Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim commented, “Development in poor countries depends on people having access to electricity. This is crucial for development. School children need light to do their homework. Electricity is needed to store medicines. Lack of energy makes vulnerable groups more vulnerable. Energy is also a vital factor for attracting investment in the private sector.”
Altogether, 1.4 billion people do not have access to electricity. The Government will give priority to renewable energy in order to both address climate change and promote development. At the same time, the Government is intensifying efforts to conserve forests and provide those whose livelihoods depend on forests with other sources of income. Read more about this here. Priority will also be given to emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, and to human rights and health.
“The rights of women and children are important for us. Women must gain more control over their own lives. Many women still die in connection with childbirth. We cannot accept the fact that for many women, the day their child is born is the most dangerous day of their life,” said Mr Solheim.
The Government will continue its work to cancel debt in the poorest countries. Norway is also supporting the important work many NGOs are doing.
“The Government will continue to give priority to Africa in 2012. Poor countries need to adapt to climate change. This requires new approaches, especially in agriculture. We have seen how drought and hunger have brought about terrible suffering in the Horn of Africa,” said Mr Solheim.
War, corruption and oppression all impede development. The Government will continue its peace efforts. Norway is also helping to build up governance capacity in poor countries. Many countries are in need of better systems for collecting taxes and utilising their natural resources. At the same time the fight against illicit financial flows from poor countries will continue.
“I am proud to present yet another record-high budget for Norwegian development cooperation. At the same time, poor countries need higher levels of investment. We are therefore increasing our efforts to link aid to sound investments that create development,” said Mr Solheim.
The main increases in funding will be in the following areas:
The development of renewable energy will increase by NOK 255 million.
Funding for Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative will increase by NOK 387 million.
Funding for climate change adaptation and climate-resilient agriculture will increase by NOK 159 million.
Funding for emergency relief, humanitarian assistance and human rights will increase by NOK 246 million.