Norway allocates NOK 94 million to efforts to promote freedom of expression and culture

Freedom of expression, cultural rights and cultural and natural heritage are under pressure in many parts of the world. In response, Norway will provide NOK 94 million to support Unesco’s efforts under a new two-year cooperation agreement.

Supporting Unesco’s work is an integral part of Norway’s global engagement to promote human rights, and is an important element of Norway’s international efforts to promote freedom of expression and independent media, and safeguard cultural and natural heritage.

‘The Norwegian Government is concerned about the fact that freedom of expression is under considerable pressure in many parts of the world. That is why we are more than doubling our support for Unesco’s efforts to promote media diversity, protect journalists and combat disinformation,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The agreement that has now been signed encompasses culture, communication and information, and the funding will be distributed as follows:

  • NOK 20 million has been allocated to the protection of freedom of expression
  • NOK 12 million has been allocated to the protection of cultural rights and artistic freedom
  • NOK 50 million has been allocated to the protection of world heritage
  • NOK 12 million has been allocated to the protection of cultural heritage in conflicts and crises

‘Art and culture are an integral part of any democratic and free society, but cultural expression and rights are under pressure internationally. The work of artists is being censored and artists are being persecuted. Women artists are particularly vulnerable. This is why we support Unesco’s efforts to protect and promote a diversity of cultural expressions,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Norway is an elected member of the Unesco World Heritage Committee for the period 2017-2021, and the Government’s support for protection of world heritage is in line with Norway’s priorities in this area.

‘The World Heritage Convention protects the world’s most valuable cultural and natural heritage. But world heritage is under pressure. In many African countries, the major national parks are under threat from unregulated development, internal conflicts and poaching. Norway is providing support to improve management of Africa’s world heritage, and this is yielding results. We will continue our support with a special focus on Africa’s wilderness areas,’ said Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn.

‘Norway is a staunch advocate of human rights and multilateral cooperation. Unesco is an important partner for Norway and we are now expanding our already successful cooperation on the promotion of freedom of expression and cultural rights,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Norway is one of the largest contributors to Unesco and is providing a total of NOK 361.1 million in funding over a two-year period under several different agreements. In addition to efforts to promote freedom of expression and safeguard cultural heritage, Norway provides support for education and ocean research.