Norway to increase assistance for fragile states

‘Providing assistance to the world’s most fragile states is crucial for helping the poorest people and is also vital for international security and stability,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. The Government has announced that it is intensifying its efforts in fragile states.

Fragile states are characterised by weak regimes that have inadequate control over their territory. They have poorly functioning economies due to corruption and illicit financial flows. In some cases, they collapse completely, as we have seen in Syria and South Sudan. 

‘Providing support to fragile states to prevent them from collapsing into chaos or becoming havens for terrorists is an important foreign policy priority,’ Mr Brende said.

Building peace and security is essential for achieving development in fragile states. This is made clear in the OECD report States of Fragility 2015. According to the OECD, only 4.5 % of international aid is allocated to the security and justice sector, even in fragile states. Norway intends to play a part in changing this.     

Norway’s humanitarian budget will total NOK 4.8 billion in 2016. Of this, at least NOK 1.5 billion will go to Syria and its neighbouring countries, and Iraq. At the same time, Norway’s humanitarian efforts will be part of a broader strategy to address the problems of fragile states, where the emphasis will be on conflict prevention, peace and reconciliation work, institution building and business development.   

‘Our focus will be on preventing crises and wars by pursuing a smart development policy in fragile states, as well as on addressing urgent humanitarian needs by alleviating suffering and helping refugees,’ Mr Brende said.

Six fragile states have been identified as focus countries for Norway’s development cooperation: Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan and Mali. 

Strengthening the ability of fragile states and regions to safeguard their own security is also a way of preventing the development of breeding grounds for threat actors, who could also pose a threat to Norway and Norwegian interests. In the light of this, Norway will give high priority to promoting stability and security in fragile states and to the fight against global security challenges. These efforts will be integrated into Norway’s bilateral, regional and global aid work.