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Council of the European Union adopts Europe-Asia strategy

The Council of the European Union has adopted conclusions on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy' to feed into the upcoming Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) summit. The conclusions state that the EU will promote an approach which is sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based, and will advance investment and trade. This European approach is based on standards of social and environmental protection and inspired by the EU's internal market, promoting higher levels of quality of life with respect for individual rights. The Council calls for strengthened cooperation at the regional level between the EU and Asia, saying that the EU should consider developing regional approaches for sustainable connectivity, identifying opportunities for cooperation.

Press release – Council of the EU

EU

German governing party suffers drastic loss in Bavarian election

In the state elections in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU) – the conservative sister party of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel – had their worst election performance in more than six decades. They received just 37.2% of the votes, losing their absolute majority. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), Merkel’s grand coalition partner at the federal level, was hit similarly hard, receiving 9.9% of votes. Winners of the election were the Green Party with 17.5% (an 8.9% increase from the last election) and the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) with 10.2% of the votes.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

Germany

Germany pledges €115 million to the World Health Organization

At the opening of the World Health Summit in Berlin, German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that Germany will provide additional funding of €115 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) over the next four years. It is the first time that Germany has made a binding financial commitment over a period of four years to the organization.

Germany wants its funding to strengthen WHO's planning for emergencies and to strengthen the organization. 

News Article (in German) – Der Tagesspiegel

Germany Global health

Review of DFID’s £3.9 billion spend on infrastructure largely positive

The UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICA)) has recently reviewed the Department for International Development's (DFID) investments on transport and urban infrastructure, which amounted to £3.9 billion (US$5.5 billion) between 2015 and 2016. The review found that DFID performed well on its strategic approach and support for multilateral programs but had a more mixed record in the delivery of its own bilateral programs, citing frequent delays hampering project results and the need for a more active approach to ensure safeguards are in place.

Report - ICAI 

United Kingdom

Canada announces CAD50-million multi-year support to Palestinian refugees

Canadian development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada will be providing up to CAD50 million (US$39 million) over the next two years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The majority of this funding is targeted toward basic education, health, and livelihood needs of Palestinian refugees. The remainder will address the emergency life-saving needs of Palestinian refugees living in Syria and Lebanon as part of the Syrian crisis response.

Press release – Global Affairs Canada    

Canada

KOICA provides emergency health hotline service for its development assistance implementing partners

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) of South Korea has launched an 'Overseas Emergency Medical and Security Support SOS Service' to its foreign development assistance implementing partners in developing countries. This service is offered to over 148 organisations and 1,370 personnel that are working on official development assistance (ODA) projects financed by KOICA.

Run 24 hours, users can reach out to the service hotline to request professional advice and medical support.

News article – Seoul Daily (in Korean)

South Korea

Japan pledges funding for training program for local government officials in Timor-Leste

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with Timor-Leste, in which it pledged to provide up to ¥159 million (US$1.5 million) for the 'Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship.' 

The scholarship program, now running in 13 countries, supports young government officials who have passed a selection process to study in Japan, who would afterwards return home and put what they have learned into practice.

Press release - JICA

Japan Education

UNGA elects Italy to UN Human Right Council

On October 12, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Italy as member of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2019-2021, with 180 votes. Italy’s priorities for the three-year mandate are:

  • Condemning all forms of xenophobia
  • Fighting religious discrimination and promoting religious freedom
  • Protecting children and minors
  • Protecting people with disabilities
  • Promoting women's rights
  • Fighting human trafficking
  • Lobbying against the death penalty in the world
  • Protecting cultural heritage

Newspaper article - La Stampa (in Italian)  

Global Italy

French President Macron prioritizes African youth during IOF summit

At the 27th summit of the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF), French President Emmanuel Macron stated in front of 40 heads of state that African youth should be considered a top priority for the organization. He stressed the importance of access to education, for young girls in particular, and support for research and universities. 

Newspaper article - Le Monde (in French)

France

US senators call for increase in US funding to the Global Fund

A bipartisan group of 18 US senators have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the Trump administration to increase the US’ pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) for 2020-2022. The U.S. pledged US$4.3 billion for the last three-year funding cycle in 2016. The Global Fund's sixth replenishment is to be held next year. The group of senators specifically pointed to the number of lives saved through the Global Fund and the effective and transparent ways in which it manages its funds and programs. 

By law, the US cannot contribute more than 33% of total Global Fund financing.

Press release - Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

United States Global health