Sweden appoints new head of Permanent Mission in Geneva

On March 19, 2020, the Swedish government appointed Ambassador Anna Jardfelt as head of the Permanent Mission of Sweden in Geneva. Ms. Jardfelt is currently the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya in Nairobi; she will report to her new post in September of 2020.

Ambassador Jardfelt has previously held several international positions representing Sweden, including at the EU in Brussels. She also served as the Director of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)


Sweden provides US$5 million to combat effects of locust swarms in East Africa

To help prevent a looming humanitarian crisis following the recent locus invasion in East Africa, Sweden will provide SEK 45 million (US$5 million) in humanitarian support to the most affected countries. The locust is the worst invasion to hit Somalia and Ethiopia in 25 years and Kenya in 70 years. Swarms have also spread to Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, potentially affecting 20 million people in the region.

In response to an appeal from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Sweden has agreed to channel SEK 30 million (US$3 million) to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda through the FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation (SFERA). The support will be directed toward priorities set out for each individual country. An additional SEK 10 million (US$1 million) will be provided to Ethiopia and Somalia, also channeled through SFERA, with the aim of limiting the locusts' spread and ensuring food security. Lastly, SEK 5 million (US$526,000) has been allocated to Kenya and Somalia, channeled through Oxfam’s rapid response mechanism, to combat the spread of the locust and support household recovery. 

Including these recent additions, Sida’s support to FAO in 2020 amounts to SEK 97 million (US$10 million).

Press release – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (in Swedish)

Sweden Agriculture Nutrition

New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

Sweden to fund placement of seven gender experts in Sudanese government ministries

Sweden has agreed with the government of Sudan and UN Women to promote gender equality within the Sudanese administration through the 'Strengthening the Gender Architecture' initiative. The initiative will recruit seven gender experts to work as advisors in six separate Sudanese ministries, including the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Finance.

"The agreement is a way of clearly marking our support for the new government and also complements the work that Sida is already doing on women's rights in Sudan. The operation was facilitated by Sudan's women being at the forefront of the revolution that ultimately brought down President Bashir's brutal military dictatorship, says Susanne Mannberg, Program Officer at the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (Sidaat the Swedish Embassy in Khartoum.

Sudan’s transitional government aims to strengthen democracy and human rights and combat discrimination against women. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok recently annulled a controversial law that severely restricted the rights of Sudanese women. 

Through its official development assistance (ODA) to Sudan, Sweden supports education to reduce sexual violence, female genital cutting, and child marriage; efforts to change norms and behaviors that restrict women; and initiatives to strengthen women’s and children's rights, including women's empowerment.

Press release - Sida (in Swedish)


Sweden adopts new strategy for cooperation with UNHCR

On March 6, 2020, Sweden adopted a new strategy for its cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) between 2020 and 2023. The new strategy focuses on improving UNHCR’s efficiency and strengthening cooperation between different actors to tackle growing humanitarian needs.

Sweden is the fourth largest donor to UNHCR. It is the largest donor of flexible funding, which enables UNHCR to provide rapid responses to underfunded and emerging crises. From 2018 to 2021, Sweden has contributed SEK3480 million (US$404 million) — which amounts to SEK870 million (US$92 million) per year — to flexible funding. Sweden has provided an additional SEK 250 million (US$26 million) per year to the UNHCR for alleviating specific humanitarian crises.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)


Three Swedish reports released on SDG financing

Three Swedish reports by Act Svenska Kyrkan, Concord, and the Expert Group for Aid Analysis (EBA) were recently published on the topic of financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All of the reports pay particular attention to the role of commercial capital as a necessary but controversial means of financing sustainable development. 

In the report 'Blended Finance: Finding its Right Place', published by Act Svenska Kyrkan, the authors conclude that although blended finance is an important instrument for increasing private investment in sustainable development, private capital should never be allowed to crowd out official development assistance (ODA) in social sectors, and commercial interests should never be permitted to influence decisions regarding privatization of social sectors such as health and education. The authors laud the Swedish government for supporting the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s public guarantee instrument through the Swedish government (National Debt Office), rather than by ODA funds specifically.

The report prepared by Concord, (available only in Swedish) focuses on financial reforms required to reduce tax evasion in low-income countries and to increase funding available for the SDGs. EBA’s report, 'Mobilising Private Development Finance: Implications for Overall Aid Allocations' centers on the role of ODA for mobilizing private financing, particularly to the social sectors, to achieve the SDGs in the world’s poorest countries. 

New article - FuF (in Swedish)


Swedish Government briefs parliament on development cooperation and humanitarian assistance

On March 10, 2020, the Swedish Government submitted a second note to the parliament on Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The note focused on development assistance channeled through multilateral and international organizations. These organizations remain important vehicles for driving Swedish priorities on democracy, climate change, and gender equality at the international arena.

In 2018, multilateral organizations received almost 60 percent of Swedish official development assistance (ODA), equivalent to SEK30 billion (US$316 million). The main recipients were UN organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Global Environment Fund (GEF), and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other important recipients included the World Bank as well as regional development banks. 

In 2019, Sweden was acknowledged as a pioneer in multilateral development cooperation by the OECD.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)


Sweden's new World Bank strategy focuses on gender equality, anti-corruption, and environment

On February 28, Sweden adopted a new strategy for its cooperation with the World Bank Group between 2020 and 2023. Sweden's priorities include promoting World Bank’s efforts to strengthen inclusive sustainable economic development, further gender equality in partner countries, peace- and state-building in conflict-affected countries, the environment and climate change. In addition, Sweden will support World Bank investments in renewable energy systems and its efforts to reduce corruption and inequalities in partner countries.

Sweden will increase its contribution to the World Bank’s fund for the world's poorest countries, the International Development Association (IDA) by 16 percent compared to its previous contribution. Sweden will also contribute capital to strengthen the World Bank’s lending capacity to middle-income countries and its ability to make private sector investments in low-income countries.  

Peter Eriksson, Minister for International Development Cooperation said “International problems require international responses… The World Bank is a cornerstone of international economic cooperation. We strengthen cooperation and Swedish core support for the World Bank Group to reduce poverty and promote global sustainable development in line with Agenda 2030”.  

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)


Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation becomes board member at a center working to speed up global climate adaptation

On February 27, 2020, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). The CGA brings together actors from government, private sector, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and knowledge institutions to find solutions for climate adaptation. The GCA works to advance the work of the Global Commission on Adaptation. It is chaired by Ban Ki-moon.

"Sweden has extensive experience in working with climate assistance. I look forward to contributing that experience to GCA's work," Eriksson said.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)


Sweden renews efforts to implement Agenda 2030

The government has appointed Gabriel Wikström, the former Minister for Public Health, Healthcare and Sports, as the national coordinator for Agenda 2030 and announced that it will present a bill to Parliament in a few months’ time. This is part of an effort to speed up implementation of Agenda 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Sweden. It follows ongoing delays in implementation and an initial plan presented by the government in June 2018 but never adopted by Parliament.

According to Statistics Sweden, implementation of Agenda 2030 in Sweden has been slow and Sweden may not achieve several of the SDGs by 2030. Awarenesss of the SDGs among Swedes is low- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) found that only 44 percent are familiar with them.

The minister for Environment and Climate, Isabella Lövin welcomed the announcements, saying "We are taking a big step forward now. Both by anchoring a bill in Parliament, but also through a national coordinator who will be able to provide some extra vigor to national implementation and who can ensure that important collaborations and communication efforts are launched so that we get an even greater commitment in the country". 

News article – Omvärlden (in Swedish)