Spotlight: New Norway grant is testimony to ISS impact on human security in Africa


The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has secured four more years of core funding from the government of Norway, a tribute to the organisation’s reputation for delivering on its human security aims in Africa.

The new grant agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was signed on 7 November by Norway’s ambassador to South Africa Astrid Emilie Helle. It supports activities in the current ISS strategic plan, including research, policy analysis, technical support and training around conflict and violence prevention, counter-terrorism, combating organised crime, maritime security and peacebuilding.

The Norwegian funding reflects a recognition and appreciation of the ISS’ approach of offering policy advice and solutions based on research and knowledge. ‘We think the evidence-based approach is a really incredible value add for the ISS,’ Helle said. ‘That is why the ISS has a really unique place among our partners dealing with peace and security in Africa. We appreciate that a lot.’

Norway has funded the ISS since the mid-1990s with core support since 2006. It is one of the organisation’s most important donors. ‘In an environment where funds for think tanks and NGOs are shrinking, securing a significant four-year grant is a clear sign that ISS work is relevant and delivers impact,’ said ISS Executive Director Anton du Plessis.

Norway appreciates the ISS’ strong working relationships with policy makers and politicians, as well as training for police, prosecutors, magistrates and peacekeepers. Its continued support for the ISS was in part due to the organisation’s presence in the whole of Africa, through its regional offices in Pretoria, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Dakar, Helle said.

ISS is a homegrown African organisation and its findings are actively used by Africa’s governments

‘The ISS does not come from abroad to dictate to Africans. It is a homegrown African organisation and its findings are actively used by Africa’s governments and regional organisations for dialogue, policy advice, technical support and cooperation. The ISS is a trusted partner for African decision makers and for us that is the best endorsement.’ ISS alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is also a good testimony, Helle said.

ISS commitment to partnerships and strong working relationships with governments and international organisations are reflected in its agreements with the African Union and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

‘But the ISS is not just well positioned in Africa. In a world where we need more cooperation and multilateral institutions, it is a strong voice in the dialogue between Africa and global organisations like the United Nations,’ Helle said. 

The new funding acknowledges the ISS’ sound management combined with efficiency and transparency in the way it conducts its work. Norway recognised the strength of ISS administration and financial controls, and how it communicated its impact, Helle said. This helped to show Norway’s Parliament, auditor-general and population the impact of their overseas investments in peace, security and development. 

‘The public demands evidence that Norwegian money is well spent, and we consider the ISS to be a trustworthy partner. That is why we gave it core funding with the discretion and flexibility to allocate resources to its own strategic plans and goals. This recognises that as a knowledge organisation the ISS needs security and stability so it can recruit the right staff.’

Ambassador Helle said ISS work was aligned with Norway’s international agenda and its long-standing investment in Africa’s political freedoms and social and economic development.

For more information contact:

Anton du Plessis, ISS: +27 78 781 3619;

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