Budget 2009: Norway plays down UN, Africa

Norwegian Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim has come under heavy fire for using cheap “budget tricks" to push the aid level up to 1 per cent of GNI next year.

In a record large budget, Solheim has in practice put a freeze on traditional aid, while multiplying funds to two key areas: refugee expenses in Norway; and rainforest protection aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.

Africa is given lower priority in this budget in sharp contrast with Swedish and Danish aid. (See Separate story).

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