The Norwegian government has defined health, education, private sector and job-creation, climate and renewable energy together with humanitarian support, as their main priority areas within official development aid. This was confirmed in the White paper, 'Meld. St. 24 2016-2017 Felles ansvar for felles fremtid', that was approved in Parliament in June 2017. Further the White paper defines SRHR as a central component of the support to health, and the action plan on women’s rights and gender equality in foreign and development policy, launched in September 2016, sets SRHR as one of five objectives. Parliamentary elections were held 11 September 2017 and resulted in the governing parties continuing in power, but with a smaller majority than in previous period. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs is Ine Eriksen Søreide, from the Conservative party and the first women to take on this role. She is also responsible for development since there is no development minister.
Policies & funding
Norway has stepped up the support to SRHR following the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy by the USA. This was done partly through the SheDecides initiative and the FP2020 Summit in July 2017. Norway has seen a strengthening of the SRHR policy over the past two years, with both the action plan on women’s rights and gender equality and the White Paper on development, Meld. St. 24, defining SRHR as an important objective.
Norway’s commitment to work for sexual and reproductive health and rights both normatively and through development support, are grounded within the White Paper on equal rights, Meld. St. 10, the action plan on women’s rights and the White Paper on development, Meld. St. 24. These outline the importance of SRHR and Norway’s particular commitment to work for the international acceptance of sexual rights and access to family planning. The need for continued support to SRHR in humanitarian crisis is also mentioned as part of the Norwegian FP2020 Summit statement.
2017 was the second year of Norwegian funding to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of the UN strategy on Women, Children and Adolescent Health. The GFF is presented as the major new Norwegian commitment to SRHR, with an annual commitment of NOK 600 million until 2020. This is partly including the FP2020 commitment. Norway has further committed to an increase of 85 million USD to SRHR over the next four years, 2017-2020. This includes an increase in core-support to UNFPA and funding to UNFPA Supplies. Norway is thus back as a contributor to UNFPA Supplies, which they had not funded since 2014. UNFPA support is at a record level of 500 million NOK for 2017.
Norway’s high political and public support for SRH/FP continues. In 2012, Norway was one of many donors committing to the new initiative Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), with a promise of contributing NOK 150 million (approximately 15 million Euros) annually. Norway’s strong commitment to family planning was reiterated at several occasions in more recent years, including at the FP2020 Summit in London in July 2017. At the FP2020 Summit Norway also promised to take the lead on comprehensive sexuality education and co-organised a conference on the topic with UNFPA in Oslo in December 2017.
- White Paper on development and the sustainable development goals, Meld. St. 24 2016-2017 (2017).
- An action-plan on Women’s rights and gender equality within the foreign policy, which defines SRHR as one of five main target areas (2016)
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