January 16: SDGs are on the agenda at Norway’s largest conference on food and agriculture

The 2018 Food and Agriculture conference discusses topics of relevance to the agriculture and food production industry for both developed and developing countries. Topics on the agenda include:

  • Achieving the SDGs
  • Digital farming for sustainable living
  • Green and sustainable research
  • Climate friendly solutions for the agricultural sector

Speakers include:

  • Anita Krohn Traaseth, Innovation Norway
  • Bjørn Haugland, DNV GL
  • Jon Georg Dale, Norwegian Government

Location: Oslo, Norway

Event website – Norwegian Agriculture Cooperation

Norway Agriculture Nutrition

Spain-African Union women's empowerment fund presents summary report on activities

 The Spain-African Union New Partnership for Africa Development's (NEPAD) joint fund on women's empowerment has presented its final report on its activities and achievements. It found that since its creation in 2017, the fund has supported more than one million women through 79 development-cooperation programs implemented in 38 African countries. With €20 million in funding, disbursed entirely by the Spanish development agency AECID, the fund mostly focused on fostering women’s economic progress, strengthening gender-based CSOs, and preventing violence against women and girls. 

Press release - AECID (in Spanish)


Indian patent authority gives Pfizer monopoly on pneumonia medicine in India

The Indian patent authority has prolonged Pfizer’s monopoly on pneumonia medicine in India. The humanitarian health organization Médicines Sans Frontiéres (MSF) has appealed the decision to the Indian Supreme Court and pledges to continue the fight against expensive vaccines. It points out that the cost of fully vaccinating a child in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization is 68 times more expensive than in 2001, and it places much of the blame on the practice of monopolizing vaccines. "The decision to grant patent to Pfizer is not only important in India – it has an effect on all middle and low income countries", said Øyunn Holen, medical director of MSF Norway.

News report – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health

ECDPM publishes dossier on gender perspective in development cooperation

The European Centre on Development Policy and Management (ECDPM) has collected its work on gender and development cooperation in a new dossier. The dossier seeks to lend a gender perspective to a range of topics in international development policy, with a focus on 1) peace and security, 2) business, trade and finance, and 3) agriculture, nutrition, and climate change. It also includes an 'other' category with research on engaging boys and men in gender equality initiatives, and gender-related budgeting in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Newsletter and website – ECDPM


International NGO consortium launches new tool to track European DAH

Global Health Advocates France and Medical Mission Institute Würzburg, in collaboration with several NGOs, including Action for Global Health UK network, Results UK, and Save the Children UK, have launched a new tracking tool named 'ODA4Health'. Aimed at unpacking the flows of Development Assistance for Health (DAH) of the top four EU donors (the UK, France, Germany and the EU Institutions), the platform seeks to provide user-friendly information on the quantity and quality of foreign assistance for health.

So far, ODA4HEALTH has noted that 1) only one donor (the UK) is reaching the 0.1%/GNI target given by WHO DAH recommendations; 2) there is an increasing tendency to use loans or equity investments to support the health sector; and 3) it is very difficult to assess to what extent each donor is contributing to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), mainly due to a lack of detailed information.

The website will be updated regularly.

Website – ODA4Health

EU France Germany United Kingdom

French President Macron's 'One Planet' summit achieves concrete commitments to fight climate change

The One Planet Summit, hosted in Paris on December 12, 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron, the UN, and the World Bank, gathered over 54 heads of state, private-sector companies, and international organizations to discuss the use of financing in the fight against climate change. A number of concrete new commitments were made. 

The World Bank announced that it will stop financing oil and gas exploration and exploitation after 2019; a coalition of sovereign wealth funds (from Norway, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand) pledged to work together to 'green' their portfolios; and philanthropists Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson pledged to increase the share of their actions in favor of the climate, with Bill Gates allocating US$300 million to fund programs on climate change and its impact on agriculture.

News article – Le Monde (in French)


EU urges swift implementation of updated 'Aid for Trade' strategy

EU development ministers adopted conclusions urging swift implementation of an updated EU 'Aid for Trade (AfT)' strategy, which aims to raise countries’ productive capacity and tackle poverty through trade. The updated EU strategy aims to improve developing-country integration into the international trading system; enable trade and investment to help reduce poverty; improve complementarity of trade and development policies; enhance allocations to least-developed countries, countries experiencing fragility and affected by conflict; increase synergies between the development financing tools used by the EU and its Member States to promote aid for trade; and enhance the impact of aid-for-trade programs through greater engagement with the private sector, civil society, and local authorities.

In 2015, the EU and member states committed more than €13 billion in foreign assistance in support of trade and productive capacities.

Source: Website – EU



Centre for Development and Environment Director argues lack of public awareness slows progress toward SDGs

Dan Banik, Research Director at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and Environment, argues in an op-ed that there is a pressing need to implement campaigns to increase knowledge of the SDGs among the general public. While there is evidence of greater engagement from the private sector, it is usually motivated by self-interest, and to meet the SDGs the political system has to be built around solving these challenges, Banik argues. That includes academia, civil society, the private sector, and national governments.

Op-ed – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)


European Commissioner launches global alliance to fight violence against women

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe, the European Commission, and UN Women have launched an alliance to tackle violence against women and girls at a global level. In a joint statement, Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, reemphasized the EU’s commitment to take concrete actions to end violence against women.

Building on the OECD's Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), the alliance will collaborate on collecting data for indicators of SDG 5: 'Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls'. These results will provide data on legal frameworks that will help countries adapt their policy responses to effectively address domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape.

Press release – EU


Sida signs new financial guarantee agreement with World Bank

The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) signed a new agreement with the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide financial guarantees that will enable large, sustainable infrastructure investments in low-income countries. The financial guarantees will be provided to two of the world’s largest insurance companies, Allianz and Eastspring Investments (Prudential), enabling them to lend up to SEK8.6 billion (US$1 billion) to developing countries for sustainable infrastructure projects. The IFC will manage the loans and monitor the investments. 

IFC and Sida will jointly share the risk for the non-repayment of loans. Sida’s guarantee is valued at SEK535 million (US$65 million), although it is estimated that little or none of this will need to be paid out.

Press release - Sida (in Swedish)