Norwegian humanitarian organizations present demands to government in effort towards SDG accountability

Secretaries-General from 11 of the largest humanitarian organizations in Norway have presented measures which they say need to be taken by the Norwegian government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The organizations presented to the Minister of Development, Dag Inge Ulstein, the following requests:

  • Increase efforts towards reducing inequality in partner countries;

  • Accelerate the work to include marginalized groups;

  • Adapt a greener official development assistance budget, focusing on climate adaptation;

  • Implement the action plan for sustainable food systems;

  • Drive the work for equality;

  • Allocate more funding to civil society organizations in the global south;

  • Work to prevent child marriages and contribute to the protection of girls in areas of conflict;

  • Strengthen educational efforts and earmarked funds for children in crisis areas; and

  • Focus more efforts on free primary health care and education.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norweigan) 

Australia to host global innovation summit in November 2020

Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt, announced that the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils will hold its annual summit in Melbourne on November 18- 19, 2020. The summit will focus on humanity, technology, and health frontiers. It will be an opportunity for participants from business, industry, academia, and government from more than 30 countries to foster new partnerships for developing innovative solutions to health problems. Specific areas of discussion include stem cell research and genomics.

Press release - Australian Department of Health

Indonesia proposes cooperation with Australia on Pacific development

Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, at a joint sitting of Australia’s Parliament, proposed that the two countries should become “anchors” for development in the Pacific region. The President outlined similarities in the development challenges being faced by both Indonesia and the Pacific, such as natural disasters, climate change, human resource development, and health. Mr. Widodo was in Canberra for the signing of a bilateral trade agreement.

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

Australia Education Global health

European Commission announces US$11 million to fight Coronavirus

The European Commission launched a fast-tracked €10 million (US$11 million) research call through Horizon 2020, its research framework program, for proposals on Coronavirus research to contribute to diagnosis, clinical management, preparedness, and response. The Commission has called for international cooperation and coordination to stop the epidemic; experts fear the virus will spread to countries with weak health systems, where it has the potential to wreak havoc on vulnerable populations who cannot easily access effective care.

Call for proposals – European Commission

Press release – European Commission

EU Global health Global health R&D

Japan to continue development assistance to Malaysia

The Japan International Cooperation Agency 's (JICA's) Deputy Director, for Southeast Asia, Kazue Minami, said that Japan will continue to support Malaysia's socio-economic development. Japan has provided official development assistance (ODA) to Malaysia since 1953.

Japan’s ODA to Malaysia amounted to US$7.8 billion from 1969 to 2014, with another US$2.5 billion in loans. JICA has helped train 17,000 Malaysians in Japan and has sent 1,500 volunteers to work in Malaysia.

Up to 2016, Japan has provided a total of ¥105.4 billion (US$956 million) for technical cooperation, and ¥949.3 billion (US$8.6 billion) in loans. Technical cooperation included ¥4.7 billion (US$43 million) for healthcare and ¥4.4 billion (US$40 million) for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The loans included ¥437.8 billion (US$4.0 billion) for energy, ¥194.2 billion (US$1.8 billion) for public works and social infrastructure, ¥109.5 billion (US$997 million) for mining and industry, ¥57.7 billion (US$525 million) for human resource development, ¥13.4 billion (US$122 million) for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and ¥10.2 billion (US$93 million) for healthcare.

Minami stated, "Under the social and economic development for Malaysia, Japan's efforts have managed to decrease the former's poverty level from 49 percent in 1970 to an astounding 0.6 percent in 2014."

News article - New Straits Times

UK will use ODA to support WHO and partner countries in efforts against coronavirus

The UK government will use some of its official development assistance (ODA) budget to support the international response to the newly identified coronavirus. Initiatives include:

  • £5 million to the World Health Organisation’s 'Flash Appeal' to support early detection and diagnosis in partner countries;
  • £40 million - part of which is funded by ODA -  to support vaccine and virus research; and
  •  Funding stationing of experts in Africa regional office of WHO to help the institution manage the outbreak.

Press release - UK government

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

UK Development Minister meets with campaigners fighting female genital mutilation

On February 6, 2020, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the UK Secretary for State for International Development, Alok Sharma, met with global campaigners in London. Sharma highlighted the department for international development’s (DFID's) ongoing efforts to end FGM, noting that UK development assistance has helped 10,000 communities across the African continent stop FGM and has contributed to the 30% reduction in FGM over the last 30 years. 

Twitter – Alok Sharma

United Kingdom Global health

Report shows 42% increase in Spanish funding for SRHR and family planning between 2018 and 2019

According to a recently released report tracking European donor spending on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and family planning initiatives, Spain increased development funding for SRHR and family planning initiatives by 42% between 2018 and 2019.

Among other initiatives, Spanish disbursements channeled to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) marked a sharp increase from US$2 million in 2017 to US$3 million in 2018. 

The report, written by Countdown 2030, a consortium of 15 leading European NGOs, showed similar funding increases from Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany.

Report - European Donor Support to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning

Press release – Spanish Federation for Family Planning (in Spanish)

Japan to organize training for West African health professionals on lab skills and infectious diseases

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), will organize a training program in Ghana for healthcare professionals from nine West African countries.

The training program, known as 'Third Country Training Course on Enhancing Laboratory Skills for Infectious Diseases in West African Countries for Post Ebola', is designed to provide training in modern laboratory technology in order to improve disease surveillance and prevention in Ghana and neighboring countries.

Last year's program drew participants from four different West African countries, which has been expanded to nine this year, reflecting the growth of the program's relevance as well as Japan's commitments in the region.

News article – Joy Online

Japan Global health