Norway is setting the precedent as the first country to conduct an official debt audit owed by developing countries. This includes determining the legitimacy of those debts and also “establish[ing] binding guidelines for responsible lending.” Conducting this audit will increase transparency and is an exciting step forward not only for Norway but also for the world.
Many of the debts that are owed by developing countries are illegitimate and are hindering their economy, infrastructure and everyday life. Illegitimate debt "is based on historical political and economic origins and context, on the nature of the contractors, processes, terms and purpose of the debt, as well as on its impact on peoples and communities: women, men, children, indigenous, oppressed and marginalized groups and classes on economies and societies, and on the environment."
Many developing countries are suffering from odious debts from a past corrupt government or dictator. For example, in Indonesia, under rule of General Suharto, one of the most oppressive regimes, loans were given for projects that never helped the people of Indonesia and which the people saw no positive effects from the money that was borrowed. It was not used to enhance their economic and social living. Most nations that are paying back despotic loan burdens don’t know what the loans were to be used for, what their benefit was or who took out the loan in the first place.
Norway’s debt audit is a landmark step forward for transparency and hopefully other creditor nations will follow in their footsteps and promote responsible lending and borrowing and especially, human rights. As stated by Gina Ekholt, the director of SLUG (Norwegian Coalition for Debt Cancellation):
This is a historical day! Not only for debt campaigners who have been fighting for this for years, but also for the people across the world that are suffering from unpayable and illegitimate debt burdens. This is an important tool to promote responsible lending and to take responsibility for past loans. We hope that other creditors will be inspired by Norway’s debt audit.
Photo credit: http://collectiveresistance.com/2011/05/05/how-about-a-debt-audit/
 "Norway Takes a Bold Step towards Debt Justice: First Creditor Ever to Carry out a Debt Audit." European Network on Debt and Development. Eurodad, 15 Aug. 2012. <http://eurodad.org/1543427/>.
 "Jubilee South's Perspective on Debt's Illegitimacy." Jubilee USA. <http://www.jubileeusa.org/truth-about-debt/dont-owe-wont-pay/jubilee-souths-perspective-on-debts-illegitimacy.html>.