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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Norwegian Prime Minister to co-host clean cooking summit

May 14, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of the ADB Group, and the executive director of the International Energy Agency co-hosted the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa.

The aim of the summit was to emphasize 2024 as a turning point for progress on ensuring clean cooking access for all.

Støre noted that nearly four in five Africans cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves, using wood, charcoal, animal dung, and other polluting fuels that have severe impacts on health, gender equality, and the environment. Women and children are especially affected. Støre announced that Norway will support the financing of clean cooking with more than NOK500 million (US$46 million).

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

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)

Norway announces new US$54.3 million pledge to UNFPA

April 11, 2024 | Norway, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update

On April 11, 2024, during the 8th IPCI, Norway announced NOK589 million (US$54.3 million) in core funding to UNFPA in 2024.

Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim noted that UNFPA is one of Norway’s key partners to promote the health, dignity, and rights of women and adolescents. Access to safe abortion, LGBTQI+ rights, sexual education and violence against women, indigenous rights were among the topics discussed during the conference.

The funding will enable UNFPA to respond to the many crises affecting women and adolescents, including the conflicts in Gaza and Sudan. The funding will also support work to uphold and advocate for women's rights.

Press release - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Norwegian parliament announces 8th IPCI conference in Oslo

April 9, 2024 | Norway, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, Global Health | Share this update

On March 28, 2024, the IPCI/IPCD announced that IPCI 2024 would be held on April 10-12, 2024, in Oslo, Norway.

The event marks the 30th anniversary of the Cairo Conference, where both women and sexual rights became part of the parliamentarians’ agenda. The ICPD or Cairo Conference was a ten-day conference held in November 1994, where representatives of the nations of the world discussed the future of the world’s population.

The 8th IPCI will gather around 200 parliamentarians, ministers, UN experts, civil society leaders and other stakeholders.

The conference agenda includes on the following topics:

  • How global trends such as demographic diversity and the climate crisis impacts the ability to achieve universal access to SRHR;
  • The impact of the growing threat of digital violence on women leaders; and
  • The challenges facing the funding landscape for SRHR as governments’ priorities come under threat from security concerns.

During the conference, Norway is also expected to announce its core contribution to UNFPA, one of Norway’s key partners in the fight for women’s and young people’s health and rights.

Web Page - The IPCI ConferenceNews article - The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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)

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, Ghana, UNFPA launch Equity 2030 Alliance

October 16, 2023 | Norway, Gender Equality, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning | Share this update

On October 16, 2023, the governments of Norway and Ghana, alongside the UNFPA, launched the Equity 2030 Alliance, an initiative to employ data-driven strategies to create women-focused and gender-inclusive health solutions by 2030.

The initiative was launched at the WHS 2023 in Berlin, Germany. The BMZ was also listed as a member.

Speakers at the event noted that evidence shows that despite substantial recent progress in innovation and technology, many technological advancements do not address the needs of all populations. The absence of women in the design of global health innovations have often produced gender-blind solutions, particularly disadvantaging women. They promoted an ultimate goal to cultivate gender-equitable solutions for women's health with direct input from women, fostering economic growth and equality.

Web Page - Equity 2030 Alliance

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)






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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