Utenriksminister Børge Brende besøker en skole for barn på flukt Foto: Astrid Sehl/Utenriksdepartementet

COHERENCE FOR RESULTS:  Unanimity between foreign and development policy is necessary to achieve the objectives of both policy areas, according to NUPI researchers. The photo shows Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende visiting a school for displaced children run by the Norwegian Refugee Council in Juba, South Sudan, in October 2016.


Cooperation for development

Published: 21 Feb 2017

Should development and foreign policies be integrated for better achieving their goals?

There has in recent years been a clear trend among OECD countries to integrate their development and foreign policies. But what are the consequences of this integration and how can this be used to evaluate Norwegian development policy?

These two questions led the Evaluation Department of Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation,  to commission a working paper on the topic from NUPI. The resultant working paper builds on several years of NUPI research on similar issues, as well as on a November 2016 discussion meeting with researchers and officials from Norad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Does it work?

The working paper shows that there has been little research on the consequences of closer integration of foreign and development policy.

‘We need to know more about how such integration should be carried out, the issues to be weighed against each other and the synergies that may be exploited. For example, the recent public review of Norway’s joint efforts in Afghanistan, the Godal Commission (Godal-utvalget), has revealed major challenges related to combining the objectives of foreign, security and development policy. The review concludes that the most conspicuous outcome of these efforts was the demonstration of Norway as a good ally’, according to Per Øyvind Bastøe, director of the Norad Evaluation Department.

Mutually dependent

In the working paper, NUPI researchers examine the cases of Canada, Great Britain and Denmark, three countries that have led the way in integrating the policy areas in question.

The research team finds find that little is known about whether such integration actually leads to better results or better policy making.

The working paper finds that there are different ways of understanding policy integration.

On the one hand, foreign policy and development policy can be seen as two separate policy areas, with different objectives, values and tools for implementation. On the other hand, there is clear evidence of how foreign and development policy are intrinsically linked not withstanding efforts to “ringfence” development aid.