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UK's Truss appoints Cleverly as Foreign Minister, creates new Development Minister post

On September 6, 2022, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss appointed Conservative MP James Cleverly as the UK’s new Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development.

In an unexpected move, Truss also appointed Conservative MP Vicky Ford to be the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) first Development Minister. The Development Minister post reports to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development but will attend the Prime Minister’s cabinet meetings. The creation of the new post has been welcomed by UK NGOs.

Formerly a Minister of State within the FCDO, Cleverly was promoted within this role to Minister of State for Europe and North America in February 2022, and was seen by many as Truss’s de facto deputy foreign secretary while Truss managed the UK's response to the war in Ukraine. Cleverly was also co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade out of Poverty. As a Minister in the FCDO, he consistently defended the ODA cuts.

Vicky Ford was also formerly a Minister of State in the FCDO, where she was responsible for covering assistance in Africa, British International Investment (BII), global education, and gender equality.

News articles – Devex

UK NGOs list new development priorities for Parliament

In response to a call from BOND, the UK international development NGO network, on September 7, 2022, working groups provided their priorities for the new UK government on international development.

Covering a broad array of topics, specific priorities included:

  • Publication of a fully-funded and sufficiently staffed cross-government civic space strategy;
  • Pro-active engagement by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with NGOs to raise awareness of the importance of poverty-focused development cooperation;
  • Restored funding for civilian peacebuilding and conflict prevention and support for grassroots and local CSOs working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts;
  • Delivery on commitments made at the Global Disability Summit, FCDO Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy (February 2022), and in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto relating to girls' education;  
  • Development of a strategy for supporting locally-led funding initiatives, including transparent and trackable targets for direct funding allocations to local actors;
  • Restoration of the 0.7% GNI/ODA target and prioritization of support for humanitarian efforts, including gender equality and food security;
  • Leadership by the FCDO in tackling racism in the sector through inclusive engagement with NGOs and people of color to create a plan to address racism;
  • Reduction of the impact of sanctions on humanitarian action by issuing exceptions or general licenses for humanitarian work across all UK sanction regimes;
  • Commitment by the Prime Minister to greater transparency and accountability of public finance, with specific regard to the ODA budget; and
  • Restoration of funding for water, hygiene, and sanitation efforts to 2018 levels and integration of these sectors into the UK’s global health and climate approach.

News article – BOND

UK NGOs list priorities for new UK Foreign and Development Ministers

On September 7, 2022, BOND, the UK network of international development NGOs, laid out a set of key priorities for the new UK Foreign and Development Ministers to ensure the UK delivers on its promise to use diplomacy and development to tackle global challenges.

BOND listed the need to ensure the right resourcing in terms of people and finance as its top priority. The network also noted issues arising from the 0.5% ODA/GNI cap, particularly in the wake of rising ODA-eligible costs of hosting refugees in the UK. BOND called on the new Foreign and Development Ministers to stop treating the 0.5% ODA/GNI target as a cap and outlined the path for returning to 0.7% ODA/GNI as soon as possible, while also celebrating the cabinet-level representation of development professionals in the new administration.

The network likewise recognized the ongoing need for the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) to prioritize ODA spending, noting the UK’s legal requirements set out in the International Development Acts, which call for a primary focus on poverty alleviation. With this in mind, BOND encouraged the FCDO to prioritize:

  • Equitable investment in marginalized populations;  
  • Increased direct funding to people, public services, and civil society in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Transparent adherence to development assistance effectiveness principles;
  • Adequate investment in tackling the drivers of conflict and the climate emergency; and
  • Responsible investment via British International Investment (BII; formerly CDC) and British Investment Partnerships (BIP).

News article – BOND

Liz Truss elected UK Prime Minister

Liz Truss was elected as the new Prime Minister of the UK on September 5, 2022. She won 57% of Tory members’ votes in the final contest, beating former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak by a smaller margin than anticipated.

It is unclear at this stage what Truss' appointment as Prime Minister will mean for international development. In her victory speech, she committed to cutting taxes, growing the economy, and managing the UK’s National Health Service. Truss also promised to deal with the energy crisis both in the short-term, with the provision of assistance for consumers, and in the long-term by addressing the UK’s energy supply,

Truss, who was the former Foreign Secretary under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, campaigned on an economic agenda of lowering taxes in an attempt to help boost the economy, but it is unclear what sources will fund this change; many economists have suggested the approach may aggravate the UK’s already high inflation.

Truss' campaign also committed to increasing UK defense spending to 3% of GDP from its current allocation of 2%. No detail has been provided regarding how the increase will be funded. She also committed to updating the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, the overarching strategy guiding UK development policy. Truss also indicated that she will declare China an 'official threat' for the first time. In her campaign, Truss said very little about international development, apart from stating the budget for development assistance would not change.

Sarah Champion, Labour Party MP and chair of the parliamentary committee on International Development, is worried that the UK's ODA focus will shift further from poverty under Truss’s Premiership. Champion noted that under Truss’s tenure as Foreign Minister, the ODA budget focused on economic development in partner countries and trade deals for the UK. Champion asserted that this approach detracts from efforts to ensure UK assistance reduces poverty and supports those most in need.  

News article – Devex

News article –The Sunday Times

News article –The Guardian

US$2 million in UK humanitarian support to Pakistan 'minimal,' says Labour MP

On August 27, 2022, the UK government announced £2 million (US$2 million) in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in response to record-breaking floods.

However, Labour Party MP and Chair of the UK parliamentary International Development Committee Sarah Champion criticized the UK for its extremely small donation. In a letter to former Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Champion noted that the support amounts to less than 5 pence (US$0.07 cents) for each person affected by extreme rainfall, which has destroyed at least 700,000 homes.

In comparison, the last time Pakistan faced floods in 2010, the UK provided £134 million (US$165 million).

News article – The Independent

Press release – UK Government

Save the Children warns billions could be diverted from UK ODA for Ukraine refugee costs

Save the Children have raised the alarm over the UK government’s controversial decision to use the ODA budget to cover the costs of housing 118,000 Ukrainians in the UK. Save the Children has estimated that the cost could be as high as 25% of the UK ODA budget in 2022, or £3 billion (US$4 billion). While Save the Children welcomes the UK’s support to refugees, it argues that it must not come at the cost of helping others in need. In order to cover the costs and ensure the ODA budget does not exceed 0.5% of UK gross national income, Save the Children estimates that hundreds of ODA projects will need to be stopped.

The UK only announced in July that it would begin to count the costs of housing Ukrainian refugees in the UK via its ODA budget.

News article – The Independent

 

UK outlines specifics on funding uses for US$295 million in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine

The UK released a new report highlighting where its £220 million (US$295 million) in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine is going. The report highlights that 6.6 million people are displaced inside Ukraine, and 5.8 million people are registered as refugees across Europe, making it one of the fastest-growing refugee crises since World War II.

UK funding, which includes £145 million (US$194 million) for the UN and Red Cross Agencies and an additional £25 million (US$34 million) in matched funding to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal (DEC), is focused on supporting the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly, and disabled. The UK has three core objectives:

  • Providing assistance in Ukraine and to people seeking refuge in the region;
  • Working with others to deliver a well-coordinated and well-funded response; and
  • Advocating for respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

Report – UK Government

20 countries launch global coalition to stop plastic pollution by 2040

The 'High Ambition Coalition to Stop Plastic Pollution,' a group of like-minded countries that have taken the initiative to form a coalition committed to developing a legally binding global agreement against plastic pollution, launched on August 22, 2022; the coalition aims to end oceanic plastic pollution by 2040.

Every year, between 5 -12 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans, contributing to environmental degradation and increasing microplastics in water. Without effective measures, oceanic plastic pollution is expected to triple by 2040.

The coalition, chaired by Norway and Rwanda, currently has 20 members including Canada, Peru, Germany, Senegal, Georgia, South Korea, UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador, France, and the Dominican Republic.

The US, China, and India - the world's largest plastic producers - and other large producers are noticeably absent from the coalition. 

Members of the coalition will meet in New York at the upcoming UN General Assembly in September 2022, followed by a formal meeting in Uruguay on November 28, 2022.

Website - High Ambition to End Plastic Pollution

Government of Sweden - Press Release (in Swedish)

News article - Argus

UK unlikely to meet fiscal tests to return to 0.7% ODA/GNI due to inflation

The UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), an independent research institute, issued a new briefing note on the outlook for UK public finances over the coming years; the note suggests that the UK’s fiscal tests to return to 0.7% ODA/GNI will likely not be satisfied by FY2023/24 as anticipated by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in April 2022. The two fiscal tests set by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, were that the country is not borrowing for day-to-day spending and that the ratio of underlying debt to GDP is falling.

The IFS’s briefing note is based on the Bank of England’s August 2022 forecasts which show higher and more persistent inflation than anticipated by the OBR. The report, which provides a set of scenarios for government spending and revenue, shows that higher inflation combined with higher interest rates, will push up public spending and that while revenues will also be pushed up by higher inflation, they will likely be moderated by weaker growth in real-terms earnings and household spending. As a result, the note shows that borrowing could be about £16 billion (US$22 billion) higher than forecasted in 2022 and £23 billion (US$ 40 billion) higher in 2023.

Briefing Note - Institute for Fiscal Studies

Twitter – Richard Watts

UK launches new 'Developing Country Trading Scheme' for low-income countries

On August 22, 2022, the UK launched its new 'Developing Country Trading Scheme.'

The scheme, which will come into force in January 2023, replaces the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) which it used when it was part of the EU. The new scheme, which is eligible to 65 low- and middle-income countries, expands the number of products eligible for cuts in import taxes and simplifies rules and regulations. It also includes a proviso to suspend the lower tariffs if partner countries undertake human rights or labor abuses.

The UK’s Department of Trade said the move was part of a wider drive by the UK to reduce development assistance dependency and drive trade and prosperity in partner countries.

News article – BBC

News article - UN

FCDO Annual Report fails to outline future ODA budgets, reflects trend to prioritize economic growth

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) 'Annual Report', released in August 2022, contained no forward-looking ODA budget outline for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022/23 against key geographies and key departments - a stark omission; the report usually contains this information. The UK’s international development NGO network, BOND, criticized the omission as a blow to transparency. The FCDO stated that it will release its projected ODA budget sometime in the fall.

The report does, however, provide some insight into ODA spending across FCDO departments between FY2020/21 and FY2021/22 when the UK reduced its ODA/GNI ratio from 0.7% to 0.5%.

Health: FCDO’s health program, which includes the 'Global Health Funds' department, had a marginally higher budget, moving from £1.15 billion (US$1.5 billion) in FY2020/21 to £1.19 billion (US$1.6 billion) in FY2021/22. However, two additional areas were counted under this programmatic area in the latest 'Annual Report': the 'Health Directorate Central' and 'Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics' work. If these two additional spending items are excluded, health spending fell by 14%, from £1.15 billion (US$1.5 billion) in FY2020/21 to £993 million (US$1.3 billion) in FY2021/22.

Education and Gender: 'Education, Gender and Equality' program funding fell by 43%, moving from £308 million (US$414 million) in FY2020/21 to £174 million (US$234 million) in FY2021/22. Specific spending items were different between evaluated years due to organizational department changes, so it is difficult to determine cut locations at this stage. However, this thematic area performed better than anticipated, as it had a projected budget of just £124 million (US$167 million) for FY2021/22 in 2021.

Climate: 'Energy, Climate and Environment' program funding fell by 39%, from £330 million (US$443 million) in FY2020/21 to £201 million (US$270 million) between FY2021/22, with the largest drop in funding to the International Climate Change and Green Growth Department; this drop was anticipated in the projected budget.

Economy: 'Economic Cooperation & Growth' was the biggest winner with allocated funding growing almost five-fold, from £61.4 million (US$83 million) in FY2020/21 to £336 million (US$451 million) in FY2021/22.  This reflects the changing priorities of the UK government toward increasing economic growth and shifting away from traditional development programs.

News article – BOND

Report – FCDO

UK parliament report calls on government for clear strategy to tackle global food security issues

The UK parliament’s International Development Committee published a new report on food security, which called on the government to publish a comprehensive strategy for addressing the global food crisis; the authors of the report envisioned specific increases in funding for humanitarian assistance and sustainable agriculture to address immediate and future-oriented concerns. The report also called on the government to support the newly established Global Alliance on Food Security (GAFS).

The report highlighted that the number of severely food insecure people has doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, from 135 million in 2019 to 276 million in summer 2022; this number is likely to increase by the end of 2022 due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting impact on food production and distribution. The report notes that rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, and increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather events are all negatively impacting food security.

The report acknowledges that food security is a priority for the UK, which commits to tackling the drivers of food insecurity and supporting sustainable agriculture and food systems in its recently released international development strategy.

At the bilateral level, the report notes that the UK government spent £198 million (US$266 million) on food assistance between 2021-2022, and it recently announced £18 million (US$24 million) for the FCDO’s 'Green Growth Centre of Expertise,' which will help to improve food production in countries including Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda. The government also announced £133 million (US$179 million) for research and development (R&D) to help produce drought-resistant crop varieties.

At the multilateral level, the UK and other countries launched the new Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS) on May 14, 2022; the UK has committed to providing funding to World Food Programme (WFP) and to other UN organizations including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

However, the report calls for a clear strategy and for larger amounts of both humanitarian and agricultural funding to help address the compounding crises.

Report – UK Parliament Food Insecurity Report

UK launches legal proceedings as EU blocks access to research programs

The UK government launched formal consultations with the EU to dispute the EU's move to block UK access to EU research and development (R&D) programs. 

The UK argues that by delaying the UK’s access to Horizon Europe, the EU research program, the EU is in breach of the Brexit deal, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The European Commission has paused progress on a UK association agreement to Horizon Europe because it says the UK has not been complying with the Northern Ireland protocol within the Brexit agreement.

The delay has meant the UK has not been allowed to participate in Horizon Europe programs like the Global Health European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP3) or Copernicus, the earth observation program that helps monitor climate change. 

News article - Bloomberg

Press release - FCDO

High-income countries acquire monkeypox vaccines, despite most deaths occurring in countries in Africa

While the US and Europe have secured several monkeypox (hMPXV) virus vaccines, Africa has not received any doses despite the vast majority of deaths related to the disease having occurred on the continent. 

Although 16 million doses of the one approved monkeypox vaccine are available globally, higher-income countries have already snatched most up. The US owns the majority of the vaccine supply, the EU has secured 160,000, and the United Kingdom has secured 130,000. 104 people have died from monkeypox this year in African countries, compared to a handful of deaths elsewhere. 

This reflects the early dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic around access to vaccines. Activists reiterate that the current global health architecture is not working and actually fuels health inequality.

News article - Politico

UK Health Security Agency prioritizes global pandemic preparedness in 2022-2023

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which was set up in 2021, has three core priorities for 2022-2023, one of which involves supporting global health security. Under this priority, the UKHSA has committed to:

  • Supporting the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to strengthen international health regulation capacities in at least five key areas and co-chairing GHSA’s Zoonotic Diseases Action Package with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (defra). The GHSA is a network of 70 countries, international and non-government organizations, and private sector companies working to secure global health security;
  • Supporting and, where needed, leading the UK’s cross-government One Health co-ordination to support the delivery of the UK’s G7 and G20 priorities;
  • Improving global disease surveillance and pandemic preparedness;
  • Leading the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Epidemiology and Surveillance and contributing to preparation for the UN High-level Meeting on AMR;
  • Strengthening global clinical trials eco-system;
  • Leading on the UK’s commitment to deliver vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics within 100 days of future pandemic threat identification (‘100 days mission’);'
  • Contributing to the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 initiative and working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to assess proposals by WHO and other international organizations on health emergencies reform; 
  • Providing expert advice to WHO on the new 'Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens' (SAGO);
  • Providing strategic input and supoprt to develop and implement global programs to strengthen surveillance and improvement and strengthen UK international partnerships on global health security; 
  • Helping to deliver the ODA-funded International Health Regulation Strengthening Project and expand its scope to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN);
  • Supporting the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team – an ODA-funded initiative that supports global health emergencies by providing UK experts and technical assistance; and
  • Forming an agreement with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. 

Letter – UKHSA

UK could count US$403 million in leftover COVID-19 vaccine donations as ODA

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit organization, has estimated that up to £300 million (US$403 million) of UK ODA that could have been used to support humanitarian disasters will be cut due to the government’s decision to count donations of leftover COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle- income countries as ODA. The UK has donated approximately 85 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since June 2021 – short of the 100 million it pledged to deliver at the G7. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) international rules for counting vaccine donations as ODA – the UK's donations so far could account for £275 million (US$369 million) - £300 million (US$403 million) of the UK’s ODA budget.

NGOs and opposition parties in the UK have criticized the UK government’s decision to count its leftover vaccines as ODA, noting that the move will result in less funding for humanitarian and development programs. The ONE Campaign, an international development NGO, estimates that this funding would have been enough to reverse the £131 million (US$ 176 million) in cuts to the UN’s main reproductive health program, which the UN says would prevent 250,000 maternal and child deaths, and could also help to restore nearly all of the UK’s £200 million (US$268 million) in funding cuts for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects.

News article - The Telegraph

UK suspends all 'non-essential' ODA ahead of Prime Minister race

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Nazim Zahawi announced in late July 2022 that all ‘non-essential’ ODA spending will be suspended until the Conservative Party selects a new Prime Minister for the UK on September 7, 2022. The decision was made due to concerns that higher-than-anticipated ODA spending on resettling refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan will result in the ODA budget breaching the new 0.5% gross national income (GNI) spending target. The UK government has not defined what counts as essential or non-essential ODA.

The UK Home Office's ODA budget is expected to be higher than originally planned because it will count the cost of housing refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan in the UK as ODA. While no specific figures are given, Devex suggests ODA-eligible costs could be as high as £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in the UK in 2022.  

UK NGOs and development experts have criticized the move, noting that at a time of rising development needs with a global food crisis and the development impacts of COVID-19, it is not the time to suspend UK ODA.

The Financial Times, which first broke the story, has cited that the decision on whether to breach the 0.5% ODA/GNI limit, is one of six overarching challenges facing the next UK Prime Minister. They note that while reducing UK ODA is popular with many Conservative voters, it risks alienating centre-left Tory voters, particularly young graduates and professionals who are key for marginal Conservative seats.

News article - Devex

News article - Financial Times

News article - The Guardian

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss to face off for UK leadership role

In a final round of voting, which knocked out Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak came out as the final two contenders for the UK's top leadership role. Conservative party members will vote on the next Prime Minister, who will take office in September. 

Truss and Sunak have clashed over policy during their campaigns and throughout current Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. 

Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is the favorite to win followed by Truss, the current Foreign Minister. Sunak has been accused, by those in the development sector, of imposing further reductions on an already reduced ODA budget by counting debt relief and vaccine donations as ODA. While these actions fall within the rules set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as ODA-eligible contributions, many NGOs feel they should not be counted as ODA, especially given the UK's recent decision to slash its overall development budget. As Foreign Secretary, Truss has worked extensively in international development, but advocates criticized the UK's new strategy, which was released in May 2022. 

News article - The Guardian

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 

UK's Johnson to step down in September; new PM candidates' development outlooks vary

Current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will step down on September 5, 2022, after losing the confidence of the Conservative Party; over 50 of Johnson's government ministers resigned during the week of July 4, 2022.

Six candidates remain in the contest for UK Prime Minister following the first round of voting, which took place on July 13, 2022. Conservative MPs will whittle down candidates through a series of votes until two candidates are left. The vote will then pass to a wider selection of Conservative party members for the final decision.

Former Levelling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch, Attorney General Suella Braverman, Minister of State Penny Mordaunt, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and MP Tom Tugendhat remain in the race. Rishi Sunak won the first round on with 88 votes, followed by Penny Mordaunt (67) and Liz Truss (50). 

Bookmaker, ODDSMAKER, labeled Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer as the favorite to win, followed by Penny Mordaunt, a former International Development Minister, and Liz Truss, the current Foreign Minister. Rishi Sunak has been accused, by those in the development sector, of imposing further reductions on an already reduced ODA budget by counting debt relief and vaccine donations as ODA. While these actions fall within the rules set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as ODA-eligible contributions, many NGOs feel they should not be counted as ODA, especially given the UK's recent decision to slash its overall development budget. Penny Mordaunt is viewed as having a more positive impact on international development given her experience running the former Department of International Development and her time working for NGOs.

Chief Executive of BOND, the UK network for international development NGOs, has urged whichever candidate that takes over to reverse the UK's drastic ODA cuts. Ian Mitchell from the Centre for Global Development indicated that the UK commitment to return to the 0.7% ODA/GNI target based on fiscal requirements will likely be endorsed by all potential candidates since it was approved by Parliament. However, he noted that when exactly the requirements are considered fulfilled will be determined by the new Prime Minister and their Chancellor of the Exchequer.

News article - BBC

News article - Devex

Twitter - Ian Mitchell

Twitter - CGD