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Norway’s approach to peace and reconciliation work

Norway’s efforts to promote peace and reconciliation vary depending on the conflict in question and the local conditions. There are, however, some general features that are consistent throughout Norway’s efforts in this area. These include:

  • A long-term willingness to provide assistance. Norway has pursued a stable, predictable policy in the areas of development assistance and peace work. This policy is based on a spirit of solidarity and a long-term perspective, and has been maintained by successive Norwegian governments. There is strong national consensus on foreign policy, including on development assistance and peace work. Norway has consistently demonstrated a willingness to talk to all parties to a conflict.
  • Provision of resources. Norway has made both human and financial resources available for peace and reconciliation efforts. Norway has flexible funding mechanisms in place for this purpose. This, together with the significant amount of development assistance Norway provides, makes it possible for us not only to support negotiation processes, but also to help secure sustainable peace settlements by contributing to monitoring mechanisms and peacebuilding.
  • Close cooperation with Norwegian NGOs. In many cases, Norwegian NGOs have acted as a door opener for Norway in peace and reconciliation processes. The wide range of activities carried out by Norwegian NGOs all over the world has allowed Norway access to places where it has had little or no official presence.
  • Experience. Norway has gained experience of peace work through its role as facilitator in a number of peace processes. It has also worked with a range of non-state actors and gained a better understanding of their needs. However, it is important to recognise that all conflicts are unique and that knowledge of the specific conflict and the area in question is essential.
  • Good relations with key international actors. Norway has a stable and close relationship with the US and enjoys good relations with other major global actors, such as the EU, Russia and India. Norway's position as a major contributor to the UN and significant aid donor enhances our credibility in the international community.
  • No colonial past. Norway's peace and reconciliation efforts are seen as sincere, in that they are not motivated by political or economic self-interest.
  • Focus on peace facilitation rather than 'mediation with muscle'. Norway will assist the parties to a conflict in their efforts to find a peaceful solution, but the responsibility for this lies with the parties themselves.

In June 2014, Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende gave a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington in which he presented the guiding principles of Norway’s peace and reconciliation work.

Listen to the speech.  The speech is also available on YouTube.

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