Bård Vegar Solhjell was today appointed new Director General of Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. Mr Solhjell will leave his current position as Secretary General of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway.
‘Bård Vegar Solhjell has extensive management experience, and I am very pleased that he will be part of the team now that we are implementing the long-planned reform of Norway’s aid management,’ said Minister of International Development Cooperation, Dag-Inge Ulstein.
From 2020, Norad will be given responsibility for much of Norway’s aid management, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have specific responsibility for policy development, determining the main focus areas for Norway’s aid, and representing Norway in important international arenas.
‘This will require major organisational changes in Norad as well as changes to the way the agency cooperates with the Ministry. I am pleased that Mr Solhjell will be my main partner in this work,’ said Mr Ulstein.
In addition to his management experience from WWF, Mr Solhjell has previously led two ministries. He has been Minister of the Environment (2012-2013) and Minister of Education and Research (2007-2009). He has also served as deputy leader of the Socialist Left Party, as a Member of the Storting (Norwegian parliament), and as State Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister.
‘I am greatly looking forward to developing Norway’s aid management structure together with my new and very competent colleagues in Norad. The SDGs have given the world a framework that enables us to take an integrated approach to development, climate change and economics. Our development cooperation is one of Norway’s main tools for implementing the SDGs,’ said Mr Solhjell.
‘Mr Solhjell has shown that he is an innovative and inspiring leader. He has an ability to spot opportunities and new ways of doing things. At the same time, he is analytical by nature and has considerable experience and expertise. He has led complex processes both nationally and internationally, and has a proven track record in mobilising the support needed to achieve results. I am confident that he will make a constructive contribution to our current efforts to reform Norway’s aid management,’ said Mr Ulstein.
‘The importance of a knowledge-based approach is becoming increasingly clear, both when it comes to policy development and administration. Norad is one of our most important centres of expertise on international issues,’ said Mr Solhjell.
Norad is an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for managing much of Norway’s aid to developing countries. In 2020, the agency will have responsibility for administering some NOK 17 billion.
Mr Solhjell has a Master’s degree in political science, and is married with three children.