Norway

Norway is among the most generous DAC providers of official development assistance (ODA) as a share of its gross national income (GNI). Its development programme focuses on health, education, and climate and the environment. Reflecting its global thematic priorities, Norway spends a large and growing share of ODA multilaterally. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for designing development co-operation policy, which the development co-operation agency, Norad, implements. Norway’s development finance institution, Norfund, mobilises finance from the private sector and aligns its investments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2019 OECD-DAC peer review praised Norway’s commitment to global action and the multilateral system, which it backs with generous financial resources. The review also commended Norway’s strong support for domestic resource mobilisation, such as its tax for development work. The review recommended that Norway clarify its institutional arrangements and further strengthen its results and knowledge management systems. Learn more about the 2019 OECD-DAC peer review of Norway.

Norway recognises that achieving the SDGs is a shared responsibility, a principle that underpins its approach to development co-operation. Norway’s development policy, “Common Responsibility for Common Future (2016-17)”, is supported by regular thematic white papers, such as “Partner Countries in Norway’s Development Policy (2017-18)”, which identifies two categories for its bilateral partnerships: 1) long-term development co-operation; and 2) stabilisation and conflict prevention. A recent white paper on Norway’s Role and Interests in Multilateral Cooperation (2018-19) guides Norway’s strong multilateral commitment.

Norway provided more ODA in 2019 than in the previous year. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 4.3 billion (preliminary data), representing 1.02% of Norway’s GNI in 2019.1 The increase of 9.7% in real terms from 2018 was due to an increase in its bilateral aid programmes, especially to Africa. Norway ranked second among DAC member countries in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio in 2019, which is well over the 0.7% target set by the United Nations (UN). Norway has been consistently among the top 5 most generous DAC providers since reaching the UN target in 1976. The government remains committed to Norway’s 1% ODA/GNI target. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis has the same value as net ODA under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, as Norway provides only grants. With 0.27% of ODA to GNI committed to least developed countries (LDCs), Norway also surpasses the 0.2% UN target.2 See the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

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In 2018, just under a quarter of Norway’s ODA (24%) was provided as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Gross bilateral ODA was 76% of total ODA, of which 42% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions).

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In 2018, Norway increased its total support (core and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. It provided USD 2.4 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 4.0% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 1 billion was core multilateral ODA and the rest was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project aid earmarked for a specific project or purpose (tight earmarking) accounted for 37% of Norway’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 63% was softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2018, Norway’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the United Nations (UN), the World Bank Group and regional development banks. These contributions together accounted for 77% of Norway’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 54%, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 1.3 billion to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Norway’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the United Nations Development Programme (USD 246 million), the United Nations Children’s Fund (USD 223 million) and the United Nations Population Fund (USD 101 million).

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Note: See the list of UN acronyms.

See the section on “Geographic and thematic focus of ODA” for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2018, Norway reduced its bilateral spending compared to the previous year. It provided USD 3.3 billion of gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented a decrease of 3.5% in real terms from 2017.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 33% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 102 million in 2018, a decrease of 37.0% in real terms over 2017, and represented 2% of Norway’s total net ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, Norway channelled its bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding, and to a lesser extent non-governmental organisations and the public sector.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation; PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 868 million of gross bilateral ODA. Eight per cent was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 18% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by Norway (earmarked funding). Between 2017 and 2018, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs remained stable as a share of bilateral ODA, at around 26%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2018, Norway’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 795 million was allocated to Africa and USD 702 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 24% and 21% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 75 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe. Asia and Africa were the main regional recipients of Norway’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Forty-six per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 23% of gross bilateral ODA went to Norway’s top 10 recipients. While geographically dispersed, Norway’s top 10 recipients reflect its policy focus on stabilisation and conflict prevention, with seven of its top 10 recipients considered fragile. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 54%, due mainly to Norway’s global thematic focus.

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In 2018, the LDCs received 23.7% of Norway’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 777 million). This is in line with the DAC country average of 23.8% and the highest share allocated to any one income group, noting that a significant share (54%) was unallocated by income group. Norway allocated USD 15 million to small island developing states in 2018, equal to 0.5% of gross bilateral ODA.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.1 billion of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (33.2% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 54% of this amount (USD 587 million). Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

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Note: The chart represents only gross bilateral ODA that is allocated by country.

In 2018, most of Norway’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 44% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.7 billion), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 749 million), and education (USD 576 million). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 582 million (15% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on humanitarian aid in 2018.

In 2018, Norway committed USD 54.8 million of ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 1.5% of bilateral allocable aid. Norway also committed USD 526.6 million (14.6% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2018.

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In 2018, Norway committed 37% of its bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 21% in 2017),3 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 1.3 billion of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 5%, compared with the DAC country average of 4%. A significantly higher share of interventions on social infrastructure and services addresses gender equality than those on economic infrastructure. Norway screens all activities against the gender marker (100% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2018, Norway committed 25% of its bilateral allocable aid (USD 904 million) in support of the environment as either a principal or significant objective, down from 28% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). Fourteen per cent focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 11%. Nineteen per cent (USD 670 million) focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, down from 22% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 26%). Norway has a greater focus on mitigation (15% in 2018) than on adaptation (7%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Data analysis for the OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Norway committed USD 66 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2018, amounting to 2% of bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about ODA focused on the ocean economy.

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In 2018, Norway’s development finance institution, Norfund, mobilised USD 85.9 million from the private sector through shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), and direct investment in companies or project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs).

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Note: CIV: collective investment vehicle; SPV: special purpose vehicle.

Of the country-allocable finance mobilised from the private sector in 2017-18, 63% targeted middle-income countries and 37% targeted the LDCs.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

Norway’s private finance mobilised in 2017-18 mainly related to activities in the banking and financial services (47%); energy (33%); and agriculture, forestry and fishing (17%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

A formal review and reform of Norway’s aid administration commenced in 2018 and was finalised in January 2020. The delivery of Norway’s development co-operation is largely shared between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Norad. The MFA is responsible for formulating policy, while Norad now has greater responsibility for implementing and managing grants. The Ministry for Climate and Environment remains responsible for Norway’s international climate and forests initiative (NICFI). Norway’s embassies, Norec (formerly FK Norway, responsible for facilitating exchanges between Norway and developing countries) and the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund, Norway’s development finance institution) also contribute to Norway’s development co-operation activities.

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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 Norway’s evaluation system.

The Evaluation Department is currently evaluating Norway’s anti-corruption efforts, Norwegian assistance in selected countries and selected programmes in the Knowledge Bank. Read Norway’s evaluation plan for 2020-22.

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

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

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

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad): https://norad.no/en/front

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

Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund): https://www.norfund.no

Norec (formerly FK Norway): https://www.norec.no/en/home

Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI): https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/id2000712

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 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the provider’s effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. All 2019 statistics in this paragraph are expressed in current prices and, therefore, they may differ from values in the ODA volume chart, which uses constant prices.

← 3. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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https://doi.org/10.1787/2dcf1367-en

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