Policy Updates

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Donor Tracker to host webinar on donors’ international COVID-19 response following Global Goal Summit pledges

On July 2, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), Donor Tracker will host a second webinar on donor countries’ international COVID-19 responses following the Global Goal Summit. The Summit, held on June 27, raised US$6.9 billion for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

The Donor Tracker's expert team will analyze the Summit's outcomes and discuss implications for donor countries’ further international responses to the pandemic.

Registration - Zoom 

UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security prepares to push for stronger pandemic response by UN Security Council

The 'Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security' at the UN - co-chaired by Canada, Denmark, Sierra Leone, South Korea, and Qatar - held its second official meeting and discussed its activity plans for 2020. According to a South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, the group agreed to deliver its joint remarks at the Security Council High-level Open Debate on “Pandemics and Security” on July 2, 2020, with a coordinated message emphasizing the need to strengthen global cooperation and solidarity on COVID-19 response which is a threat to global health, peace, and safety.

The group also agreed in the meeting to reach out to the UN Secretary-General for the active cooperation of the UN secretariat and to hold a high-level event on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in September 2020 on global health and security.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Canada's IDRC announces ten research projects in response to COVID-19

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has announced ten new research projects that aim to tackle the "health and social challenges created and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic". Each project involves Canadian and international researchers from the Global South. 

The projects emerged from a collaboration between IDRC and the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity. Details of each of the ten projects will be released in the coming weeks.

Press release - IDRC

Canada announces US$68 million for global sexual and reproductive health and rights

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced CAD94 million (US$67 million) in sexual and reproductive health funding for the most marginalized and vulnerable women globally. This investment will go to partners working to progress sexual and reproductive health and rights including:

  • Comprehensive sex education;
  • Advocacy; 
  • Family planning and contraceptives; and
  • Sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response.

Supported programming will advocate for womens' right to choose a safe and legal abortion. 

A portion of this funding was already announced by Canada in June 2019.  

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada loses bid for UN Security Council seat

After an "intense and costly" effort, Canada failed to win a temporary seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Instead, Norway (130 votes) and Ireland (128 votes) secured the two available spots. Canada obtained 108 votes, 20 short of what was required to win a seat.

Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued a statement saying that Canadian values of "peace, freedom, democracy and human rights" were promoted throughout the entirety of the campaign and that the process allowed Canada to strengthen its bilateral relationships. Opposition leaders have been critical of Trudeau's approach. 

News article - CBC

Canadian Armed Forces support humanitarian responses to COVID-19

In response to a request from the United Nations, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will provide airlift support for the transportation of essential medical and humanitarian supplies to and from distribution hubs across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The CAF working on behalf of the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO) to keep essential supply chains open in vulnerable regions. 

This response aligns with Canada's ongoing efforts to provide humanitarian support to those most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Press release- Global Affairs Canada 

Canada's International Development Research Centre funds research on COVID-19 in low-income countries

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has launched a rapid policy-relevant research response to better understand the unprecedented development challenges created by COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries. The IDRC is funding research efforts by 25 think tanks, networks, and consortia in low-income countries generating evidence-based recommendations for how governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations can most effectively respond to the crisis in low-income countries.

Research is focused on the following three themes: 

  1. Economic policies mitigating impacts of the pandemic;
  2. Public and private sector measures supporting vulnerable group and promoting gender equality during the pandemic; and
  3. Responses to protect democratic freedoms and security throughout the pandemic.

The IDRC plans to publish research findings in the coming months. 

Press release - IDRC

CIDP quantifies impact of COVID-19 on Canadian development spending

Canada's International Development Platform (CIDP) has analyzed the impacts of COVID-19 on Canadian development spending, specifically how COVID-19 is affecting new development projects and the pace of government contracting.

March marks the end of the Canadian fiscal year, making it typically an important month for development project commitments and contracting. In March 2020, however, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) recorded a 90% slowdown in new development projects.

Analysis - CIDP

Canada pledges US$429 million at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: 20% increase from 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) in London on June 4, 2020, Canada reiterated its May pledge of CAD600 million (US$429 million) for the period of 2021-2025. This represents a 20% increase from Canada’s most recent pledge to Gavi in 2015.

Canada announced the pledge at the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security virtual meeting in mid-May of 2020, several weeks prior to the Global Vaccine Summit. 

Since 2002, Canada has provided more than CAD1 billion (US$716 billion) in funding to Gavi, including CAD500 million (US$358 million) for the current period (from 2016 to 2020). Canada was represented at the Summit by Prime Minister Trudeau who has been an outspoken advocate for international action on vaccine development.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

At Gavi's Global Vaccine Summit, world leaders exceed funding target with historic US$8.8 billion

Representatives of 52 countries, including 35 heads of state, joined the June 5, 2020, Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to raise a total of US$8.8 billion in financing for childhood immunizations and vaccine infrastructure. World leaders, meeting with representatives of 12 organizations and corporations for the London-based pledging moment, hoped to reach a US$7.4 billion funding target. By the time the pledging ended, the target had been overshot by US$1.4 billion.

Against the backdrop of a still-raging COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and laid waste to the global economy, attendees of the summit spoke passionately about the need for global cooperation and solidarity in ensuring that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, once developed, be accessible to all.

The US$8.8 billion will support Gavi's campaign to vaccinate 300 million children in the world's poorest countries against diseases including diphtheria, polio, and measles by 2025. Disruptions to Gavi's regular immunization activities, caused by COVID-19, have endangered an estimated 80 million children under one year old. The funding will also bolster Gavi's efforts in strengthening health systems in low-income states which have been ravaged by the pandemic and will help build out infrastructure to support the eventual provision of a vaccine against the virus.

A further US$567 million was also raised for 'Gavi Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines' (Gavi Covax AMC), a new financing instrument designed to provide access to the eventual COVID-19 vaccine specifically in low- and middle-income countries.

“To beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs more than breakthrough science. It needs breakthrough generosity,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “...When COVID-19 vaccines are ready, this funding and global coordination will ensure that people all over the world will be able to access them.”

Press release - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Canada pledges US$30 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced CAD40 million (US$30 million) to address the resurgence of cholera, malaria, dengue fever, and diphtheria in Yemen during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the significant level of need in Yemen, 75% of United Nations (UN) programs have already shut down because of underfunding and a further 30 out of 41 key programs left may be forced to close in the coming weeks unless significant funding commitments are made.

Gould made this announcement at a pledging conference hosted by the UN and Saudi Arabia, which aimed to raise US$2.4 billion for underfunded humanitarian programs run by UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in Yemen.

News article - CBC

Canada announces US$19 million for Venezuelan refugees

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced CAD27 million (US$19 million) in assistance to support Venezuelan refugees and migrants during the COVID-19 crisis. TheUN estimates that to date, five million people have fled Venezuela in search of safety and protection; the majority are being hosted in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating the challenges faced by these migrants and refugees including access to food, shelter, health care, and work. 

Gould announced this funding at the online International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. The European Union and Spain convened the conference and it was attended by more than 40 countries. As a result of the conference, countries pledged a total of US$2.8 billion toward efforts to protect Venezuelan refugees of which US$653 million will be disbursed as grants.

News article – CBC

Canada's Trudeau convenes high-level event on financing for COVID-19

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, in collaboration with the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, convened an event focused on development financing during the COVID-19 crisis. The event was attended by over 50 leaders.

The event focused on six key areas of finance mobilization for the global response to and recovery from COVID-19:
1.    Liquidity in the global economy;
2.    Debt vulnerabilities;
3.    Private sector engagement;
4.    External finance and remittances for inclusive growth and job creation;
5.    Illicit financial flows; and
6.    Alignment of recovery policies with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Press release – Prime Minister of Canada

Canada announces US$219 million for global humanitarian crises

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced CAD306 million (US$219 million) to respond to "annual humanitarian appeals issued by United Nations (UN) humanitarian agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)."

This funding will be used to support conflict affected regions and communities facing acute food insecurity. It will fund the provision of food, clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, health care, shelter, and protection services.The humanitarian assistance aligns with Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy, which particularly focuses on the unique needs of women and girls.

Funding will be distributed as follows:

  • CAD178 million (US$127 million) for UN humanitarian agencies;
  • CAD75 million (US$54 million) for NGOs; and
  • CAD54 million (US$38 million) for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

South Korea launches international group at UN to strengthen global solidarity and health security

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on May 12, 2020, the launch of the 'UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security'.

Co-chaired by South Korea, Canada, Denmark, Qatar, and Sierra Leone with participation from other UN member states, the group aims to strengthen the UN’s response and cooperation on global health security issues such as COVID-19. The group of friends will serve as a key platform to promote human security and minimize the impact of global health security challenges on areas such as development, peace, and human rights, all based on solidarity and cooperation. However, key countries such as the US and China have not formally joined the group.

In addition to the UN Group of Friends, South Korea plans to form similar groups within the WHO and UNESCO by the end of May. The group at WHO will focus on promoting cooperation to fight contagious diseases and the group at UNESCO will concentrate on civil education related to global solidarity.

News article – KBS World

News article – TBS Seoul

South Korea launches international groups to strengthen global solidarity and health security

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on May 12 the launch of the 'UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security'. Co-chaired by South Korea, Canada, Denmark, Qatar, and Sierra Leone with participation from other UN member states, the group aims to strengthen the UN’s response and cooperation on global health security issues such as COVID-19. The group of friends will serve as a key platform to promote human security and minimize the impact of global health security challenges on areas such as development, peace, and human rights, all based on solidarity and cooperation. However, key countries such as the US and China have not formally joined the group.

In addition to the UN Group of Friends, South Korea plans to form similar groups within the WHO and UNESCO by the end of May. The group at WHO will focus on promoting cooperation to fight contagious diseases and the group at UNESCO will concentrate on civil education related to global solidarity.

 

News article – KBS World

News article – TBS Seoul

Canada stresses importance of peace during COVID-19 crisis

Canada's  Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, and Sierra Leone's Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Francis M. Kai-Kai, who together co-chair the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), released a statement on the importance of maintaining and promoting peace in fragile and conflict-affected states. These states are at increased risk of experiencing "destabilizing socio-economic impacts" as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The statement articulates IDPS' position on the pandemic response and puts forth key areas of focus for the IDPS moving forward. The IDPS:

  1. Supports the United Nations' call for a global ceasefire and is working closely with the g7+ group of fragile and conflict-affected states and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and State-building to respond to the pandemic;
  2. Is committed to advocating for COVID-19 response efforts that advance priorities established by IDPS members in the IDPS 2019 to 2021 Peace Visionthe 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Agenda, the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, and the Stockholm Declaration;
  3. Encourages governments to respond to COVID-19 in a "just and inclusive" way that considers youth, women peacebuilders, and human rights defenders; and
  4. Will "galvanize support from the private sector" in efforts to promote peacebuilding activities.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada announces funding for global vaccinations

At the launch of the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security on May 12th, 2020, Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, announced funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Canada committed CAD600 million (US$428 million) to the third replenishment of Gavi and CAD48 million (US$34 million) annually over four years to support the GPEI’s 'end-game strategy', which aims to provide "regular routine immunizations for hundreds of million children around the world". These investments will assist the World Health Organization (WHO), the GPEI, Gavi, and other key partners to ensure routine immunization in the world's most vulnerable countries. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada's international pandemic response must reflect Canadian values, experts argue

Experts from civil society are calling on Canada's leaders to ensure that the country's international response to COVID-19 is reflective of Canadian values. This means:

  • Prioritizing feminist development assistance;
  • Standing up for human rights;
  • Making longer-term commitments;
  • Building humanitarian response into development programming;
  • Increasing ODA resources;
  • Canceling debt payments this year for the poorest countries;
  • Partnering  with a diverse array of stakeholders; and
  • Supporting an"equitable, resilient, and sustainable recovery". 

The latest issue of 'Policy Options', the digital magazine published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), focuses on Canada's response to the COVID-19 crisis. Contributing writers are sharing their analyses and insights on how Canada can "best navigate the turmoil of COVID-19 as it unfolds" paying particular attention to Canada's international assistance commitments.

Op-ed - Policy Options

Full issue - Policy Options 

Canada's Trudeau pledges US$609 million at Coronavirus Global Response conference; sum is from funds already allocated but "more to come"

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in the May 4, 2020, Coronavirus Global Response conference, announcing a pledge of US$609 million for the international effort to combat COVID-19. These funds will be used to finance treatment and vaccine development efforts by Canadian researchers and for contributions to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The US$609 million referenced by Trudeau at the pledging conference is part of previously announced funding. When asked about Canada's decision not to make a larger contribution, Trudeau said there would be “more to come”.

News article - ipolitics

News article - CBC