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Historic level of funding for education, humanitarian aid and health

'The Government's proposed aid budget for 2017 amounts to 1 % of Norway's GNI and sets out a historic level of funding in many areas. The present Government has doubled support for education, increased humanitarian aid by 50 %, and increased funding for global health by NOK 600 million. We are also continuing our targeted efforts in the areas of business development, job creation, climate change, environment and sustainable energy,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The proposed aid budget for 2017 amounts to NOK 33.9 billion. This is equivalent to 1 % of estimated GNI for 2017, and means that the aid budget will have been kept at 1 % of GNI for the whole of the current parliamentary period.

'The aim of aid is to enable the recipients to become independent of aid. To achieve this, support must be used to promote lasting development, and to trigger other sources of capital. It must be results-oriented and targeted towards the poorest. The historic adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 marked the start of a global effort, in which all of the world's countries will share responsibility for promoting sustainable development and eradicating extreme poverty in all its forms by 2030,' Mr Brende said.

The Government's development assistance is focused on the following five areas: education, humanitarian aid, health, business development and job creation, and climate, environment and sustainable energy. Human rights, democracy, women's rights and gender equality, and anti-corruption are cross-cutting issues in Norwegian development policy.

'Education is key to promoting growth and development. The Government therefore proposes a record high allocation of NOK 3.4 billion for global education in 2017. We are therefore delivering on our promise to double support for global education during the current parliamentary period,' Mr Brende said.

As well as increasing support for education, Norway has been at the forefront of efforts to push education higher up the global agenda.

'There are several major humanitarian crises and conflicts taking place in the world today, and the need for humanitarian assistance has risen dramatically. We are therefore planning a record-high humanitarian budget in 2017 too, with an allocation of NOK 5 billion to humanitarian aid. A large part of this will go to efforts in Syria and its neighbouring countries. Since 2013, the Government has increased humanitarian aid by more than 50 %,' Mr Brende said.

In addition to providing a record-high level of humanitarian aid, Norway will continue its work to encourage other countries to contribute more.

Norway's humanitarian efforts must be seen in conjunction with its engagement in fragile states and regions, and its peace and reconciliation work.

'Wars, conflicts and terrorism have catastrophic consequences for those who live in the affected areas. They also pose threats to our own security. We are now drawing up a comprehensive strategy for our efforts to promote stability and development in fragile states and regions,' Mr Brende said.

'Global health will remain a key area in Norway's development policy, and the Government proposes an allocation of more than NOK 3 billion to global health in next year's budget. This will mean that, in the current parliamentary term, we will have increased our funding for this area by NOK 600 million. The funding we provide to UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, some NOK 300 million, comes in addition to this. In the time ahead, we will have an even stronger focus on reaching those who are particularly at risk because of war and conflict,' Mr Brende said.

'Our efforts to promote business development and job creation clearly illustrate the overriding objective of the Government's development policy: to help poor countries become independent of aid. Over the next ten years, one billion young people will enter the job market. It is therefore vital that the support we provide promotes job creation and business development in developing countries. The task of Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, is to support development through profitable, sustainable investments. Since 2013, the Government has increased its allocation to Norfund by around 25 %, and in 2017 we plan to provide NOK 1.5 billion to the fund,' Mr Brende said.

'The Government proposes an allocation of close to NOK 5 billion for efforts relating to climate change, rainforests, the environment and sustainable energy in next year's aid budget,' Mr Brende said. In the budget proposal for 2017, the Government proposes maintaining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' contribution to measures relating to climate change, the environment and sustainable energy, with an allocation of NOK 2 billion. Multilateral initiatives such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are important partners in this context. In addition, the Government proposes an allocation under the aid budget of NOK 2.9 billion to Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative, which is administered by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

The Government will continue its work to make Norway's aid more efficient and targeted towards the most vulnerable. During the course of this year the number of agreements has been reduced from 6 000 to 4 400. The number of recipient countries has been reduced from 113 to 88.

Of the total aid budget of NOK 33.9 billion, the Government proposes allocating NOK 3.7 billion to measures to address the refugee situation in Norway. This amounts to half the amount allocated to measures of this kind in 2016, when a record number of asylum seekers came to Norway. The proposed allocation for 2017 accounts for 10.9 % of the aid budget, and is equivalent to the level of funding allocated to this area in the final 2010 budget.