You are here:


Published on



NOR 4.21

In 2019 Norway assigned 1.03% of gross national income (GNI) in official development assistance (ODA) and strongly aligns its development goals with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aid priorities include: 1) Education, 2) Global health, 3) Humanitarian assistance  4) Private-sector development, agriculture, and renewable energy, and 5) Climate, environment, and oceans. Norway has a strong global health focus on women and children’s health, hosting the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) replenishment conference in 2018. Norway also includes mental health in their non-communicable disease (NCD) strategy, and has been vocal around mental health at key global moments

Global mental health support

A member of the Alliance of Champions of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Norway funded EduApp4Syria, a competition that called for smartphone applications to improve psychosocial wellbeing of Syrian children and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), alongside Switzerland, Sweden and other donors.The Norwegian Council of Mental Health (NCMH) has been working in Lebanon since 2005 to contribute to a resource culture for mental health in Arabic. 

Norway has also announced financial support for WHO’s Special Initiative for Mental Health.

Strategy for global mental health

The MFA has included mental health in the non-communicable disease (NCD) strategy, “Better Health, Better Lives: Combating Non-Communicable Diseases in the Context of Norwegian Development Policy (2020-2024)”. It is based on the 5x5 NCD agenda and WHO’s Best Buys. It states Norway's commitment to helping to implement the measures in WHO’s Mental Health Action Plan, integrating mental health in other priority areas such as early childhood education, and integrating mental health into primary health care. 

Domestic mental health

The Crown Princess Mette-Marit has shown an interest in mental health issues and is a patron of the Norwegian Council for Mental Health (NCMH).

At the 2019 high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the UN General Assembly in 2019, Norway mentioned domestic mental health in their statement: “The impression of Norway might be that we have already achieved UHC, but in the area of mental health and substance abuse issues, we are still coming short. In Norway, people with severe mental health issues and drug addiction on average live 20 years shorter than everybody else. The main reason is that they do not get the same health care for diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart problems. That is one of the biggest and ugliest types of inequality in Norway, and will be our challenge in reaching UHC by 2030.” 

See the WHO MiNDBank for further resources on domestic mental health policies.

Key stakeholders

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for Norway’s development cooperation strategy. 

NORAD provides advice and quality assurance to the MFA and embassies, and manages funds based on strategic direction from the MFA.

NORFUND is Norway’s development finance institution. 

Key decision makers

Prime Minister: Erna Solberg

Assistant Director for the Department of Global Health: Lene Jeanette Lothe

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ine Eriksen Søreide   

Minister of International Development: Dag-Inge Ulstein  

NORAD Director: Bård Vegar Solhjell.

Financing global mental health

According to IHME data, from 2007-2019, Norway provided US$ 26.7 million in development assistance to health (DAMH). This figure is only representative of government resources.


Global health overview

Norway's priority countries for bilateral health cooperation include: India, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Pakistan.

In 2016 US$568 million of ODA went to health (12% of Norway’s total ODA). Some 59% of this was channelled as core contributions to multilateral organisations (US$323 million) and 23% as earmarked funding to multilaterals for health projects.

Norway has made pledges and contributions to the following to global initiatives:

NOR 4.21