Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Highlights from the proposed 2017 budget

The Solberg Government put forward its proposed budget for 2017 last Thursday 6 October. ‘The Government’s proposed aid budget for 2017 amounts to 1 % of Norway's GNI and sets out a historic level of funding in many areas. The present Government has doubled support for education, increased humanitarian aid by 50 %, and increased funding for global health by NOK 600 million. We are also continuing our targeted efforts in the areas of business development, job creation, climate change, environment and sustainable energy,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. Here is a summary of some highlights of the budget for Norway’s engagements abroad:

Record high budget for humanitarian aid

'There are several major humanitarian crises in the world today. The Government is therefore planning to increase Norway's allocation for humanitarian aid to just over NOK 5 billion in 2017. A large part of this will go to efforts in Syria and the neighbouring countries. The humanitarian budget has increased by more than 50 % under the present Government. This increase has been necessary given the international situation facing us today,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The humanitarian budget is distributed between key partners with focus on particular countries and particular thematic areas. It also includes Norway's core funding to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).


Support for global education doubled

The Government is doubling its support for global education. 'We propose a record high allocation of NOK 3.4 billion for aid for education in 2017. There are 263 million children and young people who do not go to school because of conflict or poverty. The world is on the brink of a global education crisis. We cannot afford to let this happen,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The global youth unemployment rate is more than 25 %. Without a major upgrade of the education sector, by 2030 more than 1.5 billion people will only have primary education. These figures are from a recent report from the International Commission on Financing of Global Education Opportunity.


World leader in global health

'The Government proposes an allocation of more than NOK 3 billion to global health in next year's budget. This will mean that, in the current parliamentary term, we will have increased our funding for this area by NOK 600 million. Our direct support to UNAids and the World Health Organization, which amounts to NOK 300 million, comes in addition to this. The increased allocation reflects the fact that health is crucial for creating growth and achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. In the time ahead, we will have an even stronger focus on reaching people who are particularly at risk because of war and conflict,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Global health will remain a key area in Norway's development policy. Norway is at the forefront of efforts to promote global health at the international level. Our primary focus is on maternal and child health and the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.


Attention to global job creation and business development

'Job creation and economic growth are vital for combating poverty. This is why the business development and job creation have been key areas in the Government's development policy since 2013. In the budget for 2017, the Government proposes an allocation of NOK 1.5 billion to Norfund. The Government is also giving priority to vocational training in developing countries,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Since the Government came to power in 2013, it has stepped up efforts to promote economic development and job creation. Job creation and business development are crucial for fighting poverty, building sustainable, stable states and reducing aid dependency.


Intensified efforts in fragile states and regions

'The refugee crisis and large-scale humanitarian crises arising from conflicts, wars and terrorism have meant that we have had to increase our focus on fragile states and regions. Conflicts, wars and terrorism have catastrophic consequences for those who are directly affected. They also create challenges for us and threaten our security,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

In the budget proposal for 2017, aid for post-crisis stabilisation and reconstruction has been expanded to include crisis prevention. The Government proposes an increase in support for efforts in these areas of NOK 53 million in 2017.

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