Norway to strengthen development cooperation with 16 countries

To more effectively use Norway's development assistance, Norway’s Development Minister, Nikolai Astrup, has announced a re-grouping of Norway's development partner countries into two categories:

  1. Long-term development partnerships, which encompass support on economic growth, job creation, and tax system advisory. This group includes Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  2. Stabilization partnerships, which comprise of conflict resolution assistance. This group includes Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, Palestine, Somalia and South Sudan.

According to Astrup, this grouping will better support knowledge sharing and resource management in partner countries, as well as progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Press release - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Policy document - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

DFAT review raises concerns about Australia's development program in two PNG sectors

Ben Packham has written that the Australian government has concerns about the quality of its development program in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Components in the governance and human development sectors were rated poorly against their objectives in an annual review conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). 

Australia's FY2018-19 development assistance budget includes A$541 million (US$402 million) for PNG.

News article - The Australian

Japan dispatches Disaster Relief Team to DRC in wake of Ebola Outbreak

Japan has dispatched its Japan Disaster Relief Infectious Diseases Response Team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following a request from the government of DRC due to an Ebola outbreak. The team will work to strengthen systems of surveillance and laboratory capabilities. 

Press release - MOFA

Japan Global health

France and Canada sign joint action plan for international development

French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have signed a joint action plan for cooperation in international development activities. The action plan determines that both countries will develop joint projects and instate an annual dialogue between both Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as the French Development Agency (AFD). They will also pursue common positions within multilateral organizations and meetings, such as the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Francophonie, the G7, and the G20.

The plan prioritizes the following issues: climate change, education (with a focus on girls' education and in crisis contexts), innovation (in projects and financing mechanisms), and gender equality, including women's economic empowerment, peace and security, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, noting that France will host the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria replenishment conference in 2019. 

Action plan - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French)

Norwegian Development Agency to provide NOK1.8 billion in support to civil society organizations

The Norwegian Development Agency (Norad) will provide large-scale support to seven Norwegian civil organizations with NOK1.8 billion (US$222 million) over the next five years. Norad is responsible for around 40% of Norway’s civil society assistance and is soon launching its new set of benchmark principles for development initiatives and partners. These principles are sustainability, inclusion, partnerships, legitimacy, accountability, cost effectiveness, and context sensitivity.

This time, recipients of Norad’s support include Caritas, the Rainforest Fund, the Students and Academics’ International Aid Fund, Digni, the LHL International Tuberculosis Foundation, Hello World, and Capacare. 

News article - Bistands Aktuelt (in Norwegian)

France and Niger increase cooperation and launch €10 million bilateral project on SRHR and education

French President Emmanuel Macron and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou discussed the longstanding partnership between the two countries, highlighting the dialogue and joint work up to date. Both leaders deliberated on Libya, migration, and the situation in the Sahel, with Macron noting that France is committed to helping the G5 Sahel Joint Forces have adequate structures and funding. He also signed a bilateral agreement to start a €10 million (US$11 million) project on improving sexual and reproductive health and keeping young girls in school. Moreover, Macron declared that more than 20% of the projects committed within the Sahel Alliance will directly concern Niger - €1.7 billion (US$1.9 billion) out of a total of €7.5 billion (US$8.3 billion).

Press conference - Elysée (in French)

France Global health

Australia appoints new Ambassador for Regional Health Security

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has announced that Peter Versegi has been appointed the next Ambassador for Regional Health Security. She emphasized the role of the ambassador in assisting the development of new drugs and diagnostics, as well as partnerships to build robust health systems to respond to regional-health crises. Versegi is an experienced senior official in Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with a background in bilateral assistance, development policy, advising the Western Pacific’s  executive director in the World Bank, and managing DFAT’s evaluation office.

Press release - DFAT

Action Against Hunger analyzes ODA in Sahel region

French NGO Action Against Hunger published the policy paper entitled 'The Sahel - for a new approach to development', which analyzes French official development assistance (ODA) in the region. The paper notes that no Sahelian states are among the top 10 recipients of French ODA, despite a critical need. It highlights opportunities for increased donor cooperation in the region and improved monitoring and evaluation frameworks. 

Policy paper - Action Against Hunger (in French)

ChildFund Australia report finds that maternal death rates in PNG are increasing

A report by non-governmental organization ChildFund Australia, entitled 'National Health Crisis: Maternal Deaths in Papua New Guinea', finds that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the world's worst places to be a mother. A woman is 35 times more likely to die during pregnancy there than in Australia, despite the country being the largest recipient of Australian development assistance.

In the past, development support from Australia has specifically targeted health system strengthening. Nigel Spence, ChildFund's chief executive, said that although Australian development spending had not always achieved the desired results, Australia "has the means and the technology to do much more".

News report - Sydney Morning Herald

Australia Global health

Norwegian government highlights need for global health ODA to not only treat diseases but work towards UHC

Norwegian Minister of Development Nikolai Astrup and Minister of Health Bent Høie have written about the need for Norway to not only give official development assistance (ODA) to countries in the fight against diseases but also build safe and accessible health services locally that support the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC). This requires education and investments in health system strengthening, they write.

Website - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)