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Philanthropy Australia concerned about proposed requirements for charities

Philanthropy Australia has raised concerns about proposed new requirements for charities outlined in the federal government’s discussion paper on reforms to deductible gift recipient status (DGRs). The proposals include new reporting requirements, a limit on advocacy activities for environmental charities, and a reintroduction of the ‘In Australia’ requirement, requiring charities to conduct all activities within Australia in order to retain DGR status.

Submissions to the Government’s discussion paper closed on August 4, 2017.

Website – Pro bono Australia

Australia

Japan and ASEAN countries revise Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Hon. Taro Kono attended a meeting of his counterparts within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on August 6-8, 2017. At the meeting, Japan and ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to adopt a revised Implementation Plan of the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, called ‘Shared Vision, Shared Identity, Shared Future’. Under the original vision statement adopted in 2013, Japan provided JPY2.3 trillion (US$20 billion) in ODA to ASEAN countries. The revised vision statement covers various development sectors such as health, education, disaster management, infrastructure development, and measures against terrorist attacks. The progress will be regularly monitored and annually reported to the ASEAN-Japan Summit.

Japan

Siemens joins German government’s IT alliance

Siemens has committed to joining the German development ministry’s IT alliance. The alliance comprises leading German and European businesses, associations, and research institutes, and aims to support young entrepreneurs and businesses from developing countries to modernize their domestic economies and create innovative solutions for development issues. Since January 2017, it has supported digital start-ups in Western and Eastern Africa.

The IT alliance was created through the Marshall Plan with Africa, which provides a framework for increased private investments and job opportunities in African countries.

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Germany

Australia and the EU sign Framework Agreement

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, have signed a Framework Agreement. The agreement aims to enhance cooperation between Australia and the EU in foreign and security policy, sustainable development, climate change, and economic and trade across government, business, and civil society. It will support future negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two geographies.

Press release - Australian Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Australia EU

Canada announces CAD10 million for new scholarship program

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, announced that Canada will allocate CAD10 million (US$7.8 million) over five years, to support post-secondary students and mid-career professionals from Southeast Asia who want to study in Canada. The Scholarships and Educations Exchanges for Development initiative is open to individuals, especially women, from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and will be awarded in fields that contribute to poverty reduction and narrowing the development gap in Southeast Asia.

The announcement was made at the Canada-ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference held in Manila, Philippines.

Press release – Global Affairs Canada

Canada

DFAT evaluates Australia’s response to pandemics and emerging infectious diseases

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has released an evaluation of Australia’s work to strengthen the human and animal health systems involved in the prevention of emerging infectious diseases in Asia and the Pacific. The evaluation underscores the need for DFAT’s future health-security investments to be better integrated with the health systems of partner countries than has been the case to date. It also highlights the need for a differentiated approach that considers the differences between animal and human health systems in the Pacific and South-East Asia, and the constraints to implementing a One Health strategy.

Five specific recommendations are made in the report.

Website – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia Global health

UK commits additional £100 million to eradicate polio by 2020

UK International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, has pledged £100 million (US$152.9  million) to help eradicate polio. The funds will be channeled through the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement programs of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). This funding is additional to DFID's 2013 commitment to spend £300 million (US$ 468.8 million) on polio efforts between 2013 and 2018.

It is expected by experts that the last new case of polio will be diagnosed in 2017. For polio to be officially declared eradicated, three years must lapse without any cases diagnosed worldwide.

Press release – DFID

United Kingdom Global health

Australia delivers first national review on 2030 Agenda July 2018

Australia will deliver its first Voluntary National Review on the 2030 Agenda at the UN High Level Political Forum in July 2018. The review provides an opportunity to outline Australia's achievements, priorities and challenges in advancing the SDGs and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development domestically and internationally.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Prime Minister and Cabinet are drafting the review as part of a whole-of-government process to coordinate Australia's implementation of the 2030 Agenda. DFAT has indicated it will be consulting civil society and private sector partners and peak bodies closely during the drafting process.

Website – DFAT

Australia

EU reportedly considers increased cooperation with Australia and New Zealand

Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and European Commission for Trade, suggested that there is opportunity for further cooperation between the EU, Australia, and New Zealand. Noting the changing geopolitical focus on the Asia-Pacific, he cited room for collaboration within the Pacific region, for example, on climate change, renewable energy, and oceans and fisheries, as well as regional security, health, and education. Pacific island nations are highly vulnerable to climate change.

Australia and the EU have recently signed a new Framework Agreement; the EU plans to start negotiations on a new partnership agreement with developing Pacific island nations soon. 

News article - the Australian

Australia

Japanese Prime Minister Abe appoints new Cabinet

Prime Minister Abe has reshuffled his Cabinet. On August 3, 2017, Taro Kono was appointed the new Minister for Foreign Affairs and Katsunobu Kato became the new Minister of Health. Taro Kono has previously voiced that Japan should halve its ODA budget, but has not yet clearly stated his position on ODA in his new capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Press release - The Cabinet Office (in Japanese)

News article - Sankei News (in Japanese)

Official website - Kono Taro (in Japanese)

Japan