Policy Areas

Norway to increase development assistance budget by NOK 1.6 billion

In the budget proposal for 2005, the Norwegian Government proposes increasing development assistance by NOK 1.6 billion (193 billion EUR), which is the largest increase ever. It is proposed that a total of NOK 16.6 billion be allocated for development assistance in 2005.

24/11/2004 ::  

This brings development assistance funding up to 0.95 per cent of Norway’s gross national income (GNI) for 2005, an increase from 0.94 per cent in 2004. With the current budget proposal, this Government will have increased development assistance from NOK 12.3 billion in 2001 to NOK 16.6 billion in 2005. This is an increase of NOK 4.3 billion, or 35 per cent.

More to the poorest
The Government’s aim is that at least 40 per cent of Norway’s bilateral assistance should go to the least developed countries (LDCs). This target was reached already in 2002, and the share rose to over 42 per cent in 2003. Approximately NOK 800 million of the proposed increase in long-term assistance in 2005 of NOK 1.1 billion will go to the LDCs. These countries receive more than half of all the funds Norway contributes to the UN system and the international financial institutions. Approximately NOK 700 million of the increase in long-term assistance is earmarked for Africa.

More to countries emerging from crisis and conflict
An increase of NOK 60 million for transitional assistance is proposed for 2005. This will enable Norway to better support countries emerging from conflict, such as Sudan. Unfortunately, many countries end up feeling let down in such a critical phases of their development. A strategic framework for the role of development policy in peacebuilding, which was submitted in August 2004, is laying the groundwork for a more strategic Norwegian effort in this area in the time ahead. NOK 20 million has been allocated for this purpose. A large number of the measures in Afghanistan are being financed through the regional allocation for Asia, thus releasing an additional NOK 40 million for this effort.

More to global health and the fight against HIV/AIDS
The Government proposes increasing allocations to HIV/AIDS efforts by NOK 100 million for 2005.The AIDS pandemic is one of the major obstacles to development. The increase will be used to help empower girls and women to protect themselves against HIV infection, among other things by developing protective measures that the women themselves control. Norwegian assistance for treating HIV-infected persons and AIDS sufferers will among other things be channelled through WHO and through the Clinton Foundation, where they are being used for distributing medicines in Tanzania and Mozambique. This is in addition to the large-scale vaccination campaign targeted at children in poor countries. It is proposed that NOK 300 million be earmarked for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, GAVI, in 2005. Norway will contribute a total of NOK 2.5 billion for this purpose up to 2010.

Johannesburg Summit commitment reached
During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in autumn 2002, the Norwegian Prime Minister announced that Norway would increase allocations to four of the WEHAB areas – water, energy, agriculture and biodiversity – by NOK 375 million over the three-year period 2003-2005. The Government is fulfilling this commitment in the 2005 budget proposal. In addition to this, approximately NOK 1.3 billion was allocated for environment-related assistance in 2003.

More to NGOs
Assistance to various kinds of voluntary activities is increased by NOK 50 million in the 2005 budget proposal. This government has increased allocations to NGOs and other civil society actors in all of its budget proposals. According to the figures for 2003, more than NOK 3 billion, or 31.2 per cent, of Norwegian bilateral assistance is channelled through NGOs and other civil society actors. Thus, they are the largest channel for our bilateral assistance efforts.

More to private sector development, including agriculture
The Government is proposing an increase of NOK 100 million in assistance to private sector development and agriculture for next year. While private sector development efforts will be maintained at a high level, allocations for agricultural development are being increased by NOK 85 million, and will be further stepped up over several years. These funds will be managed in accordance with the Action Plan for Agriculture in Norwegian Development Policy, which was launched in spring 2004. Malawi and Ethiopia were recently chosen as pilot countries for these efforts.

Transfers to education doubled since 2002
The Government proposes increasing funding for education by approximately NOK 350 million. This means a doubling of overall assistance to education since 2002. This is in keeping with the strategy Education – Job Number One, which was launched in 2003. Education is one of the most important tools in the fight against poverty. There is no more effective form of investment than investment in education. There are still some 115 million children who have no access to primary education, and the majority of them are girls. The Government will therefore increase funding to the UNICEF educational programme for girls. NOK 425 million is earmarked specifically for this programme, which is an increase of NOK 150 million on the current year.




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Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Minister of International DevelopmentPhoto: CF Wesenberg