The Danish government plans to divert DKK 150 million in multilateral aid to the bilateral budget post. The decision comes as little surprise as it has long been a favourite of the Liberals, the major coalition party in the Danish government, to focus more on bilateral aid.
The Danish aid level will drop three points to 0.8 per cent of Grand National Income (GNI) in 2006, the lowest since 1985. But actual Danish aid spending will remain at this year’s level of DKK 12.77 billion.
The new Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Kemal Dervis of Turkey was in Oslo recently to make sure the agency’s relation to Norway was in tact. Dervis defeated the Norwegian Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson in a close race for the prestigious job in the UN’s main development agency. In an interview with Development Today, Dervis says he is proud to be the first UNDP Administrator from a programme country.
A major re-allocation of Finnish development funds by Development Minister Paula Lehtomäki prevents Africa from paying for Finland’s relatively large humanitarian spending on the December 2004 tsunami disaster.
Nordic NGO aid policy is in flux. The four Nordic countries spend well over SEK 6 billion annually out of their development assistance budgets on national NGOs. Norway alone spends almost half this amount, while Sweden also transfers substantial sums.
Poul Grosen, Director of UNDP in the Nordic Countries, died unexpectedly on 22 August 2005 due to complications following heart surgery. The warmth - even love - characterizing the grief expressed by hundreds in the UN and in state and non-state organizations in Denmark, the Nordics and abroad, is a unique testament to Poul’s humanity and contributions to development.