Germany hosts conference on deforestation-free supply chains and sustainable palm oil production

The German development (BMZ) and agriculture (BMEL) ministries co-hosted a conference on the link between consumption and deforestation: “Approaches for sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains – cross-learnings from palm oil, cocoa and soy”. Minister Schmidt (BMEL) emphasized that Germany will aim to reach 100% sustainable palm oil production. Similar achievements could be made in cocoa and soy production if public and private stakeholders exchange knowledge and cooperate on supply chain management.

This conference occurred in the context of Germany's leadership role in the Amsterdam Group. This group - comprised by Germany, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark - was consituted in December 2015 with the signing of the Amsterdam Declaration, which included the commitment to purchase 100% sustainable palm oil by the year 2020.

Press release - BMZ (in German)

Germany Agriculture

EU foreign ministers endorse new Africa-EU Partnership Strategy

EU foreign ministers have endorsed a new joint EU-Africa Strategy that seeks to strengthen mutual engagement, address security, and promote sustainable, inclusive economic African development. The Strategy Communication, launched in May 2017, identifies two strands for these objectives. First, the strategy aims at building more resilient states and societies, with a focus on 1) preventing conflicts, address crises and peace-building, 2) strengthening governance systems; and 3) managing migration and mobility. Second, it aims at creating more and better jobs, especially for youth, with a focus on 1) attracting investments, 2) promoting renewable energy, 3) transforming African agriculture and agro-businesses, and 4) improving knowledge and skills in the African continent. The European Council’s endorsement underscored the importance of human rights, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the work to be supported by the new strategy.

Press release - Council of the EU

Canada launches new feminist foreign assistance policy

After a year of extensive consultations with the Canadian civil society and the public at large, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has launched a new feminist international assistance policy. With it, Canada joins a handful of countries who either have explicit feminist international development policies or gendered policies and plans, including Australia, Sweden, and Norway.

The new policy will apply a human rights-based approach to six core pillars:

  • Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
  • Human dignity (including health education, humanitarian assistance, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and food security)
  • Inclusive growth
  • Environment and climate change
  • Inclusive governance
  • Peace and security.

Other highlights  include:

  • By 2021-2022, “at least 95 percent of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance investments will either target or integrate gender equality or the empowerment of women and girls”.
  • Discontinuation of Canada’s “countries-of-focus”, shifting instead towards a regional allocation with a focus on least developed countries and by which no less than 50% of Canada’s bilateral international assistance will go to countries in sub-Saharan Africa by 2021-2022. The allocation strategy is to be released at a later date.

The policy does not come with a costed funding framework, and the Budget 2017 released this spring did not specify any new increases in spending. However, the government announced that it will contribute an additional CAD150 million (US$117 million) over five years to support local organizations that work to advance women’s rights in developing countries.   

Press release – Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s new international assistance policy – Government of Canada

Germany launches vocational training program and palm oil initiative in Indonesia

At the start of his visit in Indonesia, German development minister Gerd Müller launched a new multi-year vocational training program in cooperation with the Indonesian Minister of Planning. Over the next three years, Germany will sponsor up to 10,000 young people to complete a dual-vocational training program based on the German model of matriculation at a vocational school and on-the-job training at a company. German and Indonesian experts plan to involve more than 1,000 small and medium-sized companies in the program.

Minister Müller will also launch a palm oil initiative for the first time with a sustainable procurement region to be established in West Kalamantan Province, Borneo. Smallholder farmers will receive training on farming practices that help to preserve the forests, and learn how to process their products locally. Indonesia is the world's largest palm oil producer.

Press release – BMZ

Germany Agriculture

Spanish and Haitian foreign ministers review and reaffirm cooperation

On May 9, 2017, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, met with his colleague, Antonio Rodrigue, Haiti's recently-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and formerly the Haitian Ambassador to Spain. After reviewing current cooperation programs, Minister Dastis reiterated Spain’s commitment to support stability and development in the Caribbean country. Haiti has been a priority country for Spanish development policy since 2005, and is listed in the fourth Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation as a partner country. Priority sectors include water and sanitation, education, rural development, nutrition, environment, and governance.

Press release - Spanish government (in Spanish)




Canada’s development minister attends the IMF and World Bank Group's ‘Spring Meeting’

From April 20 to 21, 2017, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, attended the 'Spring Meeting' of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group in Washington D.C. The annual gathering brings together academics, private sector executives, central bankers, and ministers of finance and development to discuss global issues, including aid effectiveness, economic development, and poverty eradication. During her visit, Minister Bibeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to supporting health and education in fragile and conflict-affected areas, inclusive and green economic growth, and investing in women and youth.

News release - Global Affairs Canada
Event page - World Bank Group and IMF

EU, USAID, and UN release joint report on global food insecurity

The Food Security Information Network – a collaboration of the EU, USAID, and the UN – published a report warning that severe food insecurity has increased dramatically in the last two years. In 2015, 80 million people globally were food insecure compared to the 208 million in 2015. Four countries are currently at risk of famine: South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeast Nigeria. Food crises around the world are fueled by conflict, record-high food prices, and abnormal weather patterns caused by El Niño. The Network's report highlights the need for immediate and targeted action to respond to these food crises and to address their root causes.

For the 2014-2020 period, the EU has pledged to contribute about €8.8 billion to food, nutrition security, and agriculture.

Report - Global Report on Food Crises 2017
News release - European Commission

Director of International Livestock Research Institute advocates for greater investments

While visiting Australia, Dr. Jimmy Smith, Director-General of the International Livestock Research Institute, stressed the importance of increasing funding to the livestock sector in the developing world. Currently, only 0.25% of Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) goes to this sector. According to Dr. Smith, greater investment in livestock agriculture in developing countries helps foster favorable markets for donors to sell their products, and in global disease control.

News article and interview - Devex

Australia Agriculture

Japan's foreign ministry publishes annual ODA white paper

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) published its 2016 ODA white paper, analyzing Japan’s ODA by sector, scheme, and multilateral organization. The annual report is designed to shed light on Japan’s current ODA policies and assess the results of projects in different sectors. It also includes information on ODA trends, policies, and strategies for 42 countries, as well as the EU.

Press release - MOFA [in Japanese]
Full report - MOFA [in Japanese]

EU sends €47 million in humanitarian assistance to Africa

On April 11, 2017, the EU announced the release of €47 million in humanitarian assistance to the African Great Lakes, Southern African, and Indian Ocean regions. €22.7 million will go to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), €9.3 million to Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, and the rest to Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. According to European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, these funds will help millions of people affected by forced displacement, food insecurity, and natural disasters.

Press release - European Commission