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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Government presents new direction for development assistance


The Government and the Sweden Democrats today presented a new strategic direction for Swedish development assistance entitled Development assistance for a new era – freedom, empowerment and sustainable growth.

“I’m proud that the Government is today presenting its reform agenda, Development assistance for a new era – freedom, empowerment and sustainable growth. The Government is reforming development assistance to make it more relevant, with a focus on long-term sustainability, transparency and effectiveness. This new direction entails a historic change, in that it links development assistance and trade. Swedish businesses are at the forefront when it comes to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, and they can provide investments and innovative solutions to tackle various societal challenges,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine represents a paradigm shift with extensive political, economic and humanitarian consequences and repercussions that reach far beyond Ukraine’s borders. The Government therefore gives the highest priority to Ukraine and the neighbourhood in the new strategic direction. Through Development assistance for a new era, the Government intends to combat poverty through job creation and free trade, increase humanitarian assistance to save lives and alleviate suffering, promote freedom and fight oppression, strengthen synergies between development assistance and migration policy, expand climate aid and make it more effective. strengthening women’s and girls’ freedom and empowerment and contribute to improved health and quality education for the most vulnerable.

“We’re now launching a historic overhaul of development assistance policy, in which a focus on Swedish interests and humanitarian assistance will play a much larger role. Development assistance’s role as a foreign policy lever will be an important tool in eliminating impediments to enforcement of expulsions and combating human smuggling,” says Aron Emilsson (Sweden Democrats), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“I’m delighted that support channelled through civil society organisations is increasing. Civil society’s local partner organisations are vital to achieving results. They are close to people, know their context and can contribute to real change on the ground; they are there where the poorest and most vulnerable people live,” says Gudrun Brunegård (Christian Democrats), development assistance policy spokesperson.

No country has been lifted out of poverty through international development assistance alone. Stimulating economic growth and trade in our partner countries is thus a key starting point for the Government’s efforts to tackle poverty in the world. Swedish development cooperation also needs to focus more on areas where Sweden has clear added value. Development assistance is an important foreign policy tool to pursue and protect Swedish interests.

“The reform agenda includes a stronger focus on democracy and human rights. This, together with action to combat norms and values that stand in the way of gender equality and the importance of education in poverty reduction, makes this an offensive approach for a freer world,” says Joar Forssell (Liberal Party), foreign policy spokesperson.

Press contact

Victoria Holmqvist
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 76-142 29 39
email to Victoria Holmqvist