Swedish partnership creates investment bond for SDG 11

The Swedish Church and three Swedish banks, Skandia, SEB, and Handelsbanken have partnered to create a bond to finance investments in support of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The four capital investors have invested SEK2.5 billion (US$280 million) in the bond, which was designed in collaboration with the World Bank. The Swedish Church will invest SEK 100 million (US$11 million).

The bond finances projects aimed at SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities as well as those in support of clean water and renewable energy.  The partnership emanates from the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development network that was created by the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida.

Press release - Swedish Church 


UK and Sweden freeze development assistance to Zambia due to corruption allegations

The UK, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland have suspended their development assistance programs to Zambia following allegations that state officials stole millions of pounds from international development assistance programs.

A total of £42 million (US$56 million) in UK assistance has been frozen amid reports of looting of a British-funded cash transfer program that sees small quantities of cash - often just £10 (US$13) a month - disbursed to some of Zambia’s poorest families. Some of Sweden's funding for the cash scheme is also suspected to have fallen victim to corruption. Sweden had allocated about US$19 million (SEK165 million) to the program for 2016 to 2018 - US$15million (SEK130 million) has already been paid out. 

This is not the first time funds to Zambia have been frozen due to irregularities - in 2009, Sweden stopped payments to Zambia following a corruption scandal in a health sector support program to the Ministry of Health. 

News article - the Telegraph

News article - Swedish Development Agency   

Sweden United Kingdom

EU countries top index of commitment to development

EU countries claimed 11 of the 12 top places in the Center for Global Development's 2018 Commitment to Development Index. Sweden, Denmark, and Germany are the top three in the annual index by the Washington-based think-tank, which ranks 27 wealthy countries based on their policies on ODA, finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration. That marks the first time that a country in the G7 has been placed in the top three, and suggests that Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, has emerged as a leading player in the development community. The UK, traditionally one of the EU’s development policy leaders, dropped one place to 7th in the index.

News article – Euractive

The index - CGD

UNSG elects Swedish national as new UNICEF Assistant Secretary General

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) has appointed Charlotte Petri Gornitzka as Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. Petri Gornitzka will lead the organization's strategic work on external communications, resource mobilization, and partnership. Gornitzka currently heads the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a position she has held since 2016. She previously served as Director General of the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida.

Petri Gornitzka is the fourth female Swedish public servant or politician in recent years to take high level positions within the UN. 

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish) 

Swedish institutes launch new hub on climate and security

Four Swedish institutes launched the Stockholm Climate Security Hub, a new research partnership on climate and security, during the World Water Week in Stockholm. The Hub brings the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), and the Stockholm Recilience Center (SRC). The purpose of the partnership is to support the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral organisations with analysis for evidence-based policy. The initiative is financed by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)


Handbook on Sweden's feminist foreign policy published

A handbook guiding policy practitioners on how to implement a feminist foreign policy has been launched by the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström. In 2014, Sweden became the first country in the world to adopt a feminist foreign policy, meaning that gender equality must be considered in all foreign policy actions of the government. This policy has attracted a lot of interest both nationally and internationally. The handbook is currently in Swedish, and an English translation is underway. 

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish) 


Swedish Social Democrats want to maintain feminist foreign policy

In the lead-up to elections in Sweden on September 9, 2018, the political parties are presenting their positions and priorities on official development assistance (ODA). Development cooperation to Palestine and the focus of the feminist foreign policy are the main points of difference between the center-conservative and the center-left parties. For the Social Democratic Party (currently in power), the main priorities include the following: 

  • continued ODA levels at 1 percent of gross national income 
  • continuation of the feminist foreign policy  
  • employment, labor rights, and income distribution policies as important components to fight poverty
  • recognition of the state of Western Sahara, but more as a long-term priority 
  • ODA support to both poor countries and poor people in middle-income countries.

Article - Omvarlden (in Swedish)


Sweden adopts new strategy for cooperation with UN Women

The Swedish government has adopted a new strategy for cooperation with UN Women for the period 2018-2022. Sweden is a major donor to UN Women, which promotes gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment and rights worldwide. Swedish support for UN Women during the four-year strategy period is SEK536 million (US$61 million).   

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish) 


Sweden's Center Party pushes for higher levels of bilateral ODA

As Sweden gears up for national elections on September 9, 2018, political parties are presenting their priorities on development cooperation.

In an interview in the development magazine 'Omvärlden' Ms Kerstin Lundgren, the foreign and development policy spokesperson for the Center Party and member of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, notes that from the perspective of the Center Party more official development assistance (ODA) should be channeled through the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, instead of through the United Nations (UN) and other multilaterals, and poverty reduction should be prioritized before all else.  Lundgren lists the following topics as her party's  other priorities for ODA: 

  • Continued respect for the commitment to allocate one percent of GNI to ODA

  • 'Swedish values' should be represented in Swedish development assistance 

  • Sweden should not call its foreign policy 'feminist'

  • ODA should not be used in military actions

  • Assistance should not be withdrawn from countries refusing to receive their nationals expelled from Sweden

  • More stringent demands and increased transparency in development cooperation to Palestine

Magazine article - Omvärlden (in Swedish)


Swedish conservative party calls for more collaboration between military and development

In the lead up to elections on September 9, 2018, political parties in Sweden are spelling out their priorities regarding official development assistance (ODA).

The largest party in opposition, the Conservative party 'Moderaterna' wants to prioritize humanitarian assistance and see a closer collaboration between military efforts with the United Nations (UN) or NATO and development cooperation. In an interview in the development magazine 'Omvärlden' Mr. Jonas Jacobsson-Görtler, the Foreign Policy Spokesman for 'Moderaterna and Deputy Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee lists the following other priorities for Swedish ODA if Moderaterna wins the elections:

  • A continued adherence to the target of one percent of GNI for ODA

  • More multilateral assistance should be channeled through the UN and the EU

  • Humanitarian assistance, support to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and support to democratic governance will be prioritized  

  • They will stop calling Swedish foreign policy 'feminist'

  • They will not withdraw assistance to countries refusing to receive their nationals expelled from Sweden

  • They want to see more stringent demands on Palestine for development cooperation to continue

  • They are supportive of an increased role for the private sector in development cooperation

Magazine article - Omvärlden (in Swedish)