Swedish conservative party proposes reduced global development budget

The Swedish conservative party, Moderaterna, has proposed a reduced global development budget for 2019 that would bring official development assistance (ODA) to below the target of 1% of gross national income (GNI). The party has emphasized that it remains committed to the 1% target but wants to see a more gradual progression in which the target is reached by 2022. In total, the party's ODA budget for 2019 is SEK1.2 billion (US$133 million) lower than that proposed by the outgoing government. In terms of priorities, Moderaterna wants to see a larger proportion of ODA channeled through multilateral agencies but does not specify which areas within bilateral assistance would see reductions if its budget motion is approved by parliament.

Parliament will debate and vote on the 2019 ODA budget on December 12, 2018. Sweden is still grappling with a government deadlock following September 2018 elections and is currently run by a caretaker government under Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén.   

News article - Omvärlden (in Swedish) 


'Alternative Nobel Prize' ceremony celebrates visionary solutions to global problems

The award ceremony for the Right Livelihood Prize, widely known as the 'Alternate Nobel prize', was given to three Laureates at a ceremony held in Stockholm on November 23, 2018. One of the winners was Yacouba Sawadogo from Burkina Faso, for his work on reforestation and soil regeneration using innovative indigenous techniques. Other Laureates included three civil and human rights defenders from Saudi Arabia and an agro-economist from Australia, while an honorary award went to anti-corruption champions from Guatemala and Colombia.

The Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, has approved a US$22 million (SEK200 million) contribution to a project where traditional technology will be used on a large scale to regenerate land in Burkina Faso, in order to boost food production. 

Press release - Right Livelihood Award 

Press release Sida (in Swedish)

Global Sweden Agriculture

Sweden contributes US$43 million to Access to Health fund for Myanmar

Sweden will contribute US$43 million to the Access to Health fund for Myanmar which is managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). With support from Sweden, the US, the UK, and Switzerland, the Access to Health fund aims to strengthen health systems in Myanmar by focusing on improving access to health care for the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in the country, particularly in conflict areas such as Rakhine State. A total of US$215 million has been pledged for the fund for the period 2019-2023. 

Sida has provided health sector support to Myanmar since 2013 through the Three Millenium Development Goals fund (3MDG fund), which will be integrated into the Access to Health fund from 2019 onwards.

Press release - Sida (in Swedish) 

Sweden Global health

Sweden contributes US$4 million to WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies

The Swedish ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health and Social Affairs will allocate SEK40 million (US$4.4 million) to the World Health Organization's crisis management fund, the 'Contingency Fund for Emergencies'. The purpose of the fund is to strengthen the WHO's ability to respond quickly to outbreaks and emergencies without unduly affecting other program areas. The Fund was created in 2015 after the Ebola crisis.

Press release - Swedish government

Global Sweden Global health

Swedish government adopts new strategy for engagement with UNICEF

Sweden has adopted a new strategy that will guide its cooperation with UNICEF for the period 2018 to 2022, at the global level as well as at regional and national levels. The thematic areas that will be prioritized in Sweden's cooperation with UNICEF during the period will be:

  • The rights of the child and the rights perspective
  • Health equity 
  • Child protection
  • Education

Press release - Swedish government (in Swedish)  

Sweden Education Global health

Sweden increases support for WASH

Sweden is giving US$17.5 million (SEK160 million) to the non-governmental organisation WaterAid for its global efforts to improve access to clean water, hygiene, and improved sanitation (WASH). The funding, channeled through the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, targets Sustainable Development Goal 6 on universal access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. The support spans 2018 to 2021. Sida also contributes directly to WaterAid's national work in Bangladesh and Burkina Faso.

Press release - Water Aid (in Swedish)

Global Sweden Global health

Swedish election results remain inconclusive

In early September 2018, Sweden held parliamentary elections that have yet to reveal concrete results, with the two main political blocs - the centre-left (Social Democrats, Green Party, Left Party) and the center-right (Moderaterna, Center Party, Liberals, Christian Democrats) almost tied. It is the first time in Sweden's modern history that no winner emerged on the night of the ballot, and as of late October, neither bloc has been able to form a parliamentary majority. Both blocs face an uphill battle to form a government, having ruled out cooperation with the anti-immigration Swedish Democrats.

The first Speaker of the House, Andreas Norlén, must now faciltiate negotiations and present a government to Parliament. Norlén has four chances to present a government proposal for Parliamentary vote before a new election must be called. Until the Speaker has completed the discussions with the parties, all options are still on the table. It is not implausible that Sweden will be governed by different coalitions during the four-year term.

The medium-term impact of the elections on Swedish development assistance is likely to be limited: broad parliamentary backing for the official development assistance (ODA) target of 1% of gross national income (GNI) remains secure. There appears to be political consensus that gender equality will remain a top priority, while health issues, particularly sexual and reproductive health, will also be high on the agenda. Sweden is also likely to continue to be a strong proponent of the UN system.

News article - Reuters


Swedish government launches report on work in global health

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry for Health and Social Affairs have launched a report titled 'Sweden's Work in Global Health: Implementing the 2030 Agenda'. The new report synthesizes and clarifies priorities for Sweden's work on global health. The aim is to gather different actors in Sweden around a common agenda to ultimately increase the impact of Swedish action. Three areas of focus include:

  1. Creating societal conditions for good health and health equity
  2. Contributing to effective and sustainable health systems
  3. Supporting preparedness for and capacity to detect and manage outbreaks and other threats to health.

The overarching goal is to contribute to healthy lives and promote well-being for people at all ages, in line with SDG 3. This corresponds with the new WHO General Program of Work. The Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT) was commissioned by the Swedish government to support the drafting of the report.

Publication - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)


NGO analysis finds first decrease in EU development assistance since 2012

In 2017, the EU and its 28 member states (EU28) remained the world’s largest collective donor to global development. However, CONCORD, the European confederation of 2,600 development NGOs, reports that official development assistance (ODA) decreased for the first time in six years when accounting for so-called 'inflated aid,' allocated for purposes other than direct poverty eradication in developing countries. In 2017, EU member states disbursed €72.65 billion in ODA for allocations such as debt relief, refugee costs reported within donor countries, the costs of students from developing countries attending university in donor countries, tied aid, and interest repayments.

Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, and the UK exceeded the EU target of spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on ODA last year. Germany fell below the 0.7% target due to a drop of 0.04% in its spending for refugees. Spain, the EU institutions, Austria, and Hungary had the largest ODA cuts by volume. However, the global level of ODA to 'least developed countries' (LDCs) increased by 4%, the first time since 2013, and reached 0.11% of EU GNI.

Report – CONCORD

EU Germany Spain Sweden

Sweden increases Global Environment Fund contributions by 50%

Sweden has pledged US$222 million (SEK2 billion) to the Global Environment Fund (GEF 7) at its replenishment conference for 2018-2022, a 50%-increase over its contribution from 2014-2018. This makes Sweden the sixth-largest donor to the GEF 7 in absolute amounts and the largest donor per capita.

Over the next four-year period, the resources are expected to contribute to:

  • Doubling of emission reductions
  • Better management of water and wetlands
  • Phasing out of more than 100,000 tons of organic pollutants, mercury, and other hazardous chemicals 
  • Protecting four million tonnes of overexploited fish stocks 

In total, the GEF replenishment amounted to US$4.1 billion.

Press release - Government of Sweden