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Kjetil G. Abildsnes

Why Norway took Creditor Responsibility- the case of the Ship Export campaign

by Kjetil G. Abildsnes

9 May 2007

On October 2nd 2006, at a Press Conference in Oslo, Norway’s Minister of International Development Erik Solheim
announced that Norway would unilaterally and unconditionally cancel debt because of creditor co-responsibility.
Why? Because the claims derived from a failed development project - the Ship Export Campaign of the late 70’s. This is the first time a creditor and an OECD-country admits responsibility for irresponsible or bad lending and takes action. The move breaks the silent consensus and practice in the Paris Club that all debt is the responsibility
of the borrower and that debt cancellation is only granted on the basis of debt sustainability. This represents a crucial and significant step pointing towards creditor responsibility and more equality in the creditor/debtor relationship. It is a decision that should influence how other countries and major lending institutions conduct their lending. This paper will present in detail the case of the Norwegian ship export campaign and focus on the political reasoning
behind the debt cancellation. Hopefully, this will set an example for other loans in different situations.

Why Norway took Creditor Responsibility- the case of the Ship Export campaign. (PDF) 170.8 kb

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