Norway is increasing its presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is opening a new embassy in the capital Kinshasa. DRC will also be a new partner country in Norwegian development cooperation.
‘Opening a new embassy will strengthen cooperation between Norway and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its seat in the UN Security Council and a stronger presence in DRC, Norway is better equipped to help resolve major humanitarian challenges and enhance compliance with human rights obligations. In addition, we will continue to support stability, peace and reconciliation efforts in DRC and the surrounding region,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The embassy was officially opened last week when the Norwegian Ambassador presented his credentials to the President of DRC, Felix Tshisekedi. Since 2015, Norway has been represented by an embassy office which reports to the Norwegian Embassy in Angola. Norway’s first resident Ambassador to DRC is Jon-Åge Øyslebø.
The DRC was formally defined as a partner country for Norwegian development cooperation in the annual national budget for 2021. The aim of the partner country initiative is to concentrate development aid on fewer countries in order to achieve better results. In line with the white paper Partner Countries in Norway’s Development Policy, long-term strategies and a framework for cooperation are developed, based on the priorities and plans of both Norway and the respective partner countries. Norway has defined 16 other partner countries in addition to DRC.
‘DRC is facing wide-ranging, complex challenges in several areas. Norway is now sending a clear signal that we intend to be a long-term partner for DRC. Norway is strengthening its presence and making DRC a priority partner country for development aid. Increased food security, the fight against modern forms of slavery, and preventing and combating sexual violence will be important focus areas in our development cooperation,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein.
Norway contributes almost NOK 900 million annually to humanitarian, stabilisation and development efforts in DRC. About half of this is allocated through the International Climate and Forest Initiative administered by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.
‘The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the world’s second largest tropical rainforest, which is five times the size of Norway’s land area. This enormous tropical forest plays a vital role in the global climate system. It also exerts a major influence on rainfall over much of Africa, which in turn is crucial for food production. Almost one billion people around the world live in or depend on tropical forests, which also contain approximately 80 % of all the world’s terrestrial animals and plants. Conservation of rainforests is therefore one of Norway’s key priorities. Having an embassy in DRC will make it far easier for us to follow up efforts in this area and strengthen dialogue with the authorities,’ said Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn.
Norway also supports the work of civil society organisations, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), among others.