rights.

As a response to these suggestions, both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party underlined that Norway must continue to be an international bridge builder. The SV called for more political solidarity.

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide has promised that 1% GNI/ODA will still go to development assistance. The Conservative Party stated that, going forward, it would be imperative to discuss how Norway spends money allocated to international development, and the Norway must be more concerned about the results and effects of development assistance.

News article - Panorama nyheter (in Norwegian)

GPE receives US$3 million from Norway to alleviate urgent education needs in West Bank and Gaza

December 7, 2023 | Norway, Education | Share this update

On December 7, 2023, it was announced that the Norway pledged US$3 million to the GPE to alleviate urgent education needs in West Bank and Gaza.

The GPE has a sub-account for the West Bank and Gaza to address urgent education needs. The GPE multiplier is designed to attract additional donors by matching funds.

News article - Global Partnership for Education

Norway increases support to humanitarian partners in Ukraine

November 13, 2023 | Norway, Education, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On November 13, 2023, the Norwegian Government announced that it will allocate NOK1 billion (US$90 million) to the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People's Aid, Save the Children, NORCAP, and Caritas Norway.

The funding is slated to help Ukrainians that have lost their homes through shelter and WASH services, as well as education and healthcare.

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide noted that Norway, in line with its Nansen program for Ukraine, will continue to provide emergency assistance and protection to millions of Ukrainians living under perilous conditions.

Norway has contributed over NOK4.5 billion (US$406 million) in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and refugee response in neighboring countries since 2022. The assistance is channeled primarily through the UN, the Red Cross movement, and Norwegian and international humanitarian organizations.

The organizations receiving support have multi-year strategic partnership agreements with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The newly launched funding was allocated through the multi-year Nansen program for Ukraine, which is managed by Norad.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Norwegian opposition presents alternative 2024 state budget

November 9, 2023 | Norway, Education, Climate | Share this update

On November 9, 2023, the opposition Norwegian SV presented its highly anticipated alternative state budget for 2024 to negotiate with the current minority government.

It is common for opposition parties to draft alternative budgets before state budget negotiations begin in Parliament.

SV spokesperson on international development Ingrid Fiskaa highlighted the need for a revised international development budget from the government in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Panorama. She asserted that Norway must step up its international development ambitions, especially as Norway is generating large revenues from oil and gas sales. She made particular note of the current government's budget draft failing to meet the 1% ODA/GNI target.

However, SV party leader Kjersti Bergstø stated in an interview with Vårt Land that the SV does not see the 1% ODA/GNI target as a priority. She noted her belief that the government, not the opposition, should be responsible for achieving the target. Her comments received criticism from the opposition Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party, who noted that in times of severe global crises, it is disappointing that the SV is not prioritizing international development.

In the alternative state budget, the SV allocated an additional NOK8 billion (US$722 million) to the development budget. The budget also provided for the continuation of extra funding to LICs particularly affected by the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The following increases were included in the alternative budget:

  • Human rights and civil society: NOK1550 million (US$139 million);
  • Palestinian refugees (via the UN organization UNRWA): NOK150 million (US$13.5 million);
  • Decentralized, small-scale renewable energy solutions: NOK220 million (US$20 million);
  • Long-term assistance to the Middle East, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Latin America: NOK190 million (US$17 million);
  • Education: NOK100 million (US$9 million); and
  • Support for Norwegian organizations' work against nuclear weapons: NOK10 million (US$903,000).
Press release - Socialist Left Party (in Norwegian)News article - Panorama (in Norwegian)News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)

Norway launches gender equality action plan

October 30, 2023 | Norway, Gender Equality, Agriculture, Family Planning, Climate, Education | Share this update

On October 30, 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a new action plan for women's rights and gender equality in Norway's 2023-2030 foreign and development policy.

The action plan signaled equality as a priority within Norwegian foreign affairs. It underlined Norway's beliefs on the importance of strengthening women's rights in biodiversity conservation, sustainable management of natural resources, climate adaptation, and food security.

The plan stated that at least 50% of all bilateral development funding must have gender equality as a major or minor goal. The plan also stated that gender equality must be assessed across all development policy initiatives, particularly within the topics of climate, energy, and food security.

The five main tenets of the action plan were:

  • Everyone has the right and opportunity to decide on their own body;
  • Everyone has the right and opportunity to live their lives free of violence and harmful customs;
  • Everyone has equal economic rights and opportunities to participate in working life;
  • Everyone has equal political rights and opportunities to participate in public life; and
  • Everyone has the right and opportunity to participate in the work for climate, energy, and food security.

Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim expressed concerns over a growing opposition to women and girls having agency over their future. Several measures in the action plan are hoped to contribute to increase the international acceptance of SRHR, access to contraceptives and safe abortion, and sexuality education. Tvinnereim noted that it is more important than ever for Norway and other development actors support SRHR. She asserted that Norway will continue to be a global champion for girls and women, and that no one shall be subjected to GBV, child or forced marriage, or genital mutilation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norad, and the Norwegian foreign service must report annually on the plan's targets. The foreign service, which includes actors who manage Norwegian foreign and development policy funds, are responsible for implementing the action plan. A midterm review of the targets is planned for 2026, and an evaluation is planned for 2029. A new action plan for SRHR is to be presented in 2030.

Government document - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)News article - Panorama nyheter (in Norwegian)Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Norway announces development funding changes

August 25, 2023 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On August 25, 2023, the Norwegian government announced that Norad is to take on greater responsibility for the management of Norwegian development funding, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to receive a clearer responsibility for development policy formulation.

The Norwegian government expressed an aspiration to further refine the distinction in responsibility between the Ministry and Norad. A clearer division of labor is intended to provide better and more efficient management of Norwegian ODA.

Management of international development, which currently is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is slated to be transferred to Norad beginning early 2024. The change will give Norad authority over the following budget items:

  • Humanitarian assistance;
  • Global security issues and disarmament;
  • Human rights;
  • A large portion of funding for the UN; and
  • Funding for Europe, Central Asia, and Afghanistan.

Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim stated that the change is intended to bridge international development knowledge communities to secure a more holistic approach to ODA. A holistic approach is meant to help produce the best possible results in LIC ODA for both acute crisis and long-term development funding. The government expressed a need for greater support between long- and short-term funding.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)News article - Panorama nyheter (in Norwegian)

Norway enters US$44 million partnership with UNESCO

June 16, 2023 | Norway, Education, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 16, 2023, the Norwegian government announced a three-year agreement with UNESCO to strengthen the organization's collaboration with education authorities in LICs.

The new agreement comprised NOK480 million (US$44 million), the largest agreement Norway has completed with the organization. NOK285 million (US$26 million) included non-earmarked funds for education, while NOK195 million (US$18 million) targeted sexuality education to further Norway's SRHR and gender equality priorities.

Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, underlined the reality that sexual and reproductive rights are under pressure in many countries. She also applauded the extensive work of UNESCO in terms of providing comprehensive sexuality education at schools.

Press release - Minister of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Norway reevaluates ODA to Uganda after anti-LGBTQ+ law

June 5, 2023 | Norway, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On June 5, 2023, Minister Anne Beathe Tvinnereim announced that Norway, in close collaboration with other donor countries, will review the cooperation with all partners in Uganda after its June 1, 2023, passage of an anti-homosexuality law.

Tvinnereim underlined that human rights and equality are cross-cutting priorities in all Norwegian development funding. She also expressed concern about the situation for LGBTQ+ people in Uganda, who are already experiencing increased discrimination and harassment.

Most of Norway's funding towards Uganda is allocated through Norwegian organizations, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, Plan, Caritas and Strømmestiftelsen, in addition to multilateral organizations such as the UN.

After the passage of a similar bill in 2013 in Uganda, Norway withheld NOK50 million (US$5 million) in ODA. The funds were then paid out in 2014 and 2015, after the law was struck down by Uganda's court system.

In Uganda, Norwegian funding supports programs for food security, girls' education, women's rights and participation in peace and security efforts, energy access for vulnerable groups, and safeguarding refugees and their host communities.

News article - Panoramanyheter (in Norwegian)

Norwegian CSOs criticize proposed 2023 Revised State Budget reallocations

May 11, 2023 | Norway, Education, Global Health | Share this update

On May 11, 2023, the Norwegian government presented its revised state budget for 2023.

In the budget, the government proposed a record high allocation to international development of NOK58.5 billion (US$5.5 billion), or 1% of Norwegian GNI.

In a related press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that more refugees from Ukraine are coming to Norway than previously estimated. To cover part of the increased costs of in-country refugee measures, the government proposed an NOK1.8 billion (US$169 million) increase to the development budget.

Additionally, the proposal reprioritized several funds under the development budget to offset in-donor refugee costs. In particular, the government also proposed reallocations from the budget lines for health (NOK352 million; US$33 million), education (NOK152 million; US$14 million) and civil society (NOK240 million; US$22 million).

Several Norwegian CSOs criticized the reallocation of funding intended for partner LICs to finance in-country measures in Norway, as well as the cuts in funding for civil society.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)News article - Panoramanyheter (in Norwegian)






US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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