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Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Useful review of the EEA and Norway Grants

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

“It is encouraging that the Office of the Auditor General is of the view that the EEA and Norway Grants help to strengthen contact and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries. I am pleased that the Office of the Auditor General notes that our approach has become more focused and targeted,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General today presented its performance audit of the EEA and Norway Grants. The overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants are to contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA, and to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.

“The report provides a useful review of our work on the EEA and Norway Grants, and it endorses the changes the Ministry has initiated,” said Mr Eide.

The EEA and Norway Grants have become an instrument of Norwegian foreign policy, and they help to promote social and democratic development in Europe.

“The contribution we make through the Grants acts as a door opener and it creates forums and cooperation on a scale that would otherwise have been impossible,” said Mr Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report supports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ introduction of a new administrative model for the Grants. The report concludes that this has helped to promote a more focused approach, and that performance management has improved and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries has been strengthened.

At the same time, the Office of the Auditor General recommends that the ongoing work on performance management should be further strengthened, that administration and the provision of technical assistance should be followed up, and that the administrative model should be assessed in terms of its ability to meet the need for controls and ensure good performance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make active use of the investigation in its ongoing work to further develop the administration of the Grants. Quality assurance and performance management will continue to have high priority.

“It is important for Norway to be able to carry out controls and influence how the EEA and Norway Grants are used. We have therefore increased our capacity to carry out controls and engage in risk management. In order to achieve this, we had to use some of the funds to cover the costs of administration and technical assistance,” Mr Eide said.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report and recommendations will be followed up in various forums, including at a risk management seminar in Oslo next week that will gather representatives from all the beneficiary countries and Transparency International.

 

 

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Norway: The Conservative Party defeats the Labour Party – Erna Solberg becomes New Prime Minister, Stoltenberg is out!

Posted by African Press International on September 10, 2013

The Conservative Party of Norway has won the elections. Stoltenberg of the Labour Party who has ruled the country for eight years loses the fight to remain premier. Erna Solberg now  becomes the Prime Minister. Her government will be a coalition consisting of Three parties.

The Labour party ruled the country in a coalition with the Center Party (farmers party), and the Socialist Left party. The Conservatives will now rule in a coalition with the Left wing party, the Christian party and the Progress party

Many refugees and asylum seekers will now have to change their attitude in connection with receiving welfare. Those who have relied on welfare will have to work in order to receive welfare if they are not in any employment. The Progress party with the Conservative party will push for all those in the welfare system to look for jobs instead of relying on handouts from the government.

Interview with API before the elections:

Press conference before the elections:

Many prefer not to work, instead they choose to get welfare money and stay lazy at home.

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Norway: EGEBERGPARKEN OFFICIAL INAUGURATION SEPTEMBER 26th – Great artwork in the making by Norwegian Christian Ringnes

Posted by African Press International on September 4, 2013

The official inauguration of Egebergparken (park) will take place on the 26th of September. International artists will grace the occasion. This fantastic park with famous artwork, remodelled is the brainchild of Mr Christian Ringnes.

www.africanpress.me/ Ekebergparken’s official inauguration on 26th September 2013 takes place, Oslo – Norway

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New Norwegian funding to secure tax revenues in developing countries

Posted by African Press International on September 2, 2013

Norway will support African countries in the negotiation of fair agreements with international companies that are exploiting their natural resouces,”said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås. Mr Holmås met the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka,in Oslo this week to sign an agreement on an additional NOK 30 million in support. 

Many developing countries are rich in natural resources but their populations remain very poor. One of the reasons for this is that multinational companies have negotiated unfair agreements with national authorities on the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, oil and gas. This has led to conflicts and continued poverty.

“Norway is seeking to help turn Africa’s ‘resource curse’ into a ‘resource blessing’ by supporting the negotiation of better contract terms. The aim is for the countries to strengthen their own revenues and economies, and in the long term for them to be able to manage without aid,” said Mr Holmås.

Whereas the authorities in many African countries lack the legal expertise they need, multinational companies have their own experts in tax law and commercial law. Norway has now agreed to provide NOK 30 million over a period of two years to strengthen the negotiating capacity of African countries. This work will be carried out through the African Legal Support Facility, which is hosted by the African Development Bank, and which provides legal assistance in the negotiation of contracts and in settling disputes between multinational companies and the authorities in African countries.

“This work also enhances financial transparency surrounding contracts which is crucial to be able to uncover and stop illicit financial flows. Every year ten times as much money disappears out of developing countries through illicit financial flows as is received in the form of aid and development support,” Mr Holmås stressed.

Norway provided NOK 768 million in support to the African Development Bank in 2012. Inclusive growth and the transition to green growth are the two main objectives of the Bank’s Strategy for 2013–2022, which also identifies fragile states, agriculture and food security and gender as areas of special emphasis. The strategy is consistent with Norway’s development policy priorities, as set out in the recent white paper on fair distribution, Sharing for prosperity.

 

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Additional NOK 350 million to be allocated to humanitarian crises

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2013

The Government intends to increase the humanitarian budget by NOK 350 million. The funds will primarily be channelled to Syria, but the crisis in South Sudan and the area around the Great Lakes in Africa will also receive Norwegian support. “There is an acute need for additional funds to alleviate several of the grave humanitarian crises in the world. The Government has therefore presented a proposition to the Storting today, proposing a NOK 350 million increase in the humanitarian budget. Of this sum, NOK 275 million will go to the crisis in Syria,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating steadily. The conflict in Syria began in March 2011. According to UN reports, more than 100 000 people have been killed. The number of refugees fleeing to Syria’s neighbouring countries has exceeded 1.9 million, and there are 4.25 million internally displaced. At least 6.8 million Syrians are dependent on humanitarian aid. “The situation in Syria is becoming increasingly brutal. Both the population in Syria and the refugees in neighbouring countries need our help.

 

In addition, the pressure being exerted on Syria’s neighbouring countries by the flow of refugees is a major problem. It is crucial that the international community helps the neighbouring countries to address this situation,” Mr Eide said. The additional NOK 275 million will bring Norway’s total humanitarian contribution to the crisis in Syria in 2013 to NOK 635 million. Norway will then have provided a total of NOK 850 million since the onset of the conflict in 2011.

“The crisis in Syria is the most rapidly escalating crisis in the world today. We must not, however, forget the humanitarian needs in other crises that are less in the media spotlight. The Government will therefore also provide an additional NOK 75 million to South Sudan and the area around the Great Lakes in Africa,” said Mr Eide. End

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Norway condemns terrorist attacks in Lebanon

Posted by African Press International on August 24, 2013

The terrorist attacks in Tripoli this week and in Beirut last week have killed dozens of people and wounded several hundred more. “Norway condemns the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Lebanon over the past weeks. Our thoughts go to those who have been affected and their families,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The civil war in Syria has placed great strain on Lebanon and other countries in the region, in the form of large numbers of refugees, rising sectarian tensions and an increased risk of violent conflict.

“I am deeply concerned by the increase in violence in Lebanon. It will be a tragedy if the conflict in Syria takes hold in Lebanon too. Lebanon has a recent history of sectarian violence. It is now crucial that all parties refrain from acts that could heighten tensions in Lebanese society,” Mr Eide said.

 

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Norway condemns attacks on religious institutions in Egypt

Posted by African Press International on August 24, 2013

“I am shocked by the widespread burning of churches that has taken place in Egypt over the past week. Norway condemns these acts of violence. All political groups in Egypt must now distance themselves clearly and unequivocally from the burning of churches and attacks on Christian property,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Yesterday, Christians and Muslims in Egypt made a joint appeal to the Egyptian authorities to strengthen security measures to protect churches and other religious institutions. The appeal was issued through the organisation The Egyptian Family Home, which was set up by the Coptic Church and Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt’s leading Islamic institution.

“Norway fully supports this joint appeal. I completely understand that many Christians in Egypt now feel threatened. The Egyptian authorities have responsibility for ensuring the security of the country’s religious institutions,” Mr Eide said.

“The right to practise one’s religion is a fundamental human right. I expect the Egyptian authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure the security of places of worship and other religious property,” Mr Eide said.

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Norway is to be at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights

Posted by African Press International on August 19, 2013

Women’s rights are increasingly coming under pressure in many countries. Today the Government launched its new Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy. Norway is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights internationally, and we intend to increase our efforts through our embassies.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide commented, “We are constantly seeing examples of the weak position of women’s rights in the world. In several countries, these rights are coming under pressure. At the same time we see courageous women and men who are standing up and fighting for gender equality and women’s dignity. For example, the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala’s campaign has impressed people all over the world, including in Norway. Norway intends to play its part. That is why we are increasing our engagement all over the world in the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.”

Today the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Development presented a joint plan of action for Norway’s efforts to lift the issue of women’s rights and gender equality higher up the international agenda. The plan emphasises the importance of strengthening the Foreign Service’s efforts through concrete guidelines, systematic gender assessment, and enhanced training. The aim is for all employees at Norwegian missions abroad to be ambassadors for gender equality.

Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås commented, “Gender equality doesn’t happen by itself. We know that from our experience here in Norway. Norway will therefore be a clear and fearless voice for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. We intend to pursue the most effective development policy possible with a view to ensuring that all women have access to contraception and safe abortions.”

 

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Norway first in the world to audit developing country debt

Posted by African Press International on August 18, 2013

A new report of developing countries’ debt owed to Norway, was presented in Oslo yesterday. “Norway is the first country in the world to have carried out an independent audit of debt agreements. We are doing this to make sure that we are living up to our responsibility as a lender to developing countries,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

Unmanageable debt burdens are one of the fundamental causes of poverty in developing countries. While the international community gives USD 141 billion in aid to developing countries annually, the developing countries pay back USD 464 billion each year to their creditors. Many of the debt agreements were entered into when economic, political and social conditions were uncertain.

“Although the solvency of many countries, such as Brazil, is improving, the debt burden is hampering development in some poor countries. These countries are having difficulty servicing old debt agreements made on unfavourable terms. We now want to address this,” said Mr Holmås, who referred to the first creditor-initiated debt audit as a milestone in Norwegian and international debt policy.

The audit report has been carried out by Deloitte under commission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It covers 34 debt agreements with seven countries: Egypt, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Most of the agreements are between 20 and 30 years old. The debts have a total value of almost NOK 1 billion, and when interest on overdue payments is added to this, the total amount is almost four times as much. The report shows that the agreements were largely concluded in accordance with the previous rules and regulations, and partially in accordance with the current rules and the UNCTAD principles. However, it also identifies weaknesses in some of the agreements, which the Government will examine more closely.

“We are once again demonstrating that we are leading the way when it comes to international debt policy, which was a goal for the current coalition Government. We have cancelled almost NOK 7 billion in debts owed to Norway by developing countries over the last eight years, and this has helped the countries to release national resources for poverty reduction. I am pleased that Norway is setting new standards for using the UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing, and I urge other countries to follow suit,” said Mr Holmås.

 

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Norway: Experiencing Karaoke music in Expressen Pub in Oslo Business District

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2013

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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“I am deeply concerned over the difficult working conditions for humanitarian workers in Somalia; Says Norwegian Minister

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2013

“I am deeply concerned over the difficult working conditions for humanitarian workers in Somalia, and the security risks for those seeking to access aid. The population is in need of humanitarian support in many areas of the country, and the right to safely receive aid should be respected by all parts of the conflict,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

Somalis has been suffering from armed conflict for more than two decades. Despite some political progress over the last year, the security situation remains difficult and unpredictable in many areas. Yesterday, Médecins Sans Frontières announced the closure of all its medical programmes in Somalia due to unacceptable working conditions including the killing of staff and attacks on medical facilities. The organisation carried out more than 624 000 medical consultations in the country in 2012 alone, and their efforts will be greatly missed by those in need.

“Médecins Sans Frontières has performed life-saving and courageous work for the people in Somalia for 22 years. The fact that they have now made the tough decision to pull out of the country sends a strong message on the extent that humanitarian space is being compromised. People in dire need should be able to receive the assistance they need and aid workers should be able to carry out their duties without risking their lives,” said Mr Holmås.

Norway provides extensive humanitarian and development aid to Somalia, and will continue its efforts to promote political stability and peaceful development in the country. In 2012, Norway started to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Norwegian Red Cross on the initiative “Health Care in Danger”. The initiative aims to increase awareness of the consequences of attacks on health personnel and facilities in crisis situations, and how this can be mitigated. 

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Norway: Oil Fund Report 2013 – serious deficiencies in the Fund’s strategy

Posted by African Press International on August 14, 2013

Today, Re-Define publishes a major new report on Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, now the World’s largest. We find serious deficiencies in the Fund’s strategy that mean it is falling behind its peers in investment returns and has inadvertently taken on concentrated risks by failing to diversify its investments into developing countries, while focusing excessively on liquid investments in OECD economies. 

We recommend major change to the Fund’s strategy. Please let us know if you need more information or would like to arrange an interview with Sony Kapoor, the author of the report. 

Win-win or lose-lose is the question facing Norway’s $760bn sovereign wealth fund according to a major Re-Define-report commissioned by Norwegian Church Aid published today. The report argues that the GPF must urgently re-balance its portfolio away from Developed economies towards emerging and developing countries. This is necessary to deliver higher returns for Norway for lower risk and could generate millions of jobs in developing countries.

The report also highlights how high the exposure of the GPF to policy actions designed to tackle climate change is and recommends a sell-off of all oil, gas and coal assets. It also makes the case for the GPF making green investments in order to reduce risk.

Overall, the report argues that the GPF could be doing much more to exploit the unique potential that its large size, its long-term horizon and its responsibility mandate confer on it.

“Unless it changes its current strategy and invests heavily in illiquid assets in faster growing developing economies, the GPF will continue to fail to deliver on its target 4% rate of return.

The GPF sharply underperforms many of its peers directly as a result of its refusal to be strategic, buy in illiquid assets or invest much in developing countries.

By trying to be conservative in avoiding ‘negative headline risk’ the GPF has inadvertently traded in its obligation to ‘maximize returns subject to moderate risk’ for a strategy that delivers ‘modest returns while taking on concentrated risks’.”

Says Sony Kapoor, Managing Director of Re-Define and the author of the report

In highlighting the shortcomings of the GPF’s strategy, he says that

“For a Fund that supposedly seeks to diversify its investments to minimise risks, the Fund is unacceptably exposed to the structural and demographic problems afflicting over-indebted developed economies.

The GPF squanders its potential for being the ultimate long-term investor by having more than 99% of its investments in liquid securities that investors with much shorter time horizons can also hold.” says Kapoor  

The Fund currently invests a lot in developed / OECD economies, but growth rates and yields in developed countries are expected to be lower, and risks in these economies are expected to rise. Of the 95 countries that grew at 4% or faster in 2011, only Chile and Sweden were OECD countries.

In order to better reflect the current and the future shape of the world economy, as well as to try and harness the fruit of faster expected growth in the non-OECD economies, the GPF must significantly expand its geographic reach of countries it invests in.

For this, the report recommends the setting up of a $200bn GPF-growth that will focus on making infrastructure and private equity investments in developing countries.

“This is the only way GPF can deliver on its fiduciary duty towards Norwegian citizens – by maximizing returns for moderate risk in a both sustainable and responsible way, he says. Not only will this be good for Norway, it will also enable faster growth in poorer economies and creating millions of much-needed jobs”, Kapoor goes on to say.

Based on its direct and indirect effects, additional investments of $200 billion by the GPF-Growth can help create more than a 100 million jobs in the private sector in poor developing economies, thereby having a substantial positive outcome on growth potential, poverty reduction and quality of life in these countries.

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), a major Norwegian development organization, commissioned the report.

– As owners of the World’s largest Sovereign Wealth Fund we have a great responsibility. Developing countries face massive unemployment and desperately need to create more jobs. But, they lack the capital to do so, Anne-Marie Helland, General Secretary of NCA says.

– If we had invested considerably more in these countries we would have contributed to more jobs, tax income and economic growth in these countries. As it is, we contribute to a more unequal world and that needs to stop, Helland says.

– I’m thrilled by the positive opportunities Norway’s money can create. Our fund can create millions of jobs where they are most needed. By investing more in developing countries we’re putting our money in the future, Helland says.

– Jobs are the best and surest way out of poverty. But investments can combat poverty only if they create decent jobs with good salaries, tax income for the state and by considering the environment. We want good investments, Helland says.

HERE BELOW IS THE COMPLETE REPORT FOR YOUR STUDY:

www.africanpress.me/ Oilfund Final Report 2013 – Norway situation – Investing for the future

 

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Whistleblower Mr Philippe Laurent hold up in a Oslo hotel since 10.07.2013; says CIA, NSA and French Intelligence out to kill him

Posted by African Press International on August 11, 2013

Mr. Philippe Laurent a man of French nationality, opens up to African Press International in a Oslo hotel where he is holed up since the 10.07.2013 fearing for his life. He says he is in danger because he is a whistleblower, who has worked against corrupt officials in high places in his native land France, and in Cambodia where he has been working for the last 4 years as the Secretary General in charge of Cambodian Airports. He represented The French Vinci company.

He says he admires the wanted American whistleblower, (turned fugitive in the eyes of the US government), Mr. Edward Snowden, who has now been granted temporary refugee status in Russia. According to him, Mr Snowden, a man Laurent says he knows, has done the right thing by exposing what the US government under President Barack Obama has been doing – spying electronically on citizens of other countries. Mr Laurent also claims that he has knowledge about American Shane Todd’s death in Singapore, saying it was murder, not suicide as has been claimed by investigating authorities.

Could this man be taking people for a ride by sensationally claiming to know what he does not know? Are these allegations to be ignored? Wisdom dictates that any allegation, – and especially as serious as these, should not be ignored without a thorough investigation.

www.africanpress.me/ CIA, NSA and the French Intelligence are out to kill me; says Frenchman Mr Philippe Laurent, who is now holed in a Oslo Hotel in Norway fearing for his life
http://www.africanpress.me/ CIANSA and the French Intelligence are out to kill me; says Frenchman Mr Philippe Laurent, who is now holed in a Oslo Hotel in Norway fearing for his life

“Frenchman Mr Philippe Laurent searching for justice”.

INTERVIEW:

“Mr Philippe Laurent – THE FRENCHMAN WHOSE LIFE IS IN DANGER.”

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One on One with Frenchman Philippe Laurent” Interview Part 1 of 2

“One on One with Frenchman Philippe Laurent” Interview Part 2 of 2

Mr Philippe Laurent, The Frenchman searching for justice says his life is in danger. He says he has been victimized by the French intelligence. Now he is on the run in search for justice. At present he is temporarily staying in Norway. Mr Laurent says he wants the Norwegian authorities to protect him from the French intelligence, who he believes are out after him – supported by NSA and the CIA.

It is, however, difficult to understand why he thinks CIA and NSA are involved in this sinister affair, if as a whistleblower he has only targeted French and Cambodian corrupt leaders. When asked to explain this, Mr Laurent says he has evidence to back his case and is willing to reveal everything when he gets people who are interested is saving his life.

In our interview, he asks the Norwegian authorities to help him by saving his life. He tells African Press International that he has not lived with his wife and children for 5 years fearing he will be picked and assassinated.

The question here is whether he is speaking the truth or just making up his story. On this, Mr Laurent says, he is a strong fighter against corruption and will continue to do so even if it means loosing his life. The question that needs to be answered is why a man with a good job as Secretary General in charge of all Cambodian Airports, should leave it and escape from Cambodia to seek refuge in Norway if he is not telling the truth.

He arrived in Norway from Cambodia on the 10th of July 2013. Speaking to African Press International Mr Laurent says the French intelligence tried to have him jailed by the Cambodian police after turning to be a whistleblower on corrupt personalities in France and Cambodia.

In his search for protection, Mr Laurent has contacted, among others, the following;

Now while in the Norwegian capital Oslo in search of protection to save his live, he has contacted

  1. The Norwegian Minister of Justice Ms Grete Faremo
  2. The Norwegian Immigration Police
  3. The Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service, (NCIS)
  4. The Norwegian Intelligence Agency (PST)
On realising that nothing is forthcoming from them, he has taken direct contact with Oslo District Court‘s President Mr Geir Engebretsen (sorenskriver) and has filed his case there – seeking to be heard.
He has also contacted;
  1. The UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon
  2. The President of the European Parliament Mr. Martin SCHULZ,
  3. The President of France Mr. Francois HOLLANDE.
  4. And The Prime Minister of France Mr Jean-Marc AYRAULT,

So far, he has received a reply from The National Criminal Investigation Service, NCIS, as evidenced here below in their communication:

From: petter.dyhre (at) politiet.no
To: ph.laurent (at) live.com
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:05:16 +0200
Subject: Your emails of 16 July

 

Dear Mr Laurent,

Kripos (The National Criminal Investigation Service, NCIS) has received your email and attached documents.

NCIS is a central support agency, with expertise in criminal investigation and forensic services, and an advisory body to central authorities. NCIS main mission is to render support to local police districts. NCIS do not normally receive reports directly from the public. When filing a complaint is has to be done to the nearest police station. When reading your documents our impression is that this information is not intended for investigation by the Norwegian police. When it comes to residents permit in Norway, you have as EU citizen wide opportunities. The easiest is to register with the nearest police station, and you will receive the necessary information.

Regards.

Petter Dyhre

Police Superintendent

NCIS


IF NOT ABLE TO WATCH THE VIDEOS ABOVE:

Listen to the audio below:

 

 

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Government triples funding for combating forest crime through INTERPOL

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2013

The Norwegian Government is stepping up its efforts to combat deforestation. Around 40 % of logging in tropical forests is illegal. “The world’s “green lungs” need to be protected. The Government’s decision to triple its support for INTERPOL is a clear signal that we take the fight against illegal logging seriously,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

The International Climate and Forest Initiative is a priority area for the Norwegian Government. Norway is now increasing its support for phase two of an international police cooperation project targeting the illegal logging industry, which is worth between NOK 240 billion and NOK 600 billion globally. The efforts that Norway is supporting have so far helped to ensure that illegal timber worth NOK 288 million has been seized.

“It is crucial that we fight the organised criminal networks that are earning huge amounts of money from deforestation. There is no point spending lots of money on rainforest conservation if criminals then simply chop the forest down,” Mr Holmås said.

Norway is also allocating NOK 15 million to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for projects targeting forest crime.

Through INTERPOLs Project LEAF, Norway is supporting training for national police authorities in investigating and taking action against illegal logging. In the most recent operation, rainforest timber equivalent to 20 000 truckloads was seized by police in Venezuela and Costa Rica. Similar operations are being planned in Asia and Africa.

Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests) is a consortium initiative led by INTERPOL and the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) centre in Norway (UNEP GRID Arendal). The initiative is funded by the Government of Norway and managed by Norad (the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

 

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Zimbabwe elections marred by irregularities

Posted by African Press International on August 6, 2013

Norway is pleased that the elections in Zimbabwe passed off peacefully, in contrast to the previous elections in 2008. This is a step in the right direction. But unfortunately there are clear indications that these elections were marred by so many irregularities that they cannot be called open and fair,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Zimbabwe on 31 July. The results were announced yesterday. According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, current President Robert Mugabe (ZANU-PF) received 61 % of the votes in the presidential election, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) received 34 %. In the parliamentary election, ZANU-PF is reported to have won 196 of 270 seats.

Election observers from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have identified a number of serious flaws. The voters’ roll was not made public before the election, many people in the cities were not able to register and on election day many were turned away, which could indicate that the electoral roll was incorrect. Some 35 % more ballot papers were printed than there were voters. Contrary to the law, there was a persistent pro- ZANU-PF bias in the state media.

“After many years of insecurity and poverty, the people of Zimbabwe deserve a better life. Unfortunately, these election flaws make it difficult to view the election results as an expression of the will of the people,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

The African election observers have not yet published their final report. The opposition MDC-T will consider whether to take legal action and demand new elections.

“We are now awaiting the outcome of these processes, which will also affect Norway’s relations with Zimbabwe in the years ahead. It is very important for Norway that countries we cooperate with show a genuine willingness to promote democracy and human rights,” Mr Eide said.

 

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