The Government has proposed to increase the total aid budget from NOK 37.8 billion to NOK 39.2 billion. The Government will intensify Norway’s work to promote achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its climate-related efforts, with an emphasis on the fight against hunger and poverty. Norway’s substantial support for projects run by civil society organisations will be maintained, and efforts to reach vulnerable groups will be stepped up.
The area of climate change, the environment and the oceans is a priority in Norway’s development cooperation. An increase of around NOK 500 million has been proposed for this area, from NOK 4.7 billion in 2019 to NOK 5.2 billion in 2020.
A new budget item will be introduced to highlight the Government’s increased efforts to help vulnerable groups (budget chapter 164, item 73: vulnerable groups), and an allocation of NOK 466 million is proposed for this area for 2020. This includes NOK 100 million that will be moved to this budget item from the budget item for civil society. These funds will mainly go to projects to improve the situation of people with disabilities, and will be channelled through civil society organisations. In addition, support for civil society under the new budget item for vulnerable groups will be increased by a further NOK 100 million.
‘The aim is to strengthen civil society in developing countries, and enhance the capacity of these countries to promote development. The focus will be on the areas of human rights, democracy, gender equality, the environment, climate change, agriculture, food security, vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, and inclusive growth. We will focus in particular on sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries (LDCs),’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.
Human rights and efforts to promote gender equality are under pressure in many places in the world. NGOs and human rights defenders are having their freedom of action constrained, and they are being subjected to persecution and violence. It is particularly important to address the needs of marginalised groups and to fight all discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation,’ Mr Ulstein said.