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Swedish payment for OECD DAC chair faces criticism at home

Swedish financial support for the candidacy of Charlotte Petri Gornitzka for chairman of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has come under fire from development actors in Sweden, including parliamentarians, government officials, and civil society. Critics argue that the OECD members should share the cost of the chairmanship instead of awarding the position to the highest bidder.

In 2016, the Swedish government paid SEK12.4 million (US$1.4 million) for Ms Gornitzka's candidacy and an additional SEK4.8 million (US$560,000) for an advisor in the OECD secretariat. Sweden's Minister for Development Cooperation, Isabella Lövin, says that this was in line with regular procedure at the OECD. Gornitzska was elected as chairman of the OECD DAC in the summer of 2016 for a two-year commission.

News article - Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish)

Sweden

Swedish policy on foreign affairs in 2018 to focus on security and gender equality

The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, has presented the government policy on foreign affairs for 2018 to Parliament. The statement focuses on peace and security, which has been high on the agenda due to Sweden’s seat at the United Nations (UN) security council. Sweden's feminist foreign policy is also emphasized, with a specific focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Minister reaffirmed Sweden’s committent to its 1% target of gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA) and indicated that Sweden will advocate for other countries to reach the UN target of 0.7%.

An editorial in Dagens Nyheter has criticized the foreign policy statement as being weak especially with regards to China and its human rights record.

Statement - Swedish government (in Swedish)

News article - Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)

Sweden

Swedish civil society criticizes Global Fund cooperation with Heineken

Following the announcement of a partnership between the second largest beer producer globally, Heineken, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a series of prominent Swedish actors have spoken out in criticism.

The general secretary of the Swedish Mission Council, the chairman of the Swedish United Nations Association, and the head of Sweden’s youth sobriety organization have, in a recent article, called on the Minister of Development Cooperation to work towards ending such a partnership. The three cite Sweden's planned contribution of SEK2.5 billion (US$292 million) to the fund, and the connection between alcohol consumption and both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, drawing attention to studies demonstrating alcohol's part in facilitating the spread of these diseases, its negative effects on treatment, and its links to deaths among tuberculosis sufferers. 

While emphasizing the need for cooperation between the private and public sector to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, the three suggest there is a need to be wary of such relationships when there is much to gain for one partner.

News article - Biståndsdebatten (in Swedish) 

Sweden Global health

Sweden contributes US$350 million to the WFP

Sweden has contributed more than SEK3 billion (US$350 million) in funding to the World Food Programme (WFP) to tackle famines across the globe. Sweden has long been one of the largest donors of un-earmarked funding to the WFP and advocates for other donors to reduce their earmarked funding in favor of more flexible financing solutions. 

This funding comes in response to the increasing number of people worldwide who are going to bed hungry, which has accelerated for the first time in 15 years. 

News article - Omvärlden (in Swedish) 

Sweden Nutrition

Sweden pledges US$116 million for education for 2018-2020

The Swedish Government has pledged an additional SEK600 million (US$70 million) for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The announcement was made at the GPE replenishment conference in Dakar, on February 2, 2018. These additional funds bring the total Swedish contribution to the GPE to SEK1 billion (US$116 million) for the 2018-2020 period. Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, has been a major donor to the GPE since 2004, and has over the past decade contributed over SEK2.5 billion (US$292 million). Other major donors to the GPE include the EU, the UK, Norway, and Denmark.

Press release - Sida (in Swedish) 

Sweden Education

Swedish government adopts new five-year development policy for sustainable peace

The Swedish government has adopted a new policy to guide Swedish development cooperation in the promotion of sustainable peace for the period 2017-2022. The overarching goal of the strategy is to contribute to the prevention of armed conflict; promote conflict resolution, sustainable peace, and state-building; increase human security in fragile states and conflicts; and increase influence of women, youth, children, and other excluded groups in these contexts.

The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) are the implementing agencies. The strategy does not have a total financing budget for the five years. Instead, it will be financed on an annual basis through government budget allocations to Sida and FBA.

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish) 

Sweden

Sweden announces relocation of development agency's headquarters

The Swedish government has announced its intent to relocate the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) from inner city Stockholm to Botkyrka, a suburb 45 minutes south of Stockholm. Sida employs over 500 people at its headquarters in Stockholm. The planned move is part of a broader process of decentralization of government institutions across the country, and the announcement included news of nine other government authorities and agencies to be relocated. The move has sparked substantial debate in media, with critics calling the plans disruptive, expensive and suggesting it is a political move ahead of the elections in September 2018, while those in favor argue it carries benefits, such as a positive economic development for smaller cities across Sweden. No dates have yet been set for the relocations. 

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish)  

Op- ed - Omvärlden (in Swedish)

Press release - Swedish Television (in Swedish) 

News article - Aftonbladet (in Swedish)

Sweden

The Swedish Red Cross appoints a new Director General

The Swedish Red Cross has appointed a new director General, Martin Ärnlöv. Ärnlöv has extensive experience in Swedish civil society: he is currently CEO of Bräcke Diakoni and sits on the board of the Swedish development NGO Individuell människohjälp (IM). He starts his position at the Red Cross on March 26, 2018.

News article - Omvärlden (in Swedish)

Sweden

Swedish government adopts new strategy for supporting multilateral development agencies

The Swedish Government has adopted a new strategy to guide the support Sweden provides to multilateral development partners, including UN agencies, development banks and specialized agencies such as the Global Fund and GAVI. The strategy provides guidance to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and Swedish embassies on guidelines for making funding decisions, and the division of roles and responsibilities. Core principles that guide the support include: 1) support should not be earmarked 2) support should have a long-term perspective 3) and contributions that foster improved coordination should be encouraged.

 This strategy replaces the previous strategy implemented in 2007. No financial envelope is attached to this strategy. Multilateral contributions for each organization are determined by individual consideration of their specific strategy and annual allocation for each organization. 

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish) 

Sweden

Swedish government provides core funding to new global health institute for 2018

The Swedish government has announced it will provide SEK1 million (US$120,000) in core funding to the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation, SIGHT, for the fiscal year 2018.

SIGHT is a global health institute that started in January 2017 under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Sciences. The purpose of SIGHT is to promote an interdisciplinary approach to strengthen and bridge collaborative policy work in the field of global health.

Press release – Swedish government (in Swedish)