European Commission strategy for sustainable finance launched

The European Commission has unveiled a strategy for a financial system to support the EU's climate and sustainable development agenda. Around €180 billion of additional investments a year are needed to achieve the EU's 2030 targets agreed at the international climate conference in Paris, including a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions. Based on recommendations from the High-Level Expert Group on sustainable finance (HLEG), the Commission roadmap plans to boost the role of finance in delivering on environmental and social goals. 

Press release - European Commission


Dutch Development Minister and 75 Dutch organizations discuss integrity policies following Oxfam crisis

 75 leading Dutch organizations working on international cooperation and humanitarian assistance have met with the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, to evaluate the existing procedures on integrity and prevention of sexual misconduct by development workers and to propose new measures to combat this. Some of these included independent reporting points, whistleblower regulation, and clear sanctions based on zero tolerance.

News article - Pratos (in Dutch) 



Coordination SUD publishes study on levels of funding for French NGOs

French NGO umbrella organization Coordination SUD, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency (AFD), published a report analyzing the resources and expenditures of NGOs in France. The survey gathered responses from 133 NGOs and covers the 2012-2016 period. It sheds light on major developments in the sector, which has grown 38% since 2012 to €1.7 billion (US$ 1.5 billion) in size, with a peak of financial resources in 2015. 

The report finds that, in general, resources are mostly public at the international level and mostly private at the national level. It also notes that, though the respondents to the survey are mainly involved in two priority geographies of French development policy (sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean),  there has been a substantive increase in spending in favor of the Middle East (€1 billion dedicated over the period, or 22% of expenditures in 2016 against 8% in 2012). 

Report - Coordination SUD (in French)


UK and OCHA hold summit to raise funding to prevent famine in Somalia

International donors committed to supporting the humanitarian situation in Somalia during a High Level meeting in London co-hosted by the UK government and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UK government didn't specify how much was raised, but said "with additional commitments made at this meeting, Somalia’s partners have now committed some $350 million USD to the Humanitarian Response for 2018", adding that "a number of key donors made clear their intention to confirm substantial new pledges in the next few weeks."

Mark Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator commented that, while progress had been made, Somalia continued to face a crisis, unless "substantial new resources" could be found. The event was attended by 31 UN Member States, UN Agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organisations. 

Press release - UK government 


Coordination SUD welcomes Gender Strategy and asks for further commitments

Coordination SUD (CSUD), an umbrella organization that gathers French NGOs working on development, issued a press release commenting on the new Gender Strategy, which was published by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on International Women's Day. CSUD welcomed the efforts expressed in the text, noting that it is a continuation of the previous strategies of 2007 and 2013, and that it takes into account recommendations given by civil society organizations. The release also singles out the Minister's stated intention to adopt the term "Droits Humains" (in English, human rights) instead of the currently used "Droits de l’Homme" (in English, Rights of Man). Nevertheless, the organizations say they will observe whether greater financial commitments and concrete budget allocations will be made for the sector in the new future.

Press release - Coordination SUD


Norwegian report argues project evaluations have little influence on future allocations of ODA

A Norwegian report from the Christian Michelsens Institute (CMI) argues that ex-post evaluations of development projects have little effect on how future ODA allocations are made. In response, the Minister of International Development, Nikolai Astrup, is launching an electronic portal on which the results from ODA allocations are available to the public to make Norwegian development policy more transparent. Astrup also claims that the MFA will, going forward, utilize the lessons from the evaluation reports when allocating ODA funding.

Press release - The Norwegian Government website (in Norwegian)


Norwegian organizations demand full stop of payments from the Central African Forest Initiative to DRC

The Norwegian branches of Greenpeace, Global Witness, and the Rainforest Foundation have called on the Norwegian government to suspend payments  to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which they claim is contributing to deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The organizations say the Minister of Environment in the DRC granted Chinese companies illegal logging permits, contributing to large-scale deforestation. Norway is the largest donor to CAFI, which in turn provides funding to Central African high-forest cover countries to preserve the forests in the region, to mitigate climate change, and to reduce poverty. 

Greenpeace, Global Witness, and the Rainforest Foundation claim that 75 million hectares of forest is in danger and that CAFI as an actor will contribute to deforestation in the DRC. Norwegian State secretary, Atle Hamar, in response confirmed that further payments to CAFI have been put on hold, until permits are withdrawn.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)


Japan announces ¥330 million grant for development in the Rakhine State

Japan will contribute ¥330 million (US$3.2 million) to UN Women for comprehensive development and empowerment of women in the Rakhine State in Myanmar. The grant will enable the provision of vocational training, aiming to strengthen women’s economic independence and capacity. It will contribute to the mid-to-long term reconstruction of the community, improvement of local living conditions, and strengthening the capacity of administrative officials in the region.

Press release – MOFA (in Japanese)


Sweden gets top ranks for gender equality work in global health

The Swedish International development agency, Sida, is at the forefront of gender equality work in global health, according to the 2018 Global Health Report 50/50 published on March 8th.

In a response to the 2018 report from the international initiative Global Health 50/50, the Swedish State Secretary for international development, Ulrika Modéer, published an op-ed on the development platform ‘Biståndsdebatten’ in which she applauded the work of Sida, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights. She also calls for continued work to engage boys and men in global health, increase the proportion of female managers in global health actors, and create workplaces that are free from sexism.

Debate article - Bistå (in Swedish)

Publication - Global Health 50/50 Report

Sweden Global health

TSL: Senator writes op-ed on Australian approach to development assistance

Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Penny Wong, has written an op-ed on quality of development assistance and gender equity, focused on the Pacific. In this she emphasized the need for more to be done through the Australian development program to address structural impediments to equity. Wong highlighted the need for aid to create an enabling environment, particularly in health and education, quoting the high maternal death rates in the Pacific and Timor Lest, the effect of the USA’s Global Gag Rule, and the high rates of cervical cancer in the region.

Wong concluded that the eradication of gender inequality would be a hallmark of a future Labour government’s approach to development assistance.

Op-ed - Lowy Institute