‘The Norwegian Government intends to maintain a high level of aid and has proposed spending NOK 37.8 billion on aid in 2019. This corresponds to about 1 % of Norway’s gross national income and is NOK 2.5 billion more than in 2018,’ said Minister of International Development Nikolai Astrup.
In order to increase the effectiveness of Norway’s aid efforts, the Government has chosen to concentrate on five main priority areas: health; education; business development, agriculture and renewable energy; climate change, environment and oceans; and humanitarian action. Around NOK 23 billion of the aid budget will be allocated to these areas.
The impacts of climate change and environmental problems are among the greatest threats to sustainable development. The Government has therefore proposed allocating around NOK 4.8 billion to the area of climate change, environment and oceans in 2019.
‘Norway is a leading ocean nation. The fight against marine litter is an important part of Norway’s efforts in the area of climate change, environment and oceans. In the budget for 2019, the Government intends to increase its allocation for efforts to combat marine litter to NOK 400 million. This is an increase of NOK 250 million from the 2018 budget. Over the next four years, our ambition is to spend NOK 1.6 billion on the fight against marine litter,’ Mr Astrup said.
The Government will maintain Norway’s leading role in the field of global health and has proposed spending NOK 4.8 billion on global health in 2019. Among other things, these funds will be used to provide more vaccines and to support the development of robust health systems in developing countries.
‘The Government has proposed an allocation of just over NOK 3.7 billion for education in the 2019 budget. This is an increase of around NOK 160 million from 2018. These funds will be used to give more children an education, especially girls and children in situations of crisis and conflict,’ Mr Astrup said.
The Government has proposed an overall allocation of NOK 1 billion for efforts to promote women’s rights and gender equality in this year’s aid budget. This is an increase of more than NOK 68 million from 2018. The allocation includes Norway’s core contributions to UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as a separate allocation for gender equality.
A profitable and responsible private sector that provides jobs and salaries to individuals and generates tax revenues for the country is vital for building a sustainable society – both here in Norway and in developing countries. In the budget for 2019, the Government has allocated around NOK 4.7 billion for business development, agriculture and renewable energy. This includes an increase in funding for renewable energy of NOK 430 million.
Norwegian expertise, for example in the fields of natural resource management and taxation, is sought after by developing countries. The Knowledge Bank under Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) promotes cooperation and knowledge-sharing in areas where Norway has particular experience and expertise.
‘The Government has proposed increasing the allocation to the Knowledge Bank and technical cooperation by NOK 290 million in 2019, to a total of almost NOK 862 million. Much of the new funding will be used to step up technical cooperation on taxation under the Tax for Development programme,’ Mr Astrup said.
Certain costs associated with receiving asylum seekers and refugees in Norway are classified as official development assistance (ODA) under the OECD/DAC rules, and are therefore included in the aid budget. For 2019, these costs are estimated at around NOK 556 million, a decrease of NOK 869 million from 2018. This will free up funds for other development efforts.