Photo: Trond Viken, Utenriksdepartementet.Photo: Trond Viken, Utenriksdepartementet

Development policy

Last updated: 21.01.2009 // Norwegian development policy challenges the unequal distribution of power within and between countries as well as the conditions that underpin injustice, oppression and discrimination – at every level.

The fight against poverty, our commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals and our belief in a UN-led world order stand firm.

We attach importance to individual rights in our efforts and we seek to assist states to fulfil their obligations and enable individuals to claim their rights.

Norway is making targeted efforts in key areas such as good governance, human rights, environment and climate change, education, health, and gender equality. It is a well documented fact that investing in education, health and income opportunities for women significantly boosts social development and economic growth.

Developing countries shape their own future

A national development process cannot be engineered by external actors. Developing countries have the right and responsibility to shape their own future. It is Norway’s view that positive social development requires a functioning state, an active civil society and a viable private sector. Developing countries must make their own choices and set their own priorities regarding the development of social services, democracy and policies for promoting employment and sustainable economic growth.

Norway can support these processes by providing funding and expertise.

Climate and forest

Poverty is exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. Adaptation to climate change is primarily a matter of reducing poor countries’ vulnerability to change. Through its Climate and Forest Initiative, Norway has taken a leading role internationally in protecting tropical forests, which capture and store carbon dioxide, support biological diversity and provide livelihoods for indigenous peoples. In order to be robust, environmental policy – in both rich and poor countries – must be linked to an economic policy that promotes employment and growth in income and production.


Most of the armed conflicts in the world today take place in poor countries, and many of Norway’s partner countries are in conflict or at risk of conflict. Conflicts create problems that extend to areas and populations far beyond those that are directly affected. Neighbouring countries and whole regions can be destabilised and, at worst, drawn directly into a conflict. Some conflicts can have global repercussions. The civilian suffering caused by armed conflict is enormous. For example, women and children are especially vulnerable to abuse and sexual violence. Our peace and reconciliation efforts are based on respect for and promotion of human rights. Norway also gives priority to efforts in fragile states.

Illicit financial flows and access to capital

Rapid growth in the world economy has helped to reduce poverty and improve living standards for millions of people. Developing countries must be given greater access to global capital, better opportunities for value creation, and more control over their own economic resources, and they must encourage investment in their own country. The Government will intensify efforts to support such developments, for example by stimulating trade, promoting investment and good governance, and facilitating remittance transfers from migrants.

Another priority area is effective efforts to combat illicit financial flows from developing countries, which are estimated to total as much as NOK 4000 billion a year. The fight against tax havens is a key element in these efforts.

Source: By the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs   |   Share on your network   |   print