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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

All inhabitants of Norway are guaranteed an adequate standard of living by law. Absolute poverty does not exist. Poverty is therefore not an issue of major concern in Norway, nor is there any national definition of "poverty" or related legislation. All Norwegians have access to primary health care, clean water and sanitation, and primary education. Primary and secondary education, and hospital services are free. There is cost-sharing for most primary health services.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

It is within the mandate of the Research Council of Norway, Division of Environment and Development, to promote environmental research, development research and research in the interface between environmental and social conditions. Development research is defined as "research on processes of social change, designed to improve the knowledge base for development cooperation, poverty reduction and the promotion of interpersonal understanding". The special needs of the poor should therefore be an integral part of planning and implementation of research in this area. The Research Council is presently planning a new effort to promote research in the field of development and North-South issues. Poverty reduction will most probably become a high-priority area of research. The planning of this new initiative is taking place in close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its work on a new strategic plan to strengthen human resource development and research related to Norway's relations with developing countries.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The bodies most directly concerned with demographic issues in Norway are: the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Norwegian population policy covers environmental linkages, the legal basis for which is provided in the Health Act. The needs and rights of women are emphasized in national population strategies.

Norway does not have a distinct population policy. The country has a special ministry with responsibility for policy on children, gender, and family issues. One of the most important aims is to enable parents to combine family life with participation in working life. Since the mid-eighties and through 1990 the fertility rate in Norway has increased. Since 1990, the fertility rate has been stable. The present fertility rate is 1.87 (1995). This may possibly be a result of measures which aim at reconciling family responsibilities and work outside the home.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

National debate on the linkages between population and environmental issues has been initiated both at the governmental level, in Parliament, and with the public at large. The government believes that population growth and fertility levels are satisfactory.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

Norwegian financial support for population programmes has been stable throughout the last decade. Approximately 4% of the official development aid (ODA) is annually allocated to such programmes. Multilateral development assistance is provided through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Bilateral assistance is provided through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, and the Directorate of Public Health are the main agencies responsible for promoting and protecting public health.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Norwegian policies and measures in the area of human health are based on the principles and tenets of the strategy Health for all by the year 2000, adopted by the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In March 1988, the Government of Norway submitted to the Parliament a White Paper on national health policy towards the year 2000, which outlined the strategy for health and identified priority areas, including health promotion, prevention of diseases, and community health care. Subsequently, a number of policy documents concerning health and health services have been adopted with a view to translating the strategy into action. In April 1993, the Government submitted a White Paper to Parliament which identified the challenges of health promotion and prevention of diseases. The importance of the following areas were highlighted in particular: psycho-social problems; musculoskeletal disorders; accidents and injuries; and asthma, allergy, and indoor-environment related problems. Action plans have been established for each of these priority areas. These plans have two strategic features in common: they focus on the local community and they involve cooperation across professional and sectoral divisions. Achieving the national goal in these areas will also imply interministerial cooperation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The main objective of Norwegian assistance to the health sector is to improve primary health services, and it is targeted primarily towards women, mothers, and children. Norway stresses the importance of reproductive health as part of an integral approach.

Causes of disease and primary risk factors to which the Government continues to give priority include tobacco, food and nutrition, and alcohol.

Recent decades have seen a remarkable success with regard to control of infectious diseases, due to general improvements in living conditions, development of effective drugs and vaccines, and comprehensive vaccination programmes.

Challenges

Development of resistance to antibiotics among certain pathogenic micro-organisms prolongs periods of illness and poses a threat to human health.

Another challenge is the potential health hazards caused by radioactive pollution. Possible sources of radioactive pollution not far from Norway include nuclear power stations, nuclear powered vessels, facilities for handling and storage of nuclear waste, and nuclear weapons.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

A substantial part of Norwegian support to protect and promote public health is provided as multilateral aid directed through UN agencies and international NGOs. Norway is one of the major donors to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), WHO, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Norway supports efforts to strengthen sustainability of primary health care by promoting greater local participation, governance, and funding of health services. Norway also emphasizes the responsibility of cooperating governments to secure equitable access to health services for all. Support to HIV-AIDS related services has been given particular attention in Norwegian development assistance to the health sector. To enhance this support, a special budget line for HIV-AIDS projects has been included in the development cooperation budget.

Bilateral support to health programmes are provided to a number of Norway's main partner countries, for example, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Bilateral assistance has also been provided for three specific programmes for control of communicable diseases: tuberculosis in Mozambique and Madagascar, leprosy in India, and immunization programmes in India and Nepal. Approximately 20% of the assistance given to Norwegian and local NGOs is also for primary health programmes.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the homepage of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, click here:
To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Education is responsible for environmental education and cooperates with several other ministries on special programmes in this area.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Ministry has, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, developed a Strategy for Environment and Development in the Educational Sector for the period 1995-98.

In the strategy document, the role and responsibility of different actors at different levels are clarified. The general aim is an educational system which contributes to sustainable development through the following means: competence raising; environmental programmes; research and development work; cooperation with other actors; international cooperation on environment and development; and evaluation and reporting.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

A preliminary study shows that with public participation during environmental impact assessments, the public debate on large projects, especially in the press, now takes place earlier in the planning process. Environmental organizations and people directly affected by proposed projects often contribute to the hearing processes, but the public in general is less active. In general, environmental assessment of projects has created greater awareness and public involvement in the environmental impacts of large projects.

Programmes and Projects 

The environmental programme is further developed and collected under one umbrella: the Environmental Education Network, a joint effort by several Norwegian ministries which ties Environmental Education to the development of Local Agenda 21. The main aim is to develop cooperation and partnerships among actors such as educators, scientists, governments, NGOs, business and other major groups to communicate the key message of sustainable development. The Network supports cooperation between schools, concerned local authorities and NGOs.

The programme for energy conservation is managed by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration and paid by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Various media are used: literature, small projects, training and television spots. Local energy agencies are responsible for running energy conservation programmes. There are several local programmes in action. There is, however, no central record of the total number of programmes.

The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation is running The Home Environmental Protection Programme. The programme is sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment. Media used are, i.a. training, arranging local clubs, literature.

The NGO network "The Environmental Home Guard" (EHG) aims at educating and motivating people to make environmentally sound choices in their everyday lives, such as using less non-renewable natural resources, reduce waste and energy consumption, and finally to eliminate the use of harmful substances. A large number of schools, both public and private institutions, companies, municipalities, housing cooperatives, as well as the church, are involved in various EHG programmes. A "Green Families" project has been launched, including a TV series. A variety of information and educational material, along with cultural activities, complement these initiatives. The Government provides the core funding for the EHG, whereas many of The complementary projects are funded by local authorities and business.

The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs supports children and youth organisations which reach out to the whole country. Those organisations run different kinds of programmes connected to sustainable consumption and production patterns

The School for Politicians is an adult education programme aimed at local decision-makers. The programme is funded mainly by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs and the participating municipalities. The participants themselves, mostly members of the municipal councils and administrators, define the contents of the programme for their municipality. The programme concentrates on local problems, and includes project work to improve the local environment. Evaluation has shown that The course often leads to better intersectorial cooperation and changed attitudes, as well as concrete environmental action such as sorting of waste, composting, monitoring of fjords, measures to save energy and planning and implementing education-related action plans. Under its new name, The Environmental School, the programme will be an integral part of the Local Agenda 21 processes which will take place in Norwegian municipalities in coming years.

The special programme for energy conservation and indoor climate (MEIS) is worth attention. Within this programme schools have saved up to 20 % of their energy consumption and made a contribution to improving the indoor climate. Databases for energy saving programmes and indoor climate programmes are established. They can be reached at Internet address: http://skolenettet.nls.no/miljø

Status 

In relation to competence raising, 80 % of teachers in upper secondary schools have taken in-service training, as have about 40 % of teachers in primary and lower secondary schools.

As to subgoal 6 in the strategy document, extensive work with Implementation/Evaluation is planned. This contains different parts, of which one is reporting. This process aims both at giving information to the Education sector about the strategy, and at giving the Ministry of Education some knowledge of the scale of activities connected to environmental education in schools. In another part a more extensive evaluation is under preparation. This evaluation aims at finding out how much EE is conducted, the quality of the work and the measures used to fulfil the aims of EE laid down in the Norwegian core curriculum and agreed upon internationally.

A local MEIS is established in Stjørdal municipality. Stjørdal has 18,000 inhabitants, 2,200 pupils and 250 teachers. Planning and implementation were carried out jointly by the local educational, technical and health authorities. The energy supplier made a positive contribution from the start. The matter was put to the politicians for discussion prior to the start of the project. The procedure was to encourage the children to pass on knowledge about energy and the environmental impact of energy consumption to the adults, as this would have a positive effect on attitudes. The goal was to achieve the following:

The first step was to train the teaching staff, technical personnel and cleaners. The main themes studied were:

Material was prepared for the pupils, teaching staff and technical personnel. In the autumn of 1993, pupils from the 4th to 9th grades (age 10 - 16) and their parents were involved in the project. One of the tasks the pupils were given was to record their school's weekly energy consumption on a large diagram that was displayed in a prominent place. The same system was used in the individual homes. One of the results of this work was a reduction of 23% in energy consumption in the schools in 1995, compared with the base years 1988-1991. This is the equivalent of approximately 3.4 million kWh.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Subjects related to sustainable development are included in the curricula for primary and secondary schools in Norway. In addition, several courses and seminars directed at public and private decision-makers are arranged. Enhancing knowledge and installing environmentally friendly attitudes in children, young people, and adults is a high priority. An overall strategy covers educational activities from kindergartens to colleges and universities.

The core curriculum prepared by the Ministry of Education contains the section, "The environmentally aware human being", which is integrated in the various syllabi for different age levels. Teaching materials have been developed for all education levels. Several national environmental education programmes are developed for schools. Experimental activities within selected environmental research areas are carried out. Up-to-date overviews of the quality and extent of work with sustainable development in the educational sector will be available through annual reporting and evaluation programmes.

In addition to the educational programmes mentioned above, publications on sustainable development, in developed as well as in developing countries, are provided free of charge to schools and the general public. The authorities also employ new information technologies, such as the Internet; and carry out information campaigns and subsidize television programmes on sustainable development.

At teacher training colleges, a ten-point credit course on environmental education is obligatory. In addition, a 40 hour in-service training course is offered for all Norwegian teachers. Special classes, workshops and seminars are arranged annually for the education sector.

Major groups, like industry, labour organizations, farmers' associations, and NGOs, carry out information and training programmes on sustainable development. Some programmes are aimed at their own members, and some at external target groups, like the school system and the public at large.

Norway has implemented a variety of innovative education programmes to increase awareness on a number of sustainable development issues.

Information 

Norway also reports to the International Centre for Conservation Education, through the report on Environmental Education in Eastern and Southern Africa. Issues for reporting are environmental education strategies, network, organisation and communication, training, curriculum development, materials development, public awareness, research and evaluation and lastly community programmes.

The Ministry of Environment has initiated a survey of local authorities' use of the provisions in the Planning and Building Act of 1985 for public participation in municipal planning. According to the survey, almost all municipalities fulfill the minimum level of participation provided by the law. Approximately 20-30% of local authorities have experiences from more comprehensive programmes on participation involving local groups, women, and/or youth groups. Public participation and planning is likely to be included in the White Paper on Regional Planning and Land Use to be submitted in March 1997.

The Environmental School's address is: Miljøskolen, Ressurssentret, Tingvoll videregående skole, 6630 Tingvoll; phone + 47 71530142.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

In relation to international cooperation, Norway takes part in the Globe Programme and the Coastwatch Europe Network, where students collect and register environmental data. There are also student exchange programmes on sustainable development within the Nordic countries. Issues related to education and awareness raising for sustainable development are part of the reports submitted to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and to the OECD Development Assistance Committee.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1997.

For access to the Norwegian School Net, click here:
For access to the homepage of the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs, click here:
Information from the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs is also available under:
For information on the Norwegian Environmental Education Program, click here
Information on education and sustainable development in Norway is available under:

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Planning and Building Act (1985, amended later) provides a framework for county and municipal level plans which are revised regularly by local and regional authorities. When these plans conflict with national, regional, and environmental policy goals they are reviewed by the Ministry of Environment which makes a final decision in consultation with the other ministries concerned.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Planning and Building Act is the most important cross-sectoral legal instrument for achieving sustainable human settlement development. It stipulates requirements for technical standards, design, administrative procedures, and lays down rules for integrated physical, social, cultural, and economic planning. The Building Regulations define minimum standards for safety, health, and the environment. Under the Planning and Building Act, the Government can lay down national policy guidelines which apply to planning processes at local and regional levels across the country. National Policy Guidelines for Coordinated Land-use and Transport Planning include instructions on which considerations and solutions should receive priority to achieve better coordination of land use, the pattern of development, and the resulting need for transport. Environmental impact assessments should be carried out for major projects.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Norwegian State Housing Bank is the central authorities' main instrument for implementing the housing policy. The Bank administers housing loans and grants, and disseminates information on housing construction and the housing environment. The municipalities, in close cooperation with the Housing Bank, play a key role in implementing housing policy at the local level. The municipalities have a special obligation for providing shelter for disadvantaged groups.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The cooperative movement plays an important role in Norwegian housing policy. The Federation of Norwegian Cooperative Building and Housing Association is one of the largest interest organizations in Norway. Furthermore, the cities involved in the research projects are importance participants among the five cities involved in the Environmental Cities Programme (see below).

Status 

For many years, the main goal in Norwegian housing policy has been that everyone should live in satisfactory homes in a good residential environment. This goal has been successfully implemented. Norway has gradually developed a very high standard of housing for most of the population. The present housing coverage is 412 dwellings per 1000 inhabitants, the average floor space per dwelling is about 110 m2, or 43 m2 per person. Two-thirds of all households have four or more rooms. A majority, that is 84%, own their own home, either privately or through a cooperative. Socially subsidized housing accounts for a small share of the Norwegian housing market, representing only 4% of the housing stock. The detached single family house is still the ideal type of dwelling for many Norwegians, with 60% of the population still living in this kind of home.

Housing consumption has increased considerably over the past two decades, and the average household spends more than 25% of its total household expenditures on housing. Homelessness is practically non-existent, but 8% of the population still lives under "crowded" conditions. Crowding is measured in terms of the number of rooms or area (m2) per person in a housing unit.

In a decentralized administrative system like the Norwegian (where the municipalities have a high degree of autonomy in implementing national policy), research and development, experimental projects, and information are important instruments in efforts to achieve more sustainable settlements. In 1993, the central authorities initiated cooperation with five Norwegian cities for the development of environmental cities. The goal is to arrive at models for sustainable urban development, while laying the foundation for more jobs, and improving both the environment for children and adolescents, and living conditions in the cities. The main idea is to develop a holistic approach through which measures to alleviate many problems connected with living conditions and the environment can be integrated. The environmental city projects are intended to provide a set of examples, as well as guidelines on sustainable urban development, suggestions for better instruments for promoting sustainable urban development, and better methods for describing the state of the environment in Norwegian cities through, for example, the use of indicators.

The following six areas are given priority: (I) coordinated land use and transport planning, with emphasis on environmentally sound transport, environmental measures, and denser building zones; (ii) strengthening city centres as meeting places for shopping, business, and culture; (iii) supporting thriving local communities with good residential areas, and local services which will ease people's everyday life and provide a better environment for children and adolescents; (iv) safeguarding natural areas, the aquatic environment, and green areas for purposes of recreation and biological diversity preservation; (v) waste management, sorting of waste by source, and recycling of wastes from households, and commercial and industrial activities; and (vi) good design of the physical environment through protection and development of the building environment and public places, and by preserving the various elements of the cultural heritage and making these more accessible to the public.

Challenges

Some groups, especially young people, refugees, and other disadvantaged groups, are faced with problems when establishing themselves in the housing market, mainly due to high costs. The existing housing stock is not sufficiently adapted to the needs of the elderly and the handicapped, and is partly of an unsatisfactory technical standard. There is a tendency toward the accumulation of these and other problems connected with living conditions in some cities.

Such problems constitute the main challenges for the housing sector in Norway. The effective utilization and improvement of existing housing, and urban renewal will be more important than new construction. The strategies and measures to be used to meet these challenges are manifold. Economic measures such as subsidies, incentives, and taxation, etc. are utilized. In 1996, the housing finance system was adjusted to better meet the challenges. A new system of grants was established to stimulate better housing and environmental quality in both new buildings and in the renovation of old ones.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

A special programme for training and information has been completed to strengthen qualifications and capacity for planning at the local and regional level. Specific research programmes have been established in cooperation with consumer and research institutions in order to provide a basis for evaluating the efforts so far, and to improve the basic data. A special effort is being made to improve indoor climate. A comprehensive, publicly initiated programme of education, House and Health, aims at raising the level of knowledge in this area.

Information 

The Norwegian national report to HABITAT II , "From Reconstruction to Environmental Challenges", provides a comprehensive overview of the present situation in Norwegian human settlements. It also presents the future challenges in the area and governmental policies to meet these challenges.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

Financial resources for promoting sustainable settlement development must be obtained from several sources. Economic measures such as subsidies, incentives, and taxation are utilized. In the housing area, financing through the State Housing Bank is significant. Almost two-thirds of Norwegian dwellings are financed by the Bank. In 1996, the housing finance system was adjusted to better meet the challenges. A new system of grants was established to stimulate better housing and environmental quality in both new buildings and renovation.

Cooperation

In addition to the follow-up of the Habitat II process [that is, by participating in the United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Committee on Human Settlement, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)], Norway also takes part in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Furthermore, some Norwegian counties and municipalities have established partnerships with counties and municipalities in the Baltic Region. Norwegian assistance to rural development in developing countries is primarily aimed at improving economic and social living conditions, and at strengthening democratic local institutions in rural areas. Programmes including institutional development, agriculture, rural water supply and sanitation, rural road rehabilitation, and district development are given financial and technical support in, for example, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nicaragua.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Norway to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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