In both Sweden and Norway, governments have committed to supporting LGBT rights in their national development strategies for several years. The progressive steps taken include action plans, setting goals for support of LGBT organisations and for efforts in international fora to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
National LGBT Action Plan:
In a national action plan launched 2009, the government commits itself to a development policy conducive to combating all forms of decriminalization and stigmatization of persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (Ministry of Children and Equality: "Improving quality of life among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transpersons (2009-2012)).
Four measures are set to be implemented from 2009-2012:
- Continuing a close dialogue with development agencies working with LGBT issues
- Providing support to organisations and measures that promote LGBT rights
- Work for international acceptance of the concept ”sexual rights”
- Work internationally to combat discrimination of LGBT people
The action plan also states the Norwegian government's commitment to the Yogyakarta principles.
A set of brief guidelines adress how Norway's foreign stations can help secure the rights of LGBT people in countries where the issue is a sensitive one. The guidelines were developed in cooperation with the Norwegian embassies in Nicaragua, Nepal, Kenya and Uganda, and include the following recommendations:
- Embassies should be aware of official Norwegian policy on LGBT issues
- Human rights efforts must be extended to issues relating to LGBT people
- Embassies should gain an overview of the situation for LGBTs
- Embassies should raise the general issue of LGBT rights in their talks with authorities
- Events of arrests or abuse of LGBT people should be monitored and reported
The guidelines are further elaborated in a document on how embassies can systematize and strengthen their work for LGBT human rights:
- Inclusion of LGBT rights as part of a general rights based approach
- Supporting the decriminalization of LGBT persons
- Financial assistance to seminars etc. about LGBT rights
- To openly speak about and support LGBT rights in local media
White paper on development policy:
In the white paper "Climate, Conflict and Capital - Norwegian development policy adapting to change (2008-2009)", a strong support of LGBT rights is also stated.
See page 17 in the white paper
Government development policy:
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA, in 2005 conducted a comprehensive study of Swedish policy and administration of LGBT issues in development cooperation work. Country studies were done in Moldavia, India and South Africa. The first of its kind in the world, the study has attracted much attention, and has served as the foundation for SIDA's work within the LGBT area since then.
The report includes recommendations on how work with LGBT people in development can be improved (starts from page 50):
The study was followed in 2006 by a concrete action plan for 2007-2009 for LGBT issues in development cooperation. The action plan identifies eleven activities to promote the enabling conditions necessary for Sweden to contribute to an improvement in living conditions and opportunities for LGBT persons through implementation of development cooperation measures, in analyses and in various forms of policy dialogue.
In cooperation with the National Swedish Federation for LGBT, RFSL, SIDA has published a thorough handbook on the issue:
Also available in Swedish: HBT i utveckling - en handbok om hbt-perspektiv i utvecklingssamarbete