NOK 34.6 billion in aid in 2018

In 2018, Norway gave NOK 34.6 billion in development aid. This is an increase of half a billion from 2017. A growing proportion is channelled through multilateral organisations.
These are recent figures for 2018 in Norad’s portal Norwegian Aid Statistics.
In 2018, altogether 56 per cent of all Norwegian aid passed through multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. This includes both core and earmarked funding, and the proportion of the latter is increasing. Examples include support for thematic funds that are working in many developing countries.
‘It’s a trend that an ever-growing proportion of the aid goes into international cost-sharing,’ says Norad director Jon Lomøy.
In total, Norway gave NOK 10 billion in aid through UN organisations in 2018, and three billion through the World Bank group.
The three largest recipients were the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the vaccine alliance GAVI.
In parallel, NOK 7.5 billion was channelled through civil society organisations, equivalent to 22 per cent of all aid. The main partners are the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People’s Aid and Save the Children Norway.

Emergency assistance to Syria

For the third consecutive year, Syria was the largest recipient of Norwegian aid. The country received NOK 1 billion, mainly in the form of emergency assistance, followed by Afghanistan, Brazil and Palestine.
‘This year’s statistics reflect the priorities of Norwegian aid: emergency assistance, development and climate. This influences what countries will be the main recipients. The war in Syria again makes it the largest recipient, while the climate programme makes Brazil a key partner,’ Lomøy explains.
In 2018, there was also a small increase in aid to the least developed countries. These are poor countries that face comprehensive barriers to sustainable development. After some years of decline, the proportion of aid distributed by country to these has increased over the last two years, up to 52 per cent in 2018. These countries received a total of NOK 6.3 billion.

Less than 1 per cent of GNI

Only in the record year of 2016 has Norway spent more on development aid than in 2018. However, last year’s aid accounted for no more than 0.94 per cent of gross national income (GNI).
‘This year, we did not achieve our ambition of one per cent for development aid. The main reason is that the Norwegian economy has fared better than what was estimated in the budget. In addition, we have held back funding for projects where we felt uncertain about their progress and quality, and this has also had an effect on the final total,’ Lomøy says.
Norway has set itself a political goal to provide one per cent of its GNI to development assistance. The main reason why this did not happen in 2018 is that the Norwegian economy performed better than expected. The gross national income was therefore far above the estimated value in the state budget. In addition, less aid was paid out than was foreseen.
‘I’m glad to see the broad political endorsement in Norway for continuing the high level of aid allocations. On the other hand, it’s essential to ensure appropriate management of the funds, that they reach the target groups and make a positive difference in people’s lives. A large aid budget means a large responsibility for ensuring appropriate management. We are concerned to deliver on this promise every day,’ Lomøy underscores.
In 2018, Norad’s portfolio consisted of a total of NOK 10.3 billion, equivalent to 30 per cent of all aid funds. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ portfolio accounted for 52 per cent, while Norwegian embassies were responsible for 15 per cent. The Ministry of Climate and Environment was in charge of 3 per cent of the funds.

Small changes in thematic areas

In 2018, the thematic structure of Norwegian development aid remained relatively stable when compared to 2017.
There was an increase in earmarked aid to good governance, economic development and trade, and climate, environment and energy. Earmarked support for the health and social sector and for education was maintained at the same level. On the other hand, there was a decline in earmarked emergency assistance. The term ‘earmarked funds’ refers to aid which is devoted to specific thematic areas or recipient countries.

The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative

The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative is Norway’s largest climate programme. In 2018, a total of NOK 2.9 billion was transferred, the same amount as in 2017. Over the course of ten years, Norway has paid a total of NOK 25 billion to combat deforestation in tropical forest countries through this initiative.
The largest recipient countries in 2018 were Brazil and Indonesia. The largest partners were the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
Norway’s climate finance contributions for emissions reduction and climate adaptation in developing countries in 2018 has been estimated to a total of NOK 6.5 billion. This is a considerable increase from NOK 4.8 billion in 2017, mainly due to net investments in renewable energy by Norfund. Norfund’s individual climate-related investments are not registered in the official aid statistics but included in the reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

More taxes

Last year, there was a marked increase in aid intended to improve taxation systems and raise tax revenues, including prevention of illegal capital flight to promote sustainable development. Norway has committed to double taxation-related aid from 2015 to 2020.
Since 2015, Norway has increased its taxation-related aid by more than 40 per cent. In 2018, altogether NOK 189 million was devoted to this objective. The increased support went mainly to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to cooperation with the authorities in Tanzania and Mozambique.
Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is a major challenge for women and youth in poor countries. Norway contributed NOK 1.6 billion to purposes linked to sexual and reproductive health and rights in 2018. This is an increase from NOK 1.3 billion in 2017, and a large proportion of this increase was channelled through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
A total of NOK 827 million was spent on refugee-related costs in Norway in 2018. It is ten years since less than NOK 1 billion of aid funds was spent on refugee-related costs in Norway.

Published 03.04.2019
Last updated 03.04.2019