Italian diplomat appointed OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Italian diplomat Lamberto Zannier has been named the new High Commissioner on National Minorities for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by the OSCE Ministerial Council. Zannier joins a list of Italian politicians in leadership positions of key international institutions, including Antonio Tajani (President of the European Parliament), Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank), and Filippo Grandi (UN High Commissioner for Refugees).

Along with Zannier, the OSCE Ministerial Council appointed:

  • Thomas Greminger of Switzerland as OSCE Secretary General
  • Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir of Iceland as Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
  • Harlem Désir of France as OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

Press release - OSCE

France Italy

IDDRI releases working paper on NGO mobilization around SDGs in France and Germany

A new comparative study of the French think tank Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) details the possibilities and challenges faced by NGOs involved in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in France and in Germany. Entitled “How do NGOs mobilize around the SDGs and what are the ways forward? A French-German comparison”, the paper addresses several issues, including NGOs' relationship with the public and private sectors, the level of mobilization around the SDGs, and the courses of action taken by organizations in both countries. It also identifies possible ways forward for the relevant actors. 

Working paper – IDDRI

France Germany

Germany, France, and the EU launch the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’

Together with the European Commission, the German and French governments have launched the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’. Pushed for by French President Macron, the new initiative identifies the Sahel as a core strategic area and plans to pioneer an integrated approach to address development and security challenges in the region. It aims to guarantee “security and stabilization in the short term; and development in the middle to long term”.

Regarding development, the Alliance will focus on:

  • poverty eradication
  • developing of rural areas
  • youth education and employment
  • improvement of energy infrastructure
  • governance strengthening

The Alliance also announced the establishment of advisory centers for migration in Africa to support returned refugees in domestic job markets. Other institutional partners include the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and UNDP.

Feature story – European Union External Action

Press kit – Elysee (in French)

Press release – BMZ (in German)

EU France Germany

French government cancels plan to widen the base of the FTT

The French government has announced its decision to cancel plans to expand the tax base of the financial transaction tax (FTT), which was meant to include intraday financial operations starting January 2018. France also postponed the European Union’s FTT negotiations until after Germany's federal elections (September 2017) and Brexit negotiations are underway. This decision is part of a series of measures enacted to make the Paris market place more attractive for the financial sector.

Given that the expansion was meant to be effective starting on January 1, 2018, the French ODA budget for 2017 is not impacted. Nevertheless, French NGOs have raised concerns as FTT increases are considered crucial for helping France reach the 0.7% target by 2025. In June 2017, a report from the think tank Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) identified increases in ODA arising from the FTT as one of two possible scenarios to reach this target.

News article - Euractiv


French development agency commits record-high €9.4 billion in 2016

The French Development Agency (AFD) has released its annual report for 2016, detailing its record €9.4 billion in spending. Africa, climate, and gender remained AFD’s priority areas, though the report also singles out digital technology, social business, and migration as new areas for investment. Calling 2016 a milestone year, AFD Director General Rémy Rioux celebrated the results as a step towards achieving AFD’s goal of €12.7 billion in investment a year by 2020.

Results summary - AFD

2016 Annual report – AFD (in French)


France and World Bank reaffirm cooperation to mobilize funding for Africa

In a meeting preceding the G20 in Germany, French president Emmanuel Macron and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim annouced they will work to mobilize more funding for development. Macron re-asserted France's commitment to the Bank, and pledged to strengthen the partnership in Africa, especially in the Sahel region. This follows President Macron’s recent announcement on the newly created Sahel Alliance

At the meeting, the French president also reinforced the link between development and security:

“We speak a lot about Africa in terms of security and migration -  these are challenges that we have to manage... But what must never be forgotten is...all of this is...the result of lack of education, development and long-term investment in people and circumstances enabling a dignified life in the various regions of the African continent”.

Press release - French government (in French)


French NGO ACF releases policy brief to support agroecology

Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim - ACF) has released the policy brief ‘Promoting Agroecology:  The most effective way to achieve sustainable food security and nutrition for all in a changing climate’. The brief champions agroecology as a cross-cutting approach for policies and programs related to 1) food security and nutrition, rural and agricultural development, and 3) climate change adaptation and mitigation. It showcases the political argument in support of ACF’s advocacy initiatives in this area, which aim to influence the transition to sustainable food systems and agricultural models.

Publication - ACF

France Agriculture

French president announces €200 million for G5 Sahel countries for next five years

Speaking at the opening of the G5 Sahel Summit in Bamako, Mali, French president Emmanuel Macron promised increased commitment in security and development to the region. Macron announced that France will allocate €200 million in grants over the next five years. This funding will focus on three pillars: 1) education, 2) agriculture, and 3) climate change. The French Development Agency (AFD) will also designate a regional director specifically for the Sahel, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to lead this engagement. Macron has also said he will work to further mobilize additional partners to fund the ‘Alliance for the Sahel’, such as Germany, the World Bank, African Development Bank, and the EU.

Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad are the member countries of the G5 Sahel, a regional coordination framework for development policies and security issues.

Statement – French Government (in French)


EU foreign ministers endorse new Africa-EU Partnership Strategy

EU foreign ministers have endorsed a new joint EU-Africa Strategy that seeks to strengthen mutual engagement, address security, and promote sustainable, inclusive economic African development. The Strategy Communication, launched in May 2017, identifies two strands for these objectives. First, the strategy aims at building more resilient states and societies, with a focus on 1) preventing conflicts, address crises and peace-building, 2) strengthening governance systems; and 3) managing migration and mobility. Second, it aims at creating more and better jobs, especially for youth, with a focus on 1) attracting investments, 2) promoting renewable energy, 3) transforming African agriculture and agro-businesses, and 4) improving knowledge and skills in the African continent. The European Council’s endorsement underscored the importance of human rights, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the work to be supported by the new strategy.

Press release - Council of the EU

Think tank IDDRI releases report on how France can reach the 0.7% target

The Paris-based think tank Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) has co-authored a report with Global Health Advocates, analyzing the possibilities and challenges faced by France in reaching the 0.7% target. The report concludes that the French government could reach the target by 2022 or 2025, though this would depend significantly on strong, high-level political will. According to IDDRI, achieving the target will also require continuous engagement from NGOs, law makers, and the public. The report details feasible scenarios for increases in ODA funding, looking in particular at opportunities due to the French Financial Transaction Tax, and from budgetary allocations.

Report - IDDRI