In a 2017 White Paper on development, the Norwegian government defined health, education, private sector and job-creation, climate and renewable energy together with humanitarian support, as their main priority areas within Norway’s official development aid. The White Paper further 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 2016, sets SRHR as one of five objectives.
With an increase in funding to and priority of humanitarian aid, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed a new Humanitarian Strategy which was launched in 2018. For the first time, an increased priority of sexual and reproductive health services in crisis is acknowledged. This confirms a priority of SRHR both within long term development and humanitarian aid.
Parliamentary elections were held in 2017 and resulted in the governing parties continuing in power, but with a smaller majority than in previous Parliament. A new Minister of Foreign Affairs was appointed, Ine Eriksen Søreide, from the Conservative party, who is the first woman to take on this role. In January 2019, the Christian Democratic Party (KrF) decided to join the government, resulting in a four-party government with majority in Parliament: The Conservative Party (H), The Progressive Party (Frp), The Liberal Party (V) and the Christian Democratic Party (KrF). Their joint policy platform continued the same priorities for international development aid, with an increased focus on vulnerable groups and marginalised populations. A relatively unknown candidate from the Christian Democratic Party (KrF), Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, took over the position of Minister for International Development. He soon established himself as a minister with a focus on vulnerable populations, harmful practices and modern slavery, launching a strategy on Harmful Practices in October 2019.
Policies & funding
Norway has stepped up the support to SRHR following the reinstatement of the USA ’Mexico City Policy’. 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 three years, including the action plan on women’s rights and gender equality, the above-mentioned White Paper on development, the White Paper on equal rights, the new Humanitarian Strategy including a priority of SRHR, the recent revised Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in 2019, and the newly launched strategy to Eliminate Harmful Practices.
These policies and documents, which are at the basis of normative and development support, outline the importance of SRHR and Norway’s particular commitment to work for the international acceptance of sexual rights and access to family planning.
In 2018, Norway disbursed NOK 1.4 billion (€145.6 million) in SRH/FP funding, a slight increase of 1.5% compared to 2017.
2019 was the fourth 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 global health system strengthening and SRHR, with an annual commitment of NOK 600 million (around € 60 million) until 2020, which was renewed at the replenishment conference in Oslo in November 2018. Norway has further committed to an increase of 85 million USD (around € 74 million) to SRHR over four years, 2017-2020. This includes an increase in core-support to UNFPA, which stands at a record level of 500 million NOK (€50 million) in 2018, and increased support to international SRHR organisations. Norway is also back as a contributor to the UNFPA Supplies Programme, which they had not funded since 2014.
At the ICPD+25Nairobi Summit in 2019, Norway committed to contribute 10,4 billion NOK (€1 billion) to SRHR over the period 2020-25. This includes 760 million NOK (€76 million) towards the Elimination of harmful practices for the period 2020-23, and 1 billion NOK (€100 million) to prevent SGBV in humanitarian crisis for the period 2019-21.
Norway continues its high political and public support for SRH/FP. In 2012, Norway was one of many donors committing to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), with a promise of contributing NOK 150 million (approximately €15 million) 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 Summit, Norway also promised to take the lead on comprehensive sexuality education and co-organised a conference on the topic with UNFPA in Oslo end of that year.
- Norway’s new strategy to Eliminate Harmful Practices.
- Norway’s Humanitarian Strategy: An effective and integrated approach (2018).
- White Paper on development and the sustainable development goals, Meld. St. 24 2016-2017 (2017).
- Action-plan on Women’s rights and gender equality within the foreign policy, “Freedom, Empowerment and Opportunities”, which defines SRHR as one of five main target areas (2016)
Updated January 2020
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