The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the effectiveness of Norwegian humanitarian assistance, Document No 3:2 (2008-2009), was submitted to the Storting on 6 November 2008.
The investigation shows that case processing times are often long in connection with enduring humanitarian crises. The result is that it takes a long time for projects to be financed and that their implementation is delayed. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deals with acute humanitarian cries quickly, although there are also examples of long case processing times.
There are weaknesses in the Ministry’s quality assurance in connection with its allocation and follow-up of humanitarian grants. Among other things, the foreign service missions are little involved in this work.
‘It is important that the foreign service follows up the humanitarian projects and that it has adequate capacity to follow up the involved parties in the individual countries,’ says Mr Kosmo.
The Ministry and the NGOs have little focus on ensuring a long-term perspective, which is an important goal in connection with both acute and enduring crises. The one-year funding frameworks are not suited to projects with longer-term goals and projects that are implemented in connection with enduring humanitarian crises.
The coordination of the international humanitarian system can be improved. Norway’s substantial contribution to the UN’s humanitarian efforts makes great demands on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in terms of following up coordination in the UN system. However, the investigation shows that the foreign service has limited capacity to follow up and participate in coordination in individual countries.
The investigation shows that Norwegian humanitarian assistance achieves positive results and effects for a large number of people. Humanitarian assistance has increased from approximately NOK 1.3 billion in 2003 to almost NOK 2.6 billion in 2008. In 2007, humanitarian assistance was given to 60 countries and 186 players, and the total number of grants was 736. Assistance on this scale and scope does, however, represent a challenge for the Ministry’s management and administration.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agrees that there is a clear potential for improvement in the administration of Norwegian humanitarian assistance. The Ministry points out that work is being done to rectify several of the weaknesses that are pointed out and believes that the Office of the Auditor General’s investigation forms a good basis for further development and greater efficiency.