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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 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)

Hiroki Nakatani appointed Board Chair of GHIT Fund

Hiroki Nakatani will succeed Kiyoshi Kurokawa as Board Chair of Japan's Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), as the fund’s second five-year phase of operations start. Nakatani previously held several important roles in the field of global health and neglected tropical diseases throughout his career. These include time as assistant director-general at the World Health Organization, and various senior-level responsibilities at the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. 

Press release - GHIT Fund

Japan Global health R&D

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)

EDCTP launches €118 million in research Calls for Proposals

The European and Developing countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) published €118 million in calls for proposals after approval of its 2018 work plan. EDCTP supports development of new or improved interventions to address poverty-related infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa while also supporting the development of African (clinical) research capacity, including the capacity to review and regulate clinical research conducted in African populations. Almost all EDCTP-funded projects integrate clinical research and capacity development while targeting specific health-research priorities including large-scale clinical trials; research collaboration, standardization, coordination or maximizing impact of research for health systems; and career development of individual African researchers.

Website – EDCTP

EU Global health R&D

Parliament appoints lead draftsmen for 2021-2027 EU research program

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Dan Nica (Romania) and Christian Ehler (Germany) have been appointed as lead rapporteurs for the parliament’s input into the next research program, known as Horizon Europe. Nica will negotiate the program's overall regulation and rules of participation, while Ehler will handle the internal content. Ehler served as rapporteur on rules for participation for the current program, Horizon 2020. The Commission will launch a detailed proposal for the €97.6 billion proposed for Horizon Europe on June 7.

News article – Science Business

EU Global health R&D

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

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)

Norway's revised budget allocates funding to human rights and humanitarian assistance

The Norwegian government has presented its revised national budget for 2018. Parliament will now review it and make a decision by the end of June. The revised budget estimates a growth in the economy of 2.5% in 2018 and 2.6% in 2019. The government proposes the following in the revised budget: 

  • To increase support for civil society's international efforts to promote human rights by NOK10 million (US$1 million) to NOK370 million (US$44 million) in 2018. The increase will go to efforts in support of freedom of expression, freedom of belief, and freedom of life. 
  • To increase the humanitarian budget by NOK116 million (US$13 million) that will primarily go to the crises in Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  • Reduce refugee costs in Norway with further NOK398 million (US$47 million). 
  • Support the Farm to Market Alliance with NOK10 million (US$1 million). 

State budget - Det Kongelige Finansdepartement (in Norwegian) 

Australian FY2018-19 development assistance budget remains steady

Australia’s Treasurer, Scott Morrison, delivered Australia's national budget on 8 May. Total Australian official development assistance (ODA) for financial year (FY) 2018-19 will be A$4.2 billion (US$3.1 billion).  This is similar to the FY2017-18 budget level, with a temporary  increase to cover ODA-eligible contributions  to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Assistance to the Pacific is set to increase to A$1.3 billion (US$967 million). This includes two-thirds of the cost of building a high-speed fibre-optic cable between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, with a connection to Australia. Funding for key sectors, including agriculture, health, and education, remains close to FY2017-18 levels, as do contributions to multilateral health and education funds.

News site  – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

European Medicines Agency seeks civil society representatives for Management Board and Pharmacovigilance Committee

The European Commission seeks expressions of interest for civil society representatives to join the Management Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as the Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC). Applications for either role are due June 8, 2018. The Management Board allows for two members representing patients’ organizations, one member representing doctors’ organizations, and one member representing veterinarians’ organizations. The PRAC will have one member representing patients’ organizations and one member representing health professionals’ organizations. 

Press release – EMA