The main elements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Government intends to increase Norway’s budget for 2015 to NOK 32.5 billion. This is an increase of more than NOK 1 billion compared with 2014. Priority is given to education, humanitarian assistance, health and vaccination, private sector development, climate change and human rights. These are key areas for eradicating extreme poverty.

The Government intends to increase Norway’s budget for 2015 to NOK 32.5 billion. This is an increase of more than NOK 1 billion compared with 2014. Priority is given to education, humanitarian assistance, health and vaccination, private sector development, climate change and human rights. These are key areas for eradicating extreme poverty.

Reforming development assistance

The Government intends to pursue an effective development policy that yields results. In 2013, Norway provided aid to 116 of the 148 that qualify as recipients of official development assistance. The Government is proposing to concentrate its efforts on 84 countries.

‘Our overriding aim is to ensure that Norwegian development assistance works and produces concrete results. Monitoring and measuring results requires a lot of resources. By targeting fewer countries, we can make Norwegian assistance more effective and easier to monitor,’ commented Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The Government has identified 12 focus countries where efforts will be particularly strengthened. The effect will be to simplify and improve the effectiveness of Norwegian development assistance.

Increased support for education

There will be a historic emphasis on education in poor countries with an allocation of nearly NOK 2.4 billion in 2015. This is an increase of NOK 550 million compared with 2014.

‘Universal education is a human right, and it is a prerequisite for growth and development. Without education, there can be no development. We will place particular emphasis on girls’ education. Girls who receive an education marry later, have children later, have a better chance of getting a job, and have better health – as do their children. Education is key to making good choices later in life,’ said Mr Brende.

More funding for private sector development

The Government is also increasing its funding for private sector development, especially through Norfund. This allocation is to be increased by NOK 290 million to a total of just under NOK 1.7 billion.

‘Whereas we used to think in terms of aid to poor countries, we are now increasingly talking about creating a good framework for trade, investment, business development and growth in the private sector,’ said Mr Brende.

Emergency relief and humanitarian aid

The Government proposes an increase in humanitarian aid of NOK 424 million, bringing the total allocation for 2015 up to NOK 3.3 billion. This is an increase of around 15 %. In addition, Norway’s contribution to the World Food Programme (WFP) is to be increased by NOK 42 million to a total of NOK 212 million.

‘The increase to the humanitarian budget will enable us to respond more quickly, more effectively and with more aid both to the existing crises and to any situations that arise or worsen in the year ahead,’ said Mr Brende.

More support for Ukraine

‘It is important to support the positive trend towards greater European cooperation and integration, particularly in countries where this trend has been put under severe strain in the wake of Russia’s violations of international law in Ukraine. The Government therefore proposes to increase its support to Ukraine by NOK 160 million, to a total of NOK 200 million,’ said Mr Brende.

In addition, the Government will increase Norway’s support to Moldova by NOK 20 million, to a total of NOK 50 million, and will continue to provide an allocation of NOK 40 million to Georgia.

NOK 648 million more for efforts in the High North

The High North is Norway’s most important foreign policy area.

‘We are moving from dialogue to action in in our High North policy. We intend to take our High North policy a step further by strengthening the link between knowledge and business development. In the budget for 2015, we are seeking to promote the development of knowledge that will provide a basis for future business activity in the north. In order to ensure that economic activity is carried out in a responsible manner, we will also strengthen our emergency preparedness and environmental efforts,’ said Mr Brende.

The Government proposes an allocation of NOK 3 billion for High North activities in 2015, an increase of NOK 648 million from 2014.

Human rights

The Government proposes an allocation of NOK 378.3 million for human rights efforts in 2015, an increase of NOK 30 million compared with 2014. This will be the starting point for a proactive human rights policy.

‘Human rights are under pressure in a number of countries. Not only are we seeing brutal attacks on civilians in Syria, Iraq and in other conflict areas; we are also witnessing breaches of the freedoms of expression, assembly and association and discrimination against religious and sexual minorities in many countries. This is why the Government has announced an intensification of our efforts in this area. The first white paper on human rights for 15 years will be presented later this autumn,’ said Mr Brende.

Global health

The Government will further develop Norway’s engagement and leadership role in the field of global health, and proposes an increase in this allocation of NOK 150 million, bringing the total up to NOK 2.9 billion. A healthy, well educated population is essential for economic growth and development in any country. Norway has taken on a leadership role in the field of global health, and has influenced global and national priorities.

‘Norway’s aid, including funding for health, is to be used to support national priorities, not compensate for a country’s failure to set priorities in a responsible way. We will seek to ensure that our efforts produce results,’ said Mr Brende.

The Government proposes an increase in Norway’s funding to the vaccine alliance GAVI of NOK 100 million, bringing the total to NOK 1.3 billion. Norway’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is to be increased by NOK 100 million, bringing the total to NOK 600 million.

The situation is critical in the West African countries that are affected by the Ebola outbreak. This week, Norway doubled its support for the fight against Ebola, bringing it up to a total of NOK 184 million for 2014.

The Green Climate Fund

The Government will give priority to the Green Climate Fund as a channel for funding Norway’s climate-related efforts in developing countries in the coming years, and proposes an allocation of NOK 200 million to the Fund in 2015.

‘The Green Climate Fund has great potential, and it can play a key role in achieving a global climate change agreement in Paris in 2015. Global climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face in the coming years, and it will become an increasingly important factor in international cooperation. Norway will play a leading role in the international climate change efforts. The world needs a new, far-reaching climate agreement that applies to all countries, that is ambitious enough to prevent the global average temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius, and that can help the most vulnerable countries become more resilient to climate change,’ Mr Brende said.