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After assassinationof Haitian president, US will provide support in transition to "inclusive government", starting with COVID-19 vaccine doses

The United States supported a call by Haitian officials for an "inclusive" and "credible" government, in the aftermath of the assassination of the Haitian President. US President Joe Biden sent a delegation to the island to assess the needs of the Haitian people and to discuss the political transition.

“It’s up to the Haitians to come up with the solution to this political process at this point so we rely on them and give them all the support that we can to work conclusively, to work together to form a consensus government," said a US State Department delegation member. "The United States will definitely, along with our international partners, support an inclusive, credible government.” 

At the same time, the Administrator for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Samatha Power, testified before two Congressional committees about the need to approach development activities carefully in Haiti, noting that the assistance provided to Haiti since the 2010 earthquake had only resulted in "chaos."  Members of Congress pressed Power for assurances that the provision of assistance would be done differently to help ensure better outcomes.

As part of the new assistance, the US delivered the first shipment of 500,000 doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to Haiti, with a "significant amount" of more vaccine doses to come, according to a White House source.

News report - Voice of America

News report - Reuters

News report - Bloomberg

Team Europe to support Senegal in building vaccine manufacturing facility for COVID-19 and other diseases

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a grant agreement with Senegalese President Macky Sall to provide support in building a manufacturing facility for vaccines, including for COVID-19, in Senegal.

This project is a part of the new ‘Team Europe’ (EC, EIB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and EU member states) initiative, which aims to help African nations manufacture vaccines, medicines, and health technologies and reduce their dependence on imports for these products for health and pandemic response and help boost their economies.

Financing and technical assistance will be provided by the EC, the EIB, Germany, France, and Belgium, as well as other non-European partners such as the US and the World Bank Group. 

Press release - European Commission

Press release - European Investment Bank

Generation Equality Forum concludes with major financial and political commitments for gender equality

The Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, kicked off in Mexico City on March 29-31, 2021, and culminated in Paris on June 30-July 2. The Forum brought together high-level stakeholders including heads of government, corporations, and NGOs to accelerate major financial and political commitments to achieving gender equality by 2026. 

Country donors announced the following commitments:

  • Canada committed CA$180 million (US$146 million) to address the root causes of gender inequality around the world, including unpaid and paid care work in low- and middle-income countries. Canada also announced that it will commit CA$100 million (US$81 million) in new funding for stand-alone international assistance directed to inequality in unpaid and paid care work;
  • The EU committed at least €4.0 billion (US$4.9 billion) in the EU’s 2021-2027 long-term budget to be specifically dedicated to women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment. The EU also pledged to propose new legislation by the end of 2021 to combat violence against women and hate crimes against LGBTQI+ people, as well as adding all forms of hate crimes to the list of crimes in the EU treaties;
  • France committed an additional €100 million (US$122 million) in this sector for the next five years. It also announced that €250 million (US$304 million) will be mobilized by the French Development Agency (AFD) through the bilateral channel for sexual reproductive and health rights (SRHR);
  • Germany increased its commitment to women's economic empowerment initiatives by €140 million (US$166 million), bringing Germany's total commitment to the GEF to US$285 million (€240 million). US$30 million (€25 million) of that will go to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative;
  • The Netherlands pledged US$620 million to feminist organizations and movements, including supporting the Action Coalition on economic justice, the Action Coalition on bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the Action Coalition on climate justice;
  • Sweden pledged to support the implementation of the Common Agenda for Comprehensive Abortion Care and increase resources and support for existing funding mechanisms through the Action Coalition on feminist movements and leadership;
  • The UK recommitted to providing £68 million (US$91 million) to support its seven-year-long Violence Against Women and Girls Prevention program; and
  • The US pledged US$175 million to support programs against gender-based violence and to mobilize US$12.0 billion through 2025 in investments by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in businesses that advance gender equity in emerging markets through the 2X Women's Initiative.

Newsletter - Donor Tracker

News article - Forbes

News article - UN News

US House Appropriations Committee approves US foreign assistance bill for fiscal year 2022

The US House Appropriations Committee approved a US$62.2 billion bill to fund the State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill, which was passed on a party-line vote. With the approval of the agriculture appropriations bill, which provided funding for international food assistance and other small amounts in additional assistance, the total amount for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 International Affairs budget provided by House appropriators is US$64.1 billion. This represents a US$6.7 billion (12%) increase over FY 2021 levels.

The House committees' approved levels were just slightly above what US President Joe Biden had requested in his budget. Global health funding increased by 16%. The largest increase was for global health security, but other increases were made for tuberculosis, bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, and international family planning. The bill also removed long-standing restrictions to family planning programs and permanently repealed the Mexico City Policy, also known as the 'global gag rule'.

Humanitarian assistance increased by 9% to US$8.5 billion. Climate funding, including funding for the Green Climate Fund, was set at over US$3.0 billion, which was higher than Biden's budget request.

News article - USGLC

US releases COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework

In support of both the commitments made at the G7+ and in US President Joe Biden's National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness released in January 2021, the White House released its US COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework. The Framework sets forth five objectives that will support the overarching goal to end the pandemic, mitigate its negative impacts, and strengthen pandemic preparedness.

 The five objectives for the US response are:

  • Accelerate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations; 
  • Strengthen health systems in order to reduce the severe effects of COVID-19 and to better prepare for future threats;
  • Address the acute needs that COVID-19 has caused, including reducing household economic shocks and building resilience;
  • Provide economic and other support to critical systems that COVID-19 has put under stress; and
  • Bolster international health security architecture for a better response to pandemic threats.

The US effort will be a whole-of-government response and will include partnerships with both international organizations, other governments, private and non-profit sectors, and frontline communities. 

Press release - The White House

At Generation Equality Forum, US commits US$175 million to support programs against gender-based violence, increases funding toward women's economic empowerment and SRHR

At the Paris-held Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, the US made a number of policy and resource commitments, reflecting both domestic and international priorities. The commitments made were in support of US President Joe Biden's gender equality and equity agenda and centered on three areas: preventing gender-based violence, women's economic empowerment, and protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Biden's fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget included a request for US$1.2 billion for gender programming globally.

Some of the key international commitments included:

  • Updating the 2016 US strategy to combat gender-based violence and committing US$175 million to support programs against gender-based violence, as well as seeking additional resources for the DREAMS services;
  • Mobilizing US$12.0 billion through 2025 in investments by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in businesses that advance gender equity in emerging markets through the 2X Women's Initiative. The DFC pledged to establish a technical assistance program to help advance companies' efforts toward gender equity. Biden's budget also requested US$200 million for the Gender Equity and Equality Fund in FY 2022 to address issues that disproportionately affect women and girls, and Biden committed US$33 million for gender issues in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador); and 
  • Working to increase comprehensive reproductive health services for family planning, including rescinding the Mexico City Policy (also known as the 'global gag rule') and working with UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, to improve and expand such services. Biden has also proposed to increase funding to the UN Population Fund by 72% over FY 2021 levels.

US Vice President Kamala Harris served as one of the opening speakers for the GEF. In her remarks, she stressed the imperative for gender equality in order to strengthen democracy both at home and abroad.  

Press release - The White House

Transcript - The White House

US begins COVID-19 vaccine distribution to Latin America, Africa, and Asia

The US has released details regarding where 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that it plans to donate will go. Of these doses, about 14 million will go to Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 million to Asia, and about 10 million to Africa. The remaining 25% of the vaccines will go to "regional priorities". 

The 55 million doses will go primarily for distribution through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative.  

This follows the US' previous announcement that it would distribute a total of 80 million doses, with the priorities shared for the first 25 million doses earlier this month. This supply is in addition to the 500 million doses that the US pledged to give leading up to the G7 earlier in June 2021.

The White House described the logistical challenge of distributing the vaccines as "Herculean" but said it was determined to get the vaccines on the ground as quickly as possible. 

News article - Reuters

With G7 nations, Japan sets goal to raise US$15 billion deliver financial services to women

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) set a goal to raise US$15.0 billion to deliver finical services to women as part of the 'G7 2X Challenge: Financing for Women' (2X Challenge).

The 2X Challenge was founded by development finance institutions of the G7 nations for women’s economic empowerment. The COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation for women in emerging economies, and research shows that US$1.00 trillion could be lost from global growth if female workers hit hard by the pandemic do not return to the workforce. Therefore, with G7 nations, Japan and development finance institutions announced the goal of raising an additional US$15.0 billion by the end of 2022.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

USAID Administrator travels to Northern Triangle to address governance, economic, security challenges

In a visit to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—known as the Northern Triangle—the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, spoke bluntly about the fragility of democracy.

In remarks filled with symbolism during her stay in El Salvador, Power spoke to the need to strengthen democracy. The US had previously announced that, due to concerns regarding corruption and anti-democratic actions of government leaders, US assistance would be steered away from government institutions in El Salvador and instead would go directly to civil society. Speaking on the campus of Central American University—which is led by an outspoken critic of El Salvador's government—Power was clearly critical of the government's efforts to undermine democracy.

Power stated, "If corruption is allowed to run rampant, if judicial independence is not respected, if anticorruption institutions are dismantled as we have seen too often in Honduras, Guatemala and here in El Salvador, then local governments will end up stymying the aspirations and the potential of their own people.”

Power also visited Honduras and Guatemala, in part to address what the Biden administration has called the "root causes" of migration to the US, including governance as well as economic and security challenges.

News article - AP News

Press release - USAID

With G7 in mind, UK announces US$577 million to global education, US$161 million for climate emergencies, launches new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness

The UK government made a flurry of development assistance funding and policy announcements last week, taking advantage of the fact that it was hosting the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

On education, the government announced that it will provide £430 million (US$577 million) to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) over the next five years. The UK government has also confirmed that this funding will come on top of the FCDO’s (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) £400 million (US$537 million) committed bilaterally for girls’ education between 2021-2022. The British and Kenyan governments will co-host the Global Education Summit in July 2021 and the GPE is hoping to raise £3.7 billion (US$5.0 billion) over the next five years to fund its work on ensuring access to education in 90 countries.

On climate, the UK government has committed to ensuring all its bilateral development assistance does no harm to nature in response to the Dasgupta Review recommendations, to deliver a "nature positive future". The Dasgupta Review on 'The Economics of Biodiversity', which was published in early 2021, acknowledges nature and biodiversity underpin and sustain economic growth and well-being. The UK also announced £120 million (US$161 million) in new funding to enable more rapid responses to vulnerable people in the face of extreme weather and climate-linked disasters, via pre-arranged financing schemes. The package of support was announced in coordination with Germany and the US.

On global health, the UK also announced the launch of a new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness (CPP) as part of its drive for global health security leadership. The CPP will provide genomic surveillance of human and animal infections in collaboration with other partners, that can be shared globally. The UK and US also announced a new global health partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the US National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analysis, run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

News article - Devex

Press release - UK government (Climate Emergency Funding)

Press release - UK government (Nature Positive ODA)

Press release - UK government (Partnership)

At G7 Summit, Canada announces new support to low-income countries for COVID-19 vaccines, climate finance, and education

At the 47th G7 Summit from June 11-13, 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new financial and resource support to address inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, respond to the climate emergency, and support education in low-income countries.  

The resource and financial pledges included:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Sharing: Canada pledged 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be shared as part of the G7 leaders’ new collective commitment to sharing more than two billion doses to the global vaccine effort. Canada is also donating 13 million doses of the vaccine through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative. The vaccine sharing is in addition to Canada’s previous contributions of CA$2.5 billion (US$2.0 billion) in international assistance to the COVID-19 crisis and CA$1.3 billion (US$1.0 billion) contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). 
  • International Climate Finance: Canada pledged a doubling of Canada’s previous international climate finance to CA$5.3 billion (US$4.2 billion) over five years—up from CA$2.7 billion (US$2.1 billion) over five years in 2015—which includes increased support for adaptation and biodiversity to support low-income countries in cutting pollution and building climate resilience. Canada also increased its grant contribution of climate financing from 30% to 40%. These new commitments are a result of the G7 leaders’ collective commitment to increase their 2030 targets to cut the G7’s collective emissions by around half compared to 2010.
  • Support for Global Partnership for Education: Canada pledged CA$300 million (US$240 million) over five years to the Global Partnership for Education. This funding will specifically support girls’ education and help strengthen education systems in low-income countries. 

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

G7 leaders agree to provide one billion vaccine doses to low-income countries; critics say this is far from enough

The leaders attending the UK-hosted G7 Summit on June 11-13, 2021, agreed to provide one billion vaccine doses to low-income countries, with the UK committing to provide 100 million.

The communique commits to sharing at least 870 million doses directly over the next year, but it is not clear whether this is related to surplus doses only.

While the move is welcome, it has been widely criticized by civil society groups and UK opposition parties as falling far short of the mark, as the World Health Organization has estimated that 11 billion doses are needed to end the pandemic. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, from the UK Labour Party, stated that the Summit was an "unforgivable moral failure". 

News article - Devex

Biden pledges donation of 500 million COVID-19 doses ahead of G7

Ahead of the G7, US President Joe Biden pledged to donate 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and the US struck a deal to produce the doses, with distribution expected to begin in August 2021. 200 million doses should be provided by the end of this year.

In his formal remarks, Biden emphasized that the doses will be made available with no strings attached. "This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can," he said.

The G7 subsequently reached an agreement to provide a total of 870 million doses over the next year to the countries in greatest need. The distribution will be done through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative.

News article - Politico

News article - Politico

UK Prime Minister calls on G7 leaders to vaccinate the world by end of 2022

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has called for his fellow G7 leaders to commit to ambitious target of vaccinating the world by the end of 2022 at the forthcoming G7 Leaders Summit on June 11-13, 2021 in Cornwall, UK.

Johnson highlighted that in order to achieve this, G7 leaders must commit to stepping up the manufacturing of vaccines, lowering the barriers to distribution especially around costs, and sharing more surplus doses with low-income countries bilaterally and via COVAX.

The UK government is the largest donor to the COVAX initiative and will later this week announce how many surplus vaccines it will share with low-income countries.

The Prime Minister will also call at the G7 Leaders’ Summit for G7 countries to support the new Global Pandemic Radar – a global surveillance system aimed at ensuring early identification of new vaccine-resistant variants to help ensure the efficacy of vaccination programs.

Press release - UK government

 

Canada and G7 leaders must cut carbon emissions more quickly and increase climate finance, says Oxfam Canada

In advance of the 47th G7 Summit commencing on June 11, 2021, Oxfam Canada is calling on Canada and other G7 leaders to take drastic action to cut carbon emissions more quickly and increase climate finance to low-income countries.

Without more ambitious climate action, Oxfam Canada projects that Canada’s economy could shrink by 6.9% annually by 2050, while across G7 nations, climate change could cause economies to contract by an average of 8.5% annually by 2050. The human and economic impact of climate change will likely be even greater for low-income countries.

The G7 is collectively falling short on its longstanding pledge to provide US$100 billion per year to help low-income countries respond to the climate crisis. Oxfam estimates that the G7’s current commitment amounts to only US$36 billion in public climate finance by 2025. 

Canada has yet to announce an increase in its climate finance commitments, and achieving Canada’s fair share would require doubling its current climate finance pledge. As a result, Oxfam Canada is calling on Canada and its G7 partners to make this year a turning point for action against climate change by increasing climate finance.

Op-ed - Oxfam Canada

Biden administration outlines plan for global COVID-19 vaccine distribution

US President Joe Biden announced that the initial US allotment of 25 million of the promised 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made through the COVAX program.

The UN vaccine initiative had been lagging in its efforts to share vaccines with countries in need, having distributed only 76 million doses to date. The US decision is in response to a dire warning from the World Health Organization that vaccine distribution had come to "a near halt."  

Of the vaccines provided by the US, South and Central America will receive approximately 6 million doses, Asia 7 million, and Africa 5 million. The White House will direct the remaining 6 million doses to US-allied countries and UN frontline workers.

News article - AP News

G7 Health Ministers agree to clinical trials charter, strengthened approach to ONE Health, new incentives for antibiotics creation

The UK-hosted G7 Health Ministers meeting, held in Oxford on June 3-4, 2021, agreed to a set of new measures aimed at curbing future pandemics and tackling antimicrobial resistance.

The G7 health ministers agreed amongst other things to:

  • A new charter that will make it easier to share comparable and high-quality data from vaccine and therapeutic trials to assist with tackling COVID-19 and future pandemics. The charter will also enable more large-scale international trials allowing for drugs to be tested on a more diverse set of participants and it will help to avoid duplication of efforts.
  • Strengthen efforts to work together on One Health intelligence through the production of an interim report at the end of 2021 outlining how the WHO, FAO, OIE, and UNEP can work together to deliver a comprehensive set of data on emerging threats to human, animal, plant and environmental health. 
  • Establish principles to incentivize the creation of, greater access to, and the good governance of new antibiotics in response to the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.   

The G7 Health Ministers also took the opportunity to take stock of the progress that the G7 countries have made on meeting existing global health commitments. A report produced by the hosts of the G7 called the Carbis Bay Progress report showed that G7 countries have:

  • Worked with organizations and partners to strengthen health systems, with financing for general health rising from 38% in 2015 to 47% in 2019;
  • Funded partners to do more noting for example in the case of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that its health system strengthening funding grew from 21% of total spend in 2016 to 31% in 2019;
  • Supported 74 countries to strengthen the International Health Regulations which are rules for identifying a disease outbreak and stopping it from spreading; and
  • Provided support for health workers.

Finally, the UK-hosted G7 Vaccine Confidence Summit resulted in an agreement to pursue a new global campaign to build confidence in vaccines. The campaign will be taken forward by the G7 Vaccine Confidence Working Group which the UK chairs and will encourage engagement of government, NGOs, academia, and the private sector to mobilize their partners.

Press release - UK government on G7 Health Ministers Meeting

Press release - G7 Global Vaccine Confidence Summit

Communique - G7 Health Ministers’ Statement 

Report - Carbis Bay Progress Report

Oxfam Canada criticizes Canada and G7 partners on vaccine monopolies, insufficient COVID-19 response in developing countries 

Ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit from June 11-13, 2021, the People’s Vaccine Alliance and Oxfam Canada are calling on the G7 to take urgent action to close the vaccine gap between G7 states and poorer countries. 

While the G7 agreed last February to increase the global vaccine supply, they have failed to collectively back the waiver of intellectual property rules in manufacturing vaccines in low-income countries. As a result, the Alliance, Health Justice Initiative, Oxfam, and UNAIDS project that, while everyone living in G7 nations should be fully vaccinated by January 8, 2022, it would take low-income countries 57 years to reach the same rate of vaccination at the current rate. 

While some G7 leaders claim they have sufficiently supported low-income nations through funding to COVAX to support vaccine access, Oxfam Canada argued that the initiative is failing, having delivered less than a third of the doses it promised by the end of May. The Alliance warned that at the current rate, COVAX is likely to reach only 10% of people in low-income countries by the end of 2021.

Among the G7 states, only the US has backed the proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property rights, while the UK and Germany opposed it, and Canada, France, and Japan are undecided. Rather than relying solely on the COVAX initiative to support low-income countries, Oxfam Canada is calling on G7 leaders to fully support the vaccine patent waiver supported by more than 100 countries to end  pharmaceutical monopolies.

Op-ed - Oxfam Canada

Chair of G7 Pandemic Preparedness Partnership calls for key measures to ensure rapid global response to future pandemics

The chair of the UK-created G7 Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP), Sir Patrick Vallance, has called for key building blocks to be put in place to ensure a more rapid global response to future pandemics. The PPP is a public-private partnership established by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson which will report to the G7 Summit on improving global pandemic responses.

Vallance noted that the relative speed of getting a vaccine for COVID-19 was due to years of prior research into coronaviruses. He argued that the global community must learn from this and build its arsenal to be better prepared for future pandemics by:

  • Building clinical trials infrastructure across the globe;
  • Establishing a manufacturing network around the globe and ensuring easier technology transfer across the network;
  • Investing in research and development of prototype vaccines and medicines against the WHO priority pathogen list at a minimum;
  • Agreeing on new protocols on data-sharing, supply-chain movements, funding processes for R&D, and procurement or technology transfer to ensure the system functions smoothly;
  • Strengthening regulation for rapid diagnostic tests with a focus on quality and use;
  • Strengthening healthcare and public health systems and ensuring a world-class surveillance system is in place; and,
  • Investing in new technologies – like the investments made in mRNA and new modes of working to enable rapid scale-up during emergencies.

The PPP has been tasked with the target of 100 days for establishing effective, safe, and high-quality diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines produced at scale for equitable distribution. Vallance notes that the target is ambitious but it is worth aiming for and success should be measured against our progress towards achieving it.

News article - Financial Times

Biden administration proposes ambitious US foreign assistance budget

US President Biden released his full US budget for fiscal year 2022 with an ambitious US foreign assistance proposal. The budget calls for an 11% increase in spending over FY2021 levels, adding US$6.3 billion to US development and diplomacy programs. 

The budget requests US$63.7 billion for the International Affairs Budget (IAB), which funds almost all US foreign assistance. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken underscored the important link between development and diplomacy, stating that the spending request “reflects the importance the Administration places on U.S. global leadership and the fact that diplomacy and development are vital tools for advancing U.S. interests."

Some of the highlights of the budget request include:

  • Significant increase in proposed spending in global health security while maintaining level funding for other global health programs, including the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR);
  • Significant increases (230%) in climate finance, which is now also viewed as a whole-of-government, crosscutting issue for the Biden administration;
  • Funding for ender equity and equality will increase 45% to address gender-based violence as well as to promote women’s economic empowerment, and women’s and girls’ participation in peace and leadership; 
  • Development assistance to Central America will increase 70% to address the root causes of migration and poverty, expand economic development, strengthen governance, and combat corruption and violence;
  • Economic and development assistance from both the State Department and the US Agency for International Development will increase by 22%; 
  • Funding for some UN organizations will increase and the US will start to pay down accumulating recent arrears from US voluntary and assessed contributions;
  • Efforts to promote democracy will receive a proposed 18% increase in funding. 

Congress, which has already begun to work on the FY2022 budget, will soon take up individual appropriations bills in order to finish work before October 1, 2021, the beginning of the next fiscal year.  

News report - Devex

News report - USGLC

News report - Center for Global Development