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Mainstreaming climate change in Norwegian development aid: Reconciling climate priorities with aid delivery procedures

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A. Dzebo
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This brief examines Norway’s approach to integrating climate issues into all of its official development assistance.

Development cooperation is an important means to assist developing countries in managing and reducing climate change risks. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that aid-funded projects and programmes are designed with full consideration of climate risks, in order for these activities to be robust to future climate changes while reducing both vulnerability and greenhouse gas emissions.

Norway is one of the world’s largest donors of aid, consistently giving more than 0.7% of its gross national income in official development assistance (ODA), averaging around 1% over the past 10 years. Norway has also made significant contributions to climate finance, including 2.4 billion USD in “fast-start finance” in 2010–2012 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and it has been a pioneer in funding for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).

Norwegian engagement with climate change has been significantly scaled up through Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). The institutional structure of the initiative has led to some tensions between existing development procedures and the climate change focus of the initiative. These tensions were addressed by concentrating the budgetary and political responsibilities in the Ministry of Climate and the Environment in 2014.

All of Norway’s climate finance is considered part of its ODA, and the government has suggested that all funding above the 0.7% ODA/GNI target should be counted as climate finance. However, whether Norwegian climate finance can be considered new and additional as dictated under the UNFCCC is not entirely clear.