Council of the EU adopts conclusions on strengthened cooperation with Pakistan

The Council of the EU has confirmed its interest in a ‘stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan’ in new conclusions that underline the importance of ensuring the safe return of Afghani refugees, the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and the empowerment of girls and women in the country.

Bilateral relations between the EU and Pakistan have deepened over the past few years through the implementation of a five-year plan, adopted in 2012. Priority areas for cooperation include politics, security, governance, human rights, migration, trade, and energy. A political framework to replace the five-year plan is ongoing and will include new focus areas such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, and disarmament.

Press release - Council of the EU

Recommendations - Council of the EU


EU and Brazil urge WTO to limit 'trade-distorting' farm subsidies

The EU and Brazil have submitted a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO), urging for reform in farm subsidies to ensure a "level playing field" for emerging economies. The proposal suggests limiting subsidies in proportion to the size a country's agricultural sector, taking into account the specific needs of developing countries. Least-developed countries would be exempted from any subsidy limits, to encourage development in their farming sector. According to the EU, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay have endorsed the initiative, which comes in the run-up to a December WTO meeting in Buenos Aires.

The EU and Brazil are the world's two biggest producers of agricultural products. 

Press release - European Commission

News article - EurActiv

EU Agriculture

Dutch development minister announces five new humanitarian assistance disbursements

Dutch development minister Ms. Liliane Ploumen has notified the Parliament of five recently commenced or planned humanitarian assistance disbursements. These are funded from the extra budget of €40 million for development assistance announced in the Spring Memorandum and include:

  • additional €11.5 million to the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF);
  • €5 million to support high-quality activities that contribute to sexual and reproductive health care in emergency settings, including better access to contraception;
  • €10 million for three crisis-affected regions: the Lake Chad region (€4 million), the Syrian region (€3 million), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (€3 million);
  • additional €7 million for the Dutch Relief Alliance, bringing the total to €15 million that can be used to combat the famine in the Horn of Africa and Yemen;
  • €1.5 million to UN Global Pulse, which collects and analyzes big data in collaboration with humanitarian partners.

Publication - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)


Italian diplomat appointed OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Italian diplomat Lamberto Zannier has been named the new High Commissioner on National Minorities for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by the OSCE Ministerial Council. Zannier joins a list of Italian politicians in leadership positions of key international institutions, including Antonio Tajani (President of the European Parliament), Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank), and Filippo Grandi (UN High Commissioner for Refugees).

Along with Zannier, the OSCE Ministerial Council appointed:

  • Thomas Greminger of Switzerland as OSCE Secretary General
  • Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir of Iceland as Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
  • Harlem Désir of France as OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

Press release - OSCE

France Italy

South Korea to support education for out-of-school girls in the Philippines

KOICA, Korea’s international development agency, will invest US$6 million in the ‘Better Life for Out-of-School Girls to Fight Against Poverty and Injustice in the Philippines’ project. Jointly launched by KOICA, UNESCO, and the Philippines’ Department of Education, the project aims toimprove the quality of life for poor girls no longer enrolled in formal schooling. Through the establishment of a 'Girls Education Centre', it will invest in resources to improve their education levels and increase their passing rates on accreditation tests, such as the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test

News article - PTV News

South Korea

Norway increases investments in sexual and reproductive health

At the Family Planning 2020 conference in London, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Laila Bokhari, detailed Norway’s increased investments in sexual and reproductive health, reaching NOK 700 million between 2017 and 2020 (US$87 million). This includes a 25% increase in Norway’s core contribution to the UN Family and Population Agency (UNFPA), of which NOK50 million (US$6 million) will go to support women living in areas of crisis and conflict, and to contraceptives for women in the poorest countries. Together with the UNFPA and other partners, Norway will take initiative to expand comprehensive sexuality education to protect the health and well-being of adolescents. A conference on this topic will be held in Oslo between December 2017 and January 2018. In addition, Norway has announced that it will support a range of civil-society organizations, and its development agency, Norad, is about to enter several multiple-year contracts worth NOK400 million (US$50 million).

News report – Prime Minister’s Office

Norway Global health

EU announces additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq

Following the 'liberation' of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State, the EU has announced that it will provide an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance to support emergency relief in retaken areas. Funding will be used to help families who have lost their homes and civilians in need of emergency medical services. According to Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, the end of the Mosul military campaign "marks the beginning of a new phase of international support to Iraq", with a focus on protecting civilians, rebuilding the country, and increasing political stability. 

The new disbursement brings the EU's total humanitarian assistance to Iraq since 2015 to €340 million.

Press release - European Commission


South Korea to support Ghana’s national project CHPS+

KOICA, Korea’s agency for international cooperation, will partner with the Ghana Health Service on a five-year (2016-2020) national project to improve community-based primary health care through the scale-up of the project, Community-Based Health Planning and Services Strengthening (CHPS+). At a cost of US$9 million, the project will be implemented in 120 zones of all 13 districts in Ghana’s upper-east region. It aims to improve the quality of maternal, neonatal, and child health services at health facilities, strengthen the health system by enhancing supervision and governance, improve digital health information systems, and establish sustainable emergency referral processes.

News article - News Ghana 

South Korea Global health

IDDRI releases working paper on NGO mobilization around SDGs in France and Germany

A new comparative study of the French think tank Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) details the possibilities and challenges faced by NGOs involved in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in France and in Germany. Entitled “How do NGOs mobilize around the SDGs and what are the ways forward? A French-German comparison”, the paper addresses several issues, including NGOs' relationship with the public and private sectors, the level of mobilization around the SDGs, and the courses of action taken by organizations in both countries. It also identifies possible ways forward for the relevant actors. 

Working paper – IDDRI

France Germany

Germany, France, and the EU launch the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’

Together with the European Commission, the German and French governments have launched the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’. Pushed for by French President Macron, the new initiative identifies the Sahel as a core strategic area and plans to pioneer an integrated approach to address development and security challenges in the region. It aims to guarantee “security and stabilization in the short term; and development in the middle to long term”.

Regarding development, the Alliance will focus on:

  • poverty eradication
  • developing of rural areas
  • youth education and employment
  • improvement of energy infrastructure
  • governance strengthening

The Alliance also announced the establishment of advisory centers for migration in Africa to support returned refugees in domestic job markets. Other institutional partners include the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and UNDP.

Feature story – European Union External Action

Press kit – Elysee (in French)

Press release – BMZ (in German)

EU France Germany