Sweden's new development minister to prioritize democratic governance

Sweden's new Minister for Development Cooperation, Peter Ericsson, has given an outline of what he sees will be Sweden's priorities for development cooperation under his leadership. Official development assistance (ODA) levels will remain at 1% of Gross National Income (GNI) throughout this mandate period. Under Ericsson's watch, a more significant focus will be put on promoting and supporting democratic governance, especially in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Balkans, and Russia. No amounts have yet been decided.

In addition, climate change, biodiversity, and women's and girls rights will continue to be priority areas. The ODA budget will continue to be a primary vehicle for implementing Sweden's Feminist Foreign Policy.   

News article - Dagens Nyheter 


European donors solidify financial and political commitments to SRH/FP

A trend analysis of European donor financing for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP) reports strengthened financial and political commitments in the past year. SRH/FP funding was largely protected, even where cuts to official development assistance (ODA) were made. 10 of 12 European countries either increased or maintained funding to SRH/FP. They also featured it strongly as a component of humanitarian and long-term development policies. Denmark showed the most significant increase in percentage growth in funding for SRH/FP, and together the 12 European donor countries in the analysis increased funding by 17% over 2016. The UK, Norway, the Netherlands, and Sweden remain the largest donors.

Report – Countdown 2030 Europe

Swedish government reverses decision to close gender equality agency

Sweden's new government, led by Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén of the Social Democratic Party has announced that the Agency for Gender Equality will not be closed, as originally proposed in the 2019 budget. This decision reflects the new government's prioritization of gender equality and inclusion.

The Agency for Gender Equality works at the normative and national levels with a focus on preventative work in areas such as gender-based violence, honor-related violence, and human trafficking.  

Press release - Agency for Gender Equality (in Swedish)


Swedish centre-left government sworn in after lengthy negotiations

After more than four months of negotiations, the Swedish parliament has approved a centre-left government coalition led by the Social Democrats and the Green Party. The prime minster, Stefan Löfven from the Social Democrat party, emphasized in a statement to parliament that in a time when several countries are grappling with right-wing movements, Sweden has chosen to take a different path–"one where we stand up for people's equal values". 

The current government will continue previous foreign policy and development cooperation priorities, including driving a feminist foreign policy and advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, and climate change efforts. In addition, there is likely going to be a stronger push to promote democratic governance in development cooperation,  a priority issue for the Center and Liberal parties, whom the current government is dependent on for continued support.

Margot Wallström will continue as Minister for for Affairs. Peter Ericsson from the Green Party, an experienced politician with limited international experience, has been named as new Minister for Development Cooperation. Previously, he served as the Minister for Housing and Digitalisation. The former Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate Change, Isabella Lövin, will continue as deputy prime minister and has been appointed as Minister of Environment. 

News article - Omvärlden Dagens Nyheter (In Swedish) 


Public confidence in Swedish development cooperation remains high

Every year the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, commissions a survey of the public knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes of Swedes on development cooperation. The results this year show that seven out of ten agree with the statement that Swedish development cooperation contributes towards making the world better. Public confidence in how Swedish official development assistance (ODA) is spent has increased. When asked about ODA levels, 65 percent stated that current ODA levels are appropriate or should be increased, while 27 percent stated that it should decrease significantly. 

Press release - Sida (in Swedish) 


Swedish Parliament enters third round of voting to form government

Sweden's stalemate in forming a government following the September 2018 elections continues into 2019. The parties have been in a numerous rounds of negotiations, facilitated by the speaker of Parliament. By law, the speaker has four chances to present a prime minister (PM) candidate and government that are approved by parliament. Two rounds have failed so far.

On January 18, 2019 parliament will vote for a third time. The proposal that is now on the table is a center-left coalition led by the Social Democrats (S) together with the Centre Party (C), Liberals (L), and the Green Party (MP). What can be expected in the next steps is the following: 

  • January 16, 2019: Speaker Andreas Norlén will hold a new round of discussions with all party leaders. After this he will present his candidate for prime minister, who at this time seems to be Stefan Löfven (S). This proposal is then tabled in Parliament for vote.
  • January 18, 2019: Parliament votes for the Prime Minister candidate and government proposal. This will be the third vote held so far. If fewer than 175 seats vote no then the proposal will be adopted.  
  • January 21, 2019: If Parliament accepts the speaker's proposal then the new PM can declare a government, including a list of ministers. 
  • January 23, 2019: If Parliament does not accept the PM proposal then a new round of negotiations will be started and a fourth vote will be prepared. The speaker has announced that he will propose a new PM candidate quickly, possibly already on January 23, 2019.  
  • January 25, 2019: this is the preliminary date when a fourth and final vote for a PM will be held. If Parliament does not accept the proposal then new elections will be announced.
  • April 7, 2019: The date the Swedish election authorities have proposed as Election Day if needed.    

News articles - Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish)  


High-level stakeholder recommendations for EDCTP program published

At a September 2018 high-level meeting on the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), the German, Portuguese, Swedish, and UK governments affirmed their commitment to a third EDCTP program. Meeting participants called for increased African financial contributions; for EDCTP to better build the case for investment in health research; for new models of engagement, increasing private sector partners, and community engagement. Participants called for a better rollout and population uptake of interventions; more focus on affordability; encouraging private initiatives and philanthropy to help leverage investments; combating corruption and improving transparency through 'open science' knowledge sharing; and addressing epidemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, and surveillance and monitoring to identify changing priorities and unmet needs.

News release – EDCTP

EU Germany Sweden United Kingdom

Swedish parliament approves budget for 2019

The Swedish parliament has approved the state budget for 2019. The budget proposal that was approved reflected the proposal from the conservative parties Moderaterna and the Christian Democrats. The budget locks net official development assistance (ODA) at 1 percent of gross national income (GNI), totaling SEK45 billion (US$5 billion). The approved budget is only marginally lower than that proposed by the outgoing government, meaning that ODA levels will generally continue at the same high level as today.

There are, however, concerns that there may be a lowering of ambition in terms of climate financing and financing of gender equality under the conservative government budget. The process of forming government is still underway in Sweden, although some believe that the conservative win over the budget will pave the way for a center-right coalition.   

News article - Omvärlde (in Swedish)

Video and press release - Swedish government (in Swedish) 


Swedish development minister leads dialogue on IPCC climate report

Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate Change, Isabella Lövin, served a leading role at the United Nations climate meeting, COP 24, which ended December 15, 2018. She was tasked by the chairman of the COP to lead dialogue between countries on how to address the findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on maintaining global warming under 1.5 degrees centigrade. Lövin has been a vocal champion in national, European, and global forums on the need to dramatically increase the level of ambition to curb climate change.

At COP 24 Lövin also announced that Sweden will provide an additional contribution for 2018 of SEK100 million (US$11 million) in total to the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund. This is in addition to the contributions announced at COP 23.  

Press release - Swedish government 

Global Sweden

Sweden joins World Bank's ProBlue Fund

Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), has joined the World Bank's new fund for oceans, the ProBlue Fund, and will contribute SEK300 million (US$33 million) from 2018-2021. This contribution is in line with Sweden's overall strategy for engagement on sustainable use of marine resources, which has been high on the Swedish global agenda under the leadership of Minister for Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin. 

Press release - Sida (in Swedish)