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)

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)

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)

Norway reaffirms support to Brazilian rainforest protection after milestone results

Support from Norway has been credited with reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by 12% in 2017, more than in any other year in Brazil’s decade-long rainforest protection strategy. Norway’s Minister of Climate and the Environment, Ola Elvestuen, welcomed the news and encouraged increased cooperation with Brazil and other countries in rainforest protection. It is likely Norwegian funds for rainforest protection will increase in 2018.

News article- Bistands Aktuelt (in Norwegian)  

Norway Agriculture

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) 

Dutch NGOs concerned about strength of business interests in new Dutch development cooperation policy

Partos, the Dutch umbrella organization for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has published a reaction to the country's new development policy, released by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.

While generally positive, Partos raises concerns that the interests of the Dutch business community seem to trump the interests of civil society. While the policy document recognizes the shrinking space of civil society organizations (CSOs), it fails to articulate in detail the importance of CSOs to development in the coming years. Partos is also critical that the goal of achieving 0.7% official development assistance (ODA) to gross national income (GNI) target is relegated to 2030, the year by which all sustainable development goals (SDGs) must be achieved. 

News article - Partos (in Dutch)

Policy document - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch) 

The Netherlands releases new development policy

The Netherlands has released its new development policy, titled ‘Investing in Perspective: Good for the World, Good for The Netherlands’. The policy was spearheaded by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Sigrid Kaag, and approved by the Cabinet and the Parliament. 

The policy stresses that development cooperation, as an integral part of foreign policy, is aimed at combating root causes of poverty, migration, terrorism and climate change. According to the strategy, sectors to receive additional funding include education, climate change, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), with new contributions to the Global Financing Facility (GFF). 

With the new policy, the government is working on four closely linked main objectives: 1) preventing conflict and instability, 2) reducing poverty and social inequality, 3) promoting sustainable inclusive growth and climate action worldwide, and 4) strengthening the international earning capacity of the Netherlands.

Policy document - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch) 

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

French NGOs sign open letter calling to protect rights of smallholder farmers

The Confédération Paysanne (Confederation of small holder farmers), the French Committee for International Solidarity (CFSI), and FIAN-France (FoodFirst Information and Action Networkhave sent French President Emmanuel Macron an open letter in favor of the recognition of the rights of peasants and those working in rural areas.

It was signed by 59 personalities and 68 civil society organizations, trade unions and NGOs, and encourages Macron to be engaged with, and to support, the working group of the United Nations Human Rights Council in their current drafting of an ambitious declaration on the rights of rural workers.

Press release - SOL (in French)

France Agriculture

AdFarm and Foodgrains Bank urge Canadian farmers to get involved with fight against global hunger

Canadian Foodgrains Bank and AdFarm have joined forces to encourage Canadian farmers and agribusinesses to take part in the movement to end global hunger via the Farmers Helping Farmers campaign.  The effort aims to help end world hunger by empowering Canadian farmers and the agriculture sector to respond to food emergencies caused by crises such as drought, hurricanes, and conflict, as well as longer-term hunger.

Press release - Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Canada Agriculture Nutrition