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Donor Tracker announces webinar on donor countries' response to COVID-19 crisis

Join us on Thursday, May 14 from 16:00-17:00 (CEST) for a webinar exploring donor countries' response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Over the last few months, the Donor Tracker team has been following the impacts of COVID-19 in a rapidly shifting global development landscape. In this webinar, our speakers, Raimund Zühr and Zoë Johnson will present some early insights into donor country responses, discuss the potential impact on ODA volumes and allocations, and explore how global development advocates can best respond.

Registration - Zoom

Report from Advisory Council for International Issues to Dutch government recommends additional US$1.1 billion ODA investment for international COVID-19 response

On May 11, 2020, the Advisory Council for International Issues (AIV) published its advice to the Dutch cabinet regarding an international COVID-19 response from the Netherlands, as requested by Minister Kaag in April. 

While the AIV recognizes the long-term socio-economic and financial consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in low-income countries, the Council firstly suggests focusing on the immediate support needed before moving on to developing a long-term vision. As such, the AIV recommends the Netherlands to allocate a sum of €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) to the immediate response to the poorest countries.

Besides reserving some of that amount for vaccine development, the report also highlights the importance of investing in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, as well as increasing support for multilateral organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), or making a substantial amount available for the Catastrophe Containment and the Relief Trust of the International Monitary Fund (IMF). 

Press Release - Advisory Council for International Issues (in Dutch)

Global Netherlands

58 Ministers of Foreign Affairs issue call to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights access amid COVID-19 crisis

In a joint declaration, 58 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and governments, including all G7 countries except the US, seven African countries, and all EU members except Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia commit to fund and give access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) during the COVID-19 response. 

Specifically, the statement calls for:

  • Initiatives that prevent violence against women and girls;
  • Emergency and humanitarian responses to protect refugee, migrant, and internally displaced women and girls.
  • Universal health coverage to ensure women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health needs are met.

Signatories point out the impact of the health crisis on national and international supply chains of reproductive health commodities and commit to tackling this issue to support all women and girls of reproductive age.

The signatories also emphasize the importance of global coordination and collaboration between governments, private sector actors, civil society groups, and philanthropists to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They specifically call on the UN, UNFPA and UN Women, WHO, the World Bank and IMF, and regional development banks, as well as the G7 and G20 to consider the continuation of health services for women and girls in their COVID-19 response. 

Editorial - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Global

Criticizing current blockage of UN Security Council and calling for establishment of new 'World Crisis Council', German development minister says pandemic is "wake-up call" for international cooperation

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has criticized the impending failure of a drafted UN resolution on a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be a fatal signal that the UN Security Council is blocked in the middle of the greatest economic and food crisis in recent decades, he said. While for him, the COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for increased international cooperation, “the wake-up call is not heard by everyone", he said.

The United States blocked a procedure that would have cleared the way for a vote on the UN resolution draft. While the US did not explain its rejection, the blockade could be the result of US President Donald Trump’s negative stance towards the WHO. According to the resolution draft, the WHO should be given a central role in the fight against the pandemic. 

Against this background, Müller repeatedly called for the establishment of a World Crisis Council, responsible for coordinating international organizations and located within the UN Secretary-General. "The global community could react much more specifically and quickly to current developments in the pandemic, such as curbing new infections, combating the hunger and economic crisis, or curbing the already increasing terror and violence," he said.

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

Dutch development minister and special COVID-19 envoy discuss Netherlands' international pandemic response in expert webinar

On May 7, 2020, the Dutch Institute for International Relations Clingendael and the Dutch NGO 'Cordaid' organized a webinar with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, and the Dutch Special COVID-19 Envoy, Feike Sjibesma, to discuss the Netherlands' perspective on COVID-19 as a global health challenge.

The global impact of COVID-19 begs the question of whether the Netherlands should consider investing in health systems from a more global perspective in the future, said Kaag. Sjibesma noted that the production and the distribution of a vaccine will be a highly complex process, and called for a robust international cooperation effort to ensure equitable access to treatment. 

Event website - Institute Clingendael (in Dutch)

Full webinar recording - YouTube (in Dutch)

Italy launches 'Coalition for Food' initiative to combat COVID-19-related food insecurity

The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, in a call with the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Anne-Marie Belinda Trevelyan, presented the Coalition for Food initiative.

The initiative aims to mitigate food insecurity exacerbated by the pandemic. The multilateral action will ensure the sustainability and resilience of the agri-food sector during the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Dutch Ambassador for Women's Rights and Gender Equality discusses vaccine accessability with ONE's youth ambassadors

On May 5, 2020, a group of youth ambassadors of the global organization 'ONE', an organization that campaigns for the eradication of extreme poverty and preventable diseases by 2030, had an online meeting with Dutch Ambassador for Women's Rights and Gender Equality, Mette Gonggrijp.

The representatives of ONE advocated for the Netherlands to do more to ensure global access to a vaccine against COVID-19, preferably within a multilateral framework in cooperation with other countries. Gonggrijp stated that the Netherlands recognizes the importance of having a vaccine that is accessible to everyone and is working towards achieving this goal.

News article - Hetstreekblad (in Dutch)

EU's Coronavirus Global Response conference raises total US$8.2 billion

The Coronavirus Global Response international pledging conference on May 4, 2020 — which was hosted by the European Commission together with Germany, UK, France, Japan, Italy, and Canada — raised €7.4 billion (US$8.2 billion) in pledges for the global cooperation effort to respond to COVID-19. Notably, the United States declined to participate.

The EU and its member states raised €4.0 billion (US$4.4 billion) of the total amount pledged by world leaders and foundations. The European Commission committed a total of €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in grants alongside €400 million (US$442 million) in guarantees on loans, with €100 million (US$110 million) going to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and €158 million (US$174 million) going to the WHO. However, this €1.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) pledge largely re-packages the funding the Commission has previously committed since the fundraising effort counted money already spent or allocated since January.
 
Of the total raised, at least US$1.4 billion was specifically earmarked for CEPI, at least US$267 million for the therapeutics accelerator, and an additional US$1.1 billion was specifically earmarked as other research and development efforts for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. A total of US$1.3 billion of new funding was pledged for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for its 2020 replenishment.
 
In a strong symbolic show of unity, world leaders expressed the importance of global cooperation and solidarity to address the COVID-19 crisis, citing the need to make sure any future vaccine is equitably accessible to all.
 
In addition to Europe, world leaders from around the globe participated, including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, and the President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and African Union Chairperson. China participated at the ministerial level. High-level representatives from industry, the World Bank, WHO, Gavi, UNITAID, and others also participated.
 
The governance arrangements for managing the money raised is still largely to be determined, but the funds will go to three partnerships for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, to be co-convened by the following global health organizations, respectively: CEPI (jointly with Gavi), the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (jointly with UNITAID) and FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, jointly with the Global Fund).

Press release - European Commission
 
Opening remarks by President von der Leyen - European Commission
 
Opening remarks by President Charles Michel - European Council
 
Q&A: The Coronavirus Global Response - European Commission
 
Coronavirus Global Response webpage - European Commission

News article - Politico

Dutch development minister announces additional US$11 million to GFF, reiterates commitment to WHO, Gavi, Global Fund

On May 4, 2020, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, answered questions from Dutch Parliamentary representatives regarding COVID-19 and poverty in low-income countries. Kaag informed parliament of the new contribution of  €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Financing Facility (GFF),noting that it is part of the €100 million million) package earlier announced.

This funding is intended to support low- and lower-middle-income countries to ensure continuation of essential health and nutrition services during the COVID-19 crisis and for the direct COVID-19 response, including the purchasing of protective equipment and hiring of additional health personnel.

Lastly, Kaag reviewed other pledged allocations of the Netherlands towards the international response, and reconfirmed Dutch support for other multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organisation; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Canadian International Development Platform asseses potential effects of recession on ODA spending

The Canadian International Development Platform has released two new articles in a series exploring the prospective impacts of COVID-19 on financing for international development. These articles outline threats to ODA stemming from possible donor responses to the crisis, arguing that the risks to development spending are longer-term and non-linear.

The first article argues that while the "immediate donor response to COVID-19 may appear adaptive," the financial impacts of COVID-19 on development spending will persist long after the crisis has subsided. 

The second article provides a framework to assess portfolio risks and guide "collaborative scenario-building and shared risk assessments, especially across donors and NGOs, to forestall perverse feedback loops". 

Analysis 1 - Canadian International Development Platform 

Analysis 2 - Canadian International Development Platform