French ministers address defense and security at Foreign Affairs Council

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian took part in the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council on Defense in Brussels. Among issues related to security and defense cooperation, the ministers discussed the European Union’s role in the Sahel, support for the G5 Sahel force, and addressed the preparation of the upcoming EU-Africa Summit. At the meeting, France announced its intention to participate in “permanent structured cooperation” in the field of security and defense. The mechanism for permanent cooperation is provided for by the Treaty of the European Union and comes as a result of joint proposals by France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. It is due to be launched in a few weeks. 

Press release – MFA (in French)

Press Conference – European External Action Service


French foreign ministry defends increases in ODA to National Asembly

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has argued for an increase to the foreign assistance budget to the lower chamber of Parliament, saying that France should boost its ODA from current levels of €8.5 billion to around €15 billion by 2022 in order to meet its target of spending 0.55% of gross national income on ODA. He argued that the current €100 million increase proposed in the 2018 Budget Bill is far too low for France to reach the target in time. 

Le Drian is expected to go public in the coming weeks with a concrete roadmap detailing a "realistic" trajectory of French ODA for the next five years.

Video clip – National Assembly (in French)

Article – Euractiv (in French)


French envoy for the Sahel says assistance for region will increase to over €800 million

France's Special envoy for the Sahel, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, has traveled to Mauritania, where he was quoted saying annual French assistance for the Sahel region will increase by 33%, from €600 million to €800 million. The additional assistance will mainly support security-related initiatives, such as the fight against jihadists, as well as development programs in the sectors of agriculture, energy, governance, support for basic services, education, and employment.

During his trip, Châtaigner met with President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritanian Economy Minister Moctar Ould Ndiaye, and the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat, which brings together Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger. He also met with the Mauritanian development minister and humanitarian NGOs, where he stressed the need to ensure that assistance reaches the most vulnerable populations.

News article– Le Monde (in French)


Coordination SUD evaluates implementation of French Gender and Development Strategy

French development NGO umbrella organization Coordination SUD has published a report on the implementation of the Gender and Development Strategy by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and its operators from 2013-2017. The report examines what has been done since the adoption of the Gender Strategy in 2013 and provides recommendations for the development and implementation of a new strategic orientation document for the upcoming years. Coordination SUD recommends, among other things, that France take political leadership on the issue both domestically and internationally by directing 50% of bilateral assistance toward initiatives focused on gender equality. 

Publication – Coordination SUD (in French)


Education Coalition denounces low levels of French education ODA

In a meeting with French First Lady Brigitte Macron, the Education Coalition – a group of 16 CSOs –criticized the level of French ODA going towards basic education in developing countries. Though education counts for 15% of all French ODA, more than 70% of it is allocated to post-secondary and secondary education, almost all of which is spent on scholarships and other costs of students from developing countries attending French universities. Basic education accounts for only 16% of bilateral assistance to education, corresponding to 2.5% of overall ODA. The Education Coalition called for French ODA to be redirected to priority countries in sub-Saharan African and the Sahel region, and to be focused on basic education, seeing it as more impactful on the educational systems of partner countries.

News report – Euractiv (in French)

France Education

Coordination SUD publishes analysis on proposed ODA in French 2018 budget

French NGO umbrella organization Coordination SUD has published a primer on the draft 2018 budget bill’s provisions for developing assistance. It includes suggestions of ways to influence the final  budget outcome, and recommendations for increasing ODA budget lines. The current budget draft, proposed by the administration, is now being debated in parliament ahead of its adoption in December 2017. It previews a small increase in France’s ODA of about €100 million compared to the current year. According to Coordination SUD, however, increases in the ODA budget should be greater if France is to keep President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment of reaching 0.55% of GNI/ODA by 2022. To reach this target, France must provide an additional €6 billion by the end of the five-year period.

Publication – Coordination SUD (in French)


IDDRI releases policy brief on progress of SDGs in France

French think tank IDDRI released a policy brief entitled ‘SGDs: A Roadmap for France’, which examines France’s implementation of the SDGs and provides recommendations on using the targets to build more coherent public policies. The report claims that France has “a duty” to be a leader with regard to its own implementation of the goals, given that it will hold the G7 presidency in 2019 during the review of the SDGs by the UN General Assembly. It also notes an opportunity for France to launch a discussion on the SDGs at a European level.

Publication - IDDRI (in French)


Oxfam France urges government to increase investment in renewable energy

Oxfam France has published ‘Renewable energies to fight against poverty’, a report which analyzes energy projects of the French Development Agency (AFD) and its subsidiary Proparco. The report finds that, although renewable energy is a powerful instrument to fight poverty and climate change in urban settings of the Global South, French agencies have been under-investing in the sector. It recommends that the French government invest at least €1 billion in the renewable energy by 2022, with the majority of resources going toward least-developed countries. 

Publication - Oxfam France (in French)


OECD DAC holds meetings in Paris to discuss ODA

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held key meetings this week at its headquarters in Paris, hosting delegations from the 30 richest donor countries to discuss the rules surrounding ODA. A number of controversial issues were debated, including 1) the amount of ODA that donors can spend on in-country refugee costs, 2) the cap on the amount of ODA that can be directed towards multilateral peacekeeping efforts in conflict-affected countries, and 3) how to measure ODA spent through blended finance mechanisms.

The UK in particular has been critical of existing ODA regulations, having previously suggested that it may pull out of OECD-DAC if rules surrounding spending on military and security costs remained unchanged.

News article - Devex

Coordination SUD releases report on food security

French NGO umbrella organization Coordination SUD released its 6th issue of “Les Notes de SUD”, a periodical publication on international development, with a full report of the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), held in the United Nations in Rome in October. It examines issues such as nutrition, women's empowerment, sustainable forest management for food security, and nutrition. “Les Notes de SUD” also addresses the ongoing evaluation of the committee and references the fact that agro-ecology will be included in the multi-annual working program of the CFS for 2018 and 2019.

Publication – Coordination SUD (in French)

France Agriculture Nutrition