The Norwegian government announces in its revised fiscal budget for 2009 an increase in aid funding by NOK 200 million, targeting countries hit by the financial crisis. A close reading reveals that an even larger amount will in fact be spent in Norway.
Foreign Ministry staff in Helsinki report that they feel pressured to give priority to aid projects that make use of Finnish personnel and technology. Development Minister Väyrynen’s involvement in detail is slowing down the decision-making process at the Ministry.
In its recent submission to the UN on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation (REDD), Norway appears to weaken its position on indigenous people’s rights. The Oslo-based NGO Rainforest Foundation says this violates Norway’s international legal obligations.
Three Scandinavian watch dogs warn in a joint review against the growing donor bureaucracy in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. There is a risk that this large donor group is starting to behave like a shadow government in Mozambique.
Finland has cancelled a EUR 1 million tender for construction of a prison in Afghanistan, after it was discovered that a women’s prison built with Finnish aid funds was being used as a brothel. The Foreign Ministry decided to withdraw from the prison sector entirely.