French development agency and research center issue joint call to reinforce COVID-19 response capabilities in Francophone Africa

In an open editorial, the General Director of the French development agency and the CEO of Inserm (National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research) launched a call to action to support international cooperation for health to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

The authors point out the need to support health systems in the most fragile African states and posit that the low number of COVID-19 cases so far observed is likely due to the structural deficit of epidemic surveillance systems in the region.

National responses will be insufficient to tackle the global pandemic; AFD and Inserm will join forces to initiate a joint program to support health systems in several Francophone African countries, aiming to reinforce surveillance, early detection, and rapid response capacities.

News article - Le Figaro (in French)


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

CSOs question French government's commitment to funding gender equality

On the eve of the Generation Equality Forum co-hosted by France and Mexico, French civil society organizations (CSOs), including Equilibres & Populations, Coordination SUD, and Osez le féminisme !, published an open letter calling on the French government to fulfill its commitment to fund gender equality, both domestically and internationally.

This open letter was published one year after the French Council of Ministers ratified a €120 million (USD$133) fund dedicated to supporting feminist organizations around the world. The fund was announced by French President, Emmanuel Macron, as part of the French G7 presidency. Since then, no concrete action has been taken to increase financial support for women's rights and the €120 million (USD$133) fund has still not been initiated.

Blog - HuffPost (in French)


ONE highlights need for better data, alongside release of their new gender data dashboard

ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has joined the growing number of organizations calling attention to the fact that "more funding for gender equality may not be all it seems". Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality reached an all-time high of US$45.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 39.4% of ODA. However, closer examinations of the figures recently released by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that challenges remain, especially in terms of the quality of the data available on the state of funding for gender equality in development.

As part of ONE's commitment to back up their advocacy with data-driven tools, they released a new interactive dashboard to explore gender ODA from nine major donors. The tool provides data on how each donor spends gender equality focused development funding, information on their key gender strategies, details on the sectors and income levels that they target, and analysis of how different agencies prioritize gender equality.

Blog post - ONE

France pledges US$100 million for new WHO Academy hub

France has pledged US$100 million (€90 million) to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the creation of the WHO Academy, a hub based in Lyon which will become the world’s largest lifelong learning platform in global health. The Academy will provide learning opportunities for leaders, educators, researchers, health workers, WHO staff and the broader public, and will deliver high-quality, multilingual learning, both online and in-person, alongside a cutting-edge simulation centre for health emergencies. It  will be established as an internal division within WHO.

The announcement was made by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's Director-General. The discussion followed a Declaration of Intent signed by French President Emmanuel Macron and Tedros in June 2019. 

Press release - World Health Organization


As France debates new development law, NGO umbrella organization recommends adoption of 0.7% GNI to ODA target

A few weeks before the parliamentary discussion on the revision of the Program and Orientation Bill on Development (now entitled "Solidarity Development and the Fight against Global Inequalities"), French national umbrella organization Coordination SUD, released its recommendations for more and better development assistance. An overwhelming 79% of the French public supports this policy.

Solidarity SUD recommendations include:

  • The adoption of a financial trajectory to reach 0.7%/GNI between 2022 and 2025 (compared to the 0.55%/GNI planned for the years preceding 2022);
  • The doubling of bilateral development assistance channeled through CSOs, the recognition of CSOs' rights in the definition of their projects, and the inclusion of CSOs in the evaluation of the French development policy;
  • The incorporation in the law of concrete objectives for gender equality in line with the recent 'feminist diplomacy' approach adopted by the French government; and
  • Better coherence between French development policy and other public policies to fully align French government initiatives with the SDGs.

Press release - Coordination SUD (in French)


France increases funding for technical cooperation with Global Fund in fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria

France's Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French technical assistance agency Expertise France, agreeing on the modalities of management of the '5% initiative' for the next three years (2020-2022).

Since 2011, France has set aside a portion of its contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) to be channeled specifically through the 5% Initiative, which mobilizes technical expertise to strengthen support to French-speaking recipient countries and improve access to grants and their implementation. Between 2011 and 2017, the portion allocated to the 5% Initiative has increased from five to seven percent for 2017-2019 and will now increase again to nine percent for the 2020-2022 cycle.

The Memorandum of Understanding formalizes new directions taken in 2019, as follow: 

  • An increase (from 7% to 9%) of French finances for the Global Fund to be channelled through the 5% initiative (39 million or US$42 million);
  • A reduction of the number of countries eligible for technical assistance from 54 to 40, in order to better align initiatives with France's priority countries and to ensure focus on fragile countries or countries where Global Fund's focus diseases are more prevalent; 
  • An extension of the maximum length of technical expertise projects to up to three years with yearly evaluations; and
  • An extension of the length of funding from three years up to four years.

Press release - French Ministry for European and Foreign Affairs (in French)

France Global health

Contours of France's new development bill show consistent focus areas, increased grant funding, independent evaluation committee

France held its first parliamentary debate on the new 'Program and Orientation Bill on Solidarity Development and the Fight against Global Inequalities', which is slated to replace France's 2014 Development Bill. Secretary of State for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, confirmed that the law will be discussed during the forthcoming Minister Council on March 4, 2020, and will be debated in parliament at the end of the first semester of 2020.

Lemoyne indicated that the bill will provide a financial roadmap to increase French development assistance to 0.55% of gross national income (GNI) by 2022, an increase of 6.0 billion (US$6.6 billion) over 2017 levels.

During 2020-2022, the period covered by the law, France's sectoral priorities (climate change and biodiversity; gender equality; education; and global health) will remain unchanged, and it will also maintain its 19 geographical priority areas (which are comprised of 18 Sub-Saharan countries and Haiti).

The proportion of grants will drastically increase compared to loans during this period, mobilizing 1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the French Development Agency’s grants in the coming years. Funding for global health has already increased, reaching 1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2018, Lemoyne said, 80% of which is allocated through multilateral channels. The law will include a global partnership framework, to detail the ways France will partner with low-income countries and development stakeholders.

France aims to facilitate better coordination and accountability for its development assistance; the formation of an independent evaluation committee attached to the French court of audits is one notable provision of the bill.

Regarding the new European Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), France is currently discussing with the EU's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) to ensure credits of the European Neighborhood and Development are kept separate to avoid confusion. 

Debate protocol - French National Assembly (in French)


France announces two new projects supporting Global South research institutions

The French Development Agency and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), a public scientific and technical research establishment signed two project agreements to support research in the Global South.

  1. The PARTNER Project (Partnership for Higher Education and Research in Excellence in Africa) aims to create or support thematic research networks in the fields of environment; hydrology and sustainable management of water; digital technology networks; and infectious diseases. This funding will support activities of those networks to reinforce regional collaborations and create partnerships between African academic institutes and French research centers. 
  2. The PAIRES project will support the production of impact evaluations by IRD of interventions led by the French development agency to monitor results in the field for final recipients. 

Press release - French Research Institute for Development (in French)

France Global health R&D

2019 G-FINDER report breaks down global funding for neglected disease R&D

G-FINDER, an initiative of Policy Cures Research which reports on global health research and development (R&D), has released its 12th annual report, synthesizing data from 2018. The report's data is based on a yearly survey of major funders and developers in the global health R&D sector.

Central findings of the report include:

  • Funding for tools combatting neglected diseases topped US$4 billion-- the highest on record;
  • Global funding for neglected disease R&D increased by US$290 million in 2018, or 7.9%-- the largest funding increase on record and the first time ever that funding increased for three years consecutively;
  • Despite record growth in other areas, funding for the WHO neglected tropical diseases has barely increased over the last decade;
  • HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) received over two-thirds of all global funding for neglected disease R&D in 2018 (US$2.8 billion, or 69%); and
  • Despite record investment levels (US$2.6 billion), the public sector's share of total funding fell to its lowest ever, due to strong growth from private sector donors.

2019 Annual Report: Uneven Progress - G-FINDER