Norway’s development programme focuses on food security, climate, health, inequality and sexual and reproductive rights. An increasing share of the budget is also spent on humanitarian assistance. Norway is committed to spending 1% of gross national income (GNI) as international support for achieving the sustainable development goals, placing it among the Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) most generous donors of official development assistance (ODA). Norway’s total ODA (USD 5.2 billion, preliminary data) increased in 2022 due to aid to Ukraine and increased in-donor refugee costs, and represented 0.86% of GNI.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Norway recognises that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a shared responsibility, a principle that underpins its approach to development co-operation. Following the parliamentary elections there was a change in government in October 2021. The current government identified six thematic priorities: linking climate and development policies; prioritising food security and the fight against hunger; reducing inequality; strengthening women’s rights to decide over their own body; ensuring closer coordination between humanitarian aid and long-term development assistance; and combatting communicable diseases. A new food security strategy, Combining forces against hunger, was launched in November 2022. Strategies on gender equality in Norway’s foreign and development policy and for Norway’s cooperation with Africa, including development co-operation, are currently being elaborated.

A high share of Norway’s core support to the multilateral system is channelled via the UN, and Norway continues to play an important role in supporting peace and reconciliation processes globally, including through its elected term as a member of the UN Security Council in 2021-22. Through a clear humanitarian strategy, an increased budget and solid partnerships, Norway also plays an important role in helping to improve the humanitarian landscape. Norway’s cross-government oceans strategy, Blue Opportunities, outlines domestic and international actions to protect the ocean’s contribution to sustainable development.

The 2022 OECD-DAC mid-term review highlighted Norway’s efforts to embed key institutional reforms and noted that Norway is strengthening its results-based management and learning. Quality assurance has been mainstreamed across thematic departments in Norad, reflecting a more thematic portfolio approach. The mid-term review encouraged Norway to continue strategic workforce planning, support robust public debate and action on policy coherence challenges, and continue building staff capacities on conflict sensitivity in programmes. The next OECD-DAC peer review of Norway is planned for 2026.

Norway provided USD 5.2 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 4.8 billion in constant terms), representing 0.86% of GNI.1 This was an increase of 2.4% in real terms in volume and a decrease in share of GNI from 0.93% in 2021. Excluding in-donor refugee costs, its ODA fell. Norway is consistently among the top five most generous DAC providers since reaching the UN target in 1976. In 2022 and 2021, Norway fell short of its domestic commitment to allocate 1% of GNI as ODA due to a sharp rise in GNI. However, the government remains committed to this target. Norway provided all its ODA as grants in 2021.2

Norway ranks 3rd among 30 DAC member countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI and 10th in terms of ODA volume. With 0.25% of ODA to GNI committed to the LDCs in 2021, Norway is one of the few countries to reach the 0.15/0.20% UN target. A high share (27.6% of gross bilateral ODA) is allocated to fragile contexts. Norway is also among the DAC members allocating a high share of bilateral ODA as core funding for civil society organisations (CSOs), equal to 7% in 2021.

Norway is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Norway provided most of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 74.9% of total ODA. Forty-four per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Norway allocated 25.1% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Norway provided USD 582.5 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 206.1 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 18.5 million.

In 2022, Norway provided USD 46.1 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, donations of excess doses to developing countries accounted for USD 1.7 million of ODA. In 2020 and 2021, Norway’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 239.6 million and USD 273.9 million, respectively.

In 2021, Norway provided USD 2.7 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, a fall of 14.2% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 1.2 billion was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 17% of Norway’s non-core contributions and 83% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Sixty-nine per cent of Norway’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 were allocated to the UN system and other multilateral institutions (in descending order).

The UN system received 54.4% of Norway’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 1.5 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Norway’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNICEF (USD 262.3 million), UN-MPTFO (USD 178.9 million) and WFP (USD 160.8 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Norway’s bilateral spending declined compared to the previous year. It provided USD 3.5 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 12.8% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Norway focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing gender equality; health; peace, justice and strong institutions; climate; partnerships; and poverty reduction goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 30.5% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%.

Norway disbursed USD 32.5 million for triangular co-operation in 2021 and has a strategy guiding its approach. Its regional priority is Africa, with a focus on education. About 70% of the project portfolio of the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec) are triangular co-operation projects. Learn more about triangular co-operation and specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository.

In 2021, Norway channelled bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Technical co-operation made up 2.3% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, CSOs received USD 984.8 million of gross bilateral ODA. Seven per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 21% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs slightly decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 28.3% to 28%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Norway’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 831.7 million was allocated to Africa, accounting for 23.6% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 331.7 million was allocated to the Middle East, and USD 289.6 million was allocated to Asia (excluding the Middle East), accounting respectively for 9.4% and 8.2% of gross bilateral ODA. Africa was also the main regional recipient of Norway’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with the policy priorities.

In 2021, 20.7% of gross bilateral ODA went to Norway’s top 10 recipients. Norway’s top 10 recipients reflect its policy focus on partner countries for long-term development co-operation and for stabilisation and conflict prevention. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 59.9%, mainly due to Norway’s global thematic focus.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 22% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 781.7 million). This is slightly lower than the DAC average of 22.9%. Norway allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (22%) to least developed countries in 2021, noting that 59.9% was unallocated by income group. Norway allocated 13.1% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 461.4 million. Norway allocated 0.4% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021, equal to USD 13 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 971.2 million in 2021, representing 27.6% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA. Thirty-five per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 31.2% in 2020, while 19.1% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 21.3% in 2020. Seven per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 7.7% in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, just over half of Norway’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 52.3% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 2.4 billion), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 1.2 billion), government and civil society (USD 645.7 million) and education (USD 449.6 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 7.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 335.7 million), focusing on business (USD 201.5 million), energy (USD 117.3 million) and communications (USD 13.1 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 579.9 million (12.5% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on health, government and civil society and education.

In 2020-21, Norway committed 43.5% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 38% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 1.9 billion of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 6.1% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Norway includes gender equality objectives in 77.7% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. Norway screens virtually all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020-21). Norway committed USD 72.5 million of ODA to end violence against women and girls and 56.5 million to support women’s rights organisations and movements and government institutions in 2020-21. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Norway committed 22.8% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 984.8 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), down from 23.7% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Thirteen per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Nineteen per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 814.1 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), up from 17.3% in 2018-19. Norway had a greater focus on mitigation (14%) than on adaptation (6.6%) in 2020-21.

  • Thirteen per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 577.4 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), compared to 13.1% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Norway committed USD 119 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, up from USD 64.4 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 2.8% of Norway’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Norway also:

  • Committed USD 36.4 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.8% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Norway has not requested exemptions on its ODA-funded goods and services in partner countries and territories since 2017. It provides information on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 606.4 million (14.1% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021. Norway is among the top 10 official providers of aid for trade globally.

  • Committed USD 157.3 million (3.6% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Norway uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2021, Norway’s DFI Norfund mobilised USD 158.7 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles and shares in collective investment vehicles.

In 2020-21, 28.3% of mobilised private finance by Norway targeted middle-income countries and 13.9% LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs), noting that 57.8% was unallocated by income. During the same period, the top beneficiary region of this financing was Asia (Excluding the Middle East) (46.7% of the total).

Mobilised private finance by Norway in 2020-21 mainly targeted activities in the banking & financial services (57.4%) and energy (33.8%) sectors. Furthermore, over this period, 33.8% of Norway’s total mobilised private finance was for climate action.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

In 2021, Norway’s DFI Norfund extended USD 459.5 million in the form of private sector instruments. Of this, loans represented 30.3%, whereas equities accounted for 60.9%. Other private sector instruments included mezzanine/hybrid finance (1.4%), both preferred equity and subordinated debt.

In 2021, USD 43.9 million (9.5%) of Norway’s private sector instruments were allocated to the LDCs and other LICs, with 31% received by middle-income countries and LMICs in particular (30.5%). Moreover, USD 273.2 million were unallocated by income, mostly including equity investments with a regional focus.

The top three recipients included India, Cambodia and Kenya, together accounting for 25.3% of Norway’s private sector instruments to developing countries in 2021.

In terms of sectoral distribution, 45% of Norway’s private sector instruments were extended in support of projects in the energy sector, followed by banking and financial services (37.6%), and agriculture, forestry, and fishing (6%). Health, education and other social sectors received USD 1.4 million through private sector instruments. A share of 45% of this financing focused on climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

Delivering Norway’s development co-operation is shared between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad), the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund), and the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec). The MFA is responsible for formulating policies and strategies and for managing most funds under the responsibility of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry for Climate and Environment is responsible for Norway’s International Climate and Forests Initiative (NICFI). Norad is responsible for implementing and managing grants under the responsibility of the Minister of International Development and NICFI, except for funds managed by embassies, Norfund and Norec. In 2022, Norad administered around 50% of the Norwegian development budget. Norway’s embassies manage some of the bilateral development co-operation, Norec is responsible for facilitating academic exchanges between Norway and developing countries, and Norfund is Norway’s development finance institution. The Office of the Auditor General undertakes studies and publishes reports on the performance of Norway’s development co-operation efforts, including reports on Norway’s support to World Bank trust funds (2021) and national follow-up to the SDGs (2021).

The MFA has 1 430 Norwegian and 1 150 local staff, for a total number of 2 580. Among the Norwegian staff, 586 (41%) work on development; 32% of the total number of staff are based in Norway and 68% are based in-country offices and embassies abroad. Norad has 278 staff (including full- and part-time staff), all based in Norway.

Norad hosts an annual conference bringing together key Norwegian stakeholders on different themes. The 2023 Norad Conference focused on “man and nature – how to survive together?” CSOs active in development co-operation and humanitarian assistance co-ordinate through umbrella organisations, in particular, the Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment (ForUM) and the Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS). The RORG-Network is a network of Norwegian non-governmental organisations engaged in development education and awareness raising in Norway.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Norway’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Norway based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

2022 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Norway:

2019 OECD-DAC peer review of Norway:

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad):

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA):

Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund):

Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec):

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI):

Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment (ForUM):

Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS):


Norway’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform:

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1962.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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