On September 24, the Atlantic Council presented Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg with its Global Citizen Award for her commitment to multilateralism, international development and poverty reduction, and education.
Solberg has been a committed transatlanticist throughout her career, buoyed by her experience as the head of the Storting’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Under her government, Norway has increased its defense spending by four percent in real terms and remains committed to meeting NATO’s two-percent of GDP spending goal. In a recent speech in Washington, Solberg noted that the country currently has the second-highest level of defense spending per capita in NATO, after only the United States.
Solberg and her government have been deeply committed to not only improving the lives of their citizens in Norway, but working to assist people around the world. Solberg is the co-chair of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates, a group that assists the UN secretary-general to achieve the SDGs. In November, Solberg and Norway will be hosting the replenishment conference for the Global Financing Facility Group, which aims to raise funds for developing countries to use to improve their health and nutrition programs, especially for women, marginalized groups, and children.
Solberg has also placed a specific focus on expanding educational opportunities in developing countries, especially for girls. In 2018, Norway pledged to increase its contribution to the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Education to 2.07 billion NOK (around $255 million). The Global Partnership for Education directs funds to more than sixty-five developing countries to help provide quality basic education programs. “A global citizen understands that giving all boys and girls in all countries a free, quality education is the best investment we can make in our common future,” Solberg said when accepting her Global Citizen Award in New York on September 24.
Solberg is also spearheading work on preserving the world’s oceans for future generations. Earlier this year, she announced the formation of a High-Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which will bring heads of state and government together to cooperate on conservation and equitable use of sea-based resources. Norway is also supporting this work through substantial support for the World Bank’s new PROBLUE fund to help prevent marine pollution and manage fisheries.