‘In a rapidly changing world, it is important that the Government pursues an active foreign policy that safeguards Norway’s interests, economy and jobs,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
‘As a small country, we have everything to gain from a well-ordered world and strong, predictable multilateral institutions. We must strengthen binding international cooperation if we are to safeguard the security and welfare of Norwegian citizens,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Important focus areas in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget for 2020 include the Norwegian chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, environmental cooperation with Russia, and Norway’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The aid budget will have an increased focus on the humanitarian field and human rights, in addition to efforts to stabilise countries and regions affected by fragility.
‘Humanitarian needs worldwide have increased substantially in recent years. According to the UN, there have never before been so many people in need of humanitarian assistance. The Government has therefore made an unprecedented investment in the area of humanitarian response,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Since 2013, the Government has increased the total humanitarian budget by 68 %. This trend will continue in 2020, with a proposed increase of NOK 115 million, which will bring the total allocation to NOK 5.5 billion.
The Government also proposes a NOK 77 million increase in support for human rights efforts, bringing the total to NOK 825 million.
‘Human rights are coming under increasing pressure globally. The Government will continue to strengthen its support for international human rights efforts, in line with the Government’s political platform,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
In addition to these priority areas, the Government is increasing the funding for research on Europe by NOK 6 million. It is crucial for the Government to have up-to-date information and insight into how changes in Europe will affect us, and how we can meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities that arise. At the same time, Asia is becoming increasingly important for Norway, and an allocation of NOK 5 million is therefore proposed for the research programme Asia in a Time of Change.
The Government also plans to increase funding for the current agreements under the EEA and Norway Grants by NOK 1.7 billion.
The Government’s budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes an increase in expenditure to nearly NOK 48 billion and an increase in income to NOK 3.4 billion. NOK 3.1 billion of both the expenditure and income relate to a short-term bridging loan to Somalia. The overall increase proposed in the aid budget is 3.6 %, bringing the total to NOK 39.2 billion.