Dutch development budget for 2019 increases spending on youth and humanitarian assistance

At the start of the new parliamentary year, Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra presented the Netherlands' 2019 national budget. The budget largely follows priorities already presented in the Netherland's latest development strategy, such as diplomacy, defense, and development cooperation. Additional details on official development assistance (ODA) spending include:

  • A €600-million boost on education, jobs for young people, and better opportunities for women.
  • A €165-million increase for humanitarian assistance in 2019, bringing total funding up to €370 million
  • The launch a new initiative for psychosocial care

News article - Government of the Netherlands

Netherlands Education

Japan announces next round of initiative to provide education for Syrian refugees

The Embassy of Japan in Lebanon has announced that the application for the Japanese Initiative for the future of Syrian Refugees (JISR) program for the year 2019 has started. The JISR program was established by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide Master's degree level educational opportunities in Japanese universities to young Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, with the hope that they would contribute to the reconstruction of Syria and peacebuilding, if and when it becomes possible in the future.

Press release- Embassy of Japan in Lebanon

Japan Education

Dutch development minister exchanges Tweets with Rihanna about support for education

Music superstar Rihanna, who is an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), sent a Tweet to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and development minister Sigrid Kaag, ahead of the Global Citizen festival, an annual music festival aimed at raising money for global development issues. The singer asked Rutte and Kaag if they will indeed commit the €100 million that civil society organizations are asking of the GPE.

Kaag responded positively, tweeting back: "Hi @Rihanna- this is music to our ears. The Netherlands is firmly back in education! All will be revealed in NY next month. Hope to see you there!"

The Global Citizen festival will be held on September 29, 2018 in New York City.

News article - AD (in Dutch)

Netherlands Education

UNSG elects Swedish national as new UNICEF Assistant Secretary General

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) has appointed Charlotte Petri Gornitzka as Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. Petri Gornitzka will lead the organization's strategic work on external communications, resource mobilization, and partnership. Gornitzka currently heads the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a position she has held since 2016. She previously served as Director General of the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida.

Petri Gornitzka is the fourth female Swedish public servant or politician in recent years to take high level positions within the UN. 

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish) 

JICA grants scholarships for Filipino government workers to study in Japan

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has granted the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development (JDS) scholarship to 21 young government workers from the Philippines. The grant aims to develop human resources in the country by enrolling recipients in post-graduate courses at Japanese universities. Beneficiaries will conduct research relating to the functions of their respective government offices.  

Press release - JICA

Japan Education

President Emmanuel Macron sets his vision for France's foreign policy

Speaking at the Ambassadors' Conference in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron conveyed his vision and goals for France's foreign policy in the upcoming years. Macron wishes for France to be a defender of multilateralism and the global commons, citing as priorities:

  1. Climate action, with a focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and new financial engagements;
  2. Education and culture, particularly the education of young girls and citing consequences for the demographic transition in Africa;
  3. Health, mentioning that France will host the upcoming Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) on October 10th, 2019, in Lyon;
  4. Digital space and innovation; and
  5. Trade, pushing for reforms in the international system that will address current inequalities.

Macron also announced an upcoming reform of the country's international development policy. Further, as way of supporting his commitment to raise official development assistance (ODA) to 0.55% of gross national income (GNI) by 2022, the 2019 budget will already include €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) in additional "authorizations for commitments."

Speech - Elysée (in French)

France Education Global health

Japan to extend up to ¥880 million grant to improve vocational training centers in Mozambique

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Republic of Mozambique have signed an agreement whereby Japan will provide up to ¥880 million (US$7 million) to the Project for the Improvement of Vocational Training Centers.   

The project aims to foster local human industrial resources by providing equipment, and renovating the facilities at three vocational training centers located in the north, center, and south of Mozambique. This will enable staff to conduct courses in construction, welding, automobile maintenance, and agricultural product processing. 

Press release - JICA 

Japan Education

Lowy Institute launches map of development assistance in the Pacific

The Lowy Institute has launched a major database of development activities in the Pacific. Co-funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the map provides information for the interactive analysis of over 12,500 activities by 62 donors since 2011 . The data demonstrates the major role of Australia as the largest provider of development assistance to the region, as well as the recent rise of China to become the second largest donor in the region in 2017.

Website - The Lowy Institute

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)

Save the Children evaluates Norway’s development assistance efforts

For the fifth time, Save the Children Norway has assessed the government's policies for children both in Norway and internationally over the last year. The organization assigned the government the best possible grade (a 'green card') for its efforts on health, education, and taxation. However, they gave a 'yellow card' (defined as 'good, but far from good enough') to the government's climate change policy. According to Save the Children Norway, the policy should be doing more to protect the world's poor, particularly children in vulnerable countries.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Norway Education