Norway quadruples grant to World Bank for tax and customs reform in vulnerable states

Norway will increase its contribution to the World Bank’s Global Tax Program (GTP) with NOK88 million (US$10 million) to promote taxation and customs reform in vulnerable states. Having previously granted NOK21.5 million (US$2 million), the move represents an increase of more than 400%. The World Bank intends to use the funds to facilitate customs reform in Niger, Afghanistan, and Somalia. The decision also reflects the Norwegian government’s greater effort to prioritize taxation-centered efforts in its development work. Norway plans to contribute a total of NOK300 million (US$ 34 million) in tax-related development assistance in 2019. 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Agriculture Education Global health Global health R&D Nutrition

European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen announces new team and Commission structure

On September 10, 2019, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the new structure of her college of commissioners and the distribution of portfolios to her commissioners-designate, still to be vetted by the European Parliament. The college has been revamped to focus more on policy themes rather than mirroring the directorate-generals, the administrative divisions within the Commission. 
Josep Borrell (Spain), the designate for high-representative of the union for foreign policy and security policy will also be in charge of ‘a stronger Europe in the world’ as one of the eight vice-presidents. Three executive vice-presidents will hold dual roles as commissioners in addition to their responsibilities to the core topics of the president-elect’s agenda, including the European Green Deal, making ‘Europe fit for the digital age’, and creating an ‘economy that works for the people’. 
Other commissioners-designate include: 

  • Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria) - Innovation and youth (including research and development)
  • Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus) - Health
  • Jutta Urpilainen (Finland) - International partnerships (including development cooperation)
  • László Trócsányi (Hungary) - Neighborhood and enlargement
  • Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland) - Agriculture

Commissioners-designate will next participate in hearings in relevant parliamentary committees. The European Parliament must then give its consent to the entire college, including the president and the High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Finally, the European Council (made up of heads of government of EU member states) will formally appoint the European Commission. The new Commission’s mandate will begin November 1, 2019. 
Press release - European Commission

UK international development minister confirms commitment to human development

The UK secretary for state for international development, Alok Sharma, has confirmed the UK’s continued commitment to supporting human development through its development assistance. In a letter to the chair of the UK Parliament's International Development Select Committee, Stephen Twigg MP, Sharma highlighted the UK's global leadership in three key areas:

  1. Health: the UK has been a long-standing champion of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 3 related to health and has been leading on the United Nation’s forthcoming  High-Level Meeting on ensuring Universal Health Care to be held on September 23, 2019;
  2. Nutrition: the UK has exceeded its own 2015 commitment to improve the nutrition of 50 million people by 2020; and, 
  3. Social Protection: the UK has a strong portfolio of programs supporting social protection

Sharma also noted the UK prime minister Boris Johnson's commitment to education, particularly for girls, as another priority area for UK development assistance.

UK government - letter from UK Secretary for State for Development

Education Global health Nutrition

Norway's key priorities at the United Nations General Assembly: UN Security Council, international cooperation, sustainable development

The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs has announced Norway’s key priorities for the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA). In addition to securing a Norwegian spot on the UN Security Council for 2021-2022, Norway’s priorities contain a common thread of revamping international cooperation and scaling up efforts to promote sustainable development. 

Norway is concerned that multilateral organizations are being less frequently utilized to solve common challenges. Three of Norway’s six priorities, therefore, center around the promotion of international cooperation and the multilateral system, the strengthening of the UN’s ability to prevent and solve conflicts, and the increase of the UN's ability to deal with humanitarian crises. Norway sees these priorities as paramount for achieving peaceful sustainable development.  Norway also emphasizes achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a priority of its own and will place additional weight on efforts related to climate, ocean preservation, education, gender equality, healthcare, and national resource mobilization.  

Press release - Government of Norway (in Norwegian) 

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UK's DFID gets 1.5% budget boost for 2020

The UK Department for International Development's (DFID) budget has been increased by 1.5% in real terms for the year 2020- 2021. The increase was part of an additional £13.8 billion (US$17.7 billion) provided by the treasury for public services, as part of the government’s one-year spending review. The UK’s national health service, police, and schools received the greatest funding increases, but for the first time since 2002, no government department received a budget cut.

The Chancellor has retained the UK’s commitment to allocating 0.7% of its gross national income as official development assistance and announced an increase in DFID’s resource departmental expenditure limits from £9.3 billion (US$12.1 billion) to £9.6 billion (US$12.3 billion). This includes an 8% increase in its administration budget.

The review, which highlighted the need for UK development assistance to be spent on the national interest and better deliver value for money, outlined the UK’s priorities for development assistance, including supporting healthcare and health security, water and sanitation, girls’ education, humanitarian assistance, research, tackling climate change, and promoting economic prosperity in developing countries.

Press release - UK government HM treasury

Policy paper: Spending Round 2019 - UK government HM treasury


Japan provides ¥200 million (US$2 million) for food security in Cameroon

The Japanese government has announced ¥200 million ($US2 million) in grant assistance to improve food security in Cameroon. About 1.5 million Cameroonian people suffer from the food crisis caused by crop declines. Productivity fell by 32.4% in 2015 and 25% in 2016 due to destabilization and natural disasters in the northern region. 

Press release – MOFA (in Japanese)

Japan Nutrition

Spain to disburse US$113 million in Bolivia for food security, rural development, and governance programs

According to the new 'Marco de Asociación País' (MAP), a partnership agreement framework between Spain and Bolivia, the Spanish development agency for international development cooperation (AECID) plans to provide up to €100 million (US$113 million) to Bolivia. 

Most of the AECID’s funding will be disbursed in collaboration with the Bolivian government, to be used for rural development, food security and nutrition projects, and democratic governance cooperation programs.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

Spain Nutrition

UK provides additional funds for emergency food supplies in South Sudan

The UK minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson, made his first visit in the post to South Sudan and announced an extra £18 million (US$23 million) of UK development assistance to help families gain access to food and water. Food insecurity in South Sudan is at its highest in 8 years; nearly 2 million live on the brink of famine.

The £18 million (US$23 million) is allocated from DFID’s central crisis reserve and is new money that would not have previously been spent in South Sudan. DFID’s total UK aid humanitarian support to South Sudan for 2019-2020 is projected to be up to £91 million (US$117 million).

Press release - UK government 

United Kingdom Nutrition

EU commits €9 million in humanitarian funding for food crisis in Haiti

The EU has committed €9 million (USD$10 million) in humanitarian funding to help address the growing food shortage and nutrition crisis in Haiti. The funding will cover basic food and nutritional needs of 130,000 people living in areas worst affected by the crisis along with providing nutritional support to over 5,000 children under 5 years of age, suffering from acute malnutrition. This funding is in addition to the €12 million (USD $13 million) that the EU allocated in 2018 to address the food crisis in Haiti. 
Food shortages have created a worsening humanitarian situation in Haiti in recent months. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of people facing food emergencies has doubled to around a quarter of the population.
Press release - European Commission 

EU Nutrition

UK announces £49 million (US$63 million) in humanitarian funding to Zimbabwe

The new UK secretary of state for international development, Alok Sharma, has announced £49 million (US$63 million) in funding for a new humanitarian and resilience program to support thousands of Zimbabweans on the brink of starvation. The funding, of which £26 million (US$ 33 million) is reallocated from other budgets of the Department for International Development (DFID), will predominately go the World Food Program for disbursement.

Total UK development assistance from the DFID to Zimbabwe for 2019-2020, will be £114 million (US$146 million).

Press release - UK government

United Kingdom Nutrition