The Norwegian Government has allocated NOK 27.8 billion for development in poor countries in 2012. This is a record high aid budget. Efforts on climate change, renewable energy and agriculture will be intensified.
The aid budget for 2012 is 1% of Norway’s gross national income (GNI).
Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim commented, “Development in poor countries depends on people having access to electricity. This is crucial for development. School children need light to do their homework. Electricity is needed to store medicines. Lack of energy makes vulnerable groups more vulnerable. Energy is also a vital factor for attracting investment in the private sector.”
Altogether, 1.4 billion people do not have access to electricity. The Government will give priority to renewable energy in order to both address climate change and promote development. At the same time, the Norwegian Government is intensifying efforts to conserve forests and provide those whose livelihoods depend on forests with other sources of income.
Environmental and climate change is now a key cause of three out of four humanitarian disasters, and the instability of the global economy means that the most vulnerable people in the world are now even more at risk. This is also increasing the need for humanitarian assistance. Priority will therefore also be given to emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, and to human rights and health.
“I am proud to present yet another record-high budget for Norwegian development cooperation. At the same time, poor countries need higher levels of investment. We are therefore increasing our efforts to link aid to sound investments that create development,” said Mr Solheim.
The main increases in funding will be in the following areas:
· The development of renewable energy will increase by NOK 255 million.
· Funding for Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative will increase by NOK 387 million.
· Funding for climate change adaptation and climate-resilient agriculture will increase by NOK 159 million.
· Funding for emergency relief, humanitarian assistance and human rights will increase by NOK 246 million.
In addition, the Government has increased its allocation to efforts to promote democracy and human rights in the budget for 2012 by NOK 45 million. The funds will be used on important focus areas for Norway such as freedom of expression, human rights defenders, election monitoring, and the development of democracy and the rule of law, for example in the Middle East and North Africa. Altogether, NOK 260 million has been allocated for human rights efforts.
The funds will also be used to intensify efforts to combat the death penalty, an area where Norway is already actively involved.