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Japan provides US$12 million for protection of vulnerable populations in Syria

The Japanese government has announced US$12 million in grant assistance for strengthening protection activities for vulnerable populations in Eastern Aleppo, Syria, through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The funding will provide humanitarian assistance to over 12 million people who suffered in the civil war, through the rehabilitation of a children's hospital and the support of local livelihoods.

Press release – UNHCR Japan (in Japanese)

Japan Global health

Norway quadruples grant to World Bank for tax and customs reform in vulnerable states

Norway will increase its contribution to the World Bank’s Global Tax Program (GTP) with NOK88 million (US$10 million) to promote taxation and customs reform in vulnerable states. Having previously granted NOK21.5 million (US$2 million), the move represents an increase of more than 400%. The World Bank intends to use the funds to facilitate customs reform in Niger, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The decision also reflects the Norwegian government’s greater effort to prioritize taxation-centered efforts in its development work. Norway plans to contribute a total of NOK300 million (US$ 34 million) in tax-related development assistance in 2019. 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Agriculture Education Global health Global health R&D Nutrition

European Commission and WHO announce plan to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases at Global Vaccine Summit

The European Commission (EC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a 10-point action plan to improve vaccine access and to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases at the Global Vaccine Summit in Brussels on September 12, 2019.

The plan included commitments from both institutions to: 

  • Promote vaccination and build effective collaboration and partnerships to sustain high coverage rates;
  • Ensure countries have national immunization strategies; 
  • Build surveillance systems for vaccine-preventable diseases;
  • Tackle the root causes of vaccine hesitancy; and
  • Invest, including with novel models of funding and incentives, in research and development for new or improved vaccines and delivery devices.

The EC-WHO summit featured high-level participants including Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. The summit highlighted the role of vaccine hesitancy in the current measles outbreak in Europe and called for the restoration of trust in vaccines and increased political commitments and investments to improve global vaccine coverage.

Event website - Global Vaccination Summit

10-point action plan - European Commission and World Health Organization

EU Global health

US delegation to visit DRC for Ebola assessment

The secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar, will travel with other high ranking US officials to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to assess the state of the Ebola crisis and to show continued US support. Azar will be accompanied by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Admiral Timothy Ziemer, a senior deputy assistant administrator at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The visit is Azar's first since the start of the outbreak over a year ago.

The group is expected to travel to northeastern DRC as well as to Uganda and Rwanda, both of which border the DRC.  The delegation will meet with officials from all three countries as well as the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

News article - Stat News

United States Global health

European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen announces new team and Commission structure

On September 10, 2019, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the new structure of her college of commissioners and the distribution of portfolios to her commissioners-designate, still to be vetted by the European Parliament. The college has been revamped to focus more on policy themes rather than mirroring the directorate-generals, the administrative divisions within the Commission. 
 
Josep Borrell (Spain), the designate for high-representative of the union for foreign policy and security policy will also be in charge of ‘a stronger Europe in the world’ as one of the eight vice-presidents. Three executive vice-presidents will hold dual roles as commissioners in addition to their responsibilities to the core topics of the president-elect’s agenda, including the European Green Deal, making ‘Europe fit for the digital age’, and creating an ‘economy that works for the people’. 
 
Other commissioners-designate include: 

  • Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria) - Innovation and youth (including research and development)
  • Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus) - Health
  • Jutta Urpilainen (Finland) - International partnerships (including development cooperation)
  • László Trócsányi (Hungary) - Neighborhood and enlargement
  • Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland) - Agriculture

Commissioners-designate will next participate in hearings in relevant parliamentary committees. The European Parliament must then give its consent to the entire college, including the president and the High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Finally, the European Council (made up of heads of government of EU member states) will formally appoint the European Commission. The new Commission’s mandate will begin November 1, 2019. 
 
Press release - European Commission

NGO campaign to support Global Fund replenishment centers voices of AIDS survivors

Coalition Plus, an international AIDS NGO network, released a series of testimonies from AIDS patients on how the Global Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria helped them to survive and thrive. AIDS activists from Morocco, Burundi, Mali, and Mauritius shared their stories.

The campaign's launch comes three weeks before the Global Fund replenishment, which aims to mobilize at least US$14 billion for the next three years, to save 16 million lives.

Website - Coalition Plus (in French)

France Global health

UK international development minister confirms commitment to human development

The UK secretary for state for international development, Alok Sharma, has confirmed the UK’s continued commitment to supporting human development through its development assistance. In a letter to the chair of the UK Parliament's International Development Select Committee, Stephen Twigg MP, Sharma highlighted the UK's global leadership in three key areas:

  1. Health: the UK has been a long-standing champion of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 3 related to health and has been leading on the United Nation’s forthcoming  High-Level Meeting on ensuring Universal Health Care to be held on September 23, 2019;
  2. Nutrition: the UK has exceeded its own 2015 commitment to improve the nutrition of 50 million people by 2020; and, 
  3. Social Protection: the UK has a strong portfolio of programs supporting social protection

Sharma also noted the UK prime minister Boris Johnson's commitment to education, particularly for girls, as another priority area for UK development assistance.

UK government - letter from UK Secretary for State for Development

Education Global health Nutrition

Minister Kaag welcomes new Dutch youth ambassador on SRHR

Minister for foreign affairs and development cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, welcomed Ms. Justine van de Beek as the new Dutch youth ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

Ms. van de Beek was appointed on July 31, 2019, by the ministry of foreign affairs in partnership with the Dutch organization CHOICE Youth and Sexuality. Her tenure will conclude at the end of 2020.  

Twitter - Sigrid Kaag (in Dutch)

Netherlands Global health

Norway's key priorities at the United Nations General Assembly: UN Security Council, international cooperation, sustainable development

The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs has announced Norway’s key priorities for the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA). In addition to securing a Norwegian spot on the UN Security Council for 2021-2022, Norway’s priorities contain a common thread of revamping international cooperation and scaling up efforts to promote sustainable development. 

Norway is concerned that multilateral organizations are being less frequently utilized to solve common challenges. Three of Norway’s six priorities, therefore, center around the promotion of international cooperation and the multilateral system, the strengthening of the UN’s ability to prevent and solve conflicts, and the increase of the UN's ability to deal with humanitarian crises. Norway sees these priorities as paramount for achieving peaceful sustainable development.  Norway also emphasizes achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a priority of its own and will place additional weight on efforts related to climate, ocean preservation, education, gender equality, healthcare, and national resource mobilization.  

Press release - Government of Norway (in Norwegian) 

Norway Agriculture Education Global health Global health R&D Nutrition

Japan provides ¥100 million (US$1 million) for maternal and child health in Gabon

The Japanese government has announced ¥100 million (US$1 million) in grant assistance for improving maternal and child health in Gabon. This funding will support the implementation of an early unwanted pregnancy prevention plan for young people in Gabon under close collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Press release – MOFA (in Japanese)

Japan Global health