The need for humanitarian assistance has risen dramatically in recent years. The Government has therefore increased Norway’s total humanitarian aid budget by over 50 % since 2013. The Government has now proposed a further increase of around NOK 250 million in humanitarian funding for 2019, bringing the humanitarian budget to almost NOK 5.4 billion.
The Government has proposed to more than double Norway’s support for countries and regions affected by conflict and fragility, to a total of NOK 706 million in 2019. The purpose of this allocation is to help prevent and de-escalate armed conflicts, and promote more peaceful and inclusive social development.
‘Norway attaches importance to supporting the countries that are most affected by conflict and fragility. If the situation in these countries remains unstable, this can provide a breeding ground for various kinds of threats that can also affect Europe, Norway included,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
In addition, in 2019 the Government will increase its funding for efforts to combat global security challenges in developing countries by NOK 30 million, and support for efforts to promote democratic and economic development in Central Asia and Europe by NOK 140 million.
In the budget proposal for 2019, Norway will increase its support for promoting human rights by NOK 88 million. In total, the various budget items relating to human rights will amount to NOK 680 million in 2019.
‘Human rights are under increasing pressure in various parts of the world. The Government will give priority to strengthening efforts to promote human rights internationally, in line with its political platform,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Binding international cooperation is vital for Norway’s security, economy and welfare. The UN is the cornerstone of a multilateral, rules-based world order.
‘In order to make sure that the UN is adapted to current challenges and can respond effectively to common global problems, we are actively supporting political and economic reform of the organisation. The Government will increase its efforts to promote UN reform, and has proposed an allocation of NOK 170 million to support the implementation of necessary reforms in 2019,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
The EEA and Norway Grants are intended to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthen bilateral relations between Norway and the beneficiary countries. The Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 2.8 billion to Norway’s agreement with the EU on the EEA and Norway Grants in 2019.
In the period leading up to 2024, Norway will contribute around NOK 26 billion to the 15 beneficiary countries under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme. Memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed with 13 of the 15 beneficiary countries, and these specify the areas of cooperation with each country. Support for civil society is particularly important, and Norway’s total funding for this area in the period up to 2024 is expected to be just under NOK 2 billion.
The Government has proposed an increase in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ total budget to NOK 41.9 billion. Of this amount, 34.6 billion is allocated to the part of the aid budget managed by the Ministry. The rest of the aid budget (NOK 3.2 billion) is primarily managed by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.