Pedro Sánchez elected leader of Spanish Socialist Party

Pedro Sánchez, former leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), has been re-elected in a primary vote after resigning last October. Once again leading the largest opposition party in the Spanish parliament, Sánchez is hoping to shift the PSOE significantly to the left, in a move which observers say may threaten Spain’s political stability and challenge Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s minority conservative government.

According to the political manifesto he released for the primary, Sánchez is willing to pave the way for Spain to increase official development assistance (ODA) to meet the 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) target.

News article  - The Guardian


Korea donates US$4 million to enhance Philippines’ meteorological expertise

Korea has donated US$4 million to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to boost the weather bureau’s capabilities to provide accurate and up-to-date weather data. Specifically, the funding will be used to, among other things, improve infrastructure and build capacity of PAGASA personnel to better respond to natural disasters. Korean weather experts will also be dispatched to share technical know-how.

The Philippines is one of the world's most vulnerable nations to extreme weather events.

News article - ABS-CBN

South Korea

Japan gives US$327 million loan to the African Development Bank

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it will give an US$327 million (34.4 billion yen) loan to the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) for Africa initiative started at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005. Japan has so far supported African governments through 21 projects with US$1.5 billion (159.5 billion yen) and provided US$1.2 billion (128.1 billion yen) in loans to the AfDB. This is the seventh loan to AfDB and will be utilized to support private sector investments.

Website - Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release (in Japanese)


Spain’s foreign minister hosts gathering with African ambassadors

On May 17, 2017, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, hosted a meeting with African ambassadors in Madrid, at which he reiterated Spain’s commitment to developing a strategic framework to defend democracy, the rule of law, and security on the continent. Emphasizing Spain and Africa's geographic, cultural, and historical links, Minister Dastis said that the current Spanish government is willing to strengthen development cooperation, with a long-term strategic vision based on trust and co-responsibility in managing migration flows. 

Press release - MAEC (in Spanish)


UNICEF-Ghana and KOICA to address challenges faced by adolescent girls

UNICEF-Ghana and the Korean development agency (KOICA) have signed a partnership agreement to launch the ‘A Better Life for Girls in Ghana’ project, which seeks to address the inequalities that disproportionaly affect adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 19 in the country. The project will work to combat child marriages, and support girls to stay in school and obtain vocational and entrepreneurial skills. It is part of KOICA's global campaign - 'A Better Life for Girls' - to strengthen health services and improve education for the most vulnerable girls in 15 countries.

Spanning 2017 to 2020, the agreement involves a US$5.2 million investment from KOICA, while UNICEF-Ghana will lead on strategy development and implementation in select districts. The hope, according to Woochan Chang, country director of KOICA in Ghana, is that the project will aid the successful implementation of Ghana's new National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage.

News article - Ghana News Agency

South Korea Global health

Canada’s foreign minister announces support for new legislation on human rights abuses

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, announced the government's support for new legislation to “impose sanctions for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for acts of corruption”. Speaking in the House of Commons, Minister Freeland noted that Canada currently lacks legislation for effectively applying sanctions in the case of abuses. The new law will expand the scope for enacting such sanctions and is comparable to similar laws passed in the UK and the US.

News release – Global Affairs Canada


Japan gives US$38 million grant to Zambia as part of Tokyo Conference commitment

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it will provide a US$38 million (3.98 billion yen) grant to the government of Zambia as part of its commitment made at the 2016 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI). This grant will support three health centers in Lusaka and strengthen health care services in the country to achieve universal health care.

Website - Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release (in Japanese)


Macron announces composition of new French government

Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, has appointed Edouard Philippe (Les Republicains) as prime minister. Following Philippe's nomination, Macron unveiled the composition of his new government. For the first time, the French government counts nine women and nine men, though as ‘The Guardian’ points out, “only one [woman] gets a top role”. Further, the ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development’, responsible for French ODA policy, has been renamed 'Ministry of Europe and of Foreign Affairs' in the new government. This new Ministry is now led by Jean-Yves Le Drian (Socialist Party), former Ministry of Defense under Holland.

Composition of the Government – Government website

News report – The Guardian


UK political parties publish manifestos for upcoming election

In the lead-up to the snap general election in the United Kingdom (UK) on June 8, 2017, the parties have published their manifestos, which include their positions on official development assistance (ODA) and international cooperation. Notably, the three parties – Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrats – have pledged to maintain the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on ODA, and to work within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, they differ significantly on how and where funding should be spent, and offer, for example, very distinct commitments on international trade, tackling climate change, addressing the refugee crisis, and responding to conflicts.

Manifesto 2017 - The Labour Party

Manifesto 2017 - The Conservative and Unionist Party

Manifesto 2017 - Liberal Democrats

Webpage - BOND

European Council adopts policy on rights of indigenous peoples

The Council of the European Union (EU) has adopted conclusions on indegenious peoples, highlighting the civil and human rights of minority populations, among other things. These conclusions follow the working document, "Implementing EU external policy on indigenous peoples", published by the European Commission in October 2016, which outlines steps to strengthen EU support for indigenous peoples through existing external policies and financing.

In the conclusions, the Council has underscored the importance of addressing discrimination, inequalities, threats, and violence based on origin or identity; emphasized the importance of enhancing dialogue with indigenous peoples at all levels of EU cooperation; and noted that the EU’s rights-based approach to development should be the main vehicle for external action on these issues. It also gave special attention to minority persons, including women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, displaced people, and victims of violence.

Press release - Council of the EU