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Spain's Sánchez shares pledges, development priorities at UNGA

On September 22, 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez addressed a statement to the plenary session of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) outlining Spain's development priorities of global health, food security, climate change, education, and gender equality.

Sánchez reiterated his commitment to increasing Spain’s official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of its gross national income by 2030, as underlined in the development cooperation bill that will be approved by the end of 2022.

He also provided updates on Spanish development finance and strategic priorities. Key takeaways included:

  • Sánchez's announcement that Spain would disburse up to €237 million (US$235 million) from 2023 - 2026 to foster global health initiatives, including a €130 million (US$129 million) pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and other instruments related to pandemic preparedness and global health R&D;
  • A €237 million (US$235 million) pledge aimed at addressing the current food crisis caused by the Ukrainian war;
  • An agreement between Spain and Senegal to promote the creation of an International Alliance for Resilience for Drought, an initiative that will be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 2022 to be held in Egypt in November;
  • The establishment of the UN's GIGA Technology Center for digital education in Barcelona; and
  • A statement that Spain will contribute €100 million (US$99 million) over 2023 - 2026 to different organizations, including UN Women, that work on gender equality and particularly on sexual rights and reproductive health programs.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)


Spain pledges US$137 million to Global Fund, US$16 million to Pandemic Preparedness FIF

On September 21, 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a contribution of 130 million (US$137 million) for the period 2023 - 2025 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Though the pledge fell short of the Spanish civil society ask of 180 million (US$190 million), it still represented a 30% increase compared to what Spain pledged in the last replenishment held in 2019 (EUR100 million or US$106 million). The global health NGO ‘Salud por Derecho’ applauded Spain's contribution to the effort and broader global health agenda.

Sánchez made the announcement at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers conference that was also held in New York on September 21, 2022.  Afterward, he took personally part at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment, which was hosted by US President Joe Biden. In addition to Spain's pledge to the Global Fund, Sánchez revealed that Spain will contribute 15 million (US$16 million) to the World Bank’s Financial Intermediary Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.

Press release – la Moncloa (in Spanish)

News article – El País (in Spanish)

Press release – Salud por Derecho

Spain's Sánchez pledges US$250 million for global food security

At the Global Food Security Summit held on September 20th, 2022, in the margins of the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pledged €237 million (US$250 million) to combat food insecurity.

From this amount, €152 million (US$160 million) will be disbursed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) as grants to multilateral organizations and bilateral programs, and €85 million (US$90 million) will be disbursed as loans by the Spanish Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE).

The Global Food Security Summit, an initiative co-led by Spain and other donors such as the US and the EU, aimed to respond to the food security crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. The summit was co-chaired by Sánchez, US State Secretary Anthony Blinken, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and the President of the African Union (AU) Macky Sall. A total of 18 heads of state or government participated in the event and endorsed a final declaration underscoring the need to act with sustained urgency to respond to the current humanitarian crisis as well as to build more resilient agriculture and food systems.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Spain's Sánchez discusses Ukraine, food security at UNGA

On September 19, 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss several topics concerning international relations such as the Ukrainian conflict and the global food security crisis.

Sánchez and Guterres discussed the need to strengthen multilateral institutions to effectively manage global challenges. In addition to discussion about the new Giga Technology Center that will be opened in Barcelona, Sánchez and Guterres spoke on food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine ahead of the Global Food Security Summit, a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event, which will be co-hosted by Spain, US, EU, and the African Union (AU) on September 20, 2022, in New York.

Press release – la Moncloa (in Spanish)

Spain hosts COVID-19 Global Action Plan High-Level Meeting

On September 5-6, 2022, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) organized a High-Level Meeting of the Global Action Plan against COVID-19 in Madrid.

The Global Action Plan (GAP) High-Level Meeting, which was mainly aimed at advancing global efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, gathered senior representatives from 35 countries and multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Red Cross, the Global Network for Academic Public Health (GNAPH), the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS), the European Commission, and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

With the aim of joining forces and improving international coordination to overcome the pandemic collectively, GAP was created as a follow-up to the “Global Summit on COVID-19," hosted by the United States in September 2021.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Press release – MAEC

South Korea continues to support global COVID-19 response with US$30 million to new World Bank FIF

Park Jin, the South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended a virtual ministerial meeting for COVID-19, entitled 'Pandemic Prioritized Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement' to discuss global cooperation on COVID-19 response.

Minister Park shared South Korea’s plan to contribute to the global health cooperation system. For example, South Korea will contribute US$30 million to the World Bank's new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) - a new financing mechanism to better prepare and respond to future pandemics. In addition to its ongoing contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), South Korea will continue to contribute to the global health system.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Yonhapnews (in Korean)

Spanish foreign minister visits African Union to foster bilateral collaboration

On July 19, 2022, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation José Manuel Albares started his first trip to 'Sub-Saharan Africa', aiming to reinforce Spain’s bilateral cooperation with strategic partner countries in the region.

First, minister Albares visited Mauritania to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug to discuss sustainable development, security, and migration challenges in the Sahel region.

Next, Albares went to Senegal to meet with President Macky Sall, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aissata Tall Sall. Albares's visit preceded the Senegalese presidency of the African Union.

While Spain currently holds the rotatory presidency of the Sahel Alliance, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's current administration plans to prioritize development cooperation efforts in 'Sub-Saharan Africa' and the Sahel region, as underlined in the new development bill that will be approved by parliament in the coming months.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Publish What You Fund releases 2022 Aid Transparency Index

Publish What You Fund released its 2022 Aid Transparency Index, which measures the transparency of key bilateral and multilateral international development organizations. Overall, the project found that donors maintained transparency near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels; 31 of the 50 evaluated organizations scored in the ‘good’ or ‘very good’ categories, meaning they consistently publish high-quality data on development assistance disbursements. 50 donors were evaluated out of 100 points and ranked accordingly.  

Australia: The index showed that Australia's ODA transparency has continued to deteriorate. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) ranked 41 of the 50 donor organizations, a continuance of their declining trend. The agency remained in the ‘fair’ category but lost 10 points on the transparency index. DFAT was 34 of 47 in 2020 and 23 of 45 in 2018. This decline in transparency occurred under the previous Australian government. The recently elected Labor government has committed to improving accountability and transparency in the development sector. 

Canada: Global Affairs Canada (GAC) dropped from the ‘very good’ category in 2020 to ‘good’ in 2022, losing nearly 10 points in Publish What You Fund’s ranking system and ranking 17th overall in 2022, showing a concerning decrease in transparency amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  

EU: The report evaluated the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), European Investment Bank (EIB), Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA; formerly DEVCO).  

The European Commission’s (EC) ECHO scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 13th among evaluated donors, improving by nearly nine points compared to the 2020 index. The EC’s INTPA scored 15th among evaluated donors and ranked in the ‘good’ category, but declined by 4 points in transparency from 2020. The EBRD’s sovereign portfolio ranked 24th among donors and scored in the ‘good’ category, declining by 3 points since 2020. The non-sovereign portfolio was also placed in the ‘good' category, but ranked 31st among donors. The EC’s NEAR ranked in the ‘good’ category, as it did in 2020, but declined significantly in transparency, dropping nearly 15 points. The EIB’s sovereign portfolio ranked 33rd among donors and remained in the ‘fair’ category, as it was in 2020; the portfolio also lost 3 points in transparency compared to 2020. The EIB’s non-sovereign portfolio also stood in the ‘fair’ category, ranking 37th among donors.  

France: The French Development Agency (AFD) ranked 28th among donors and sat in the ‘good’ category. The agency improved by five points compared to 2020 and jumped up from ‘fair.’  

Germany: Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 11th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office (FFO), on the other hand, ranked 43rd among donors with only 37 of 100 transparency points. 

Italy: The Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) has gradually improved its performance since 2017. In 2020, AICS was placed in the ‘fair’ category, but the agency improved by 5 points, ranking 34th overall in 2022.   

Japan: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dropped the most out of the evaluated agencies – by 26 points – sliding from ‘fair’ to ‘poor’ in 2022 and ranking just 47th out of 50 donors evaluated.  

Netherlands: The Netherlands’ Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) declined by 4 points from 2020, but remained in the ‘good’ category, ranking 23rd overall.  

Norway: Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) dropped from ‘fair’ in 2020 to ‘poor’ in 2022, losing seven points.  

South Korea: South Korea’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 14th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. 

Spain: The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) ranked 42nd among donors, losing nearly 17 points since 2020 and remaining in the ‘fair’ category.  

Sweden: The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) ranked 21st among donors, improving by 4 points since 2022 and sitting in the ‘good’ category. 

United Kingdom: The report found the transparency of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has declined.  According to the index’s ranking, the FCDO fell from 9th place in 2020 to 16th in 2022; no UK agency scored in the 'very good' category for the first time since the Index was launched in 2012. The FCDO and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) sat in the ‘good’ category. The FCDO has underperformed compared to the former Department for International Development (2020) across all five Index components; this is largely the result of a lack of organizational and country strategies and inconsistent release of results, evaluations, and objectives.

United States: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ranked 25th among donors and was placed in the ‘good’ category; however, the agency lost nearly 12 points and declined significantly in transparency since 2020. The US State Department ranked 32nd among donors, losing 5 points since 2020 and dropping out of the ‘good’ category to ‘fair.’  

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US government agency, scored in the ‘very good’ category and ranked 5th among donors. The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) jumped from ‘fair’ to ‘good’ in 2022, improving by nearly 9 points and ranking 20th among donors.  

Recommendations for all donors included:  

  • Publishing more project budgets to facilitate planning and coordination;  
  • Implementing government entity references and developing referencing approaches for the private sector to track assistance flows;  
  • For Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), improving non-sovereign portfolio data;  
  • Publishing comprehensive data on project impact metrics; and 
  • Publishing budget documents, project procurement information, and impact appraisals.  

Report - Publish What You Fund 

News article – BOND  

News article - The Telegraph 

News article - National Tribune 

Alvaro Lario appointed president of IFAD

On July 8, 2022, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) announced the appointment of Alvaro Lario as the new president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); he will be tasked with leading the response to the current global food crisis. 

Since 2018, Lairo worked as Associate Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Controller, Financial Operations Department, at IFAD. He was responsible for IFAD’s financial strategies. Prior to that position, Lario served as Treasury Capital Markets Lead and Principal Portfolio Officer at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group. He holds a Masters in Economics from the London Business School and a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from the Complutense Madrid University. 

Among other sectors, Spain prioritizes food security and rural development within its development cooperation policy. As a cornerstone to respond to the current food crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Spain is advocating for the importance of strengthening multilateral institutions. 

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Spain’s Pedro Sánchez reaffirms support for WHO

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez traveled to Geneva on July 7, 2022, to meet with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to review and discuss current global health challenges.

Sánchez reviewed Spain’s contributions to global health institutions and showed interest in seeking new opportunities for strengthening collaborations with the WHO, mainly in sexual health and reproductive rights (SRHR) and the impact of climate change on health standards.

Sánchez also highlighted Spain’s continued support for the WHO and its role as the main pillar and coordinator of global health efforts.

Press release – PM’s office ‘la Moncloa’ (in Spanish)

UNICEF urges Spain to increase global childhood health funding

On July 4, 2022, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Spain and the development think tank ‘Political Watch’ released a new report analyzing Spanish contributions to global health during 2007-2020, with a special focus on childhood health interventions.

According to the report, Spain’s ODA addressed for global health remained stuck at around €65 million (US$69 million) per year between 2016 and 2020. 16% of these funds were specifically channeled to childhood health initiatives.

UNICEF urged Spain to prioritize global health interventions within its development cooperation policy. In particular, UNICEF’s report calls upon the Spanish government to emphasize and increase funding to maternal and newborn health due to the added value of these interventions.

Press release – UNICEF Spain (in Spanish)

Digitalization, inclusive education at heart of Spanish development agenda

On June 21 - 22, 2022, the Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, and the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Antón Leis, participated in the ‘European Development Days’ held in Brussels, Belgium, by the European Commission.

Pilar Cancela and Antón Leis, representing Spain’s development cooperation administration, took part in these events to share experiences and exchange views on the European Union’s global development policies. Both representatives underlined the importance of innovation, knowledge transfer, digitalization, and inclusive education as cornerstones of Spain’s development policy.  

Press release - AECID (in Spanish)

NGOs urge Spain to increase Global Fund pledge to €180 million

On June 10, 2022, Spanish global health NGOs Salud por Derecho, Doctors Without Borders (MSF-Spain), and the state platform for HIV/AIDS, CESIDA, sent an open letter to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez calling upon his cabinet to increase Spain's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Health NGOs asked the Spanish government to pledge €180 million (US$194 million) at the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment conference that will take place in September 2022 in New York. This amount would represent an 80% increase compared to Spain’s previous pledge for the 2020-2022 period.

HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria, continue to kill around 3 million people worldwide each year. According to Spanish NGOs, it is becoming increasingly complicated to tackle the three pandemics by 2030, as reflected in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fragility of public health systems in low- and middle- income partner countries.

In response, Salud por Derecho, MSF-Spain, and CESIDA launched the social network campaign, ‘España Suma y Sigue’ (Spain Ads Up) to raise public awareness about the importance of an increased Spanish contribution to the Global Fund. Several Spanish media outlets have echoed the call.

Press release - Salud por Derecho (in Spanish)

News article – elDiario.es (in Spanish)

Spanish cabinet presents new development bill

On May 31, 2022, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's cabinet approved the new development bill, ‘Law Proposal for Sustainable Development Cooperation and Global Solidarity', which will be discussed in parliament in the upcoming months.

The new development bill, which is expected to replace the current Spanish development cooperation law from 1998, aims to modernize Spanish development architecture. It embraces the following objectives:

  • Adapt the current political and normative framework of Spain’s development policy to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development;
  • Promote a better alignment between Spain and EU development initiatives;
  • Generate an effective framework for Spain’s ODA disbursements;
  • Strengthen political coherence and provide synergies for multi-level partnerships;
  • Address current institutional weaknesses in Spain’s development system and facilitate strategic, coordinated, and results-oriented management;
  • Provide the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with adequate regulations, institutional capacities, and resources to respond to commitments related to the 2030 Agenda;
  • Modernize Spanish financial cooperation tools and development finance;
  • Secure effective recruitment, attraction, and retention of human resources;
  • Strengthen the resources and capacities of Spain’s humanitarian assistance; and
  • Improve knowledge management, evaluation, and monitoring of development policy.

In addition, for the first time in Spain’s history, the new development law includes the objective of increasing ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2030.

Press release - Council of Ministers (in Spanish)

Spanish leadership prioritizes Sahel region in new development cooperation bill

From May 31 - June 2, 2022, Queen Letizia of Spain traveled to Mauritania, accompanied by the State Secretary for International Cooperation Pilar Cancela, to visit development programs supported by Spanish development cooperation in global health, democratic governance, gender equality, rural development, and nutrition.

Mauritania is among the largest country recipients of Spain’s ODA. As reflected in the new bill, ‘Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity’, which was presented to the parliament last week. The Sahel region is outlined among the top geographic priorities for Spain’s development policy for the first time in history.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

Spain and US hold bilateral task force to foster sustainable development in Central America

The first task force meeting on Central America between Spain and the US took place in Madrid on May 25, 2022, with the aim of strengthening collaboration to foster development programs in the region.

Co-hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ State Secretary for Ibero-America, Juan Fernández Trigo, and US Department of State’s Deputy Assistant for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Emily Mendrala, the meeting consisted of high-level representatives from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the US Department for International Development (USAID).

Spain and the US reiterated their commitment to sustainable development in Central America. Democratic governance, violence against women, human rights, and support for vulnerable people - including LGBTQ+ and indigenous communities- were outlined as both countries’ main development priorities in the region.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Despite falling short of expectations, Second Global COVID-19 Summit mobilizes US$3.2 billion in new pledges, establishes new World Bank fund

Global leaders pledged an additional US$3.2 billion in new and additional funding during the second Global COVID-19 Summit, which took place virtually on May 12, 2022. The meeting included commitments related to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) in addition to licensing, reducing the price of oral antiretrovirals, and the creation of a fund to prevent future pandemics to be housed within the World Bank.

A country-by-country breakdown can be found in our recent Commentary

Spanish think tank holds conference pandemic preparedness and response conference

On May 5 and 6, 2022, the global health think tank and research institution Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) organized a conference aimed at discussing global preparation to respond to future environmental and public health crises.

Bringing together researchers, health professionals, practitioners, and decision-makers in the two-day workshop held in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, ISGlobal conducted technical discussions to exchange varying points of view and amalgamate lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic; participants shared ideas geared toward advancing preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience to future pandemics.  

The workshop concluded with a high-level roundtable that gathered different institutions like the Spanish ministries of Health and Science, the European Commission, the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, and the African Centre for Disease Control.

Press release - ISGlobal

Spain's Cancela addresses 0.7% ODA/GNI target, other development priorities with parliament

On April 26 and May 3, 2022, the Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation (SECI) Pilar Cancela attended two consecutive parliamentary hearings at the development committees of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, Spain's bicameral parliament.

Cancela took advantage of both hearings to emphasize the current government’s strong engagement with global health and development that has made Spain the world’s seventh-largest donor of COVID-19 vaccines.

Cancela presented the new sustainable development bill, which will be discussed in parliament in the upcoming months. She also addressed the intended plan to increase Spain’s ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2030 and to modernize Spanish development architecture. She summarized the main findings from the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’; the new Master Plan for the 2022-2025 period will be released soon.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Spanish development leadership prioritizes gender equality in policy-making

On April 21, 2022, Spain’s State Secretary for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, outlined gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment as a cross-cutting priority sector for Spanish development policy.

During her intervention at Plan International’s event, ‘The impact of humanitarian crisis on girls and adolescents’, held in Madrid, Spain, Cancela stated that Spain’s development policy seeks to advance real and effective gender equality worldwide. In turn, she underlined the importance of strengthening interventions to protect girls in humanitarian contexts and provided specific examples in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

In February 2021, the Spanish government released the ‘Guidelines for a Feminist Foreign Policy’ to incentivize development cooperation programs aimed at fostering gender equality. To date, however, there is not any specific roadmap detailing how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) plans to implement this strategy, and Spain has not made any relevant financial announcement for women.

The Spanish development NGO, Oxfam Intermón, released the report, ‘Beyond Words: For A Feminist And Transformative Feminist Cooperation’, in February of 2022 with specific recommendations for the Spanish government to increase ODA to gender-related programs.  

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Beyond Words – Oxfam Intermón (in Spanish)