US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

The Trump administration has announced the US' withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused the body of harboring a "cesspool of political bias". She cited the council's inclusion of members with a record of human rights violations, as well as chronic bias against Israel, as the chief reasons for US withdrawal.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein voiced dismay at the decision, and emphasized the need for US engagement in combating human rights violations. Haley nonetheless stated that the move was "not a retreat from our [the US'] human rights commitments". 

News article - RTE News

Global United States

Norway to strengthen development cooperation with 16 countries

To more effectively use Norway's development assistance, Norway’s Development Minister, Nikolai Astrup, has announced a re-grouping of Norway's development partner countries into two categories:

  1. Long-term development partnerships, which encompass support on economic growth, job creation, and tax system advisory. This group includes Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  2. Stabilization partnerships, which comprise of conflict resolution assistance. This group includes Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, Palestine, Somalia and South Sudan.

According to Astrup, this grouping will better support knowledge sharing and resource management in partner countries, as well as progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Press release - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Policy document - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

‘Master Plan for Migration’ leads to conflict between the CDU and its sister party CSU

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are currently in conflict over the ‘Master Plan for Migration’ developed by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). The former Minister President of Bavaria and leader of the CSU wants to reject migrants who are already registered in another European country directly at the German border. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is strongly opposed to this view and  is advocacting in favor of a European solution.

The conflict between the two parties is seen as very serious and harming to the CDU/CSU fraction. Seehofer agreed to give Merkel a two-week period to talk to European partners and try find a European solution. She will meet the French President Emmanuel Macron this week.

News report - ZEIT online


Challenging EU summit ahead

The summit of EU heads of state and government at the end of June will address many challenging issues: migration and asylum, budgeting for the Eurozone, Brexit, how to advance the rule of law in Poland, trade war with the USA, and the EU’s 2021-2027 budget (the multi-annual financial framework, MFF). The main questions for development cooperation will be how much external action will be used to tackle the root causes of migration and manage migration at the EU’s external borders and how much money will be allocated to poverty eradication and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Website – EU

News article –


France and India strengthen partnership in sustainable urban development and energy

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian received his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, in Paris, in order to advance the implementation of partnership guidelines set during President Emmanuel Macron's visit to India in March 2018. France hopes to increase its economic presence in India, particularly in the field of sustainable urban development and energy. The ministers discussed the operational implementation of the International Solar Alliance, whose founding summit was co-chaired by the French President and the Indian Prime Minister on March 11, 2018. 

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French)


Telecommunications project emphasizes value of Australia's development program, says Tim Costello of World Vision

Tim Costello, chief advocate for World Vision Australia, writes that Australia's commitment to build an undersea internet cable between Australia, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea highlights the importance of development assistance. In particular, this investment will play a role in maintaining Australian influence in the Pacific region, says Costello.

News article - The Guardian Australia


Swedish government adopts national action plan for implementation of the 2030 Agenda

The Swedish government has adopted a national Action Plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the period 2018-2020. The Action Plan outlines a number of key actions for sustainable development that are expected to yield results already in the short and medium term.

Six thematic focus areas are highlighted: 1) Equal opportunity and gender equality, which includes health equity; 2) Sustainable communities; 3) A circular and bio-based economy; 4) A strong and sustainable business community; 5) Sustainable and healthy food; and 6) Knowledge and innovation. The action plan focuses on the national implementation of Agenda 2030 but also includes Sweden's contribution to the global implementation of the agenda. The forthcoming Swedish plan for global health is included under result area 1 to contribute to the efforts on improving health equity.  

Report – Swedish government (in Swedish)


DFAT review raises concerns about Australia's development program in two PNG sectors

Ben Packham has written that the Australian government has concerns about the quality of its development program in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Components in the governance and human development sectors were rated poorly against their objectives in an annual review conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). 

Australia's FY2018-19 development assistance budget includes A$541 million (US$402 million) for PNG.

News article - The Australian

Spanish foreign minister highlights commitment to multilateralism in meeting with OECD

Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell met with the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ángel Gurría to discuss the future of multilateralism, as well as future contributions to the organization. Borrell sought to reiterate Spain's commitment to multilateral participation and the OECD in particular, applauding the organization's recent acceptance of Colombia and Lithuania as member states.

Press release - MAEC (in Spanish)


Prime Minister Announces JICA's collaboration with universities in Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will collaborate with domestic universities on a international development graduate program that focuses on four specific academic fields: 1) political and legal area, 2) economic area, 3) social development area, and 4) science and technology. The program aims to recruit students from developing countries currently studying in Japan, in order for them to apply skills gained upon returning home.

Press release - JICA (in Japanese)