Press release | Date: 06/10/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The budget proposal for 2023 reflects the situation caused by the war in Ukraine. Areas to be given priority are humanitarian aid, efforts to combat hunger and climate change, and increased efforts to promote women’s rights. The Government has proposed an overall aid budget of NOK 43.8 billion for 2023.
‘The scale of global humanitarian needs is record high as a result of armed conflicts, the impacts of climate change, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine. I am particularly concerned about the effects on children and young people. There is a need for targeted efforts to protect civilians from violence and abuse, and to ensure access to basic services. Norway will continue to provide support for this work, and we will focus efforts on the most vulnerable groups in countries with widespread unmet humanitarian needs. The humanitarian aid provided to Ukraine will not be at the expense of efforts to alleviate humanitarian crises in other parts of the world,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
Norway’s humanitarian budget will remain at a high level in 2023, at a total of NOK 6.3 billion.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created the worst crisis in Europe since the Second World War. In response to the enormous needs, the Government has pledged an additional NOK 10 billion in support to Ukraine in 2022 and 2023. Part of this funding will be provided as military support under the Ministry of Defence budget. Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget, priority will be given to humanitarian efforts, budget support to the Ukrainian government administration, energy in the form of natural gas, and reconstruction efforts. The Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 2 billion in aid to Ukraine in 2023.
‘Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is first and foremost having a dramatic impact on Ukrainians and their country, and Norway will continue to do its part to support Ukraine,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
The Government will continue and strengthen efforts to help refugees, internally displaced people and host communities. A new budget chapter has been established for this purpose, with a view to ensuring closer coordination between emergency humanitarian aid and long-term development assistance, in line with the Government’s political platform. The Government is seeking to improve conditions for refugees and displaced people and local host communities.
More funding for food security
‘More people are going hungry because of higher costs for food, energy and fertiliser. The Government will work to enhance food security by focusing efforts on supporting small-scale food producers and their value chains, and on achieving climate-resilient development. The Government has proposed maintaining the additional allocation of NOK 200 million for initiatives to enhance food security in 2023 as well, as part of the work to follow up the new strategy on food security to be launched this autumn,’ said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.
Efforts relating to food security were expanded significantly in 2022 with the Government’s addition of NOK 500 million in the proposed amendment to the 2022 budget and a further NOK 200 million in the revised national budget for 2022. The Government has proposed continuing along this same line in the 2023 budget. The Government has also proposed an increase of NOK 30 million in core support to the World Food Programme (WFP).
The number of people facing hunger was already rising well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, due to the impacts of conflict and climate change. Today, this threatens to reverse progress made in the fight against poverty. This in turn diminishes the ability of many countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The budget proposal contains a number of items that together will help Norway to meet its total target for climate finance.
Intensified effort for climate change adaptation
The Government has proposed increasing the allocation to climate change adaptation efforts by NOK 150 million in 2023. Other efforts in this area will be continued. This will be instrumental in combating hunger, creating economic growth and better equipping communities to deal with the challenges caused by climate change.
‘Climate change is having a particularly severe impact on agriculture. In many countries, the agricultural sector plays a vital role in providing employment, nutrition and food security. Climate-resilient development is therefore urgently needed. Norway remains committed to achieving its target, pledged at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, of doubling Norway’s climate finance by 2026, compared to 2020. Norway plans to at least triple its funding for climate change mitigation measures. In this year’s budget proposal, we are increasing funding for mitigation measures by NOK 230 million, compared to when I took up my post last autumn,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.
Promoting women’s rights
The Government will also continue to work to promote women’s rights, including the right to decide over one’s own body. It has proposed an increase in funding of NOK 20 million for efforts to promote gender equality from 2022 to 2023.
‘Attacks on women’s right to decide over their own bodies are now better coordinated, prepared and funded than used to be the case. We are seeing this in multilateral forums and in many countries we cooperate with. This has a damaging impact on girls and women in many countries. The Government bases all its activities on respect for human rights, and gives high priority to countering any attempts to weaken human rights,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
Liberal democracy has been under pressure for quite some time – in Europe and North America as well. Observing election processes and providing guidance to the authorities on how to improve election legislation and enhance the conduct of elections helps to strengthen democracy. Up until now, Norway has primarily provided funding for Norwegian election observers in developing countries.
‘Threats against the norms and rules that have formed the foundation for our independence and welfare in the post-war era can come both from outside and from within. In light of the developments we are seeing in many Western democracies, the Government has proposed setting aside NOK 3 million in 2023 for participation of election observers in Europe and North America as well. We must protect and defend the principles that safeguard our democracy,’ said the Foreign Minister.
The Arctic will continue to be Norway’s most important area of strategic responsibility. Norway’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2023–2025 will be given high priority.
The exceptionally high growth in estimated gross national income (GNI) this year means that Norway’s proposed aid budget for 2023, although still at a very high level, amounts to only 0.75 % of estimated GNI, which is a lower percentage of Norway’s GNI compared to the previous year’s aid budget. Nonetheless, Norway still ranks in the top tier on the OECD list of donors based on proportion of GNI allocated to official development assistance (ODA). The Government will continue to increase aid funding in the years ahead, with the aim of allocating 1 % of Norway’s GNI to international efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).