Norway

Introduction

Norway recognises that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is a shared responsibility, a principle that underpins its approach to development co-operation. To deliver on its strong support for the 2030 Agenda and its global thematic priorities – such as health, education, climate and the environment – Norway is delivering more of its aid through multilateral channels. Norway’s priorities are supported by regular thematic white papers, such as the 2016-17 policy document, “The place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy”.

Norway is also adapting its humanitarian response to the changing patterns of crises, backed by a clear strategy, an increased budget and solid partnerships. In line with its commitment to multilateralism, as well as peace and security, Norway is running for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2021-22. The 2019 DAC Peer Review of Norway’s development co-operation commended Norway for being a strong development partner, committed to global action and the multilateral system, backed by generous financial resources.

Official development assistance

Norway has a long history of exceeding the 0.7% target of gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) and maintains its strong national commitment to spending 1%. This has kept Norway among the top three DAC donors as a share of GNI. While a large share of Norwegian ODA (76%) is recorded as bilateral assistance, 39% of this was channelled through multilateral organisations as multi-bi or non-core contributions in 2017. In addition, Norway allocated 24% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. The top recipients of Norwegian bilateral ODA are largely in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2018, Norway provided USD 4.26 billion in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.94% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was also USD 4.26 billion, given that all Norwegian ODA is provided in grant form. This, however, represented a fall of 4.2% in real terms from 2017, likely due to the lower reported in-donor refugee costs. In 2018, in-donor refugee costs accounted for 2.4% of total net ODA, down from 3.6% in 2017.

Norway’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 100% in 2017 (as in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was also 100% in 2017.

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In 2017, 76% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 39% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Norway allocated 24% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 32% of Norway’s bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 52% of this aid.

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In 2017, Norway channelled 26.3% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 43.9% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was just 1.5%. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 837 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs increased as a share of bilateral aid (from 22% to 27%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA allocated by region was primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. USD 681 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa, USD 440 million to the Middle East, and USD 201 million to South and Central Asia. USD 1.4 billion of bilateral ODA (45.3%) was unspecified by region.

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In 2017, 22.7% of gross bilateral ODA went to Norway’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are largely in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, in line with its focus on poverty reduction and recent increases in humanitarian funding. Colombia and Brazil remain important exceptions, and reflect Norway’s continued support for REDD+. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.1 billion in 2017 (34% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 23.4% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 737 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs). This is up from 19.1% in 2016. The DAC country average for 2017 was 23.5%. The share of bilateral ODA allocated to upper middle-income countries remained relatively steady (9.4% in 2017 compared to 9.6% in 2016), noting that 53% of Norway’s bilateral ODA was unallocated by income group.

At 0.28% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to LDCs exceeded the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 36.3% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.2 billion) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on support to government and civil society (USD 441 million), education (USD 389 million), and health (USD 200 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 538 million. In 2017, Norway committed USD 15 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, amounting to 0.52% of bilateral allocable aid. This reflects Norway’s strong commitment to the Addis Tax Initiative and is an increase from 2016 (0.4% of bilateral allocable aid). Norway also committed USD 497 million (17.5% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 615 million of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 22% of Norway’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (down from 32% in 2016). The DAC country average was 36%. All Norwegian bilateral ODA (100%) was screened against the gender marker. Norway’s aid to population, reproductive health and education focuses on gender. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 777 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 27% of Norway’s gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 21% (USD 599 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment increased slightly from 26% in 2016, while those focused on climate change remained stable. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation increased slightly, from 4% in 2016 to 5% in 2017, while the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation fell slightly from 19% to 18%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, the Norwegian development finance institution – Norfund – and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) mobilised USD 118 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), syndicated loans and simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

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Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 40% targeted middle-income countries and 60% the LDCs.

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Norway’s private finance mobilised in 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the energy (38%); banking and financial services (36%); industry, mining and construction (12%); and agriculture, forestry and fishing (8%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The delivery of Norway’s development co-operation is largely shared between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Norad, with both playing a role in setting policy. Since 2016-17, Norad has gained increasing responsibility, including the administration of Norway’s support to health, education, climate and renewable energy programmes, private sector development, and support for civil society organisations. A formal review and reform of the organisational arrangements and respective roles of Norad and the MFA commenced in 2018. A new aid management structure was announced in May 2019 and is expected to be rolled out and in place by January 2020.

The Ministry for Climate and Environment, Norway’s embassies, Norec (formerly FK Norway, responsible for facilitating exchanges between Norway and developing countries), and Norway’s development finance institution – the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) – also contribute to Norway’s development co-operation activities.

In 2017, the MFA was responsible for USD 3 billion in ODA (69.8% of gross ODA). Norad was responsible for USD 1.2 billion (27.3% of gross ODA). This represents a significant increase from 2016, when USD 542 million (or 12.1% of gross ODA) was disbursed through Norad.

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Evaluation system

The Evaluation Department located in Norad is responsible for independent evaluations of development co-operation activities financed under the Norwegian development co-operation budget, as well as communicating these results to the public and government. The department’s function and role is defined in the “Instructions for Evaluation Activities in Norwegian Aid Administration”, issued in 2015. These instructions guarantee the independence of the Evaluation Department to decide what to evaluate, how to evaluate, and to provide and communicate recommendations for follow-up. The Evaluation Director reports directly to the Secretaries-General of the MFA and the Ministry of Climate and Environment. Read more about Noway’s evaluation system.

The Evaluation Department is currently evaluating Norwegian assistance in selected countries – South Sudan and Somalia – and identifying and assessing instruments for and approaches to conflict sensitivity in specific countries. Read Norway’s evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Norwegian development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Additional resources

2019 DAC Peer Review of Norway: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-review-norway.htm

Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad): https://norad.no/en/front

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/foreign-affairs/id919

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

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