Meld. St. 24 (2016–2017)

Common Responsibility for Common Future— Meld. St. 24 (2016–2017) Report to the Storting (white paper), English summary

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4 Development policy in light of the SDGs

The SDGs reflect the fact that the framework conditions for international cooperation and aid have changed. The white paper describes how our policy on international development needs to be adjusted accordingly.

The relative importance of aid is falling as other flows of capital increase. Focus must gradually turn towards other development policy instruments. Our proactive role in international fora and as a bridge-builder in conflict situations will become more important. More emphasis will be placed on efforts to maintain international legal order, and on peace and security policy, trade policy, political and economic dialogue, and technical cooperation.

We are moving away from donor-recipient relations to more equal partnerships. In many countries where we have a long history as a major contributor of aid, we are moving towards a new type of cooperation. After more than 50 years of development cooperation, there will be a gradual transition from a bilateral relationship based mainly on aid to a relationship increasingly based on common interests, trade, investment and cooperation on research, culture and multilateral issues.

Low-income and least developed countries will be prioritised. With a few exceptions, Norwegian aid is to be concentrated on countries with a high degree of vulnerability, according to criteria defined by the OECD.

There will be stronger focus on countries affected by conflict. The situation in the world today makes it necessary for Norway to direct more attention to countries and regions that are directly or indirectly affected by war or conflict. This applies in particular to the belt of countries from Mali in the west, via North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East, to Afghanistan in the east.

Common challenges require common solutions. In a world that is increasingly integrated, we are becoming more dependent on one another. Climate and environment, global health, and peace and security are the most important global public goods in the context of our development policy. Clean oceans and transparent international financial systems are also crucial. Building alliances and engaging in diplomacy across regions, and our efforts to promote human rights and respect for international law will become increasingly important.

Aid is to be used more as a catalyst. Aid alone is by no means sufficient to finance the SDGs. We must use aid smartly to trigger larger, more significant sources of capital.

The private sector is a driver of development. A well-functioning business sector is decisive for job creation and economic growth.