Norway plans to cut its funding of forest protection initiatives 13% next year as part of a revised government budget to account for a record increase in asylum seekers.
The move cuts NOK 378.3 million ($44.7 million) from Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, which funds REDD+ and initiatives in developing forested nations including Brazil, Indonesia and Guyana.
The move saw Norway raise its 2016 fiscal spending forecast and rolled back some of its planned tax cuts from its original 2016 budget on Oct. 7, which had not taken into account the sharp rise in people seeking to escape wars in Syria, Afghanistan and other conflicts, Reuters reported.
Environment Tine Sundtoft said in a statement that the budget changed would not affect its performance-based bilateral agreements with countries but would result in cuts to funding of multilateral partnerships, civil society and research next year.
Combined with a depreciation in Norway’s currency, it means the country’s forest protection funding has fallen by 40% in two years, said Nina Jensen of green group WWF Norway.
She said the budget would also cut foreign aid to help deploy renewable energy to NOK 520 million, leaving funding at less than than half of 2015 levels.
Coming a month ahead of the Paris climate talks and as forest fires are ravaging Indonesia, Norway’s climate policy “has lost all credibility,” said Jensen.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org