The Norwegian Parliamentary Election just took place. The choice that Norwegians will make means a lot - both in Norway and around the world.
We at Norwegian Church Aid are regularly asked questions about our community involvement. Why should an aid organization participate in the political debate in Norway? There are several good reasons why we do just that.
We want a future where aid is superfluous. To get there, political action is needed to change unjust structures. In the fight for a fairer world, it is therefore necessary to influence decision-makers, both nationally and internationally.
It is Norwegian politicians who set the terms for Norwegian Development Policy and Norway's role in the world. In order to help raise development policy issues higher up on the political agenda, Norwegian Church Aid must be actively present in the public discourse. This is also a central part of the diaconal mission that our "owners", the churches, have given us.
Our political work is not about taking one party`s political side. On both sides of the middle line, there are parties that go to the polls for very good development policy. You can find a party that delivers, whether you want to vote red, blue, yellow or green. Our job is to be the voice of the world's poorest and most marginalized people in the Norwegian debate. Therefore, you will usually always experience that our message is linked to what we experience on the ground in the countries we work in.
The consequences of the pandemic will be felt for a long time to come, but it is not the only crisis the world is in. We are also facing a crisis of poverty, inequality and climate, and are experiencing constant attacks on democracy and human rights. This is what Norwegian voters see.
In a survey Respons Analyze conducted on behalf of Norwegian Church Aid, more than half of the voters answered that politicians' solutions to the climate crisis will affect what they vote for in the election. More than half also agree that Norway should contribute more money to the world's poor countries, so that they can adapt to the consequences of climate change. This is both gratifying and precarious, since climate change is already driving 25 million people away from their homes every year. A number that will increase if we do not take action while we still can.
The survey also shows that 77% believe that the Petroleum Fund should only invest in companies that meet the ethical standards of environmental and human rights, and 8 out of 10 voters believe that Norway should work to put in place an international agreement that ensures that companies pay taxes in the countries where the values are created. To put it another way: They want a law against tax havens.
These are good news for all who work for a fairer world. We hope that when the election is held on September 13th, action will speak even louder than words. Because in a turbulent world, both Norwegian politicians and voters must dare to look up to contribute to justice in the world.
Photo: Norwegian Church Aid / Håvard Bjelland.