Portfolio analysis for Global development and international relations
Published 12 Nov 2021
Factors affecting investment choices
As stated above, this portfolio has a very applied objective and targets policymakers and practitioners within the priority areas. This is of consequence for investment choices as the research not only must emphasise novelty and excellence, but also strong relevance to the topics highlighted in key Governmental papers from funding ministries of this portfolio.
Key documents which constitute the basis for priorities within the portfolio are the white papers Meld. St. 4 (2018–2019) Long-term plan for research and higher education 2019–2028 (of particular relevance is the cross-cutting perspective related to the Sustainable Development Goals and the priority area Societal Security and Social Cohesion in a Globalised World), Meld. St. 27 (2018–2019) Norway’s Role and Interests in Multilateral Cooperation, Meld. St. 36 (2016–2017) Setting the course for Norwegian foreign and security policy, Meld. St. 17 (2017-2018) Partner Countries in Norway’s Development Policy (executive summary in English), Meld. St. 24 (2016–2017) - Common Responsibility for Common Future, The research strategy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation 2017 - 2024, Strategy for research and development for the defence sector (only available in Norwegian), Health and Care 21-strategy (only available in Norwegian) along with the executive strategy for The Research Council of Norway, Empowering Ideas for a Better World, in addition to priorities set out in the annual allotment letters from the ministries.
The ministries' allocations to the Research Council should, within this portfolio, contribute to the achievement of the Long-term plan's goals Improving scientific quality and Meeting major societal challenges. The first goal entails a national responsibility for making available funds that ensure competent Norwegian knowledge environments in the fields that are important for each of the ministries. This includes promoting long-term production of knowledge, as well as knowledge that can contribute to achieving the sustainability goals relevant for each ministry.
The papers and strategies listed above, all express great ambitions regarding the need for solid, timely and relevant research to underpin policy and practice within each of the portfolio's priority areas. However, the R&D-funding is both somewhat weak and, furthermore, rather imbalanced. Most of the portfolio's funding derives from ODA funds. Only 15 percent is allocated to International relations, foreign and security policy. There is a need to increase overall funding for this portfolio, and an acute need to increase non-ODA funding, to achieve the goals set by the Government and the various ministries. This would ensure an adequate and balanced R&D-effort and provide opportunities to fund more research that cut across 'global development' research and 'international, foreign and security'-related research.
The latter point is particularly important to meet the challenges ahead. As stated in the NIC-report Global Trends 2021, global challenges are expected to impose ever greater threats: "During the past year, the covid-19 pandemic has reminded the world of its fragility and demonstrated the inherent risks of high levels of interdependence. In coming years and decades, the world will face more intense and cascading global challenges ranging from disease to climate change to the disruptions from new technologies and financial crises. These challenges will repeatedly test the resilience and adaptability of communities, states, and the international system, often exceeding the capacity of existing systems and models." These challenges, which are all highly relevant for this portfolio, will affect all parts of the world. To mitigate their negative impacts, we need research to develop new knowledge relevant to these scenarios and we need to ensure a better coupling of research, policymaking, and practice.
The Governments white paper Meld. St. 14 (2020–2021) Long-term Perspectives on the Norwegian Economy 2021 states that "Norway is now facing demanding challenges through, among other things, changed international framework conditions, climate change, changes in the population and working life and changed economic conditions." Although the paper has a national motivation, the interconnectedness through global economy, global value chains, international relations, etc. necessitates a continuous knowledge-production related to international and global matters and development trends.