Neutrality and solidarity in Nordic humanitarian action

Working and discussion papers
January 2016
Carl Marklund
Sweden, Norway and Denmark were amongst the first four countries to commit 0.7% of their national income to overseas aid, and have since far exceeded that target. Why have several of the Nordic countries devoted a larger share of their national wealth to aid than almost any other major donor?

This Working Paper provides historical context for this phenomenon, reflects on particular regional characteristics and explores how attitudes towards neutrality and solidarity have influenced Nordic humanitarian action.

Analysing international humanitarian engagement by the Nordic countries from the First World War to today, the paper also explores how the Nordic states also challenge classic divisions in how aid functions. Historically, Nordic humanitarian action has been characterised by close integration, between development aid and humanitarian action, between civil society and government and between neutrality and solidarity.