Trump Administration launches new women's economic empowerment initiative

After US President Trump previewed a new women's empowerment initiative during his State of the Union speech, the administration officially unveiled the 'Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative' (W-GDP). The fund, which was championed by Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the president and a senior White House adviser, is an effort to assist 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will initially put up US$50 million for the fund, which is intended to then mobilize private money.  The announcement was met with mixed reviews, including questions about the size of the initial investment and the fact that the Trump Administration has tried to cut USAID's budget over the last two fiscal years.  After these criticisms, the White House revised the figure up to US$300 million, although gave no specifics as to where those funds would come from. 

News article - The Washington Post 

Fact sheet - The White House

United States

Canada announces new funds in support of LGBTQ2 in developing countries

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that CAD30 million (US$23 million) in funding over the next five years dedicated to advance human rights and improve socio-economic outcomes for LGBTQ2 people living in developing countries. These funds will support Canadian LGBTQ2 organizations in their efforts to collaborate with partner organizations in developing countries. Moreover, a platform will be created for collaboration and exchange between these organizations.

News release - Global Affairs Canada


Canadian development organizations release knowledge brief on gender and statistics

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Systems have launched a knowledge brief series that aims to address gender biases and barriers, share case studies and research findings, and recommend policy priorities. IDRC has partnered with Open Data Watch to publish 12 papers in three quarterly installments throughout 2019. The first released knowledge brief is entitled, “Why CRVS Systems Matter for Women and Girls” and contains four papers.

News release - International Development Research Centre


Japan provides technical cooperation to Nepal for agricultural production

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a record of discussions with Nepal on technical cooperation to support building an irrigated agriculture model for the Terai plains, a food-producing region of Nepal, and extending the model. The support will include capacity-building in the areas of irrigation and water management, propose a market-oriented agricultural model, and formulate guidelines.

Press release - JICA

Japan Agriculture

Italy and IFAD sign a new partnership agreement

Italy's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, and the Director General of the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD, Gilbert Houngbo, have signed a new framework partnership agreement with input from the Italian Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Environment, the Italian development agency, and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, an investment banking group.

Since 2010, Italy has given more than 85 million to IFAD. Italy’s cooperation with the fund mainly concerns: supporting farmers and vulnerable groups; developing production chains, including boosting financial services in rural areas; and food and nutritional security, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

Website - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (in Italian)

Italy Agriculture

France releases new press kit on G7 priorities and agenda

France has released its priorities and important dates of its G7 2019 presidency in a new press kit. The 2019 G7 will focus on inequality, in particular sustainable development, women's empowerment, global health, climate change, peace, and Africa. The press kit also details France's vision for a renewed partnership with Africa, which will consist of a partnership on jobs creation and economic growth, as well as an initiative with G5 countries to increase support to the 'Sahel Alliance' on education and health.

A range of key ministerial meetings—focused on gender equality, and health, social, foreign and economic policy—take place before the official summit in Biarritz from August 24-26, with further details available in the press kit.

Press kit - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French)


US President Trump nominates critic of the World Bank to be its next president

US President Trump has nominated David Malpass, currently an undersecretary for international affairs at the US Treasury Department, to be the next president of the World Bank. Malpass is a frequent critic of multilateralism. In his work at Treasury, he has tried to trim World Bank lending, arguing that more private capital is available and that the Bank needs to limit its lending to truly needy countries. There are also concerns that Malpass will specifically target China by curbing the Bank's lending to it.

By tradition, the US nominates the World Bank president. Jim Kim, who was the previous president, unexpectedly stepped down earlier this year despite having three years left in his term.  The election for president is expected in April 2019. 

News article - Foreign Policy 

News article - Devex

United States

OECD report on sector financing for SDGs pushes for holistic measurement of development financing

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report examining how the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda has impacted sector policies and sector financing for development. It takes a look at financing beyond official development assistance (ODA) to include other official flows (OOF), philanthropy, and private funds. 

The report finds that with a 35%-real increase in development finance between 2012 and 2016, a comprehensive approach to measuring total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) is much needed and will further support achieving the SDGs. 

Report - OECD


UK Conservative Party divided on future of UK development assistance

The UK Conservative Party is divided on the future of UK development assistance. While some factions support a radical rethink, including the dismantling of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), others fear this will harm the UK’s global reputation as an international donor. Former Secretary of State for International Development under a Conservative government, Andrew Mitchell, along with Stephen Twigg, an MP for the Labour Party and Chair of the UK’s International Development Select Committee, have written an article in the UK Times newspaper arguing that merging DFID with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) would harm the UK’s high-quality foreign assistance and should be resisted. 

Op-ed - The Times

United Kingdom

In blow to UK NGOs, EU closes loophole that enabled it to fund non-EU humanitarian NGOs

The EU, on the basis of an in-depth legal review, has decided stop funding humanitarian NGOs outside of the EU. The EU’s Convention 124 of the Council of Europe appeared to allow the EU to fund non-EU NGOs, but a recent legal review found the basis for funding non-EU NGOs was insufficient. The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has already written to 10 Swiss NGOs in December 2018 informing them that their humanitarian funding would be cut. The move applies to NGOs who have agreements with ECHO but does not affect funding through the commission’s development arm, DEVCO, which has different eligibility rules and procedures.

The decision will impact UK NGOs and is seen as in part motivated by the forthcoming UK exit from the European Union.

News article - Devex

EU United Kingdom