Norway - Bangladesh : Development

Norway’s development assistance to Bangladesh focuses on humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, climate change and environment, as well as Human Rights, in particularly women rights and gender equality.

Photo: Espen Rikter-Svendsen

Bangladesh and Norway established diplomatic relations on the Bengali New Year, 14 April 1972, in the first year of Bangladesh’s independence. By 1973 Bangladesh had already consolidated its position as a major partner for Norway. It is one of the largest recipients of Norwegian bilateral assistance over the years, has received more than US$ 1 billion so far.

Norwegian development cooperation has played an important role in assisting Bangladesh during its five decade long endeavours to significantly reduce poverty and bring the needed structural changes in the economy. It is a measure of Bangladesh’s success that it is well on the way to achieve several of the key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Besides, Norway has initiated and played a key role in strengthening many of the global mechanisms that continue to benefit Bangladesh. These include GAVI, the vaccination alliance, the Green Climate Fund, the UN REDD+ program in climate financing, the UNGEI for girls education and the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Education. An increasing proportion of the development assistance is channeled through those innovative global funding mechanisms, which reduce transaction costs and facilitate more efficient distribution of funds.

Following a restructuring and downsizing of the Embassy in 2008, Norway’s direct development programs in Bangladesh have been scaled down (NOK 142 million in 2022). At present, the Embassy manages a few projects signed with UN agencies in Bangladesh. These support focus on climate change and environment, human rights - particularly women rights and gender equality, environmental-friendly ship recycling etc. In addition, Norway is still a major multilateral donor in responding to international humanitarian crisis including the Rohingya refugees, but these supports are also channeled through UN agencies, Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and international NGOs.

Norway is among the largest donors to several UN funds and programs, both in per capita and in absolute terms. In is one of the few countries which allocate one percent of its GDP to development cooperation (1.11% ODA/GNI, amounting to US$ 4.2 billion in 2020).

Transparency and open data

Norwegian Aid Statistics gives you easy access to all official statistics about Norwegian development assistance from 1960 until today. You can choose your own content and scope of the report, and get the numbers as maps, graphs and tables.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' grants portal provides an overview of all grants from the Ministry and Norad.