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Germany increases contributions to Legacy Landscape Fund by US$108 million

In the lead-up to the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2022, development minister Svenja Schulze announced that Germany will commit an additional €100 million (US$108 million) to the Legacy Landscape Fund

The Legacy Landscape Fund was founded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with international partners and foundations such as the French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) one year ago on May 22, 2021. The Legacy Landscape Fund is a financing instrument aimed at nature conservation and the protection of biodiversity in legacy landscapes across low- and middle- income countries.

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Australian opposition party promises additional US$345 million in ODA in lead-up to federal elections

Penny Wong, the Australian Labor Party's Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced planned ODA commitments if the Labor party wins in the upcoming federal elections on May 21, 2022. 

Wong committed to increasing Australia's focus on Southeast Asia including through an additional A$470 million (US$345 million) in ODA over 4 years. She also said Australia would appoint a special ambassador to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Wong did not indicate a sectoral focus or specific objectives for the additional ODA but said Labor would establish an Office of Southeast Asia within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This office would be similar to the existing Office of the Pacific within DFAT.

The Australian Labor Party already committed to spending an additional A$525 million (US$388 million) in development assistance over 4 years in the Pacific; the additional commitment announced by Wong was welcomed by the civil society sector.

Previously, Wong also indicated that Australia would adopt a First Nations foreign policy.

 The Greens, a smaller opposition party, have indicated they would aim to increase Australian development assistance to 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030 – effectively tripling Australia’s ODA expenditure in 8 years. The Greens would focus development policy on global justice and human rights, not on national security. They provided little indication of the sectoral or geographic focus of the proposed increase in ODA.

While the Greens will not be able to form Australia's next government due to its small size, its status as a minority party could be influential if neither of the two main parties win an outright majority in the Australian House of Representatives; the two major parties could look for coalition partners like the Greens. 

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

News article - Sky News

News article - Mirage News

Report - Development Policy Centre

Netherlands could play key role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution if it bridges sectors, according to parliamentary representative

Jan Klink, People's Party for Freedom (VVD) Dutch parliament member, criticized the Netherlands' vaccine donation process in a recent interview; he included the Netherlands' delayed start of COVID-19 vaccine dose donations in a list of critiques.

According to Klink, the Netherlands should involve Dutch entrepreneurs in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, recommending the mobilization of tulip farmers as an example. One of the leading voices in parliament on global health issues and private sector, he proposed bridging different sectors so that the Netherlands can contribute to the worldwide distribution of vaccines.

Klink, who is a former dairy farmer himself, stated that the Netherlands should focus its development cooperation policy on what it is good at - sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), women’s rights, water, and agriculture.

News article - Vice Versa (in Dutch)

EIB opens new office for West Bank and Gaza, announces new public health cooperation with WHO in Palestine

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has opened a new office based in Jerusalem to cover the West Bank and Gaza; it also announced new cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) on public health in Palestine.

The new EIB office, which will be based on the EU representation to the West Bank and Gaza in Jerusalem, will facilitate €215 million (US$232 million) in dedicated EIB financing for business investment and technical support for Palestinian partners.

The EIB will also be supporting the WHO to assist the Palestinian Ministry of Health to assess and strengthen primary healthcare and oncology services, as well as increase investment in health in Palestine.

Press release - EIB

Press release - EIB

Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation open for applications to address demographic shift

The Asian Health and Wellbeing Initiative (AHWIN) extended the application deadline for the 2022 Health Aging Prize for Asian Innovation to May 31, 2022. 

East and Southeast Asian nations are experiencing rapid population aging and are in need of innovative solutions to address a wide range of challenges. The Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation was first awarded in 2020 and aims to recognize and amplify initiatives specifically focused on aging. Innovations must fall within one of three categories: technology and innovation, community-based initiatives, or supporting self-reliance.

Press release – Asian Health and Wellbeing Initiative 

Canada increases focus on stabilization, peace-building with US$36 million for projects in Middle East, Africa, Central Asia

On May 11, 2022, Global Affairs Canada announced CA$47 million (US$36 million) in funding for 15 projects in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. These projects, funded through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program and the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, are aligned with Canada’s and the Global Coalition’s ongoing efforts to bolster peace and security in multiple regions.   

The projects receiving this funding focus on countering extremism, supporting women’s movements, clearing explosive hazards, strengthening judicial systems, strengthening independent and accountable media, and supporting social cohesion. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Advocates criticize Norway for development budget reprioritization in response to Ukraine crisis

The Norwegian government is proposing a record-high development assistance budget of NOK44.9 billion (US$4.5 billion). On May 12, 2022, the government published the revised state budget, indicating the intent to increase the development assistance budget by NOK3.6 billion (US$366 million), to NOK44.9 billion (US$4.5 billion) total, corresponding to a 1.09% ODA/GNI ratio for 2022.
 
The government will increase funding to Ukraine and its neighboring countries by NOK1.75 billion (US$178 million), meaning that Norway will contribute at least NOK2 billion (US$203 million) in response to the Russian invasion. In addition, the government allocated 50% of the increase - NOK 1.8 billion (US$183 million) - to in-country refugee costs in Norway, which has been met with heavy criticism. 

The government also proposed the reprioritization of NOK4 billion (US$407 million) within the development assistance budget to finance increased refugee expenditure in Norway. This move aligns with OECD regulations, but advocates are increasingly concerned. The funding will draw from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to cut NOK3.6 billion (US$366 million) and the Ministry of Climate and Environment, NOK300 million (US$30 million).

According to the revised budget, the follwing thematic areas and organizations will be affected by the reprioritization:

  • Afghanistan: NOK60 million (US$6 million);
  • Gender equality: NOK65 million (US$7 million);
  • UN Organization for Rights and Equality (UN Women): NOK75 million (US$8 million);
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): NOK99 million (US$10 million);
  • World Health Organization: NOK118 million (US$12 million);
  • Human rights: NOK136 million (US$13 million);
  • Stabilization of countries in crisis and war: NOK140 million (US$14 million);
  • Civil society: NOK208 million (US$21 million);
  • Africa, regional allocation: NOK250 million (US$25 million);
  • The Knowledge Bank: NOK250 million (US$25 million);
  • United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef): NOK358 million (US$36 million);
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP): NOK440 million (US$44 million);
  • Health: NOK470 million (US$47 million); and
  • Education: NOK553 million (US$56 million).

The only increased allocation in the development assistance as part of the reprioritization is funding towards food security, fish, and agriculture. The funding will be increased by NOK200 million (US$20 million) as a response to the impending global food crisis, which will be exacerbated by the Russian invasion.
 
Several Norwegian CSOs and international development advocates decried the revised budget. Henriette K. Westhrin, Secretary-General of Norwegian People's Aid indicated that it is incomprehensible that the government would consider cutting funding to the world`s poorest, especially since Norway is profiting immensly from the invasion. Secretary-General of Norwegian Church Aid, Dagfinn Høybråten, said that the cut could have major consequences for vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries and could have a major domino effect on other donor countries' ODA. Secretary-General of Save the Children Birgitte Lange was similarly unimpressed with the development assistance budget cuts, highlighting that in the revised budget, for each seven dollars in development assistance, one will go to Norway rather than partner countries.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

South Korea’s leading bio-tech companies join forces to establish 'Vaccine Innovation Council'

South Korea’s vaccine companies have decided to launch a “Vaccine Innovation Council” to establish vaccine sovereignty, enhance international competitiveness, and cooperate with the aim of strengthening research and development (R&D) capabilities in the vaccine industry.

South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Vaccine Innovative Technology Alliance Korea hosted the launch ceremony for the Vaccine Innovation Council; 14 major Korean vaccine companies participated. The Council plans to conduct research on vaccine development, strengthen R&D capabilities, and cooperate with the government to produce countermeasures in the event of a national health crisis caused by infectious disease. The Council intends to help South Korea respond to future infectious diseases based on strengthened vaccine development capabilities.  

News article – Korea (in Korean)

UN WFP warns US Congress of impending global food crisis

Both the head of the UN World Food Programme, Executive Director David Beasley, and the head of the African Union, Akinwumi Adesina, warned US Senators about the severity of the global food crisis, a situation which will be exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, Beasley pleaded for the United States Agency for International Development to move money quickly to respond to the severe increases in the cost of food.  Adesina also addressed the cost issues, pointing specifically to the 300% increase in fertilizer prices, which will cost African farmers at least US$11 billion in food production value.

The current US$40 billion supplemental bill before the US Senate -- which is earmarked primarily to assist Ukraine and has already passed the US House of Representatives -- contained US$5 billion for global food security.  US Senator Graham stated that, while helpful, the amount is insufficient to meet global needs.  He committed to reaching out to other international donors to help fill the financing gap.  He also proposed a global fund for food security with the aim of increasing private flows.

News report - Devex 

EIB and European Commission sign new agrreement to guarantee US$28.8 billion for Global Gateway investments

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission signed a new guarantee agreement to support €26.7 billion (US$28.8 billion) in EIB lending for Global Gateway investments over the next seven years.

The guarantee will support investments in the green and digital transitions, health, and education in EU partner countries as a part of the EU’s Global Gateway initiative. More than two-thirds of the guarantee cover will be targeted at investments in enlargement and neighborhood countries, including financing for Ukraine's post-war reconstruction. The rest will be targeted toward partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The guarantee agreement is housed within the framework of the new European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus ("EFSD+"), a part of the EU’s development instrument for 2021-2027, the Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI – Global Europe). 

The EFSD+ will provide guarantee cover of €40 billion (US$43.2 billion) total, including the €26.7 billion (US$28.8 billion) reserved for the EIB. The rest of the €13 billion (US$14 billion) in guarantee cover will be available to eligible international financial institutions (including the EIB) under the EFSD+ open architecture.

Press release - European Commission

Press release - EIB

EU-Africa global health clinical trials partnership launches with US$1.7 billion for next ten years

At an event in Paris, the European Commission launched the Global Health European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership Joint Undertaking (GH EDCTP3 JU) with a €1.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) budget for the next ten years to fund clinical research on infectious diseases impacting countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The GH EDCTP3 JU is a partnership under the EU’s Horizon Europe research program. It is the largest Africa-Europe partnership on research and development (R&D) to date. It will focus on poverty-related diseases such as  HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and neglected tropical diseases (PRNDs).

Its predecessor, EDCTP2, was a partnership only between participating EU member states and sub-Saharan African governments, whereas EDCTP3 is also open to participation from industry and philanthropies. Its overall budget includes contributions from the European Commission as well as participating countries and private sector entities.

Blog post - DSW

Website - European Commission

Canada announces US$181 million to support people affected by conflict in Syria

Canada participated in the sixth conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region on May 9 and 10, 2022, with the intention of addressing the critical needs of millions of people across the region amid the ongoing Syrian conflict. Canada announced that it would commit CA$229 million (US$181 million) in funding for humanitarian and development assistance to Syria and the region this year.

CA$60 million (US$48 million) of the funding will specifically support development assistance in Syrian, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. The funding will focus on supporting accountable governance, empowering women and girls, advancing gender equality, improving the quality and sustainability of gender-responsive services including health and education, fostering economic growth, and addressing climate change.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Australia’s opposition Labor Party will co-bid on COP29 with Pacific Island neighbors in 2024

Opposition spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, announced that the Australian Labor Party party intends to proceed jointly with its neighboring Pacific Island countries to co-host the 2024 Conference of the Parties (COP29). The proposal depends on Pacific nations' support.

The proposal also depends on whether the Australian Labor Party wins in Australia's national elections, which will be held on May 21, 2022.

The last COP was held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2021. COP27 will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2022, Egypt and COP28 will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2023. Australia has not hosted a United Nations Climate Change Conference before, and the move would be seen as a significant shift in Australia’s position on climate change.  

Australia has previously been criticized for its reluctance to provide leadership on climate change.

The Labor opposition has set stronger targets than the current government for domestic emissions reductions by 2030. Both parties support a national net-zero target for 2050.

Report – Pursuit

Dutch Cabinet prioritizes primary health care, SRHR over ACT-A contributions

In a letter to Parliament, the Dutch cabinet addressed the Committee on Foreign Affairs, covering the Netherlands' forthcoming Global Health Strategy and Dutch ACT-A contributions in 2022.

The letter came in response to Committee questions to the cabinet. The Labour Party emphasized the importance of contributing the Netherlands' assigned fair share to the WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), of which the Netherlands has contributed only 20% so far.

The cabinet noted in its letter, however, that for every COVID-19 death, there are two deaths from interrupted care in childbirth or pregnancy. Therefore, the Netherlands will continue to focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and primary health care, being the seventh-largest donor in the field, making it impossible to fully meet the financial requirements of the ACT-A. The spring budget will be published on June 1, 2022, containing any applicable revisions and additions to the original development budget presented in September of 2021. 

Press Release - Dutch Parliament (in Dutch)

Coalition Plus calls on governments to increase Global Fund contributions

In an op-ed published on Komitid, Coalition Plus, an international network of AIDS NGOs called governments to increase their financial contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by at least 30%. 

President of Coalition Plus Hakima Himmich highlighted that the Global Fund's financial target for its next replenishment constitutes a 30% increase compared to its last cycle. However, mobilizing US$18 billion for the 2024-2026 period will only cover 14% of the resources needed to fill the gap in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Himmich also thanked the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal for their personal commitment to a successful replenishment; she additionally called on them to maintain their leadership in the space and advocate to their counterparts for the mobilization of domestic resources that should represent 45% of the needs to tackle the AIDS pandemic during the same period. 

While recognizing the added value of the Global Fund, Himmich also called on the organization to better include vulnerable communities in the definition, coordination, and execution of their funded projects. 

Op-ed: Komitid (in French)

Norway disbursed US$4.2 billion in development assistance in 2021

Statistics, released on May 10, 2022, by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), demonstrate that Norway gave NOK40.1 billion (US$4.2 billion) in development assistance in 2021 - the highest amount in absolute terms in Norway's history. In addition, the number represents a NOK600 million (US$6.2 million) increase from 2020.

Norad manages 50% of Norwegian development assistance, which is equivalent to NOK20 billion (US$2.1 billion). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages 32% of the total funding, while the rest of the funding is managed by other ministries such as the Ministry of Climate and the Environment and Norwegian embassies in partner countries. 

In total, Norway gave NOK7.9 billion (US$822 million) in health-related funding in 2021. This number also includes core support for multilateral organizations. In 2021, NOK2.9 billion (US$301 million) was earmarked to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its respective consequences in low-income countries. Norway contributed 6.6 million COVD-19 vaccines, valued at NOK 380 million (US$39 million), according to the OECD.

The World Food Program (WFP), GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria received the largest increases in funding in 2021 for individual organizations.

NOK6.4 billion (US$666 million) of the development assistance in 2021 was targeted at climate-related funding in low-income countries. According to Norad, 16% of Norwegian funding was directed toward climate. 

Syria is still the single country receiving the most funding from Norway as a result of the ongoing humanitarian crisis due to the more than 10-year civil war. In 2021, Norway gave NOK895 million (US$93 million) in humanitarian assistance to Syria. In the 10-year period between 2012-2021, Syria received NOK7.4 billion (US$770 million) in funding. In 2021, Norwegian funding for humanitarian assistance equated to NOK6.6 billion (US$687 million). 

Multilateral organizations received 58% of all Norwegian funding in 2021. NOK12.6 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) went to the UN system, while NOK3.2 billion (US$333 million) went to the World Bank Group. CSOs received 23% of Norwegian development assistance. Among CSOs, Norwegian Refugee Council received the largest amount of funding, followed by the Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People's Aid, and Save the Children Norway. 

Norad – Press release (in Norwegian)

Bistandsaktuelt – News article (in Norwegian) 

Japan provides US$10 million grant to respond to food crisis in Yemen

The Japanese government will provide the World Food Program (WFP) with US$10 million to help respond to the food crisis in Yemen.

Yemen has endured conflict for more than seven years and is facing major food shortages. These shortages have been further exasperated by rising food prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Over the years, Japan has actively assisted Yemen and is committed to helping realize peace and stability in the country.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan 

NGOs call on UK to address rising global hunger

A group of 15 international development organizations, including Christian Aid, Save the Children, and the British Red Cross wrote an open letter to the UK government, in which they demanded that the government step up its funding to tackle rising global hunger.

The agencies warned that the conflict in Ukraine has resulted in increasing prices and broken supply chains for grains, cooking oil, fertilizer, and fuel and that this is making pre-existing hunger crises for many countries far worse. The World Bank calculated that there could be a 37% jump in food prices because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The agencies called for the UK government to provide new funding and action to prevent famines and ensure that food is affordable. They also called for a reversal of cuts to the UK’s ODA budget and a commitment to ensure funding for Ukraine is in addition to existing UK development commitments rather than coming at the expense of other programs.  

News article – Keep the Faith

New report highlights COVID-19 impact on existing epidemcis like HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB

Focus Equality, a member of the ACTION global health advocacy partnership, and the think tank Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) recently published the report, 'Global health and international cooperation addressing current and future pandemics'. 

The report assessed the state of the fight against COVID-19 one year after the G20 World Health Summit. In addition, the research analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on other existing epidemics such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. The document provided recommendations to the Italian Government given the replenishment of the Global Fund, which is scheduled to take place in September of 2022.

Report - Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)

Canada allocates US$27 million to support food security, human rights, civil society in Ukraine

On May 9, 2022, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Kyiv, Ukraine, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During the visit, he announced CA$35 million (US$27 million) in additional investments to support the redevelopment of Ukraine in response to the ongoing Russian invasion.

The Prime Minister announced the following support to Ukraine:

  • CA$25 million (US$19 million) through the World Food Programme to address food security in Ukraine;
  • CA$10 million (US$8 million) in funding to support human rights and civil society in Ukraine, including:
    • CA$2 million (US$2 million) to the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund;
    • CA$3 million (US$2 million) to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor and document human rights violations; and
    • Over CA$1 million (US$775 thousand) in digital emergency support for civil society in Ukraine.

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada