Dutch NGOs campaign for return to 0.7% GNI to ODA ahead of 2020 budget negotiations

On November 25, 2019, ahead of the Dutch parliament 2020 budget negotiations, Cordaid and Oxfam Novib, two NGOs from the Netherlands, launched a campaign in support of the internationally agreed-upon target of allocating 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA).

The initiative combines publications of ads in major newspapers and on social media, and shares the results of a recent study that affirms that two-thirds of the Dutch population is in favor of ODA spending. 

Their campaign brings attention to the motion that passed with majority votes in parliament in September, which called on the government to develop a roadmap to return to the 0.7% before 2030. The motion also requested that Minister Kaag inform parliament of the activities the government has put in place to that end. Minister Kaag responded in a letter to Parliament on November 18, 2019, explaining that the ODA had already been increased at the beginning of the current legislature and that additional increases in 2020 would be contingent upon the outbreak of humanitarian emergencies. 

Twitter - Oxfam (in Dutch)

Press release - Cordaid (in Dutch)

Press release - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

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Oslo's Safe Schools Declaration endorsed by 100 states

The Safe Schools Declaration, a product of the 2015 Oslo Conference on Safe Schools, has now been endorsed by 100 states across the world.

The Oslo Conference marked the beginning of a global commitment to provide safe education for children and young people in conflict-affected countries. The conference was catalyzed by attacks on thousands of students, teachers, and educational institutions by military forces, armed groups, and security forces. At the time, 28 million children worldwide were prevented from attending school due to armed conflict. 

Press release - Norwegian government 

Global Norway Education

Partos gives recommendations following new Dutch policy framework for CSOs

Partos, the umbrella organization of Dutch civil society organizations (CSOs), published a letter reacting to the government's new framework to guide CSO cooperation in the Netherlands and abroad from 2021 onwards. 

The letter called on the House of Representatives to adjust the policy framework in keeping with Partos' recommendations to: 

  • Increase funding and training for embassy staff on civic space to maintain a strong civil society, increase space for civilian actors, and promote good governance; 
  • Increase flexibility for countries of engagement; and
  • Focus on five main areas of SDG compliance, human rights, gender equality, inclusiveness, and civic space.

Open letter - Partos website (in Dutch)  

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Japan to increase financial assistance to and strengthen partnership with ASEAN

During the twenty-second Asean-Japan Summit, prime minister Shinzo Abe pledged to support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in its effort to strengthen regional cooperation and to tackle the region’s challenges. Among the key issues raised during the meeting were the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Mekong-Japan strategic partnership.

Abe and Thailand’s prime minister, Gen Prayut welcomed the November 2, 2019 signing of six memorandums of understanding between Thai and Japanese private firms to promote small-medium enterprises (SMEs), startups, and related innovations. To support connectivity, Japan will also launch an initiative for loans and investment for ASEAN in areas of quality infrastructure, financial access for women, and green-field investment. 

Press release – Bangkok Post

Global Japan

Dutch government publishes policy framework to strengthen civil society

On November 4, 2019, minister for foreign trade and development cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, sent a letter to parliament outlining the content of the new dutch policy framework with civil society organizations (CSOs) to guide cooperation and funding with partners from 2021 onwards. 

The letter, which further elaborated on the content of the first draft of the policy released in June earlier this year, also included the critiques and recommendations of the recent evaluation report of the work in crisis settings, called "Less pretention, more realism”. 

The policy puts special attention on the role of CSOs to be independent advocates and influencers around the world, and on the promotion of women's rights, gender equality, and inclusion. 

Further, the government will receive applications for grants on 7 specific themes: 

  • Climate mitigation and adaptation;
  • Increasing sustainability of value chains;
  • Food security, sustainable water management, and WASH;
  • Women's rights and gender equality;
  • Freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief;
  • Equal rights for LGBTI population; and
  • Security and the rule of law.

Due to the delay in the publication of the policy, the submission date for the grant applications from CSOs has been moved to 12 March 2020.

Press release - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

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Japan provides US$3 million in food assistance to Zimbabwe

The Japanese government has announced ¥300 million (US$3 million) for Zimbabwe through the World Food Programme. About 5 million people in Zimbabwe are said to be facing serious food shortages as a result of severe weather events affecting agricultural production. 

These funds will provide approximately 4,300 tons of food assistance to Zimbabwe to improve food security and nutrition. This cooperation is an example of Japan's 'contribution to the creation of a strong and sustainable society' which was reaffirmed at the seventh TICAD Conference in Africa (TICAD7) in August 2019. 

Press release – MOFA (in Japanese)

Global Japan Agriculture Nutrition

Global Fund releases table showing total pledges by country

At its sixth replenishment conference in Lyon, France, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised a record-breaking US$14 billion in commitments from public and private donors, the largest amount of funding ever raised for a multilateral health organization. The Global Fund has since released a table showing the amounts pledged by each attendant.

Pledges at Global Fund Sixth Replenishment Conference - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Innovative financing mechanisms needed to deliver on SDGs

Japan hosted a meeting of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development in New York on September 26, 2019, as part of its presidency. The Japanese minister for foreign affairs, Motegi Toshimutsu, reiterated the need for innovative financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) given an estimated funding gap of US$2.5 trillion annually. There was a discussion on how to better share initiatives between countries and how to cooperate towards the scaling-up of financing.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and other groups provided examples of innovative financing mechanisms by governments and institutions including blended finance and social impact investment.

Press release – MOFA

Global Japan

ONE develops scorecard system to measure donor performance on commitment to eradicating poverty

ONE, an international movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has developed a scorecard system to rank the 20 largest OECD DAC donors and European Institutions according to how much official development assistance (ODA) they spend in the fight against extreme poverty.

The new system, titled 'ONE Data Scorecards', provides performance comparable information on the donors, and tackles key questions regarding donor contribution including funding volume(how much ODA is spent); aid targeting (to what extent is the spent ODA focused on poverty reduction); and aid quality (how effectively is ODA spent).

The scorecards aim to compare the efforts of donor countries and to highlight room for improvement, in order to encourage countries to deliver on their commitments to reaching the Sustainable Development Goal of ending extreme poverty. The most recent finding of the scorecards highlighted that if all governments had delivered on the historical commitment to providing 0.7% of their gross national income in development funding, an additional US$196 billion in funding would have been available in 2018: a 228% increase from current amounts.

Report - ONE


Controversial bill criminalizing dutch presence in terrorist controlled areas passes in parliament

In an attempt to reduce the risk of Dutch citizens traveling to terrorist-controlled areas to join militias or armed groups, the Dutch parliament passed a new law criminalizing the presence of Dutch citizens in those areas. 

The bill instigated fierce criticism among media outlets and civil society organizations, given that it also applies to journalists covering war zones or impartial humanitarian organizations delivering life-saving support. As a result, political parties Groen Links and D66 presented a motion in parliament to grant exceptions to journalists and humanitarian organizations. 

Press release - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

News article -NRC newspaper (in Dutch)

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