New Zealand NGOs to refocus on poverty alleviation

Josie Pagani, the Director of New Zealand's Council for International Development (CID), an umbrella group of 43 development NGOs, has welcomed a proposed return to poverty alleviation in New Zealand's development strategy. According to Pagani, the country's development sector is hoping for a more balanced approach to development cooperation under New Zealand’s new Labour government.

The previous National government had moved NZAID, New Zealand's development agency, into the foreign ministry, and placed a strong focus on economic development.

News article - Scoop NZ


Elcano Institute launches Global Presence Report 2017

The Spanish foreign affairs and development think tank Elcano Royal Institute has launched its annual Global Presence Index report, which analyzes the international projection of 100 countries. The report assesses countries across a combination of hard- and soft- power indicators, such as development cooperation, trade flows, science, and migration. Based on data from 1990 to 2016, Elcano’s Global Presence Report 2017 ranks the US as the most internationalized country, followed by China and Germany. Spain, which stands at twelfth, has illustrated an important increase since 1990, mostly driven by its influence in economic and soft instruments.

Publication – Elcano Royal Institute (in Spanish)

Global Spain

Milan high-level nutrition summit brings pledges to $3.4 billion in next decade

The Milan-hosted Global Nutrition Summit 2017 raised $640 million in new commitments to tackle global malnutrition, bringing pledges over the next decade to $3.4 billion. The meeting convened national government representatives, NGOs, and foundations. The funds will go toward a range of programs that support the United Nations’ goals of zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and World Health Organization targets has set for 2025, including reducing stunting in children under the age of 5 by 40% and reducing anemia in women of childbearing age by 50%.

The 2017 Global Nutrition Report was also launched at the Summit. The report takes stock of countries’ progress towards nutrition-related SDGs, World Health Assembly Maternal Infant and Young Child targets, and diet-related non-communicable diseases targets. It also tracks delivery of donor and partner country commitments.

Press release – WHO

Publication – Global Nutrition Report

Global Italy Nutrition

OECD DAC clarifies rules on ODA spending on refugees

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has clarified the rules surrounding aid spending on refugees at high-level meetings held this week in Paris. The meetings sought to address the issue of how and when money spent on refugees can count as ODA, both in developing countries and developed donor countries. For the first time, the DAC has provided a comprehensive list of ODA-eligible and non-eligible expenditure: 

  • Security-related costs, including detention centers, border patrol, and the cost of repatriation, are now clearly excluded from ODA.
  • Any spending on failed asylum seekers or refugees determined to be "in transit" to other countries for resettlement will also be non-eligible.
  • In regard to in-donor spending on refugees, the DAC retained the one-year limit, which means that ODA can only be used to support refugees during their first year in the host country, but clarified that the year begins from the date an asylum application is submitted.
  • No cap was implemented on in-donor refugee costs.

No decisions were made regarding the use of private-sector instruments (PSIs) in ODA, with delegates unable to reach a consensus on how to establish the grant equivalents of PSI investments when determining eligibility. However, the DAC did approve non-binding guiding principles on the use of blended finance, which recommend that blended financing be anchored to a development rationale and tied to a local context.

A controversial proposal tabled by the UK to allow humanitarian spending in wealthier island states vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters was withdrawn hours after being proposed. Sources present at the meetings say that the proposal sparked a debate around the "reclassification" of countries eligible for development assistance following a crisis. 

Any changes to the DAC's spending rules must be agreed on unanimously by members. 

News article - Devex


UK withdraws proposal for ODA rule change at OECD

During an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) High Level Meeting, the UK was forced to withdraw its proposal for a three-year waiver to allow countries hit by natural disaster to qualify for ODA regardless of economic status. While consensus for the proposal was lacking, OECD members did discuss ways for countries to be reclassified or de-graduated following crises, which would allow for previous recipients of ODA to receive assistance again. The UK’s Department for International Development has considered this a step forward under British leadership.

News report – Devex

Press release – UK government

Global United Kingdom

Results of Sweden's feminist foreign policy released in new report

The Swedish government has published a report on the implementation of its 'Feminist Foreign Policy', with examples from three years of implementation.  Gender equality is both a domestic and an international priority for Sweden and the policy is a cornerstone of all Swedish international engagement. A few highlights from the report:

  1. Human Rights: promoted Swedish sex purchasing legislation; published country reports on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in 135 countries; increased the focus of gender equality on development cooperation, including through a new strategy
  2. Freedom from violence: worked to make visible and counteract destructive masculinity standards and strengthen countries' ability to prosecute perpetrators, assist victims, and reintegrate soldiers; contributed to improved knowledge about the link between uncontrolled proliferation of weapons and violence against women; mobilized financial support around gender-related violence in crises
  3. Influence in peace work: contributed to increased participation of women in peace processes in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; established and encouraged networks of female mediators; made the ‘women, peace and security agenda’ a key priority for this term in the UN Security Council
  4. Political participation: contributed to women's political participation in a number of countries; supported female human rights defenders and actively engaged in work for freedom of opinion; pursued gender-equality strategies in development banks and environmental and climate funds; assumed a leadership role for the initiative International Gender Champions in Geneva, with special responsibility for representation issues
  5. Economic empowerment: contributed to girls' education and women's employment, driven by the development of the Agenda for Development Financing Agenda and Agenda 2030 for gender equality, as well as promoting gender equality in trade policy and sustainable entrepreneurship; highlighted men’s responsibility for gender equality through the campaign ‘He for She’ and the Swedish Dads photo exhibition
  6. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR): used alliance-building, board roles, development cooperation, and dialogue, including initiating the global movement #SheDecides, to intensify work around SRHR; contributed to more midwives and better access to sexual education, contraception, and safe abortions through direct assistance at the country level

Publication – Swedish government (in Swedish)  

Global Sweden

Labour Party win to change course of New Zealand development assistance

The recent win by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party could see substantial changes to the country's development cooperation program, which struggled to mobilize funding under the previous government. In recent years, New Zealand has cut down on development staff, reduced its ODA/GNI ratio, and placed a heavy emphasis on promoting domestic economic development and linkages. 

The Labour Party, which will govern in conjunction with the New Zealand First Party, indicated in its manifesto that it will focus New Zealand's development cooperation on poverty alleviation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. More attention is also expected on education and women’s healthwith a particular emphasis on the Pacific region.

News article - Dev Policy Blog


Italian CSOs criticize outcome of G7 agricultural meeting as inadequate

Italian CSOs were critical of the final declaration following a G7 ministerial meeting on agriculture in Bergamo, Italy, on October 14-15, 2017. The declaration emphasizes the leading role that G7 countries can play to help promote more resilient and more sustainable global agricultural and food systems, while also launching an assessment of the policies and approaches taken in a number of G7 and non-G7 countries to mitigate catastrophic risks in agriculture. However,  the CSOs argued these were not ambitious enough outcomes relative to the severity of the challenges, noting that in the Global Hunger Index for 2016 half of all developing countries received “serious” or even “alarming” ratings based on levels of malnutrition, growth stunting, and child mortality.

Communique – G7

News article – Agi

Global Italy Agriculture Nutrition

EU and partners launch call for health research proposals in African countries

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) have launched a call for proposals for implementation research on health in African countries. The call aims to strengthen capacity for implementation research conducted through close collaboration between researchers and national disease programs. Diseases covered include malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infections, yellow fever, and neglected tropical diseases.

 Only WHO African Region residents are eligible to apply.

Website – EDCTP

EU Global Global health R&D

Sweden hosts new land rights institution for indigenous peoples

Together with the Ford Foundation, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) has launched ‘The Tenure Facility’, a new global institute that focuses on land rights issues for local communities and indigenous peoples. It will support local organizations and is based on a four year pilot project funded jointly by Sida and the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, Mali, Peru, Cameroon, Liberia, and Panama. The Facility officially started on October 3rd and will be located in Stockholm, Sweden.  

Press release – Sida (in Swedish)

News report – Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)

Global Sweden