Norway’s policy of engagement

Norway is currently involved in peace and reconciliation efforts in over 20 different countries and regions. What has been termed Norway’s policy of engagement is one of the most distinctive aspects of Norwegian foreign policy. It embraces development policy, humanitarian aid, peace and reconciliation efforts and international work to promote human rights and democracy.

Norway is a small and wealthy state, with political consensus regarding our ethical duty to combat poverty and armed conflict. At the same time, what happens far beyond Norway’s territorial borders has become more important to Norway than previously. Conflicts and crises that are seemingly unrelated to Norwegian society can shape global developments, with direct or indirect consequences for us.

The aim of Norway’s policy of engagement is to make a difference - in political and humanitarian matters.

As a result, the policy of engagement has become something more than helping to reduce poverty, create peace and build democracies in other countries. It is also about building the necessary foundations for effective global governance, and about safeguarding Norwegian security interests. The aim of Norway’s policy of engagement is therefore to become involved when and where we can contribute in a positive way and make a difference.

Norway wishes to contribute to an international policy that strengthens global public goods, builds a global framework of institutions and safeguards the global rule of law. A very important part of Norwegian foreign and international development policy is concerned with saving lives, alleviating poverty, reducing disaster risks, and protecting those exposed to conflict and unrest.

Broad involvement
Norwegian peace and reconciliation efforts are characterised by broad involvement. Altogether, Norway is currently involved in peace and reconciliation efforts in over 20 different countries and regions. Most efforts take place in close cooperation with other actors, particularly the UN. In addition, importance has been attached to developing strategic partnerships with both Norwegian and international organisations and research institutions. Norway’s peace and reconciliation efforts are of a long-term and process-oriented nature, and are very often initiated at the direct request of the parties to a conflict. 

To meet the complexity of today’s challenges, Norway’s policy of engagement is rooted in close interaction between humanitarian aid, promotion of human rights, development cooperation and peacekeeping. The UN has a key role in the Government’s policy of engagement, as well as national and international NGOs and civil society.