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UN launches new network of Global Investors for Sustainable Development

At the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up, a new network of Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) was launched. The design of GISD has been heavily inspired by the Swedish network for investors that has been managed by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) since 2016. Promoting and leveraging increased private sector investments for sustainable development is high on the list of the Swedish government's priorities. This was reflected in the presence of both the Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation, Mr. Peter Eriksson, and the Director General of SIDA, Ms. Carin Jämtin, at the launch event in New York.

The GISD has been developed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in close collaboration with SIDA. Similar to its Swedish counterpart, the GISD is a partnership which aims to promote engagement in corporate governance around the SDGs as well as being a platform for learning, sharing experiences, and founding voluntary projects. To reach UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is estimated that US$90 billion is needed globally. Throubh the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development network members have started a number of new SDG funds and several investments have been made in green bonds, World Bank SDG bonds, and sustainable water bonds. In 2018 four members of the network (SEB, SHB, Swedish Church and Skandia) made a large joint investment, with a focus on sustainable cities, amounting to US$270 million (SEK 2,5 billion) in World Bank bonds.  There is significant potential to leverage new financing for the SDGs through the GISD. 

Information on the SISD can be found here 

Information on the GISD launch even

Source - Sida Press release 

Global Sweden

Deductions for refugee costs from 2019 ODA budget to increase by US$76 million

The government has approved a US$76 million (SEK700 million) increase in deductions from the 2019 ODA budget to finance refugee costs as compared to the deductions budgeted in the budget tabled in the Fall 2018.  In total, deductions from the ODA budget will amount to US$313 million (SEK2.9 billion). Compared to the past five years, however, these deductions are low.  The ODA budget presented in the Spring Budget is US$4.6 billion (SEK42.5 billion) is nevertheless an increase from the year before thanks to strong growth of the Swedish economy.   

The decision to increase the deductions is a result of negotiations with the Ministry of Finance, which would like to see a more gradual redistribution of funds between the expenditure posts.  How much can be deducted from the ODA budget for refugee costs is subject to a new calculation method which was developed in 2018 but will only come into effect in 2020. 

Source - Omvärlden 

 

 

Sweden

Total ODA of EU member states increases slightly

EU member state ODA increased slightly to $87 billion in 2018 compared to 2017, according to new data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Cost for hosting refugees in donor countries decreased by $3.4 billion, including $2 billion from Germany and $700 million from Italy, as the impact of the refugee crisis continued to recede. Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom remained the only EU countries to meet or exceed the internationally agreed ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. ODA rose in 17 EU donor countries, with Hungary showing the largest increase. Twelve countries saw a decline in aid spending, with the largest declines in Austria, Finland, Greece, Italy and Portugal. The EU and its Member States provide 57% of the world’s ODA.

News article - Euractive


 

OECD DAC preliminary data release shows ODA down by 2.7% in 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) has published preliminary data for 2018, showing that official development assistance (ODA) fell by 2.7% in 2018. The data release is the first to use the OECD's  new 'grant equivalent' methodology. Applied for the first time in 2018, the method aims to ‘provide a more realistic comparison of the effort involved in providing grants and loans and encourage the provision of grants and highly concessional loans, especially to low-income countries’.

Net ODA from DAC members reached US$153 billion in 2018. The largest donors in absolute amounts were 1) the US (US34.3 billion), Germany (US$25 billion), 3) the UK (US19.4 billion), 4) Japan (US$14.2 billion), and 5) France (US$12.2 billion). In relative terms, the largest donors were Sweden at 1.04% of its gross national income (GNI), Luxembourg (0.98%), Norway (0.94%), Denmark (0.72%) and the UK(0.7%).

For more detailed information on the performance of bilateral donors, see the OECD DAC's detailed summary here.

OECD DAC – Press release “Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries”

Swedish government website on sex education website proves successful in the Middle East

'Youmo.se', a website commissioned by the Swedish government to provide online sex education support and information for young people who are seeking asylum or have recently sought asylum in Sweden, has shown promising results in 2018. Run by the company Inera, it offers information about the body, sex, and relationships in several languages including Somali, Dari, and Arabic. An analysis of the website traffic for 2018 found that over 80% of the visitors to the website were outside Sweden. The highest number of visitors came from Iran, while the most visited page was the Arabic-language page on the vulva and the vagina. 

According to Swedish Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen, these results show that Sweden has an important role to play in sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the site is a good complement to Sweden's project work in this area. 

Radio Interview - Swedish Radio (in Swedish)

Sweden increases climate-related funding for 2019

The Swedish government has decided to increase funding for climate-related investments from the development budget for 2019. The funding will be allocated through two channels:

  1. US$54 million (SEK500 million) will be given to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), bringing the total Swedish contribution to the GCF for 2019 to US$114 million (SEK1060 million). The funds will be used for investments in renewable energy projects and energy efficiency initiatives, as well as climate adaption measures which will include flood protection and investments in meteorological weather and warning systems. 
  2. US$37 million (SEK340 million) in bilateral funds will be given to Sida, the Swedish development agency, for environment and climate-related projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey. The aim is to strengthen countries' capacity and ability to implement national commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)        

Sweden

Sweden to channel more ODA through Swedish civil society organizations

Swedish Minister for International Development, Peter Ericsson, has announced that US$6 million (SEK50 million) in additional funding from the 2019 official development assistance (ODA) budget will be channeled through Swedish civil society organisations (CSOs). The amount is small relative to the overall amount that is channeled through the Swedish CSOs, but is seen as an important signal of the priority given to democratic governance and participation in Swedish development cooperation. 

News article - Arbetet (in Swedish) 

Sweden

Swedish minister of development to announce increased support to Eastern Europe

Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation Peter Ericsson is visiting Armenia and Georgia on March 19-22 to deepen bilateral relations with the countries and to mark the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The EaP  was created by Sweden and Poland in 2009 as part of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and plays a central part in deepening relations between the six partner countries of the EaP and the EU. Ericsson will announce during the visit an increased allocation from the ODA budget to Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Turkey from SEK750 million (US$81 million) to approximately SEK1 billion (US$108 million), of which SEK150 million (US$16 million) will be directed specifically to programs promoting democratic governance.

In addition, he is expected to announce a new bilateral development agreement with Armenia. This reflects increased focus on democratic governance as a priority area for Swedish ODA under the new minister.  

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish)

EU Sweden

Swedish Minister for Gender Equality to attend Commission on the Status of Women

Swedish Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen will attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York from March 11-13, 2019. Lindhagen will present a new Swedish law on sexual consent, as well as other priority issues within Sweden's global work on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including gender-based violence, access to safe abortions. and sex education.

The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

Press release - Government of Sweden 

Sweden Global health

Swedish Delegation for 2030 Agenda presents recommendations to the government

The Swedish Delegation for the 2030 Agenda, a committee commissioned by the Swedish government to analyze Sweden's progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has provided its recommendations to further strengthen progress at both national and international levels. The report suggests the creation of parliamentary-approved sustainability targets and adding reporting on Agenda 2030 to the government budget from 2022 onwards.

A summary of the final report is available in English here.  

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

Sweden