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Norway

Transparency Regarding Rainforest Funds (NO0049)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Climate and Environment

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Environment and Climate, Fiscal Transparency

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Norway Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: Not enough information available about to whom the climate and forest funds have been disbursed and about the strategy of the initiative. Main Objective: More transparent external communication about where the funds are going and how the partner countries are selected Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit): Reader-friendly summaries on regjeringen.no about how the climate and forest funds are distributed and the underlying strategy of the initiative. Relevance: Provides greater openness and transparency into the climate and forest funds. Easier for the public and the press to see where public funds are disbursed, to which countries and to which institutions. Ambition: The website of the climate and forest initiative shall provide summaries that are equally as good as those on Norad's web pages for other aid funds. This provides easily accessible information to the public.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Transparency regarding rainforest funds

Commitment Text:

Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: Not enough information available about to whom the climate and forest funds have been disbursed and about the strategy of the initiative.

Main Objective: More transparent external communication about where the funds are going and how the partner countries are selected.

Brief Description of Commitment: Reader-friendly summaries on regjeringen.no about how the climate and forest funds are distributed and the underlying strategy of the initiative.

Relevance: Provides greater openness and transparency into the climate and forest funds. Easier for the public and the press to see where public funds are disbursed, to which countries and to which institutions.

Ambition: The website of the climate and forest initiative shall provide summaries that are equally as good as those on Norad's web pages for other aid funds. This provides easily accessible information to the public.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Climate and Environment

Supporting institution(s): None specified

Start date: Autumn 2015 End date: Spring 2017

Context and Objectives

Through Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the country has pledged 'up to 3 billion NOK a year to help save the world's tropical forests, while improving the livelihoods of those who live off, in, and near the forests.'[Note: See NICFI’s website, https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/id2000712/. ] This commitment aims to improve access to information on how these funds are distributed and spent in countries where NICFI funds projects. The commitment covers both the presentation of information at the dedicated government website,[Note: Ibid.] and an ambition to develop an ICT tool to allow end users to generate data related to NICFI. Although much of this information can be accessed on recipient websites, stakeholders maintain that it is an important and laudable principle that a dedicated website provide good oversight of how public money is being spent on NICFI.[Note: Telephone interview with Nils Hermann Ranum, Rainforest foundation of Norway, 15 December 2017.] The commitment is clearly relevant to access to information, yet certain aspects of the commitment lack specificity. Some of the activities have set start and end dates prior to the action plan period, and it is impossible to verify the ‘new information’ on a given website.

This commitment has a medium level of specificity. For instance, it is not clear what 'new information' is still to be provided on regjeringen.no, a milestone that is included in the commitment even though it is listed as having been completed in autumn 2015, prior to the current action plan period. Other elements of the commitments are more specific, though not always measurable.

The activities proposed, especially the new ICT solution, will potentially lead to significant changes in how NICFI data are presented. More importantly, the solution will let end users generate what they consider relevant data. This commitment is coded as potentially having a moderate, rather than transformative, impact on transparency related to NICFI. This is due to the limited scale and scope of the commitment. A potentially transformative commitment could, for instance, have allowed end users to generate NICFI information based on open data, rather than merely promising an 'enhanced graphic presentation.'

Completion

The new planning tool and public presentation of NICFI expenditure are delayed for technical reasons and budgetary constraints.[Note: Self-assessment report and telephone interview with commitment PoC, Ane Broch Graver, Ministry of Climate and Environment, 29 November 2017.] According to the government’s point of contact, information on the government’s website improved in the first year of the action plan.[Note: Telephone interview with commitment PoC, Ane Broch Graver, Ministry of Climate and Environment, 29 November 2017.] The delay related to the ICT solution has partly to do with the various platforms used by the different ministries and agencies involved, and security challenges related to communication across these platforms.[Note: Ibid.] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embassies, and NORAD use one platform, whereas the Ministry of Climate and the Environment uses another.

With regard to publishing information about NICFI, the government website for Norwegian REDD+ disbursements has been somewhat updated. This website provides a list showing that Norway has disbursed close to 20 billion NOK over the period 2008–2016 to more than 10 countries, several regional initiatives, and 20 global programs or thematic areas.[Note: See https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/kos-innsikt/how-are-the-funds-being-spent/id734170/. ] There are only three links on the entire page, two of which concern Guyana and lead to 404-error pages on the Norwegian government website.[Note: See https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/kos-innsikt/how-are-the-funds-being-spent/id734170/~/link/ac72dcef3f65490b91072f796142a482.aspx?id=592318, and https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/kos-innsikt/how-are-the-funds-being-spent/id734170/~/link/c4ac10aac28f4a1791fb746c783d15f5.aspx. ] The third link is to Norway’s embassy in Tanzania, which contains some project related information. This website is effectively a dead end, and provides no information on disbursements totaling 20 billion NOK. The main NICFI website[Note: See https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/id2000712/.%5D provides more detailed project information, divided by recipient countries or Norwegian funding for multilateral collaboration. Here, more links are provided, for instance, to the Amazon Fund. Although some improvements have been made, according to stakeholders interviewed, this commitment is far from completed.[Note: Telephone interview with Nils Hermann Ranum, Rainforest Foundation of Norway, 15 December 2017.]

The IRM researcher finds that the pages, altogether, provide limited information on the amounts disbursed. The official from the Ministry of Climate and Environment acknowledges that the level of information available is suboptimal, and the IRM researcher has received no reply to an email asking for possible steps toward alleviating this shortcoming temporarily.[Note: Email sent to commitment PoC, 30 November 2017.] As far as the IRM researcher understands, the Ministry of Climate and Environment works together with NORAD and the MFA to facilitate more transparent communication of NICFI disbursements, possibly developed along the lines of the NORAD database on official development aid (ODA) expenditure. NORAD already has a dedicated website for NICFI disbursements to civil society.[Note: See https://www.norad.no/en/front/funding/climate-and-forest-initiative-support-scheme/grants-2013-2015/projects/. ]

While the IRM researcher finds it plausible that technical and security obstacles have delayed the ICT planning and information tool, it is critical, nevertheless, that the government website provides such limited information.

Next Steps

Considering the size of the NICFI expenditure, it is important that transparency increases significantly. It is recommended that:

The government explore a temporary measure to increase transparency, if nothing more, by providing useful links to pertinent information.

The government carry forward this commitment to the next action plan, and implement it in close collaboration with NORAD. NORAD’s experience with ODA transparency measures would be of tremendous benefit to the government.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Transparency regarding rainforest funds

Commitment Text:

Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed: Not enough information available about to whom the climate and forest funds have been disbursed and about the strategy of the initiative.

Main Objective: More transparent external communication about where the funds are going and how the partner countries are selected.

Brief Description of Commitment: Reader-friendly summaries on regjeringen.no about how the climate and forest funds are distributed and the underlying strategy of the initiative.

Relevance: Provides greater openness and transparency into the climate and forest funds. Easier for the public and the press to see where public funds are disbursed, to which countries and to which institutions.

Ambition: The website of the climate and forest initiative shall provide summaries that are equally as good as those on Norad's web pages for other aid funds. This provides easily accessible information to the public.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Climate and Environment

Supporting institution(s): None specified

Start date: Autumn 2015  End date: Spring 2017

Commitment Aim:

Through Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Norway has pledged “up to 3 billion NOK a year to help save the world's tropical forests, while improving the livelihoods of those who live off, in, and near the forests.”[Note21: NICFI’s website, https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/climate-and-environment/climate/climate-and-forest-initiative/id2000712/. ] This commitment aims to improve access to information on how these funds are distributed and spent in countries where NICFI funds projects. The commitment covers both the presentation of information on the dedicated government website,[Note22: Ibid.] and an ambition to develop an ICT tool to allow end users to generate data related to NICFI.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The new planning tool and public presentation of NICFI expenditure was delayed for technical reasons and budgetary constraints.[Note23: Self-assessment report and telephone interview with commitment PoC, Ane Broch Graver, Ministry of Climate and Environment, 29 November 2017.] With regard to publishing information about NICFI, the government website for Norwegian REDD+ disbursements has been somewhat updated. For more information, please see the 2016–2017 IRM midterm report. 

End-of-Term: Limited

According to the Ministry of Climate and Environment, no specific progress has been made related to the commitment since midterm.[Note24: Telephone interview with commitment PoC, Ane Broch Graver, Ministry of Climate and Environment, 28 September 2018.] However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a strategy for increased digitalization in its development policy which may affect this commitment in the long term.[Note25: The digitalization strategy (in Norwegian only), https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/digitalstrategi_2018/id2608197/ ] The completion status thus remains limited.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

As indicated in the description above and the progress report, crucial aspects of this commitment have not been implemented or have been completed only to a limited degree. There is no indication that existing practice on making information on NICFI projects accessible has been changed.

Carried Forward?

This commitment is not carried forward in the next action plan.


Norway's Commitments

  1. Archiving Documents

    NO0054, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Making Energy Statistics Available

    NO0055, 2019, E-Government

  3. e-Access and Expansion

    NO0056, 2019, Civic Space

  4. Open Cultural Data

    NO0057, 2019, E-Government

  5. Digital Spatial Planning

    NO0058, 2019, E-Government

  6. Streamline Public Procurement

    NO0059, 2019, E-Government

  7. Preventing Corruption

    NO0060, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NO0061, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  9. User Orientation

    NO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Electronic Public Records (OEP)

    NO0046, 2016, E-Government

  11. Transparency Regarding Environmental Information

    NO0047, 2016, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Disclosure of Financial Data

    NO0048, 2016, E-Government

  13. Transparency Regarding Rainforest Funds

    NO0049, 2016, E-Government

  14. State Employees’ Ownership of Shares

    NO0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Promote Freedom of Expression and Independent Media

    NO0051, 2016, Civic Space

  16. Country-By-Country Reporting

    NO0052, 2016, Extractive Industries

  17. Register for Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Public Review and Public Consultation

    NO0020, 2013, Capacity Building

  19. Registering and Preserving Digital Documentation Produced by Public Bodies

    NO0021, 2013, E-Government

  20. The Norwegian Citizen Survey (Innbyggerundersøkelsen)

    NO0022, 2013, Public Participation

  21. Whistleblowing

    NO0023, 2013, Whistleblower Protections

  22. Strengthened Information Exchange for More Efficient Crime Prevention and Combating

    NO0024, 2013, Justice

  23. Strengthening the Transparency of Public Authorities and Administration

    NO0025, 2013, Capacity Building

  24. Egovernment with an End-User Focus

    NO0026, 2013, E-Government

  25. Plain Legal Language

    NO0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  26. Norwegian Grants Portal (MFA)

    NO0028, 2013, Aid

  27. An International Convention or Agreement on Financial Transparency

    NO0029, 2013, Private Sector

  28. Reducing Conflicts of Interests – Post-Employment Regulations

    NO0030, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  29. Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector

    NO0031, 2013, Security

  30. A Better Overview of Committees, Boards and Councils – More Public Access to Information and Better Opportunities for Further Use

    NO0032, 2013, E-Government

  31. Modernizing Public Governance

    NO0033, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues

    NO0034, 2013, Extractive Industries

  33. Transparency in the Management of the Government Pension Fund (GPF)

    NO0035, 2013, E-Government

  34. Transparency and Anti-Corruption Efforts

    NO0036, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. The Municipal Sector

    NO0037, 2013, Education

  36. “Simplify” (“Enkelt Og Greit”)

    NO0038, 2013, E-Government

  37. Electronic Public Records (OEP) – (Offentlig Elektronisk Postjournal)

    NO0039, 2013, E-Government

  38. Re-Use of Public Sector Information (PSI)

    NO0040, 2013, Capacity Building

  39. Access to Health Data

    NO0041, 2013, E-Government

  40. Renewal of the Government’S Website (Regjeringen.No – Government.No)

    NO0042, 2013, E-Government

  41. Declaration of Principles for Interaction and Dialogue with NGOs

    NO0043, 2013, Capacity Building

  42. Simplification and Digital Administration of Arrangements for NGOs

    NO0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  43. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0001, 2011, Capacity Building

  44. Measures to Promote Gender Equality and Women’S Full Participation in Civic Life, the Private Sector, the Public Administration and Political Processes.

    NO0002, 2011, Gender

  45. Gender Equality – Participation in the Private Sector

    NO0003, 2011, Gender

  46. Increase Women's Representation in Local Government

    NO0004, 2011, Gender

  47. Gender Equality Program

    NO0005, 2011, Gender

  48. Gender Equality – Inclusion of Immigrant Women

    NO0006, 2011, Gender

  49. Gender Equality – Combat Gender Stereotypes

    NO0007, 2011, Gender

  50. Gender Equality – Youth Initiatives

    NO0008, 2011, Gender

  51. Gender Equality – Combat Domestic Violence

    NO0009, 2011, Gender

  52. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency

    NO0010, 2011, Aid

  53. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Government Global Pension Fund

    NO0011, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  54. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Combat Tax Evasion

    NO0012, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  55. Transparency in the Management of Oil and Gas Revenues / Financial Transparency – Multi-National Companies

    NO0013, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  56. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Create Central Communication Policy

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  58. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – Public Data Use

    NO0016, 2011, Public Participation

  59. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Statistic Publication

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  60. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government – National Public Opinion Survey

    NO0018, 2011, Records Management

  61. An Open Public Sector and Inclusive Government

    NO0019, 2011, Public Participation