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

Canadian international development minister launches new famine relief fund

On May 29, 2017, the Canadian Minister of International Development and la Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced that Canada will create the new 'Famine Relief Fund' to respond to food crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. The Fund aims to mobilize the support of Canadians and government alike by matching the donations of private citizens pledged in response to global food crises. Minister Bibeau announced that for every eligible donation to registered charities made by Canadians between March 17 and June 30, 2017, the Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the new Fund. Money raised will support the efforts of Canadian and international organizations that provide assistance to those affected by famine. 

News release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada Global health Nutrition

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

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

David Beasley appointed new Executive Director of World Food Program

David Beasley, a U.S. national, was nominated new Director of the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP) by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva. He assumed office on April 4, 2017, succeeding Ertharin Cousin, also from the U.S. From 1995 to 1999, Beasley was governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina. He is also founder and current chairman of the board for the Center for Global Strategies, a group that helps facilitate economic ties between developed and developing countries. 

Press release - World Food Programme


Italy Nutrition

France publishes 2016-2020 roadmap for nutrition

Aiming to increase its interventions for nutrition, France published its 2016-2020 roadmap for action in the area of nutrition assistance, ‘Improving nutrition for vulnerable populations’. The roadmap identifies five main guidelines: 1) integrate nutrition in programs implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), 2) contribute to better consideration of nutrition-related issues in partner countries, 3) contribute to strengthened international and European mobilization for nutrition, 4) contribute to research and knowledge development on nutrition, and 5) contribute to education around nutrition.

The French government has chosen to prioritize eight countries for these actions: Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Laos, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, the Central African Republic, and Chad.

Nutrition roadmap – French MAE [in French]


France Nutrition

Global Food Policy Report 2017 focuses on challenges of urbanization

According to the new Global Food Policy Report 2017, increasing urbanization and population growth threaten to increase malnutrition in much of the developing world, requiring policies that boost access to healthy foods and that better connect rural producers with urban consumers. The report, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, provides both a review of progress against malnutrition in 2016 and a look ahead at the world's most pressing food challenges. 

The report highlights significant reductions in hunger in key countries and decreased food prices globally. However, persistent challenges include the need to strengthen value chains, make critical investments in infrastructure investments, improve policy coordination across jurisdictions, and the implementation of other actions to improve linkages between where food is produced and where it is increasingly consumed. 

Report - International Food Policy Research Institute



Agriculture Nutrition

EU announces €165 million in assistance for drought-stricken parts of East Africa

During an official visit to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the EU International Cooperation and Development Commissioner, Neven Mimica, announced €165 million in additional assistance for drought-stricken parts of East Africa. €100 million will go to South Sudan, while €65 million will be divided amongst Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya to help prevent famine. Two-thirds of the funding to South Sudan is intended to support South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries. The remaining third will be used to address malnutrition, diseases, and water access in the country, and to protect vulnerable people, particularly women and children, from human rights abuses. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, was also in attendance on the visit.

Press release - European Commission
Website - EurActiv 


EU Agriculture Nutrition

UK announces matching of public donations to help East Africa crisis

The Department for International Development (DFID) has announced that the UK government will match the first £5 million in public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) new East Africa Crisis Appeal. The DEC is an umbrella organization that brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis to launch appeals and ensure that funds reach those who need them most. 

Pledging to magnify the impact of private donations through public funds, the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, has urged the public to act swiftly in the face of widespread hunger compounded by crises of lack of clean water and medical supplies in East Africa. Severe drought has left 16 million people hungry across Somalia, South Sudan, and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya.
Press release - UK Government website
Newspaper Article - The Guardian