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Norway launches new strategy for global food security

On November 29, 2022, the Norwegian government presented its new strategy for food security: 'Gathering power against famine - a policy for increasing self-sufficiency.'

The plan prioritized strengthening Norwegian efforts on food security in low- and middle-income countries. More concretely, the plan supports local and regional, small-scale producers of food, local job creation in the value chains, and access to nutritious food. 

The strategy was organized into four priority areas: 

  • Improving productivity, including reduced production losses, for small-scale producers of food;
  • Developing robust local value chains and markets that strengthen the position of small-scale producers of food and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • Increasing and improving access to a healthy and safe variety of foods; and
  • Addressing the root causes of food insecurity and building partner countries' capacity to respond to natural and social barriers to food security.

Norway also set out intermediate objectives for achieving the higher-level goals: 

  • Identify and build relevant partnerships;
  • Support national plans and strategies for food security, sustainable development, and development of agriculture, fisheries and farming;
  • Work to ensure harmony between different thematic initiatives; 
  • Facilitate increased cooperation with civil society and the private sector; and
  • Conduct follow-up research and impact evaluation to ensure positive, concrete results.

The strategy will inform Norwegian efforts through the UN, development banks, and global funds, and will be used as a basis for bilateral commitments on food security in partner countries.

In particular, Norway prioritized cooperation with Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Tanzania. The countries were selected based on the magnitude of their food security challenges and existing Norwegian development infrastructure in these states.

Norway's new agenda on food security also set out key partners for future collaboration, including:

  • Civil society organizations that work directly with food producers;
  • Farmers' and fishermen's organizations that provide services to producers;
  • Private companies working with farmers provide inputs or refine products; and
  • Multilateral partners, including the UN, development banks, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Development Association (IDA), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Global Program for Agriculture and Food Security under the World Bank (GAFSP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The strategy also prioritized continued support for knowledge development, particularly at universities, research institutions in partner countries, and through the international consortium for agricultural research (CGIAR).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Press release (in Norwegian)

Strategy (2022) - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Bistandsaktuelt - News article (in Norwegian) 

Inaugural Canadian 'Indo-Pacific Strategy' includes US$714 million for development funding

On November 27, 2022 Canada launched its new 'Indo-Pacific Strategy,' which presents a comprehensive strategic program to deepen Canada’s engagement, support sustainable development, and strengthen economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region from 2022-2032.

The plan included an investment of almost CA$2.3 billion (US$1.7 million) from 2022-2026, roughly CA$960 million (US$714 million) of which was allocated to development funding. 

The strategy included five interconnected strategic objectives, the two most relevant to international development being "investing in and connecting people" and “building a sustainable and green future.” Development funding in the strategy included:

  • CA$52 million (US$39 million) over five years for a Disaster Risk and Resilience Support project to support Indo-Pacific countries’ national climate adaptation strategies; and
  • CA$33 million (US$25 million) over five years for the Feminist International Assistance Canadian Civil Society Call for Proposals to support civil society organizations’ efforts to protect human rights, strengthen civil society, and advance gender equality projects in the region. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada
 

Assistance to Ukraine to face increased scrutiny in new Congress

On November 27, 2022, US House Republicans indicated that support for Ukraine will face increased scrutiny in the next Congress, due to start in January 2023.

Representative Michael McCaul, who will likely chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress, indicated that while the House will continue to support Ukraine, it will do so with accountability and transparency.  

Previous legislation had provided large supplemental appropriations to cover both military assistance as well as humanitarian, food aid, and general budget support to Ukraine. While support for assistance to Ukraine remains strong–particularly in the US Senate–opposition by far-right House members and a slim Republican majority in the next Congress mean that getting approval may be more difficult. 

News article - Axios

Donor countries pledge over US$150 million for 'Grain from Ukraine Initiative'

On November 26, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the 'Grain from Ukraine Initiative,' which seeks to facilitate the delivery of 125,000 tons of grain to nations facing food insecurity and famine.

Ukraine presented the program at the G20 meeting in November 2022. The initiative aims to send up to 60 shipments of grain to low-income countries in Africa and provide food for at least 5 million people by summer 2023. Zelensky officially launched the initiative on the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, a famine inflicted on Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The announcement was accompanied by pledges from donor countries, including:

  • Canada: CA$30 million (US$22 million) via the World Food Programme (WFP);
  • France: US$20 million via the WFP, including €6 million (US$6 million) for transporting grain to Yemen and Sudan, and €14 million (US$14 million) for transportation to Somalia;
  • The Netherlands: US$4 million via the WFP;
  • Sweden: SEK 100 million (US$10 million) via the WFP;
  • The US: US$20 million; and
  • The UK: US$6 million.

In total, the initiative raised more than US$150 million and received support from more than 20 countries. 

News article - Politico

Tweet - Mark Rutte

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

News article - Atlantico (in French)

Spain reaffirms commitment to reducing gender-based violence

On November 25, 2022, designated the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,’ Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation Pilar Cancela reaffirmed Spain's commitment to feminist development cooperation to reduce violence toward women and girls worldwide.

Cancela emphasized Spain's commitment to implementing effective measures to advance gender equality worldwide, deploying feminist development cooperation, and tackling gender-based violence.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC), Spain currently funds more than 20 development cooperation programs focused on eliminating gender-based violence. This focus is also reflected in the MAEC’s guidelines for a 'Feminist Foreign Policy,' which were released in 2021.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Netherlands launches 3rd 'Action Plan' for development policy

On November 25, 2022, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher submitted the third strategy for policy coherence for development cooperation.

The action plan outlined three priorities for Dutch cooperation with low- and middle-income countries for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: 1) reducing the Dutch climate, land, and water footprint, 2) addressing illicit money and tax avoidance, and 3) reducing vaccine and health inequality.

Since 2016, the Netherlands has developed action plans for development policy coherence to optimize Dutch policies on global development cooperation. The government has committed to annually evaluating these action plans and reporting on their progress.

The development of a third action plan was announced in the recent development strategy, 'Doing What The Netherlands is Good at'. The plan recognized that the Netherlands faces challenges in reducing its carbon footprint and addressing the effects of tax havens and illegal money flows, and presented new goals for addressing them.

The government's plans for reducing its environmental impact will be elaborated on in the upcoming 2023 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

While recognizing existing data limitations, the government also committed to informing the House of Representatives annually in a letter about interest, royalties, and dividends from low- and middle-income countries to the Netherlands, and from the Netherlands to low-tax jurisdictions.

In line with the new 'Dutch Global Health Strategy,' the action plan mentioned that the government will promote equal access to knowledge in the field of vaccine and drug production to reduce global health inequality. The government also committed to highlighting gender-specific results in the plan’s evaluation.

The new action plan will be evaluated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluation service (IOB) in early 2023. The plan’s goals, efforts, and indicators were submitted as an annex, and will be reported on during the third Wednesday in May of 2023, known as ‘Accountability Day’. 

Press release - Dutch government (in Dutch)

Action Plan annex - Dutch government (in Dutch)

South Korea announces 'Global Health Security Agenda' schedule

On November 24, 2022, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced the detailed schedule for the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

The meeting will be held from November 28-30 in Seoul and will focus on ways to strengthen its response to global health and security threats. On the last day, the new Seoul Declaration will be adopted to guide the future of the GHSA, which emphasizes the importance of global health as a multisectoral priority, advances 11 global health security plans to combat infectious disease outbreaks, and calls for world leaders to strengthen domestic health response capacities and international collaboration.

Government ministers, international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), and ambassadors to South Korea will attend the meeting. 

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Seoulpn (in Korean)

Norwegian delegation visits Kenya; highlights need for food security, climate cooperation

During the week of November 24, 2022, a Norwegian delegation led by Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Crown Prince Håkon, and Innovation Norway visited Kenya, together with a Swedish delegation led by Crown Princess Victoria. 

The trip aimed to understand how Norwegian and Swedish businesses can contribute to the fight against hunger, drought, and climate change in Kenya and the Horn of Africa. 

A joint Norwegian-Swedish business delegation consisting of over 250 companies accompanied the Crown prince and Crown Princess. During the trip, Tvinnereim emphasized the urgency of accelerating the green shift in the eastern part of Africa while ensuring access to food, energy, and jobs at the same time. 

In particular, the delegation focused on opportunities for cooperation with Kenya's government and businesses on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture technologies.

Press release – Minister of International Development (in Norwegian) 

USAID announces US$4.5 billion additional assistance to Ukraine

On November 22, 2022, the US announced it would provide an additional US$4.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under the broad umbrella of reducing the Ukrainian government's budget deficit, the funding will support the government's provision of basic goods and services, such as hospitals, schools, emergency response, and water and electrical infrastructure.

The package also includes measures, such as heating and housing subsidies, to support individuals impacted by the war, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, displaced, and/or receive low incomes. 

The additional funding brings the total of direct US assistance to the Ukrainian government to US$13 billion since the beginning of the war in February 2022.

Press release – USAID

Japan donates US$3 million for winterization in Ukraine

On November 22, 2022, Japan announced a donation of US$2.6 million to support the winterization of Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Ukraine has faced a series of recent attacks on its power grid, increasing concerns about energy stability moving into the winter. Japan’s donation of generators and solar lanterns will be made through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Japan provides US$4 million to Bangladesh for gender-based violence prevention, maternal health

On November 22, 2022, Japan signed an agreement with Bangladesh to provide a ¥522 million (US$4 million) grant in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The grant will support a project aimed at responding to gender-based violence and developing a plan for maternal and child health for displaced persons from Myanmar.

Bashanchar Island in southeastern Bangladesh has seen an increase in displaced people from Myanmar and rising maternal and infant mortality rates. Communities in Noakhali Province are facing similar issues. The funding will provide assistance to displaced people to prevent gender-based violence and promote maternal and child health care.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese)

Canada pledges US$98 million for francophone low-income countries

On November 20, 2022, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in the 18th Sommet de la Francophonie, where he announced new funding initiatives totaling approximately CA$132 million (US$98 million), for French-speaking low-income countries. 

To promote sustainable development and democracy in French-speaking low-income countries, Canada announced:

  • CA$65 million (US$48 million) to support sustainable development projects in the Sahel (particularly Mali and Burkina Faso) with a focus on supporting vulnerable populations, the empowerment of women and girls, good governance and democratic resilience, and socio-economic development; and
  • CA$50 million (US$37 million) to support the ACTION project, which aims to improve economic, food, and nutritional security for Mali’s poor rural populations, especially women and youth.

On the margins of the Summit, the Prime Minister also hosted a meeting on the unstable situation in Haiti. The Prime Minister announced additional funding, including: 

  • CA$8 million (US$6 million) to meet the needs of crisis-affected Haitians, including those impacted by displacement, recent violence, chronic food insecurity, and the cholera epidemic;
  • CA$5 million (US$4 million) to strengthen Haitian authorities’ capacity to prosecute cases of corruption and economic crime, money laundering, and other offenses; and
  • CA$4 million (US$3 million) to improve access to legal aid support for victims of gender-based violence, while strengthening access to justice and combating corruption.

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Norwegian negotiators, CSOs share mixed reactions to COP27 agreement

On November 20, 2022, Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide stated that he was pleased with the outcomes of COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP).

Barth Eide, who took part in the final discussions on COP 27, said that there was a need for a positive outcome from the climate summit. The aim of the agreement was to strengthen and carry forward the positive results from Glasgow. 

Barth Eide says that the two most important outcomes from the COP agreement were world leaders' commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and the creation of a specific fund for loss and damage. 

While negotiators agreed to establish a fund for loss and damage, sources of funding will continue to be discussed. For Norway, it was important to ensure that the new fund will consist of funding from a wide range of sources (both private and public sources) and that both traditional inland and emerging states will contribute. 

However, Barth Eide said Norway would have liked to see greater progress on concrete measures for emission reductions before 2025. Neither the proposal to phase out fossil energy sources without carbon capture and storage, nor a proposal that emissions should reach a peak in 2025, received sufficient support from other countries. 

Several Norwegian environmental organizations expressed their disappointment with the COP 27 agreement, especially the lack of real progress on emissions reduction strategies. The Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment (ForUM), which was present at COP, was very critical of countries' failure to agree on stronger wording to cut emissions. Another environmental organization, Bellona, stated that the new climate agreement was a necessary step, but criticized the agreement's vagueness on many topics. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

News article – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

News article – E24 (in Norwegian) 
 

Sweden pledges record US$68 million humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

Sweden announced a record assistance package to Ukraine on November 13, 2022, encompassing military and humanitarian support as well as support for the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson emphasized both the record size of the support, as well as the urgency of supporting Ukraine.

The contents of the planned military support package – involving advanced air defense weapons systems - amount to a total of nearly SEK3 billion (US$282 million). The amount is SEK1 billion (US$94 million) more than the sum of all previous military materiel support packages combined (amounting to nearly SEK2 billion, or US$188 million).

The humanitarian package is also Sweden's largest to date. It encompasses Swedish support for Ukraine and Moldova amounting to nearly SEK720 million (US$68 million). The support is intended to provide Ukrainian citizens and refugees with access to food, water and sanitation, winter equipment, blankets and heating sources. The support will also help start laying the foundations for the reconstruction of social infrastructure in Ukraine.

The emergency assistance package will be channeled through multilateral organizations and international humanitarian organizations through the following earmarked grants:

  • SEK250 million (US$24 million) to the World Food Programme;
  • SEK140 million (US$13 million) and SEK40 million (US$ 4 million) to the World Bank funds for Ukraine and Moldova, respectively;
  • SEK110 million (US$10 million) to the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation’s Ukraine Green Recovery Programme;
  • SEK50 million (US$5 million) and SEK20 million (US$2 million) to the Ukrainian and Moldovan Red Cross organizations, respectively;
  • SEK10 million (US$1 million) for mine clearance through the Danish Refugee Council; and
  • SEK100 million (US$10 million) to the Energy fund at the donor conference for Moldova.

Additionally, Sweden will continue to support Ukraine within the framework of EU membership, and intends to take part in the upcoming European Union Assistance Mission Ukraine (EUMAM). During the upcoming Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2023, the Government will give high priority to continuing support to Ukraine and maintaining strong pressure on Russia.

Press release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

Canada pledges US$69 million at APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

On November 18, 2022, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged nearly CA$93 million (US$69 million) to expand the capacity of Canada’s missions in the Indo-Pacific.

Trudeau made the pledge at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, where he announced several new funding initiatives to support the Asia-Pacific region. The pledge was part of the upcoming release of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aims to deepen diplomatic, development, and climate ties with regional partners.

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs calls for EU investment of US$103 billion to address migration

In a November 18, 2022, interview with Italian newspaper 'La Stampa,' Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antoni Tajani called for the EU to provide €100 billion (US$103 billion) to support North African partner countries.

Specific countries were not mentioned in the discussion, in which Tajani gave recommendations for managing migration in Italy and Europe.

Tajani suggested updating the framework laws about migration in Europe, calling for an innovative update to the EU's 'Dublin Regulation,' which is the current framework for managing migration flows. He also emphasized the need for concrete action, such as increased spending to address the root causes of migration in partner countries.

Transcript – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Netherlands pledges USD$3 million to UNAIDS

On November 18, 2022 at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) global centre in Geneva, the Netherlands announced additional resources for UNAIDS.

In addition to pledging an extra €3 million (US$3 million), the Netherlands committed to increasing funding for the organization by 15% and signed a multi-year agreement to secure UNAIDS funding for 2023-2025. The US, UNAIDS’ largest donor, announced a total increase of US$55 million to the organization in 2022.

In July 2022, UNAIDS released a report that found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have disrupted AIDS response initiatives. Dutch Vice Minister for Development Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden said funding for UNAIDS is paramount to shoring up efforts to fight AIDS worldwide.

Press release - UNAIDS

COP27 draft decision indicates progress, conflict on climate action priorities

COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), completed its last thematic day on November 17, 2022, focusing on ‘solutions.’ As the conference entered the penultimate day of negotiations, the release of a draft agreement emphasized both progress to date and the enormity of the task ahead. 

Key Statements & Discussions 

Keeping with the day’s theme of actionable commitments to decarbonization and reducing global warming, Australia’s bid to host COP31 was met with mixed reception from world leaders. While many applauded the new government’s renewed commitment to climate change, they also suggested that the government would need to stop investing in fossil fuels before a bid would be approved. 

As COP27 negotiations neared their scheduled end, a group of representatives from Canada, the EU, and the UK emphasized the need for concrete conference outcomes to the Egyptian Presidency. Delegates stressed that COP27 negotiations would need to produce coherent, actionable outcomes to be perceived as successful, and highlighted a variety of flaws and conflicts remaining in the current draft. 

The draft decision in question was 20 pages long as of Thursday, containing many placeholders as negotiations on key issues continued. Tracking from Carbon Brief indicated that the length of the document, as well as the number of remaining issues, would lead to negotiations continuing beyond COP27’s scheduled end on November 18, 2022. While the G20’s support for the 1.5 degree Celsius target somewhat preempted negotiations on the topic at COP, there has been no resolution on major points such as funding for loss and damage and reforming climate finance architecture. 

Key financial commitments 

Pledges on ‘Solutions’ day primarily focused on sustainable transportation. The UK COP26 Presidency announced several new initiatives aimed at increasing the production and use of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), including a ‘Global Commitment,’ backed by the US, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, and the UK, which will provide finance for ZEV transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Specific details on funding flows and amounts were not provided. 

Several other pledges from earlier in COP27 were also highlighted, including: 

  • €1 billion (US$1 billion) from the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark to support initiatives led by the African Union (AU) focusing on climate risk data, early warning systems, mobilizing finance, and disaster risk finance on November 16, 2022; 
  • €60 million (US$62 million) from the EU to support loss and damages on November 16, 2022; 
  • €40 million (US$41 million) from Germany to support the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Climate Action Window on November 16, 2022; 
  • US$20 million for the World Food Program (WFP) through the World Bank from Germany and the UK on November 16, 2022; and 
  • NOK 100 million (US$10 million) from Norway to support the  UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on November 9, 2022. 

Agenda 

COP27 is scheduled to conclude on Friday, November 18, 2022, but negotiations may extend into the following week.  

News article – The Guardian 

News article – Reuters 

News article – The Guardian 

Press release – GOV.UK 

Transcript – European Commission 

News article – African Development Bank Group 

News article – Reliefweb 

News article – Reliefweb 

EU pledges US$1 billion to G20 'Just Energy Transition Partnership' with Indonesia

On November 17, 2022, The EU pledged to contribute over €1 billion (US$1 billion) to the new G20 'Just Energy Transition Partnership' to help Indonesia phase out coal.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the pledge at the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment event during the G20 Summit in Indonesia. The partnership aims to mobilize US$20 billion to support Indonesia's efforts to transition to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

The announcement was accompanied by a pledge by Von der Leyen to invest €4 billion (US$4 billion) renewable energy worldwide through the EU’s 'Global Gateway' investment initiative over the next five years. 

News article - Euractiv

Speech - European Commission

Press release - European Commission

UK, Netherlands strengthen bilateral partnership on sustainable development, climate action

On November 17, 2022, the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Netherlands issued a joint statement setting out areas for strengthened bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which included a focus on strengthened cooperation on international development.

A 'Joint Action Plan' is forthcoming, and the Ministers will meet annually to review progress on delivery. The areas of strengthened bilateral cooperation included multilateral cooperation, security cooperation, energy security, climate action, migration, sustainable development, and humanitarian affairs.

On sustainable development, the two countries agreed to work more closely on shared thematic and country priorities on international development, with a particular focus on women, peace and security, gender equality, equal human rights for LGBTQ+ people, and preventing sexual violence in conflict.

On climate action, the two countries committed to championing the need for more climate adaptation finance and promoting ocean conservation, in addition to issues such as reversing biodiversity loss, deforestation, and land degradation.

Press release – UK and Netherlands