NGOs in Norway
Norway is working effectively as a peacemaker. Norway acted alone in the early 1990s, but now there is more active engagement with the UN, other countries and international NGOs. Within Norway there is now more talk of the dugnad principle, of the value of community effort in building a barn or resolving a conflict. An example of such a co-operative international effort occurred after the Kenyan presidential election in December 2007, to prevent a potentially genocidal conflict between the Luos and the Kikuyu. That successful peace-making effort involved concerted engagement by several countries and international NGOs, led by Kofi Annan, largely funded and facilitated by Norway. The engagement of several actors committed to peaceful conflict resolution may often be essential to effective reconciliation.
One of the most striking features of the Norwegian model of foreign affairs is the importance of NGOs and academic bodies in contributing to Norwegian support for its foreign policies. The five largest Norwegian NGOs have a combined staff of several thousand worldwide, and are increasingly operating on behalf of the UN and with funding from outside Norway. There are six Norwegian research institutes specialising in studies on international assistance, peace research, international co-operation and human rights, each with a staff of between fifty and 120, largely funded by government grants. The UN Association of Norway has a staff of more than thirty, most involved in school and public education about the UN, virtually all financed by government. The Australian government could learn from that, and quickly strengthen its support beyond research on military aspects of security. Far better funding of programs, scholarship and education about international relations would transform Australia’s international contribution and domestic awareness. Norwegian Church Aid supports many NGOs with anti-Israel agendas, including Bat Shalom and EAPPI, and