A more ambitious Norwegian development policy
“Climate change and the economic downturn threaten to undermine what we have achieved in the fight against poverty. We must be more strategic in our development policy in order to achieve more,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
On February 13 Mr Solheim presented the Government’s new white paper on development policy (Report No. 13 (2008-2009) to the Storting). The Government considers climate change, violent conflict and lack of capital to be the most important challenges in the fight against poverty.
Poor countries need help in order to adjust to the effects of climate change, such as more drought, flooding and extreme weather. And they need help in order to develop without increasing their pollution levels. Transfer of technology and investment in clean energy are essential.
“It would be disastrous for all of us if economic growth in poor countries were to be based on energy from coal, as has been the case with China. It is in our common interests that poor countries use more environmentally sound technology. Rich countries must help to pay for this,” said Mr Solheim.
This also applies to other global public goods such as peace and security, the fight against infectious diseases and control of financial flows.
The Government will intensify its efforts in areas where Norway has a special competence, and will step up its efforts to influence other revenue flows. For every dollar that is provided in development assistance, about seven dollars disappear illicitly from developing countries – these are proceeds from corruption and criminal activities amongst others.
“Development assistance provided by rich countries will never be enough to secure economic growth. Therefore we must facilitate poor countries’ access to other income. Private investment, trade and the fight against corruption and tax havens are important,” said Mr Solheim.