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Norway prioritizes women’s rights and equality in 2019 development budget

The Norwegian government has proposed a US$119-million (NOK 1 billion) grant to women's rights and equal opportunities in its 2019 development assistance budget. The funds will be used for measures to improve women's and maternal health, through health care and other development policy efforts that strengthen women's rights. This includes core contribution to UN Women's Rights and Equity Organization (UN Women), UN Populations Fund (UNFPA), and various targeted gender equality measures. Equality and women's rights are goals in themselves, but the government states that succeeding in these areas is also important for other Sustainable Development Goals.

The core of Norway's work for gender equality is sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning, maternity health, and safe and legal abortions. 

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Norway to increase development spending by US$2.5 billion in 2019

In its 2019 development budget, Norway has proposed spending US$4.5 billion (NOK37.8 billion) on development assistance, corresponding to about 1% of Norway’s Gross National Income and NOK2.5 billion more than in 2018. To increase the effectiveness of Norway’s efforts, the government has chosen to concentrate on:

  • Education
  • Business development
  • Agriculture and renewable energy
  • Climate change, environment and oceans,
  • Humanitarian action.

Around US$2.7 billion (NOK23 billion; 60%) of the development budget will be allocated to these areas.

Press release - Norwegian government

Norway announces increased support to the GFF

During his speech at the Global Citizen Concert in New York, Norwegian Minister of Development Nikolai Astrup announced that Norway will contribute US$360 million to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) over the next five years.

He also announced that Norway will host the GFF replenishment conference in Oslo and is aiming at raising US$2 billion dollars and saving up to 35 million lives between now and 2030.

Speech - Norwegian government website 

UK commits new funding for TB alliance for new and safe drugs

UK Development Minister Penny Mordaunt announced an additional UK£7.5 million (US$10.1 million) of financial assistance for the Tuberculosis (TB) Alliance at the high-level meeting on TB in New York. The funding will help develop shorter, simpler treatments against TB that are affordable to the poorest countries in the world. The World Health Organisation found that in 2017, 100 million people developed this preventable disease and nearly two million people died from it.

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) already supports Aeras, a non-profit organization working with GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and other partners, to develop and test a new TB vaccine. Early results show the number of HIV-negative people developing TB has been reduced by about half.

Press Release – UK Government

Norway's foreign ministry presents new humanitarian assistance strategy

Norway's foreign ministry has presented a new strategy for humanitarian assistance focused on 1) the protection of women, children, and youth, 2) innovation, and 3) promoting a multilateral and normative system that respects international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.

To meet these goals, Norway has increased its humanitarian budget by more than 50% since the start of the previous parliamentary term. According to the foreign ministry, the budget will be maintained at high levels for years to come and will be 'adapting to the changes in the world'. 

News article - Aftenposten (in Norwegian)

EDCTP seeks new Scientific Advisory Committee members

The European and Developing countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) is looking for up to seven new members from multiple fields and sectors to join its Scientific Advisory Committee starting January 2019.  The Scientific Advisory Committee advises the EDCTP General Assembly and the Executive Secretariat and provides oversight of the scientific integrity of the EDCTP program. Applications are due September 30, 2018. Experts should have skills, knowledge, expertise, and standing in one or more of the following: poverty-related diseases; public health; clinical trials and clinical research, especially in sub-Saharan Africa; product development and clinical regulatory affairs; post-registration safety and effectiveness programs; research capacity strengthening and training; and ethics.

European Parliament report – EDCTP

EU Global health R&D

UK’s first-ever strategy on bio-security puts tackling global health at its center

The UK government has published for the first time a cross-government Biological Security Strategy aimed at protecting the UK from the spread of infectious diseases, the rise of antimicrobial resistance, and deliberate biological attacks. DFID’s global health work lies at the heart of the strategy, with a commitment to strengthen the health systems of developing countries, improve disease surveillance at the national and international levels, and maintain investments in the research and development of new vaccines and drugs.

Strategy - UK government

News article - The Telegraph

French ministries discuss plan to reduce use of phytosanitary products

French Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert, and Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Frédérique Vidal, came together on July 27, 2018 for the follow-up on the ECOPHYTO plan, which aims to reduce and secure the use of phytosanitary products (including for non-agricultural uses). Ministers specified how the annual €71 million commitment to the project will be spent: 1) Targeting applied research and innovation transfer actions as well as the deployment of farmers' collectives; 2) supporting the development and marketing of new technological solutions in agro-equipment or biocontrol; 3) prioritizing a research program up to €30 million, and 4) stronger restrictions and substitutions of specific products.

Press release - Health Ministry (in French)

Ministries come together for AFD's Strategic Orientation Council

This year's meeting of the Strategic Orientation Council of the French development agency, AFD, gathered Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, Secretary of State to the MFA Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, representative of the Secretary of State to the Minister of Economics Bertrand Walckenaer, AFD's Director General Rémy Rioux, and AFD Board Chair Laurence Tubiana.

AFD’s budget will benefit from a historical increase to €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) in grant commitments. Le Drian asked that the bulk of this envelope be used in France’s five priority sectors (crises and vulnerabilities, education and employability, gender equality, climate, and health).

Press release - MFA (in French)

French Health Minister speaks at AIDS 2018 about importance of prevention and equal access to health care

In a speech at the International Aids Conference 2018 in Amsterdam, French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn highlighted the value of prevention, including through pre-exposure and post-exposure treatment, and the need for France to ensure equal access to health care services, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or HIV status.

The minister also took the opportunity to call attention to the importance of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), whose upcoming replenishment conference will be held in France. Buzyn noted that both at the Global Fund and at UNITAID, France promotes innovation, access for all, prevention, treatment and care, and a move towards achieving universal health coverage. 

Speech - Minister of Health