Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad

Peace processes Norway Has Participated Or Participates I.
OFFICE: In the Foreign Service, Norway's contribution to peace processes is a high priority, while peacebuilding in development assistance has fallen completely out of Norad's new strategy.

Ragnhild Simenstad is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesperson.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website informs that Norway is involved in peace processes in several places in the world, including Mozambique, Afghanistan, Venezuela and the Philippines. However, the website has not been updated since 2019, and Simenstad points out that much of the state's peace work takes place in confidence and thus cannot be published. Historically, it is also not uncommon for peace processes to take place in secret.

She answers the following about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' peace work:

- Where on the Foreign Ministry's priority list is the peace work today?

- International cooperation is crucial for Norway's security, economy and welfare. It is in Norway's interest to contribute to solving common challenges. It includes how we must respond to climate change, defend international law, ensure respect for human rights, promote peace and reconciliation and achieve the sustainability goals.

- What does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs see as Norway's role in the international peace project? 

- Conflict resolution by facilitating peace processes is a cornerstone of Norwegian foreign policy, and is becoming increasingly important. We live in a time where the global post-war order is under pressure. The defense of a liberal world order has become one of the most important issues of value in international politics. Peace efforts will be more in demand in a world where the established order is being challenged. At the same time, peace and dialogue work is a contribution in itself to the global order.

- The Oslo agreement put Norway on the map as a facilitator of peace talks. Since then, a number of processes have emerged – Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Colombia, the Philippines and Afghanistan, to name a few. Over time, Norway has gained considerable experience and broad networks. This means that we are in a strong position to be able to contribute to the stabilization of conflict areas and lasting peace solutions that deal with the underlying causes of the conflicts. The peace diplomatic work is long-term and often takes place in silence.

"The defense of a liberal world order has become one of the most important issues of value
in international politics. "

- How does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs work to lower tensions in the High North?

- In the north, domestic and foreign policy are two sides of the same coin. It is a Norwegian core interest that the relationship between neighbors and neighboring countries is good. At the same time, it is important for the whole country that Northern Norway is a place where people want to live and invest their future. Therefore, the High North policy is about everything from jobs and value creation to education, cultural offerings, infrastructure and transport.

Simenstad concludes by informing that the Arctic Forum summit is one of the most important co-operation platforms for the Nordic countries, Russia, Canada and the USA. Foreign ministers from these countries met for a meeting on 20 May.

Peacebuilding in development aid?

Norad – the directorate for development cooperation – is an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that manages 19 billion of the development assistance budget and will ensure quality in Norwegian development assistance. In April 2021, Norad came up with a new strategy for development assistance towards 2030. This strategy involves more strategic use of money, focus on sustainability, innovation in development assistance and knowledge sharing. Here, however, peacebuilding shines through assistance with its absence. Norad's new 2030 agenda points out that Norec, formerly known as the Peace Corps, will contribute to achieving the goals of development policy through mutual exchange. Otherwise, there is no trace of peace policy in the strategy. Peace is no longer articulated as a goal for development aid or development policy. Peacebuilding is also not a priority as a tool in development policy in this strategy. The lack of focus on practical peace work in development work is palpable.
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