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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Norway presents action plan on gender equality, peace, security

September 15, 2023 | Norway, Gender Equality | Share this update

On September 15, 2023, the Norwegian government published a new national action plan describing plans to intensify efforts to include women in peace and security work both domestically and abroad.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt emphasized the importance of gender equality and women's participation in peace and security work, both nationally and internationally. The action plan was prepared by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Justice and Public Security, Culture and Equality, Labor and Social Inclusion, and Climate and Environment. In addition, CSOs, Norwegian research institutes, and other experts provided input on the plan.

The action plan listed three thematic priorities:

  • Peace processes and implementation of peace agreements;
  • Security policy and operations; and
  • Humanitarian efforts, protection of civilians and protection of human rights.

The plan noted that the women, peace, and security agenda will be emphasized in Norway's priority partners, which in 2023 were: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.

Regional and multilateral fora will also be prioritized, including NATO, OSCE, the EU, ASEAN, and the UN.

The action plan is slated to take place from 2023-2030. The Norwegian government described this timeframe as an effort to improve predictability and encourage a long-term strategic approach to an integrated implementation of the agenda. An interministerial review of the plan is slated for 2027.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)Government document - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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)

Norad data show record high funding towards international development in 2022

May 9, 2023 | Norway, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 9, 2023, Norad released data showing that Norway allocated a record high amount of funding to international development in 2022.

In 2022, Norway spent NOK49.6 billion (US$4.7 billion) on international development. The amount comprised an increase of over NOK9 billion (US$857 million) compared to 2021. The agency attributed the increase to funding to Ukraine and in-country refugee expenses.

If compared in current prices, the data show a 24% increase in funding to international development between 2021 and 2022. However, in inflation-adjusted prices, the funding is comparable to 2021 spending, showing an increase of 2.4%.

The data showed that in 2022, the international development funding stood at 0.86% of Norwegian GNI, falling below Norway's target of 1%, but well above the UN target of 0.7%.

In 2022, Ukraine was the largest recipient country of Norwegian development funding, receiving NOK5.6 billion (US$533 million). In comparison, Norway allocated almost the same amount of funding to Syria over a six-year period when the country was at war. Never before has Norway given such a large amount of development funding to one country.

Of the NOK5.6 billion (US$533 million) allocated to Ukraine, NOK2.1 billion (US$200 million) supported access to energy, NOK2 billion (US$190 million) supported emergency assistance, and a large amount of the last NOK1.5 billion (US$142 million) was allocated towards the World Bank's crisis fund for Ukraine and budget support through the World Bank.

Refugee expenditure in Norway accounted for 9%, or NOK4.7 billion (US$447 million) of all Norwegian development funding in 2022. The amount was the highest expenditure on in-donor refugee costs since 2016.

Looking at the geographical distribution of Norwegian development funding, the African continent remains the largest region, receiving 36% of total funding in 2022. However, Ukraine played a significant role in shaping the regional funding trends in 2022. For instance, Africa received over 50% of Norwegian funding in 2021, while Europe went from 4% of the funding in 2021 to 29% in 2022.

The report also highlighted trends in Norwegian ODA by partner:

  • Eight out of 10 of Norway's largest partners in 2022 were multilateral organizations;
  • NOK25 billion (US$2.3 billion), or 51% of Norwegian development funding was allocated to multilateral organizations, down from 58 % in 2021; and
  • The World Bank Group was Norway's largest partner in 2022, receiving NOK4.6 billion (US$438 million), an increase of NOK1 billion (US$95 million) from 2021.

The report also analyzed Norwegian funding by sector:

  • Health: After two years of increased funding towards health, funding decreased in 2022. However, funding for SRHR increased by NOK300 million (US$28 million) in 2022;
  • Education: There was a reduction from NOK3.8 billion (US$362 million) in 2021 to NOK3.1 billion (US$295 million) in 2022, the lowest level of funding towards education since 2015;
  • Equality and women's rights: Equality and women's rights are cross-cutting priorities in Norwegian international development, with funding increasing to NOK13 billion (US$1.2 billion) in 2022;
  • Climate: Funding towards climate increased considerably in 2022 to NOK8.9 billion (US$848 million), in line with Norway's goal of doubling its climate finance for LICs by 2026; and
  • Agriculture and food security: In 2022, funding for agriculture and food security reached NOK3.6 billion (US$343 million), with the majority of funding supporting partners on the African continent.
Conference statement - Norad (in Norwegian)News article - Panorama nyheter (in Norwegian)Press release - Norad (in Norwegian)

Donor countries urge Taliban to reverse ban on women in universities

December 21, 2022 | Australia, Canada, EUI, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK, US, Gender Equality | Share this update

On December 21, 2022, the Netherlands condemned the Taliban’s decision to ban women from attending universities in Afghanistan through a joint ministerial statement.

The foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, strongly condemned the Taliban’s recent decision. The ministers also condemned the Taliban’s practices of barring girls from secondary schools and imposing other harsh violations of the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

The statement warned of consequences for development cooperation in Afghanistan should the ban continue, and were in close contact with the United Nations, which was also urging the Taliban to reverse its decision immediately

Press release - US Department of StatePress release - Foreign Minister Penny WongTwitter - Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs

Norway approves 2023 state budget

November 29, 2022 | Norway, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health, Education | Share this update

On November 29, 2022, the Norwegian Government and the Socialist Left Party (SV) came to an agreement about the state budget for 2023.

After demanding negotiations, the SV secured increased funding for international development.

The 2023 ODA budget increased a total of NOK260 million (US$26 million) from the 2022 budget. The additional funding will be allocated toward the following budget lines:

  • The budget line for Human Rights will increase by NOK30 million (US$3 million);
  • Funding for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) will increase by NOK40 million (US$4 million);
  • The budget line Civil Society will increase by NOK90 million (US$9 million); and
  • An additional NOK40 million will be allocated for regional funding for Africa (US$4 million).

The budget drew criticism for its failure to reach Norway's 1% ODA/GNI target, instead totalling .75%– a shortfall of NOK14 billion (US$1,4 billion). In response, the government argued that the development budget increased by NOK2.5 billion (US$253 million) compared to the 2022 budget.

However, the government and SV agreed on establishing a framework that will include larger, long-term support for Ukraine. The framework also includes support for low-income countries indirectly affected by the war, especially in relation to food security and energy supply. While funding allocations and sources have not been finalized, the framework is expected to be in place by spring 2023.

SV's spokesperson for international development, Ingrid Fiskaa, stated that the 1% target could be reached within 2023, pending the DAC's approval of Norway's in-donor refugee costs for the year.

News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)News article - Nordre (in Norwegian)News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway presents development priorities at UNGA

October 23, 2022 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

Over the week of September 19, 2022, Norway’s delegation to the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 77) was led by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide and representatives from the Parliament attended together with Støre.
In advance of the high-level week in New York, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented Norway`s main priorities for UNGA 77, including: \

  • Support for Norway’s efforts as an elected member of the UN Security Council and promote Norway’s broad priorities in the UN;
  • Promoting binding international cooperation and respect for international law and safeguarding the multilateral system;
  • Leading efforts to promote disarmament;
  • Strengthening the UN’s capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts;
  • Strengthening human rights and the international legal order;
  • Strengthening the UN’s capacity to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises and promoting international cooperation on refugees and migrants; and
  • Promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with particular emphasis on climate and environmental issues, energy, food security, gender equality, health, the oceans, and reducing inequalities.
    The Prime Minister and the rest of the Norwegian delegation were very active during UNGA 77. Norway`s participation can be summed up in the following activities:
    Keynote speech during the General Assembly During the General Assembly, the Prime Minister delivered Norway's keynote speech and emphasized that the Russian war in Ukraine is a direct violation of the UN Charter and the global legal order, and indicating that the responsibility for stopping the war lay with Russia. At the same time, he pointed out the war's impact on existing global crises, such as high energy prices, food shortages, and development in low-income countries. Støre called for global unity to protect the multilateral system.
    Meeting in the UN Security Council Støre also participated in a separate meeting, led by France in the UN Security Council, on the war in Ukraine. Norway and other members of the council agreed that Russia's warfare is a violation of humanitarian law and human rights.
    Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, chaired the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting during UNGA. The aim of the meeting was to mobilize support for the United Nations Organization for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA), which is facing severe challenges related to its budget.
    Meeting about the situation in Sahel Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development attended a high-level meeting on the situation in Sahel, led by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a high-level panel for security, development and good governance in Sahel.
    The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People More than 100 countries committed to protecting at least 30 percent of the earth's land and seas by 2030. Espen Barth Eide, Minister for Climate and Environment attended the first steering committee meeting of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. This is an intergovernmental group championing a global deal for nature and people that can halt the accelerating loss of species, and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.
    Article - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)
News article - Article - Ministry of Foreign AffairsPress release - Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian) (in Norwegian)

Record Norwegian oil revenues threaten 1% ODA/GNI target

October 1, 2022 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health, Global health R&D | Share this update

According to the Norwegian news outlet Vårt Land, the government's proposal for the state budget for 2023 fails to meet the country's 1% ODA/GNI target.

The news outlet stated that the main reason for the failure to reach the target is the large growth in GNI for 2022. Russia's war against Ukraine and the suspension of gas exports to Europe led to drastically increased energy prices, resulting in record Norwegian revenues from oil and gas exports and a sharp rise in GNI.

Vårt Land did not report on exact allocations to international development or other budget lines. However, Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim did state that food security would be prioritized with extra funding.

The current government is a minority government, dependent on support from the Socialist Left Party to get the State Budget for 2023 approved. The international development budget is expected to become a source of tension during budget negotiations. According to Vårt Land, the Socialist Left Party will defend current levels of development funding. However, they will not prioritize international development over other important issues.

The Christian Democrats and the Green Party were likewise disappointed in the government's proposal that Norway should not meet its 1% ODA/GNI target in the 2023 budget. Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, leader of the Christian Democrats, expressed understanding that the budget must be tightened due to the current economic situation, but argued that the international development budget should be saved.

Green Party representative Lan Marie Berg agreed with Ropstad, stating that she expected the government to maintain the funding target, provide emergency funding against hunger and allocate more of the extraordinary income from the oil fund to climate adaptation in low-income countries. According to Berg, though Europe is facing a challenging situation, the world's poorest countries are hit even harder, due to food shortages and the effects of climate change.

News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)

Norway's Tvinnereim speaks at Transforming Education Summit

September 17, 2022 | Norway, Climate, Gender Equality, Education, Nutrition | Share this update

On September 17, 2022, Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, spoke at the 'Mechanisms for Capacity Building, Policy Support and International Collaboration' roundtable at the Transforming Education Summit.
In her statement, Tvinnereim highlighted the role of education in achieving gender equality, poverty reduction, and climate adaptation, and called for more ambitious planning and commitment to reverse the learning deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tvinnereim named four priorities for policy makers, namely:
Ensuring that all children, especially girls, have access to quality education; Increasing the resilience of schools to increasingly frequent extreme weather events, which disrupt the education of millions of children every year; Strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus and coordination of short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term development efforts; and Full implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and UN Security Council resolution 2601. Norway will be a co-convener of the Education Cannot Wait’s High-level Financing Conference in February 2023.
Speech - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
News article - UN Association of Norway (in Norwegian)

Speech - Speech - Ministry of Foreign AffairsNews article - News article - UN Association of Norway (in Norwegian) (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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