Report | Date: 2016-07-05 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Agenda 2030 is a global roadmap for eradicating extreme poverty through sustainable development and for promoting good governance and peaceful societies before 2030. 18 to 20 July Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg will present a comprehensive report to the UN on Norway’s follow-up of Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 2030 Agenda: A roadmap for national action and global partnership
Norway regards the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a transformative global roadmap for our national and international efforts aimed at eradicating extreme poverty while protecting planetary boundaries and promoting prosperity, peace and justice. It is a universal agenda, to which all countries and all relevant stakeholders can and must contribute. With the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change in place, the SDGs will be a powerful driver for national policy action, international cooperation, and collaborative partnerships.
Norway will follow up the 2030 Agenda, nationally and internationally, and in cooperation with other member states. The process of preparing Norway's initial Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) has in itself contributed to greater political and public awareness about the SDGs in Norway. The Government has already taken important steps to identify challenges and integrate SDG reporting into the annual budget documents. The Prime Minister is also engaged internationally, as Co-Chair, with the president of Ghana, of the UN Secretary-General's SDG Advocacy Group. This review starts with a summary of key features of Norway's initial national follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. Details of national and international follow-up are covered in the Policy section, under 'Goals and targets'. This Summary highlights policies, partnerships and practices that Norway believes could be of particular interest to the wider UN membership and stakeholders.
Challenges at the national level
UN reports and various international indexes show that Norway ranks high in terms of global implementation of the SDGs. At the same time, it is evident that implementing the 2030 Agenda will be demanding for Norway, too. The Government has identified a number of targets that pose particular challenges for domestic follow-up in Norway. These challenges relate to several of the SDGs and all three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, and environmental. Among the targets that are likely to remain the focus of political attention and policy development are those relating to sustainable consumption and production, health and education, equality, employment, and migration. The Government is giving priority to ensuring quality education and employment, especially for young people and those at risk of marginalisation. This is an important contribution to realising the 2030 Agenda vision of leaving no one behind. Challenges that have been identified at the national level include:
- Reducing non-communicable diseases and promoting mental health
- Increasing high-school completion rates
- Eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls
- Reducing the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training
- Ensuring sustainable infrastructureSustaining income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national averageImproving urban air quality
- Halving food waste and reducing waste generation
- Reducing the impact of invasive alien species
- Reducing all forms of violence and related death rates and combating organised crime.
As for the crucial area of climate change, national follow-up of the Paris Agreement will constitute the main basis for action to fulfil SDG 13. Norway is committed to reducing emissions by at least 40 % by 2030, compared with the 1990 level. Norway is engaged in a dialogue on joint fulfilment of its 2030 commitment together with the EU.
National participation and ownership
Norway regards participatory, inclusive and representative decision-making as fundamental for a well-functioning society. Participation is vital for ensuring the national ownership necessary for effective and transparent follow-up of the SDGs.
At present, 40 % of the members of the Storting (Norwegian parliament) are women. The Storting has debated the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs several times, most recently in November 2015. The Storting's approval of the annual state and national budget, which are key political documents in the Norwegian democratic system, is required to give the Government the mandate it needs to carry out its policies. Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, the Government developed a plan for national follow-up of the SDGs in Norway, which is linked to the budget process. Responsibility for each of the 17 SDGs is given to a coordinating ministry, which is to consult with other ministries involved in the follow-up of various targets under the goal concerned. Each ministry is to report on the status of follow-up for its respective goal(s) in its budget proposal. The Ministry of Finance will then sum up the main points in the national budget white paper, which is presented to the Storting annually, along with the state budget. This ensures annual reporting on the follow-up of the SDGs to the Storting, in a well-established process.
The indigenous peoples' assembly, the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament), will be involved through dialogue with the line ministries and formal consultation mechanisms. The Government will also make use of existing mechanisms for cooperation with local and regional authorities. Dialogue and partnerships with stakeholders including civil society, the business sector and academia is an enduring feature of the Norwegian political and democratic system in all relevant policy areas. The Government will continue to benefit from consultations with stakeholders in the SDG follow-up process. Engagement with the private sector and business will be important, including in achieving scaled-up implementation and financing with a view to realising the SDGs at global level. As far as spreading knowledge about the SDGs is concerned, the recommendation by the Ministry of Education to include the SDGs as part of the curriculum in schools is valuable.
A commitment to international solidarity to eradicate poverty and protect planetary boundaries
Norway has a long tradition of solidarity with developing and vulnerable countries, including through its provision of support for the UN and fulfilment of the target to allocate at least 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA). The commitment to work for poverty eradication and provide ODA, currently at around 1% of Norway's GNI, continues to enjoy broad political and popular support. Norway's international follow-up of the SDGs and the global partnership in SDG 17 are discussed in this review.
Effective implementation also requires financing in the form of domestic resource mobilisation and tax collection, as well as business and private sector investments. Norway will continue to promote technology and knowledge transfer; open trade and market access; and capacity building to ensure effective and accountable governance institutions and respect for the rule of law and human rights.
Gender equality and rights for women and girls, access to education and health for all, and a human rights-based approach, are crucial factors for reducing extreme poverty and creating equal opportunities for all, including people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and marginalised groups. These policies are essential if we are to "leave no one behind" in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Examples of Norwegian priorities and partnerships in these areas include:
- Increasing ODA for education, with a special focus on girls' education, education in emergencies and education quality
- Maintaining a high level of investments in global health, in particular efforts to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality
- Working in partnerships, including with the private sector, Every Woman Every Child, the vaccine alliance GAVI, and the Global Partnership on Education (GPE)
- Engaging in partnerships under the UN, World Bank and other organisations to strengthen women's rights and gender equality in economic, social and political life, which is crucial for economic development and growth.
Sustainable natural resource management and climate change mitigation and adaptation are priority areas for Norway. Integrating climate and environment concerns into all our SDG follow-up efforts is key to achieving lasting sustainable development results.
Addressing the responsible use and protection of oceans and marine environments is particularly pressing. This is important for Norway and other coastal states, whose livelihoods and welfare depend on the sea. Clean oceans and seas are a global common good, and crucially linked to the efforts to address climate change and reduce CO2 emissions through the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Healthy oceans are key to the 'blue economy'. Fisheries are a growing source of global nutrition and food security, while shipping trade routes are vital for global trade and hence for economic growth. Norway has established integrated ecosystem-based management plans for its sea areas. In May 2016, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) adopted a Norwegian Action Plan for Biodiversity, aimed at achieving the Aichi targets, and debated a new white paper on securing an efficient and climate-friendly energy supply. Norway will continue to share its experience and assist developing countries' efforts to manage and protect marine and other natural resources, including fisheries, forests, and energy. The objective must be to promote national welfare as well as global common goods. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other agreements to ensure well-regulated and responsible marine resource management are of fundamental importance in this regard. Examples of Norwegian priorities and partnerships in these areas include:
- Working with Latin American, African, and Asian partners in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).
- Supporting climate financing for vulnerable nations, including LDCs and SIDS, via multilateral mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund, where Norway is a major donor.
- Support for promoting renewable energy in African and Asian countries, and sharing experience in the management of petroleum resources, a sector in which Norway is a major exporter.
- Reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as part of sustainable management of fish stocks, including cooperation with Russia in the Barents Sea.
- Stepping up efforts to reduce marine plastic litter and micro-plastics, including through an initiative taken at UNEA, and working with the US and others to make the 'Our Ocean' process a success.
Integrating SDG 16, connecting peace and poverty
The governance targets embedded in SDG 16 on peace, justice, and strong institutions represent an important innovation and pillar of the 2030 Agenda and they were a key topic in the debate on the SDGs in the Storting in November 2015. Goal 16 is cross cutting and helps integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions with stability and security issues through its focus on the root causes of poverty, hunger and migration. Peace, justice and freedoms are key elements. In 2015, a white paper on human rights, and another on global security challenges, provided important policy guidance in this regard. Norway will continue to support peace, conflict prevention, and reconciliation efforts – which we see as a crucial foreign policy supplement to humanitarian and development assistance – including in situations of fragility and vulnerability. Examples of Norway's international engagement include:
Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians. Facilitator, together with Cuba, in the Colombian peace process. Cooperation with the African Union in support of African peacekeeping and capacity building.Support to international governance and institution building to promote transparency and accountability, counteract corruption and capital flight, and consolidate the rule of law.Work with multilateral, regional and bilateral partners to promote democracy and relevant human rights norms and standards, including by supporting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and engaging in the Council of Europe.
Norway regards the 2030 Agenda as a plan of action, a roadmap for our national and international policies and efforts aimed at eradicating extreme poverty while protecting planetary boundaries and promoting prosperity, peace and justice. At the core of the Agenda is a set of universally applicable sustainable development goals (SDGs) that collectively address the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. All countries and stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will be engaged in implementing this plan of action. At the same time, it takes into account different national situations and respects national priorities. As a result, the SDGs are both universal and context-specific, thereby generating significant opportunities for promoting innovative, localised and interlinked approaches and allowing the international community to move beyond the North–South divide.
Norway welcomes the fact that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development builds on the experience gained from the MDGs and goes further by addressing all dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and integrated manner, as well as having a goal with targets relating to good governance, stability, freedoms and justice (SDG 16). In its policy coherence, peace and development efforts, Norway will seek to build peace and stability in situations of fragility; to address the root causes of poverty, migration and conflict; to protect the environment; and to promote human rights and good governance.
This review outlines the initial steps taken to incorporate the SDGs into Norway's international and national policies and programmes. The Government has implemented measures to place responsibility for domestic follow-up of the various goals with various coordinating ministries, and to integrate follow-up of the SDGs into the budget documents presented to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) each autumn. This ensures annual reporting and consideration of the SDGs through the well-established political mechanism of the budget process. The SDGs and Agenda 2030 can be seen as a new paradigm, and further work is required to identify measures in various policy areas, and interlinkages between areas. Additional work is also required to develop indicators, both at national and global level. Statistics Norway is closely monitoring the ongoing UN process of developing indicators.
Methodology and process for preparation of the review
For the purposes of policy coherence and coordination, the Minister of Foreign Affairs established a project for the post-2015 development agenda and an inter-ministerial contact group led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which analysed the proposed SDGs and considered their potential consequences and challenges for foreign and domestic policies. Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Government decided that domestic reporting on the SDGs should take place via the budget process, with one ministry having responsibility for each SDG and the Ministry of Finance having responsibility for summing up the main points in the national budget. The Government then identified a list of targets regarded as especially challenging for Norway. Each coordinating ministry provided input on its respective goal(s) to this HLPF review. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for compiling and presenting the overall report. The preparation of the HLPF review in itself has contributed to greater coherence and ownership of the follow-up process within the Government. Political representatives and officials involved in preparing the review organised and participated in informal consultations with stakeholders from the business sector, civil society and the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament).
In the process of developing a strategy for following up the SDGs and preparing this review, Norway has benefited from the sharing of experience at meetings – organised by the president of ECOSOC, UN/DESA and Germany – with the other countries reporting at this initial stage. The Government has also benefited from input, including written reports, from civil society, NGOs and other stakeholders.
Policy and enabling environment
Creating ownership of the SDGs
Solidarity with the world's poor and vulnerable nations has strong constituency support across all parties in the Storting (Norwegian parliament). Debates in the Storting dedicated to the SDGs and their follow-up – most recently in November 2015, involving the Prime Minister and other ministers as well as leaders of the opposition – have shown broad support for the Government's priorities and policies for follow-up of Agenda 2030. There is broad agreement that eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 should be the overall priority for Norway's global engagement to follow up the SDGs. Furthermore, there is broad recognition of the fact that Norway also faces challenges in the area of sustainable development, which will require follow-up nationally in order to meet the ambitious targets of the SDGs by 2030.
Civil society stakeholders have been actively involved and consulted during the post-2015 process, and expressed strong interest in being involved in the implementation and follow-up of the Agenda. The same applies to the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament). The Government will continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with relevant stakeholders on the implementation and follow-up of the new Agenda. The business community (the multinational company Yara, together with the Employers Association), civil society (FORUM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised an SDG leadership seminar on 6 June, which was attended by the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda and the Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank. This seminar was a powerful demonstration of the active and crucial engagement of the Norwegian business community in the implementation of the SDGs. Civil society groups and NGOs have also held many seminars and meetings focusing on the 2030 Agenda, and have submitted valuable input to the preparation of this review. The civil society umbrella organisation Forum for Development and Environment (ForUM) has compiled its own report on how Norway can reach the SDGs by 2030. Young people are important change makers. Youth's active participation in the realization of the SDGs is needed.
Incorporation of the SDGs into national frameworks
The Government has decided that the follow-up of the SDGs in Norway, in order to be accountable, effective and transparent, should be incorporated into the budget process. Each of the 17 goals have been identified for follow up by the respective ministries that are mainly responsible for each goal in question. Each of these ministries have been tasked to coordinate with other ministries that are involved in the follow-up of the various targets under each goal, and to submit an account in its budget proposal on the status of follow-up for its respective goal(s). The Ministry of Finance will sum up the main points in the national budget, which is presented to the Storting annually, along with the state budget. This ensures annual reporting on the follow-up of SDGs to the Storting, in a well-established process.
Consultations with indigenous peoples
Representatives of indigenous peoples provided input to this review. They will be involved in the follow-up of the SDGs through established mechanisms. The Norwegian Government and the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament) agreed on 11 May 2005 on procedures for consultations between the central government authorities and the Sámediggi. The consultation procedures were developed in accordance with the duty to consult set out in Article 6 of ILO Convention 169. The consultation procedures apply to the Government and its ministries, directorates and other subordinate agencies. The mechanism of consultation ensures that decision-makers are well acquainted with the views of the Sámediggi. In our experience, the numerous consultations have strengthened the Sámediggi's role as a representative voice for the Sami people, and increased the awareness and knowledge of Sami issues in Government ministries and agencies. When measures to reach the SDGs are developed, the Sámediggi will be consulted on matters that may affect Sami interests directly.
Engaging with local and regional authorities
Local democracy is strong and the local government sector is well established in Norway. Local and regional authorities play an important role in offering welfare services to citizens. Democratic participation through inclusiveness and the empowerment of citizens is integrated into decision-making, implementation and follow-up at local level. The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) is a national members' association for municipalities, counties and public enterprises under municipal or county ownership. There is ongoing contact between the central and local government authorities on a number of specific issues, on both administrative and political levels. An agreement was reached in February 2000 on regular consultative meetings between the central government and local authorities. These consultative meetings take the form of plenary meetings and bilateral meetings between KS and ministries. They also provide a forum for discussing the framework for distribution of revenues in relation to the tasks carried out by the local authorities, the financial situation of the local authorities, and efficiency measures. The consultations also include arrangements for involving KS in the ministries' studies of the cost of reforms, and studies of how legislation proposals will affect the municipalities.
A human rights-based approach
The 2030 Agenda, with its preamble, goals, targets and indicators, provides a unique opportunity and platform for boosting human rights implementation at country level. Norway will seek to ensure that national and international efforts to meet the SDGs are in line with relevant human rights norms and standards. This includes maintaining a strong focus on women's rights and equality in economic, social and political life. All people must have the same opportunities for personal development, participation and self-realisation, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, race, religion or belief, indigenous identity, sexual orientation or disability. A strong focus on equality and non-discrimination is key to ensuring that no one is left behind in the implementation of Agenda 2030. Norwegian policy is consistent with the principles and obligations set out in human rights conventions ratified by Norway. Norway is a longstanding supporter of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. We have also supported efforts to strengthen the integration of human rights into the work of the UN for many years, both politically and financially. Agenda 2030 provides a new global framework for strengthening human rights implementation. We look forward to seeing how mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, established under the UN Human Rights Council, can complement and reinforce reporting and follow-up procedures established under Agenda 2030. Norway's national human rights institution, recently re-established under the auspices of the Storting to strengthen its compliance with the Paris Principles, has been consulted in connection with the preparation of this report.
Goals and targets
Goal 1 – End poverty in all its forms everywhere
The majority of the Norwegian population has a high standard of living. Norway is among the countries with the smallest income inequalities. However, a minority of the population has a persistently low income. In the three-year period 2012–2014, 9 % of the population had an average income lower than 60 % of the median income. All sections of the population have benefited from a rise in incomes and standards of living. When poverty is measured as low-income in relation to an increasing overall income level, a minority will lag behind due to a corresponding increase in the low-income threshold. Target 1.2 (by 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions) is for this reason considered to be challenging to fulfil for Norway. Norway is already considered to fulfil target 1.3 (implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable). The same is the case for the other SDG 1 targets. Free or low-cost access to health, education and welfare services make the situation for low-income groups in Norway better than that in many other countries. The Norwegian Government will work to make Norway a country with a low level of income disparity and minimal poverty. These policy goals are stated in the Government's policy platform, but they are not concretised in the form of quantified targets. Policy measures to reduce inequality (cf. SDG 10) also contribute to poverty reduction. These include universal access to education, an active and inclusive labour market policy that allows all women and men of working age to participate in paid work, and redistribution of income and wealth through the tax system and benefit schemes. Integration programmes and education and training of newly arrived immigrants are also of particular importance. The Government has launched a cross-sectoral strategy for children living in poverty (Children Living in Poverty: The Government's Strategy (2015–2017)), which sets out measures to ensure that children and young people in low-income families have equal opportunities to participate in education and social activities. The objective is to improve the children's living conditions in the short term and to prevent poverty from being passed on from one generation to the next.
In its international follow-up and engagement, Norwegian priorities are directed towards poverty eradication and economic growth through support to education, health services, private sector development, domestic resource mobilisation, peacebuilding in situations of conflict and fragility, and efforts to bridge the humanitarian-development gap. Human rights, climate change, gender equality and anti-corruption are cross-cutting issues. The share of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced by half since 1990. The causes of poverty are multifaceted and there is no single solution to the problem that can be applied in all contexts. A holistic and context-sensitive approach to poverty eradication is required, which includes discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, age and other factors, if we are to reach these main goals. Norway is also giving priority to target 1.5 through its development cooperation by supporting the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Building resilience and capacity for adaptation to climate change is considered key to the successful implementation of most of the SDGs.
Goal 2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Policies for the food and agriculture sectors (both agriculture and fisheries) and welfare policies contribute to achieving SDG 2 at national level. The main pillars of Norwegian food security policies are continuous food production, sustainable management of resources for food production and a well-functioning trade system. These policies ensure reliable food supplies at national level. Production growth in the agriculture and fisheries sectors is good, and the Government attaches importance to value creation in these sectors with a view to further increasing production. Food safety in Norway is generally good. In order to achieve SDG 2, Norway sees potential for improvement in the following areas:
With regard to target 2.2 (end all forms of malnutrition), the nutritional status of people living in Norway is generally good. However, nutritional disorders – primarily related to an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity – are a challenge. In 2017, the Norwegian Government will submit a comprehensive action plan on healthy diets. The plan will be based on collaboration between the ministries responsible for children and equality, fisheries, agriculture, education, integration, and climate change and environment.
Concerning target 2.4 (ensure sustainable food production systems), Norway has specific goals and strategies for increasing sustainable food production. There is potential for improvement in reducing pollution from production. Climate change is of course a challenge for the agricultural sector at national and global level. Climate-smart policies will be addressed in a white paper on agricultural policies that is to be presented in 2017. Resource use in the agricultural sector is also an area where there is room for improvement. Target 12.3 on reducing food loss and waste is also relevant for the achievement of goal 2.
Norway's commitment to achieve target 2.5 (maintain genetic diversity) is reflected in its annual contribution to the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which is equal to 0.1 % of the value of the agricultural seeds and plant material trade in Norway. This annual contribution from the Norwegian agriculture sector is made in recognition of the contribution that farmers in developing countries are making to preserve crop diversity. Norway also funds the Global Crop Diversity Trust's ten-year project to collect, protect and prepare crop wild relatives. Norway owns and runs the Svalbard Global Seed Vault together with partners. Norway is also party to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, and will in the years to come seek to enhance its domestic coordination of the management of crop wild relatives.
Norway's international support to food security in a climate change perspective is rights-based and directed towards smallholders in general and women smallholders in particular. Norwegian policies build on the guidelines agreed on by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The purpose of the support is to increase productivity, build resilience and strengthen the smallholders' ability to influence decisions that have a direct impact on their lives. Norway requests gender-sensitive data and reporting in order to be able to evaluate progress in this area. Norway also supports the sustainable use of genetic diversity in the agriculture sector, both financially and in the international dialogue. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault safely stores agricultural seeds so that a duplicate sample is available should the need arise. Norway's financial support to food-related interventions reached NOK 1.8 billion in 2015 (USD 220 million) – equal to 5 % of the total Norwegian aid budget. Close to NOK 1 billion of this support was channelled through the Rome-based UN agencies FAO, WFP and IFAD. Norway has increased the amount of humanitarian aid provided through its development cooperation. Support for food security offers unique opportunities for reducing vulnerability and building resilience, and strengthening the link between humanitarian and long-term assistance.
Goal 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Norway's starting point in its work to fulfil SDG 3 is to integrate the goal and its targets into its national policies, as well as into its development aid policy. The general health of Norwegians is good. Life expectancy, both for men and women, is comparatively high, and Norway has well-established public health policies and health services. The Sami people face some challenges relating to access to culturally adapted health and care services. The identification of relevant targets that are to receive particular attention at the national level has been based on national data on mortality and morbidity. On this basis, Norway has decided that targets 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.9 are of particular concern in a national setting. Good health in a population is dependent on sound policies in other areas, such as spatial planning, education, environment, effective anti-pollution measures, etc. For this reason, effective follow-up of, e.g., target 3.9 will include collaboration with environment and municipal authorities. To ensure coherence between the contributions from different parts of Norway's health sector, the Ministry of Health and Care Services has given the Directorate of Health a coordinating role in the follow-up of SDG 3. The Directorate will also propose relevant policy areas for cross-sectoral work. At the international level, global health has been a priority for Norway for many years. In the period leading up to 2030, the SDG agenda will guide Norwegian development aid.
Health and access to basic health services are fundamental human rights and a prerequisite for economic growth and social inclusion. Investing in health, with a specific focus on women, children and adolescents, is a central aspect of Norwegian development policy. Norway's investments are mainly channelled to public-private partnerships like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child; and the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescent's Health (2016-2030). Norway has recently pledged NOK 6.25 billion to Gavi. This is an increase of more than 50 % in Norway's direct support to the alliance. Since its inception, Gavi has helped save over 7 million lives. Norway has announced support to the Global Financing Facility of NOK 3 billion for 2016-2020. In addition, Norway is providing NOK 600 million to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2016. By 2016, this partnership is expected to have contributed to saving 22 million lives. Furthermore, Norway's support to the Global Fund, UNAIDS and UNITAID has contributed to giving close to 16 million people access to antiretroviral treatment, reducing the death rate from AIDS by 30 %. Since 2000, malaria mortality has been halved. Despite the progress that has been made, weak health systems and a shortage of health personnel are impeding our global efforts to secure the right to health.
Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Education is a priority area for the Norwegian Government and public spending on education institutions amounted to 7 % of GDP in 2014. More than 70 % of people in the 25–64 year age group have upper secondary education as their minimum education level, and close to 45 % have a higher education, according to OECD's Education at a Glance (2015). The seven targets under SDG 4 and the three means of implementation present various challenges for Norwegian education policies. Many of the targets have already been met in quantitative terms and in comparison with other OECD countries. More than 97 % of children attend a pre-school before starting their first year of schooling. With regard to targets 4.1 and 4.2, 100 % of children complete 10 years of compulsory primary and lower secondary education and 98.3 % of them go straight on to upper secondary education. Concerning targets 4.4 and 4.6, Norwegian 15-year-olds achieve slightly above average in the PISA survey, and Norway is among the top five performers in the PIAAC Survey of Adults Skills. In a recent white paper, the Government proposed that sustainable development, public health, life skills, democracy and citizenship should be cross-curricula subjects (target 4.7). The initiative to improve the quality of teaching in Norway (lærerløftet) and several major in-service training programmes for teachers aim to improve recruitment and increase the qualifications of teachers in Norway. All students should have specialised teachers in the subjects maths, English and Norwegian. Teacher training in Norway will be to master's degree level (5 years), and stricter requirements will be set for prospective teacher's entry qualifications (target 4 c). Gender parity is currently met at all levels, although there are more women than men in higher education, and girls/women tend to outperform boys/men in most subjects at all levels. Concerning target 4.5, an ongoing concern is that young people in Norway still tend to choose their education and future career paths on the basis of traditional gender roles.
Despite Norway's achievements in various areas, there are important challenges that need to be addressed. The main challenge is to improve completion rates in post-compulsory education and especially in upper secondary. With only about 72 % of students completing their studies after five years compared to the OECD average of 87 %, several initiatives have been taken to address the problem of drop-out, which is particularly a problem among boys. A large action-oriented research programme has been established. In higher education, one out of four students drop out, and this will be addressed in a forthcoming white paper on quality in Norwegian higher education institutions. The second challenge will be to improve learning outcomes at all levels in the education system. Given the level of public expenditure on education, the Government is considers it important that Norway improves its performance. Compared to some other OECD countries, too many Norwegian 15-year-olds achieve below the minimum standards in the PISA survey. The two white papers mentioned will also address this. The third challenge that may have an impact on the education system in both a short and a longer-term perspective, is the increased number of immigrants. In this context, factors that need to be addressed are the increased number of teachers needed, teachers' cultural and language skills, and appropriate methods for teaching children who may be traumatised due to war experiences. These issues are addressed in the recent white papers on integration. Furthermore, early mapping of education and work-related experience, and an efficient procedure for recognising qualifications are important for promoting integration and enhancing employment prospects for immigrants.
Since 1990, the number of out-of-school children in the world has been halved. Still, 59 million children are still without access to basic education and 63 million adolescents do not attend secondary school. The Norwegian Government has made education a top priority in its foreign and development policy. Consequently, Norway will double its funding to education over a four-year period to promote economic development, democracy and human rights globally. An allocation of NOK 2.9 billion has been set aside for this in 2016. The aim of Norway's efforts is to give all children equal opportunities to enrol in school, complete basic education and learn basic skills, and to equip them for adulthood and enable them to find employment. Norway was behind the establishment of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, led by UN Special Envoy for Global Education,, and actively supports its work. Priority areas include education in conflicts and emergencies, education for girls and women, and education for vulnerable and marginalised groups, such as children with disabilities and indigenous peoples. About two thirds of Norway's support is channelled through multilateral organisations (UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNESCO, the ILO and the World Bank). Norway's bilateral assistance to promote education in a number of countries is based on strategic partnerships with national authorities and multilateral, private sector and public sector actors. A significant portion of Norway's support is allocated to civil society organisations.
Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Norway is a gender-egalitarian society. Norway has invested in universal welfare schemes designed to make it possible for parents to combine family life and work and participate in politics. A generous parental benefit scheme and full access to good-quality day-care centres for children at an acceptable price are factors that help to ensure that Norway has a high proportion of women in the workforce and in politics. Nevertheless, Norway still faces gender equality challenges in the form of domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and for some groups, strong social control of girls and women. There are gender challenges in the education, employment, local government, and health sectors, which mean that close, effective collaboration between sectors is vital. At the same time, there have been significant changes over the last decades. For example, a majority of those completing higher education are women. The Government intends to focus its efforts on the above-mentioned areas. It has submitted a white paper to the Storting on gender equality. This white paper sets out actions in a range of fields. In the employment sector, measures are particularly focused on combating gender segregation in the labour market and involuntary part-time employment, and on greater inclusion of women from ethnic minorities in the labour market. The Government is seeking to strengthen protection against discrimination and is currently preparing a draft of a comprehensive equality and anti-discrimination act. To strengthen gender equality, the Government emphasises the importance of collaborating with civil society, business and industry, the social partners and other actors. Children and young people must be involved in the efforts to promote equality between women and men.
The level of representation of women in the Government, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) and in local decision-making bodies is high. When it comes to women's representation, therefore, Norway is one of the leading countries and is often used as a model. We support campaigns to increase the proportion of women leaders and representatives in local government bodies. The participation of women in political institutions at all levels is important, so that women's voices and concerns are heard in processes to formulate and implement laws and budgets. The Government gives high priority to efforts to prevent and combat violence and sexual abuse, including by implementing a wide range of action plans in this field. It will present a plan for intensifying efforts to reduce the incidence of violence in close relationships and strengthen measures to address the needs of children who have been subjected to violence and abuse. Recent research shows that Sami women are more often subjected to violence than women in the population as a whole. The Sámediggi (Sami Parliament) and the Government have initiated further research on this topic.
Norway strives to be a strong global voice for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. By defining clear priorities in its development cooperation and in various international forums and processes, Norway supports the improvement of women's and girls' living conditions and rights all over the world. Girls' education is a priority. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are key to achieving sustainable development outcomes overall and an important priority for Norway. SDG5 will guide Norway's development cooperation in this area. A new action plan on gender equality and women's rights in Norway's foreign and development policy (2016) will support the 2030 Agenda's gender dimension and the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The themes chosen are access to quality education, women's political and economic rights and participation, violence and harmful practices against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Support to partner countries will be given through targeted funding and mainstreaming the gender dimension across the 2030 Agenda.
Goal 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
In Norway, there is universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate and equitable sanitation and sewerage for all. It is expected that further efforts will be necessary to deal with the increasing impacts of climate change, such as changes in temperature, higher precipitation, more frequent extreme weather events and the spread of new pathogens. Norway has strict regulations concerning emissions of hazardous substances and water pollution, particularly for sources of drinking water. Dumping of waste has been practically eliminated in Norway, and the national waste management systems and legislation protect water from contamination. Most wastewater and sewage is treated, and since 2008 the remaining untreated wastewater and sewage has been reduced by around 20 %. In Norway, there is in general sufficient water for all and therefore little need for increasing water-use efficiency on grounds of scarcity. River basin management plans under the Water Framework Directive aim to achieve good ecological and chemical status for most water bodies by 2033 or earlier. Water-related ecosystems will also be further protected and restored in accordance with the Norwegian Action Plan for Biodiversity, which was adopted in 2016.
At the international level, Norway supports water and sanitation activities in a number of countries through key sectors, e.g. health, education, rural development, humanitarian assistance, rather than as independent activities and programmes. Women's and children's issues are of particular concern. A lack of safe, separate and private sanitation and washing facilities in schools is one of the main reasons for high dropout rates among girls, putting them at a disadvantage compared to boys and limiting their opportunities later in life. This underscores the importance of including relevant water and sanitation components in education and health programmes. Likewise, access to water and sanitation is key in humanitarian interventions. A Norwegian NGO (Norwegian Church Aid) provides water and sanitation to about 1 million people per year, mostly in refugee camps. Furthermore, UNICEF has been able to provide 10 500 schools with water and sanitation facilities. Norway seeks to foster cooperation on transboundary water resources and on improving water resources management, primarily with a view to developing hydropower resources. Furthermore, Norway assists in conflict resolution and establishing cooperation on the joint management of transboundary water resources, especially in the Nile and the Himalaya regions, and supports activities for better wastewater treatment and management in developing countries through UNEP.
Goal 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
In 2016, the Norwegian Government submitted a white paper on energy policy to the Storting. The main message of the white paper is that security of supply, climate change and economic development must be considered together to secure an efficient and climate-friendly energy supply. The SDG 7 targets on energy have been achieved nationally or are in line with national policies and goals. We have universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services for all, as appropriate. Norway has a very high proportion of renewable energy in its energy mix compared to other countries. Almost 100 % of our electricity production is from renewable energy sources. The share of renewable energy in Norway's total energy consumption, including transport, is around 69 %, according to the definition given in the EU Renewable Energy Directive. Policies targeting both supply and consumption secure a continued transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Norway has a number of policies and instruments that contribute to energy efficiency. Among other things, new energy requirements for passive house standard construction were introduced from 1 January 2016 and the requirements will become more stringent, to nearly zero energy level, in 2020. Ecodesign requirements and energy labelling of energy-related products are required by regulations. In addition, the Government contributes to developing markets for energy-efficient solutions and releasing the potential of energy efficiency.
Norway has unique expertise and experience in the field of sustainable energy production. Access to sustainable energy is key for socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation. Access to energy enables businesses to grow, generates jobs, and creates new markets. The objective of Norwegian support internationally is to increase access to renewable energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Norway allocated NOK 1.8 billion in 2015 to sustainable energy in developing countries. This includes support through the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund), which in 2014 led to the production of 10 TWh of electricity, which is equivalent to the consumption of 17.3 million people, and reduced emissions by about 3.7 million tonnes. Norway supports 15 African and Asian countries in promoting sustainable energy and reducing CO2 emissions. A key strategy is to use ODA to trigger investments from the private sector and new commercial partners. In order to achieve this, a predictable framework is needed for energy investments. In addition, Norway supports access to energy for schools and health institutions.
Goal 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Over the last 25 years, Norway has had higher economic growth, a higher employment rate and lower unemployment than most of the other traditional industrial countries. Sound macroeconomic management and a flexible labour market with a high level of women's participation have supported this development. At the same time, Norway has benefited significantly from its oil and gas industry. In the future, mainland industries must find their basis for growth in other markets. Experience suggests that high economic growth and full employment are best achieved by a high degree of openness to international markets, strong competition, good and stable conditions for business, and incentives to work combined with competence building. A simple tax system will also support innovation and value creation. Social benefits must provide incentives for education and work.
The Norwegian labour model and Norwegian legislation protect rights and promote a safe working environment for all. The Government's strategy to combat work-related crime will contribute to more equal conditions of competition between companies, and to give migrants and refugees a better working life. The Government is striving to reduce the time spent and costs incurred by companies when they report to the public authorities. The Government's work on simplification of legislation will contribute to this. It has recently introduced measures to make it easier to establish and run new businesses, and to promote women entrepreneurs.
Target 8.4 is about improving global resource efficiency and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. Our policies on climate change and environment will make important contributions to efforts to reach this target and to SDG 8 in general. Target 8.6 is to substantially reduce the proportion of young people not in employment, education or training. Both Norwegian and international experience show that long spells outside professional life can weaken people's future employment prospects, and this is especially the case for young people. The Government is working on a plan to reduce the risk of young people dropping out of education or the labour market.
Good governance is often considered the most important factor for a country to make economic progress. Internationally, Norway therefore works to promote good governance. Norway focuses on inclusive growth and job creation in the least developed countries. Private sector-driven economic growth is essential for helping people work their way out of poverty. One example of this is Telenor's successful partnership with UNICEF and the Pakistani authorities to harness mobile technology in an effort to increase the registration of births in Pakistan (currently at only 33 %). Another example is Yara's work with smallholders in Tanzania, where it has providing training and input to help revitalise the local food system. Several other Norwegian companies see the SDGs in a similar perspective: the goals offer both incentives and a structure for their business activities. Norway focuses on inclusive growth and job creation in the least developed countries. According to the World Bank, access to good, steady jobs and a living wage drives poverty eradication. With nine out of ten jobs in developing countries in the private sector, the potential for increased tax revenues for investments in infrastructure and services, health and education is substantial. Norway promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth by engaging in and supporting international institutions such as the IMF, multilateral development banks and the UN. Norway also works towards sustainable economic growth and full employment by promoting free international trade. Norway is contributing to the elimination of child labour through its global education initiative, and has launched a national action plan to follow up the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Goal 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Norway has already achieved many of the targets under Goal 9. Our infrastructure is well-developed, which is crucial for a well-functioning society and competitive industrial sector. The Government will develop Norway's transport systems to limit the environmental effects of transport and contribute to making Norway a low-emission society.
The Norwegian economy will continue to benefit from the petroleum sector, but Norwegian businesses need to change and adapt. The process of adjustment has already started, and the Government will facilitate business, ensure robust institutions, rules and regulations, and ensure a broad knowledge base.
Norway is promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation. Technology and knowledge will play a key role in facilitating the transition to a low-emission society. The Government will promote expanded use of clean and environmentally sound technology and industrial processes by strengthening its focus on R&D and the development of environmentally sound technology. The Government also attaches importance to ensuring that the public sector makes a contribution, by using and promoting new environmentally sound and climate-friendly solutions.
The Government will continue to give priority to research and education and facilitate innovation. Expertise and the development of new and better technology will help Norway to fulfil the sustainable development goals.
In the Government's view, upgrading infrastructure and retrofitting industries to make them sustainable (target 9.4) is the challenging. Several processes are underway – such as a strategy for green competitiveness and the green shift, a white paper on industry, and the fifth Norwegian National Transport Plan – to lay the foundation for actions that will help Norway to meet this target.
Infrastructure for transport, access to clean water, energy, and information technology are all important for development. Furthermore, they stimulate improved services in social sectors such as education and health. Conversely, a lack of appropriate and updated infrastructure remains a serious impediment to trade, production, and access. Internationally, Norway contributes primarily by providing support to renewable energy, water and sanitation. The multilateral development banks are the main sources of infrastructure investments, and Norway cooperates extensively with these banks.
The Norwegian Government attaches importance to using aid strategically, so that private and commercial capital is triggered for infrastructure investments. Norfund is Norway's main instrument for contributing to energy investments in developing countries. There is also a focus on research and education in developing countries, including cooperation between Norwegian universities and universities in developing countries. This cooperation includes training of academic staff, developing master's and PhD programmes, upgrading scientific and research infrastructure, and research cooperation. Norway is launching new initiatives for private sector development in 2016, including programmes for vocational training in partnership with private companies. An important aim of the initiatives is to increase access to education and work for women and young people. In addition, from 2016, Norway is supporting a regional programme aiming to strengthen vocational training in East Africa.
Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries
Income inequality in Norway is lower than in almost all other countries. High employment and relatively low unemployment mean that a large percentage of the population participates in income-generating work. Cash transfers provide compensation for loss of income due to illness, disability, old age, unemployment, etc. In addition, the national and local authorities provide free access for all to education, health, nursing and care. The distributional effects of these cash transfers and other services are not captured by common measures of income inequality.
The tax system helps to reduce income disparities. However, funding of education, health and care through taxation, combined with income protection through the national insurance scheme, do more to level out income disparities and consumption opportunities than redistribution through the design of the tax system. Sound macroeconomic management, an active labour market policy and coordinated wage formation also have a favourable impact on the distribution of wealth. The increased participation of women and men in the workforce is the most important way of preventing persistent low income and increasing earnings in low-income groups. Still, the gender pay gap is approximately 14 percent.
Because most of the obvious instruments for reducing inequality have already been adopted, it may be challenging for Norway to reduce inequality further. In order to reduce inequality in the longer term, our educational system must give children and young people appropriate skills. We must also ensure that the labour market works effectively. The tax system and benefit schemes must be designed in such a way that they support value creation and high participation in working life. New rules from 2015 have made it easier to combine work and disability benefits. The rapid integration of immigrants in the labour market is particularly important. Integration programmes, training and education are of key importance in this context. A productive economy makes a high average income possible.
With regard to target 10.7 on facilitating migration and mobility in orderly forms, Norway notes that while well-organised migration may contribute to economic development, irregular and uncontrolled migration has negative effects. Norway will therefore strive to prevent and limit irregular migration, while at the same time meeting its obligations under international law to protect persons in need of international protection. Norway will continue to respect the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and international humanitarian law, and will continue to receive asylum seekers and refugees who are in need of international protection.
At the global level, extreme and increasing inequality is hampering development. The reduction of inequality within and among countries is a high priority for Norway. A large share of Norway's aid goes to the world's poorest countries. In addition, Norway gives preference to the least developed countries in its foreign trade. Through its membership in the ILO, Norway works to promote employment, decent working conditions and social security. A consistent emphasis on free international trade is a way of promoting international growth and a more equal distribution of income and wealth.
The multilateral development banks are among Norway's most important partners. Norway's active engagement and substantial financial support contribute to the World Bank Group's twin goals: ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity by increasing the income of the 40 % poorest in all countries. The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) is the largest source of concessional finance for the world's 77 poorest countries, committing an average of USD 19 billion a year. Norway's contribution to IDA is NOK 3.1 billion (2014-2016). Through the World Bank, we also support a range of trust funds in different thematic areas that address inequality. Through predictable and long-term core funding, Norway supports the African Development Fund's work for more inclusive and green growth in the low-income countries in Africa. The forthcoming 2016 replenishments of IDA and the African Development Fund are high Norwegian priorities. Norway supports the human rights-based approaches of the UN and works actively on the boards of UN organisations and multilateral finance institutions to develop instruments to better target minorities, marginalised populations and the situation of women when dealing with issues relating to equality and equal opportunities.
Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Norway has achieved many of the targets of SDG 11. The majority of the population in Norway has a relatively high standard of living and long life expectancy. The last area that had a low standard of housing was upgraded before 1996. Almost all those living in urban areas have access to adequate housing, safe drinking water, basic sanitation and drainage, sustainable energy and public transport. Norway has few homeless people, a low crime rate and relatively safe and secure urban areas. Social inclusion and equity have been political priorities for many years. The main challenges are rapid population growth and climate change.
Norway has experienced significant population growth over the last 10 years, mainly in and around the larger cities, and mostly due to immigration. A growing elderly population also means that there is more demand for better basic services from the local authorities and a physical environment adapted to the needs of the elderly. Key priorities include the building of homes/dwellings and high building quality standards.
Urbanisation and centralisation have contributed to high housing prices in urban areas and a high level of debt among households. This may be a challenge if the economic situation changes. Increasing house building in Norway as a whole, and in urban areas in particular, is a political goal.
Climate change also affects urban areas and human settlements in Norway. Heavy precipitation, flooding, landslides and avalanches will become more frequent. We need to provide sufficient public transport and support sustainable urban planning in order to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and reduce the risk of natural disasters. Air pollution is still a problem in Norway's largest towns. Ensuring sustainable urban development while accommodating population growth in the future will be challenging. The Government is working continuously to develop more efficient and effective frameworks and tools, in partnership with cities and local government authorities. A white paper on sustainable towns and strong regions is currently being drawn up and will be presented to the Storting in spring 2017.
The majority of the world's population lives in cities, and this proportion is increasing. Cities are becoming separate social, economic and political players that both have an impact on, and depend on, their regional, national and global surroundings. This constitutes a challenge for policy-makers, in particular in developing countries, which are experiencing the fastest urban growth. The New Urban Agenda for the next 20 years will be adopted at the UN conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Norway is engaged in the dialogue on the New Urban Agenda in a variety of thematic areas. Norway is addressing the issue of air quality through cooperation with the World Health Organization, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the World Bank (Pollution Management and Environmental Health programme), UN-Habitat, the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the Energising Development Programme. In addition, Norway is supporting work related to climate services through the World Meteorological Organization, the World Health Organization and UN-Habitat's work on basic services.
Goal 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Sustainable production and consumption patterns entail more efficient and less wasteful use of resources along production and supply chains. The new patterns must take into account social needs and rights as well as long- and short-term environmental impacts if they are to be truly sustainable. The new patterns must take into account environmental impacts, based on the polluter pay-principle. If successfully implemented, sustainable patterns of consumption and production can provide decent living conditions and livelihoods for current and future generations. They can limit climate change and safeguard sustainable economic growth.
Norway has contributed financially and with expertise to the establishment of the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (10YFP), and continues to follow the programmes on sustainable lifestyles and education and sustainable public procurement. Norway seeks to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources through a combination of legislation and incentives. The Government has engaged with partners throughout the food production and supply chain with a view to reducing food waste, and it intends to sign an agreement to this end in 2016.
Since the 1970s, the impact of chemicals and waste on health and the environment in Norway has been substantially reduced. Norway has worked both within the EU/EEA and globally to regulate hazardous chemicals. While the amount of waste continues to grow at the same pace as GDP, hazardous waste is collected and treated separately and material recovery has greatly increased over the last decades, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of waste. All Norwegian companies are expected to exercise corporate social responsibility and the Government is maintaining its engagement to further develop international reporting requirements, which are transposed into national law.
Public contracts are not awarded solely on the basis of nominal costs, but also on the basis of environmental impact. Extensive information regarding the environment is made available online and environmental education has been part of the school curriculum for many years.
Internationally, Norway provides financial and in-kind support to developing countries to improve their technical capacity and strengthen their institutions through the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Global Green Growth Institute and the UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy. The Government encourages the use of a national label for sustainable destinations (travel and tourism). Norway is actively involved in international efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
Goal 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
The national follow-up of the Paris Agreement will constitute the main basis of action to fulfil SDG 13. Norway is committed to reducing emissions by at least 40 % by 2030, compared with the 1990 level. Norway is engaged in a dialogue on joint fulfilment of its 2030 commitment together with the EU.
The main instruments of Norwegian climate policy are taxes and participation in the EU emissions trading system (ETS), which are cross-sectoral economic instruments. More than 80 % of Norway's emissions are either in the ETS sector or subject to the carbon tax. The carbon tax was first introduced in 1991. Policy instruments that are used in addition to taxation and emissions trading are direct regulation, standards, agreements and grants for emission reduction measures. Norway will continue to pursue an ambitious climate policy and take climate considerations into account in relevant political processes.
Norway is among the countries with the highest levels of greenhouse gas emission efficiency, in other words where emissions per unit of GDP are lowest. Norway's most recent communication to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) includes estimates of the substantial effect of Norway's actions on the level of emissions. The report estimates that in 2010, greenhouse gas emissions were about 13–15 million tonnes CO2 eq lower than they would have been without any of these actions, and that in 2020, emissions will be 17–20 million tonnes CO2 eq lower than they would have been without these actions.
In the global arena, priority is given to reform of fossil fuel subsidies and putting a price on carbon. Without a price on emissions of greenhouse gases, it will not be possible to cut emissions significantly and effectively. A carbon price is also necessary to stimulate the development of climate-friendly technology.
Norway will continue to be a long-term, significant contributor of climate finance to help developing countries achieve low-emission, climate-resilient development. Our climate finance will support transformational action that has a verifiable, positive impact on climate change. Since 2009, Norway has contributed about NOK 17 billion to measures to combat deforestation in developing countries, through the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative. The Government has decided that this programme will continue until 2030. The Green Climate Fund is the largest single channel for multilateral climate finance used by Norway. Norway has committed NOK 400 million annually for the period 2015–2018, and will double its contribution by 2020 if the Fund secures verified emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Norway supports climate action through the Global Environment Facility, and also supports the Climate Investment Funds administered by the World Bank, which still provide the largest amount of multilateral climate finance that 'hits the ground'. Furthermore, the private sector can play an active role in promoting low-carbon development through regulatory frameworks that stimulate suitable mechanisms for public-private partnerships.
Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Norway has comprehensive measures in place to safeguard healthy oceans. The ocean has provided food and income for generations, and Norway depends heavily on ocean-based industries such as oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and tourism. Research and innovation in the 'blue sectors' is encouraged as new technologies can contribute to more environmentally friendly forms of harvesting, production and transport. A healthy marine environment is key to sustainable blue growth. Norway is investing heavily in research, mapping and monitoring, and has the ocean as one of its top research priorities. Mapping of the Norwegian seabed produces knowledge about the underwater landscape, habitats, species, and contaminant levels. Sustained efforts to build knowledge about the marine environment and resources are crucial for responsible ocean management. Norway has established integrated ecosystem-based management plans for its sea areas. All relevant authorities cooperated in developing the management plans as a framework for ensuring sustainable use and value creation, while maintaining the structure, functioning, productivity and diversity of the marine ecosystems. Sectoral laws regulate activity at sea and the sectoral authorities have a responsibility to ensure acceptable environmental footprints. The state of the environment in Norwegian waters is assessed within the framework of the integrated management plans for the sea areas. The environmental status of the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea is good overall. The North Sea and Skagerrak are more strongly influenced by human activity. The waters closest to the coast are covered by the river basin management plans under Norway's Water Management Regulations (these implement the Water Framework Directive in Norwegian law).
The Pollution Control Act strictly regulates all industries and is complemented by control mechanisms. Discharges of hazardous chemicals from land-based point sources have been reduced, but there are still inputs of pollutants to the sea. Since we both harvest and produce food in the ocean, food safety is of the utmost importance and monitoring routines are in place. Marine litter and micro-plastics are of increasing concern. Norway has taken an initiative in the UN Environment Assembly to step up global action to combat marine litter and micro-plastics. Fishing vessels have an obligation to retrieve or report lost fishing gear, and each year the Directorate of Fisheries conducts a retrieval survey. A pilot project called 'Fishing for litter' has been launched.
The greatest pressure on the marine environment is found in the coastal zone. Several initiatives are in the pipeline to ensure better integrated planning in this zone. Norway has established marine protected areas (MPAs), and is continuing the work of establishing new ones. In addition, the fisheries regulations include other area-based conservation measures.
Climate change and ocean acidification further increase the pressure on oceans, and may lead to significant changes in the basis for their sustainable use. Norway is actively involved in research efforts relating to climate change, ocean acidification and the resilience of marine ecosystems.
The management of living marine resources is based on certain key principles: sustainable harvesting, the precautionary principle, the ecosystem approach, and adequate legislation and an efficient control and enforcement scheme. The Norwegian management regime is based on the best available scientific advice. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) provides scientific advice on management measures.
A national advisory group that brings together all relevant control and enforcement authorities has been established with a view to combating fisheries crime throughout the value chain. Fisheries crime includes the illegal harvesting of marine resources, tax and customs fraud, money laundering, labour exploitation, corruption and other related crimes. The Norwegian authorities also work closely with INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the fight against transnational organised fisheries crime. Law enforcement at sea is carried out by the Norwegian Coast Guard, and in cooperation with the Russian authorities, the number of illegal, unregistered and unregulated fishing operations in the Barents Sea has been drastically reduced.
Norway puts great emphasis on international cooperation on ocean issues, and is now chairing the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
The main challenges that have been identified are the problems related to marine litter (especially micro-plastics), pressures on the coastal zone, and a need for more research in the light of a changing climate, as well as innovation that can lead to more environmentally friendly technologies. Sustainably harvested and produced fish and seafood will contribute to meeting SDG 2 on ending hunger and achieving food security.
Norway places great emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the international legal framework, as reflected by UNCLOS. Norway has assisted developing countries in the preparation of submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Norway also provides assistance to developing countries in designing and implementing regulatory frameworks and working methods for fisheries management. Moreover, Norway provides support to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other UN organisations, and to regional fisheries management organisations and other regional initiatives.
The oceans and seas are absolutely vital to the future of the entire planet and its people. Unsustainable fisheries, pollution, and the destruction of habitats are major threats to the oceans as a means of livelihood and a source of food to a growing, global population. The cause of these threats is often insufficient local and regional marine resource management. For more than 40 years, Norway has put its expertise and knowledge in this field to use to the benefit of developing countries. The EAF-Nansen Project, with the research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen at its core, aims to assist developing countries in assessing, mapping, and managing their marine resources using an ecosystem-based approach. A new programme, Fish for Development, was launched by the Government in 2015, and will ensure that Norwegian development assistance in the fisheries sector is increased and consolidated.
Norway is actively engaged in international organisations that have a mandate to maintain the oceans as a global good and a sustainable resource. This includes contributing to FAO's development of norms and standards for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management. Norway has also supported FAO's work to develop the International Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which enters into force in June 2016. Through its ODA, Norway supports developing countries in their implementation of international standards, among them the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.
The Norwegian fisheries authorities acknowledge their international obligations to facilitate the maintenance of traditional Sami fisheries. The Government considers the existing rules for regulating and participating in fisheries to be in accordance with international law regarding the rights of minorities and indigenous people.
Goal 15 – Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Generally, the state of Norwegian ecosystems is relatively good, and, if managed wisely, they will be capable of sustaining ecosystem services. The administrative, economic and legal framework in Norway has been identified as an important reason for this. In May 2016, the Storting adopted the Norwegian Action Plan for Biodiversity , which is the Norway's principal instrument for achieving the Aichi targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Aichi targets are harmonised with SDG 15, which means that the implementation of the policies in the action plan will be important for the achievement of SDG 15. Strengthening the knowledge base for better management of biodiversity is important for Norway, and the Government will define what is meant by 'good ecological status' for all major ecosystems in Norway. Based on this work, the Government will then identify management objectives to be achieved across sectors, with tailor-made solutions for the management of different ecosystems. Continuous efforts are also being made to conserve threatened species and habitats and to ensure that protected areas are ecologically representative. Norway has also identified a few targets under SDG 15 which require special attention and action, such as target 15.8 on invasive alien species. New regulations and plans have been drawn up to address this target with a view to preventing the spread of invasive alien species.
SDG 15 covers some of the most important environmental problems facing the planet; problems that require cross-sectoral cooperation to address the fundamental causes of environmental degradation and issues that are of local and national concern, as well as being global in nature. In its international cooperation on biodiversity, Norway aims to play a leading role in promoting ambitious environmental commitments, enhancing the knowledge base to strengthen the links between science and policy-making, and assisting partner countries in building capacity. According to OECD/DAC, Norway's international efforts to support conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity have increased in recent years. Norway has supported several projects aiming to ensure that natural resources are mainstreamed in development planning and national economic accounts.
Furthermore, Norway is supporting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) through Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative. Deforestation of tropical forests accounts for approximately 11 %of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing these emissions could deliver a quarter of the climate change mitigation the world needs to stay on a two-degree warming pathway up to 2030. Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative was launched in 2008, and has so far disbursed NOK 17 billion to REDD+ efforts (by the end of 2015). The Initiative works through bilateral partnerships, multilateral channels and through support to civil society organisations.
The precautionary principle, ecosystem-based management and sustainable use are important when addressing these problems, both through international aid and through the development and implementation of international instruments. In its annual budget proposal to the Storting, the Government provides an overview of how environmental issues are being addressed in its international cooperation.
The protection, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems can also safeguard the basis for a sustainable Sami culture. There are procedures in place for consulting Sami representatives in cases that are of direct importance to the Sami people in Norway.
Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Democracy, human rights and the rule of law protect the rights and privileges of individual citizens, women and men alike, and constitute the foundation of our society. These governance elements are thoroughly addressed in the 2030 Agenda, and particularly in SDG 16.
The Norwegian Government takes part, both nationally and globally, in efforts to end abuse and combat violence against women and children. A new plan to combat domestic violence and to strengthen the care of children exposed to violence and sexual abuse will be presented in autumn 2016. Norway is committed to continuing its efforts to counter violence against women and children through the provision of political, technical and financial support. Violence against children is an issue of critical importance. Our ambitious target is to ensure that no children are subjected to violence or other forms of abuse. The Government participates, both nationally and globally, in efforts to combat abuse and end violence against children. The Government has recently launched the action plan 'A good childhood lasts a lifetime'. Good parenting is the most important preventive strategy. A major development in Norway over the last few years has been the strengthening of the family counselling service. Norway has experienced good results with its 'positive parenting method'. Norway participates actively in international forums for the elimination of violence in close relationships and violence against and sexual abuse of children.
The Norwegian Constitution contains rules on state governance, and is essential in ensuring the rule of law. In 2014, the Constitution's catalogue of rights was expanded, and previously unwritten principles were codified. The principles of legality and equality before the law, as well as the right to access to an independent court are now explicitly protected under the Constitution.
The white paper Opportunities for all: Human Rights in Norway's Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation sets out priorities for Norway's international efforts to promote human rights. The white paper focuses particularly on the following three priority areas: individual freedom and public participation, the rule of law and legal safeguards, and equality and equal rights. In the area of human rights, Norway cooperates with multilateral organisations, other countries and civil society. Norway is a longstanding supporter of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and efforts to strengthen the integration of human rights across the work of the UN, both politically and financially.
Norway's contribution to promoting international security and stability also includes participation in military activities, such as international operations and capacity building. Norway is continuing its contributions in Iraq, Mali and Afghanistan, in addition to other contributions to UN peace operations and other international operations.
Norway supports the reform of UN peace operations, including increased cooperation with regional organisations, with special emphasis on the AU. Norway is also involved in international efforts in the area of disarmament, including to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Norway supports the UN's efforts to promote inclusive peace processes, peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Inclusive processes in general, and the influence of women in particular, are decisive for achieving sustainable development and lasting peace. This is a matter of human rights and the legitimacy of the process, but it is also a matter of understanding the complexity of a conflict and accessing the full spectrum of insights and experiences.
In 2015, Norway launched a white paper on global security challenges, focusing on terrorism, violent extremism, organised crime, maritime security and security challenges in the digital domain. The white paper describes the challenges, how they are connected and their transnational nature. The white paper emphasises the need for more knowledge, international cooperation and capacity building. Development programmes against terrorism/violent extremism and against organised crime and illegal trade have been established. The Government takes a whole-of-government approach to preventing and countering violent extremism. An Action Plan was launched in 2014, with the involvement of nine ministries and the Prime Minister's office. Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is central to the Government's efforts, and Norway strongly supports the UN Secretary-General's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
The 2030 Agenda, with its preamble, goals, targets and indicators, provides a unique opportunity and platform for boosting human rights implementation at country level and for contributing to building inclusive states and reducing conflicts.
Peace and reconciliation are essential for sustainable social, economic and political development. Norway remains committed to supporting conflict prevention and promoting peace and reconciliation through UN, multilateral and bilateral efforts. In this area, Norway is able to build on its longstanding engagement, including in the Middle East; on its experience as chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for assistance to the Palestinian people; and on its role as facilitator, together with Cuba, in the Colombian peace process. The Government also gives high priority to supporting capacity-building measures for security sector reform in developing countries, in UN peace operations and other international operations, and in regional organisations. Norway has an MOU with the African Union (AU) on capacity-building through the programme Training for Peace in Africa (TfP). Norway supports efforts to broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance. Norway supports a reform of the UN Security Council to make it more representative of current global political and economic realities, including with permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa.
Norway is participating through international channels such as Interpol, UNOCD, FATF and other relevant international bodies and initiatives to prevent and fight terrorism and international organised crime, such as human trafficking. Norway supports the IMF's work on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. Norway participates actively in the international efforts to reduce illicit financial flows, including through its membership in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other relevant international bodies. Relevant international standards have been implemented in Norwegian law, and new anti-money laundering legislation is currently being drafted to reflect international standards. A publicly accessible register for real beneficial ownership of assets is under consideration.
Regarding the fight against corruption, Norway is actively participating in activities within the framework of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and other international bodies, such as the OECD and the Council of Europe. Norway pursues a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and the relevant penal code provisions are effectively enforced. The Norwegian Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector is Department Head for NATO's Building Integrity programme.
Norway's contribution to institution-building helps build and consolidate the rule of law, based on human rights. Integrity issues are integrated in twinning arrangements such as the Oil for Development programme. Transparency is an intrinsic part of Norwegian institution-building efforts, which aim to counteract corruption and capital flight and to build confidence between governments and citizens. Norway supports research on the use of biometric methods for personal identification, as citizens are dependent on proof of identity to be able to assert their rights. Access to information is one of three thematic priority areas in Norway's new strategy for promoting freedom of expression and independent media in foreign and development policy (2016-2018).
Goal 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
SDG 17 is key to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was adopted at the Financing for Development Conference in 2015, supports SDG 17 targets relating to means of implementation. They set out the means by which we as countries and as a global community can fulfil our ambitions to eradicate poverty and build a sustainable future for all.
Development assistance matters. The Norwegian Government stands by its commitment to provide 1 % of GNI as official development assistance (ODA), and to meet the UN target of providing a minimum of 0.20 % of its GNI as ODA to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The primary responsibility for implementation of the SDGs rests with national governments. Given the challenges involved, successful implementation of the SDGs will hinge on finding new and innovative approaches for mobilising both public and private resources. Securing greater access to untapped domestic resources and debt relief will increase ownership and accountability, and reduce dependency on aid and on volatile international markets. Financial transparency, sound management of natural resources and increased tax revenues are key issues. Norway is therefore a member of the Paris Club, and supports the Addis Tax Initiative and the OECD's Task Force on Tax and Development. We also support innovative financing mechanisms in the multilateral development banks, such as leveraging IDA's equity and increased mobilisation of private funds through the World Bank Group. In addition, Norway provides funding to private-public partnerships such as GAVI, the Global Financing Facility and the Global Partnership for Education. Combating illicit financial flows and promoting country-by-country reporting for multilateral companies are truly demanding tasks, but according to World Bank statistics, the potential gains are immense.
Technological innovation is an important driver of change. The development of new technologies and the innovative use of existing ones in areas such as health, energy, agriculture and waste treatment will help to achieve the successful implementation of several of the SGDs. Norway calls for fair and equitable access to technologies that can spur green growth. Norway contributes by supporting the technology mechanism under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Convention, which facilitates the pursuit of new and innovative low-carbon and climate-resilient solutions based on the demands of developing countries. Norwegian cutting-edge expertise in aquaculture, energy, the maritime sectors and the "blue" economy will continue to trigger partnerships important for the further realisation of the SDGs.
Capacity development is a key aspect of change processes. It has been an integral part of Norwegian development cooperation for decades. Twinning programmes between Norwegian and partner countries' institutions have yielded particularly good results. Examples of other innovative and targeted approaches are the Oil for Development programme, the Tax for Development programme, and, more recently, the Fish for Development programme. We will also look into how we can make use of Norwegian experience in the area of gender equality in economic and political life. Norway supports UN capacity building initiatives by providing core funding and softly earmarked support to individual organisations, as well as through inter-agency funding and support for the multilateral development banks in this area.
International trade is an engine for economic growth. However, the 48 least developed countries, with a total population of around 1 billion people, account for less than 3 % of world trade. Giving these countries access to global markets has high priority for Norway. To achieve this, Norway supports global institutions like the WTO and IMF that foster global trade and investments.
Macroeconomic stability and predictability are achieved through a complex mix of policy measures. Determining which measures is primarily the responsibility of individual countries. However, in today's increasingly interconnected world, there is a greater risk of economic shocks spilling over, and this may negatively affect macroeconomic resilience, for example through the depletion of foreign reserve buffers and underfunding of important social sectors. Promoting greater policy coherence within and between countries is a priority for Norway. Greater policy coherence can serve as a push factor for better coordination between national development policies and other policies.
The scope of the SDGs is so comprehensive that no state, organisation or institution can pursue the 2030 Agenda in isolation. Norway supports funding modalities that foster stronger collaboration among UN agencies and, especially in fragile situations, between the UN and the multilateral finance institutions. New and strategic partnerships – involving public and private sectors, multilateral institutions, civil society with academia and non-governmental organisations – must address this challenge together. Norway has a long history of collaboration based on strategic partnerships.
Data, monitoring and accountability
Reliable data is vital for monitoring successes and setbacks in the implementation of the SDGs. There is a need to improve collection, analysis and dissemination of high quality, reliable and timely data disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, disability and other relevant variables. Statistics Norway plays an active role at the national level, and participates in the process of developing indicators for the SDG targets. The availability of verifiable data varies and some countries will need assistance to strengthen capacity.
Next step - conclusion
This voluntary national review can be seen as the launch pad for Norway's implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The decision to report annually to the Storting through the budgetary process means that Norway has a clear institutional framework in place for its efforts to implement and follow up the SDGs.
Mainstreaming the SDGs in national policies, plans and strategies will be crucial for success. Furthermore, if we succeed in integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner, this will highlight the relevance of the Agenda at both national and international levels.
The important contributions made by Norwegian partners reflect their commitment to the Agenda. Civil society organisations, representatives from the business community and the scientific and academic communities are clearly speaking with one voice: We need to increase the focus on eliminating poverty, reducing pollution, improving governance, increasing investments in education and stimulating profitable capital investments. This will involve multi-stakeholder consultations to define key intended outcomes. In order to maintain a high level of popular engagement, Norway will continue to promote informed debates and information sharing on available platforms.
The topic of the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, 'ensuring that no one is left behind', resonates well with the Norwegian domestic and international policy agenda to support and protect vulnerable and marginalised groups. Norway will give special priority to efforts to ensure that girls and women, people with disabilities, young people, ethnic minorities and people affected by conflict and crisis are reached, not left behind. Gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda must be ensured. Disaggregated data derived from validated statistics will be an important element in our follow-up work, nationally and internationally.
The 2030 Agenda requires robust and unbiased mechanisms for follow-up. The global indicators proposed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) are a good starting point. The development of a high-quality indicator framework is work that will need to continue over time. Norway will be part of this process, and will start to adapt the indicators that are most relevant for Norway to the national context. Norway will also define other indicators of its own as required to ensure comprehensive follow-up. Norway already has systems in place for reporting on national targets and environmental indicators. These systems are closely linked to ongoing international initiatives and standards established under international and regional organisations such as UNEP, the UN Statistical Commission, the OECD, the EU/EEA and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The framework provided by the 2030 Agenda for strengthening implementation of human rights is an important step forward in international development cooperation. Norway looks forward to seeing how human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review can complement and reinforce reporting and follow-up procedures established under the 2030 Agenda.
This is an Agenda of unprecedented scope and significance for the global population. Norway stands ready to do its part to deliver on the goals at home and internationally. The global community must put in place policies and practices that promote sustainable development, and governments, business and civil society must take collective action to end extreme poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all.