Since 2004, the aid budget has doubled, from NOK 15 billion to NOK 30 billion.
“The Government proposes increasing its allocation to the fight against poverty by NOK 2.4 billion, so that we continue to allocate 1 % of our gross national income (GNI) to Official development assistance. Norway is undeniably one of the world’s leading aid donors, at a time when many countries are cutting their aid dramatically because of economic problems,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
Other major priority areas in this year’s record budget are Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative/ REDD+, food security, health and education.
“More than ever, it is now crucial that rich countries take responsibility for fighting poverty and halting dangerous climate change,” Mr Holmås said.
More emphasis on equitable distribution of resources and opportunities
Many developing countries are experiencing significant economic growth, without a corresponding reduction in the number of people living in poverty.
“Economic growth is essential, but without equitable distribution of power and resources it is impossible to achieve sustainable development for the world’s poor. This is the case both in poor countries and in middle-income countries such as India and South Africa, where there are millions of people living in destitution,” Mr Holmås said.
Important priority areas in this year’s budget include helping countries to develop sound taxation systems, supporting trade unions, and the fight against illicit financial flows.
Green energy for the poor
Globally, 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity. Norway’s allocation to promoting renewable energy is to be increased by around NOK 250 million, to over NOK 2 billion in total. This investment in renewable energy will be made through the Government’s International Energy and Climate Initiative (Energy+), the Norwegian renewable energy initiative, and the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund).
“Energy is the key to sound development. We know this from our own history. Green energy provides schoolchildren with light to do their homework, it creates new jobs and ensures better health services. Moreover, renewable energy makes good sense in the context of climate policy. There is a need for enormous investments, and we will use our development assistance funds in such a way that we ensure that private sector is on board,” Mr Holmås said.
Contraception for girls
“Women and girls must be able to decide for themselves when they want to have children, and how many they want to have. Access to contraception is important in this context,” Mr Holmås said.
In this year’s budget, there is an additional allocation of up to NOK 150 million to efforts to promote access to contraception. Norway is also increasing its allocation to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) by NOK 30 million, to over NOK 400 million in total.
Education despite war and armed conflict
Globally, we are well on the way to achieving the goal of universal primary education by 2015, and last year Norway was the world’s sixth largest donor to primary education. The Government will intensify its efforts to promote education in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters, and will play a leading role in this area internationally. An additional allocation of NOK 75 million will be made to NGOs that are helping to provide education in countries where the authorities are failing to do so.
“We must prevent the creation of ‘lost generations’ in countries emerging from armed conflict or other disasters. We are seeing lost generations emerging in Somalia and a number of other countries,” Mr Holmås said.
NOK 3 billion to REDD+
In 2013, Norway’s funding for efforts to prevent deforestation is to be increased by around NOK 400 million, to a total of NOK 3 billion to Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative / REDD+. This is in accordance with the agreement on Norwegian climate policy. More than 1.4 million people depend on forests for their livelihoods worldwide. Norway has helped to achieve significant reductions in emissions in Brazil, and has supported promising initiatives to promote improved forest management in countries such as Indonesia, Guyana and Tanzania.
Key figures in the aid budget:
- The allocation to global health is to increase by around NOK 650 million
- The allocation to climate and forest initiatives is to increase by around NOK 400 million
- The allocation to promoting renewable energy is to increase by around NOK 250 million
- The allocation to improving access to contraception is to increase by up to NOK 150 million. In addition, Norway’s funding for the UN Population Fund is to increase.
- The allocation to efforts to improve access to primary education will be around NOK 1.6 billion. NOK 75 million is to be allocated to efforts by civil society organizations to promote education in areas affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.
Altogether, the development assistance budget for 2013 will total NOK 30.2 billion.