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EU announces US$634 million for food security in African, Caribbean, Pacific countries

On September 24, 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced €600 million (US$634 million) for food security in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

The funding will come from European Development Fund reserves that were de-committed from the 10th and 11th iterations of the fund. Assistance will support both providing urgent humanitarian aid and building sustainable and resilient food systems. The funding allocations include: 

  • West and Central Africa: €160.5 million (US$170 million);
  • East Africa and the Great Lakes: €146 million (US$154 million);
  • Southern Africa: €76.5 million (US$81 million);
  • Caribbean: €36.5 million (US$39 million);
  • Pacific: €10 million (US$11 million);
  • Investments in sustainable agriculture and agrifood-value chains at the continental and regional levels: €52.5 million (US$55 million); and
  • Macroeconomic support to African, Caribbean, and Pacific low-income countries through concessional loans via the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust: €100 million (US$106 million)

The European Commission will also work with the international community to enable trade and exports into Africa to help address food security on the continent.

Press release - European Commission

EU pledges US$48 million over 6 years to UNFPA Supplies Partnership

On September 24, 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced an EU pledge of €45 million (US$48 million) over six years to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership during the Global Citizen Festival on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

The funding will support sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s rights for more than 20 million women and girls in 54 countries around the world.

Press release - European Commission

Press release - UNFPA

EU pledges US$710 million for 7th Global Fund Replenishment

On September 21, 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU will contribute €715 million (US$710 million) to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) for its Seventh Replenishment for 2023-2025. 

This contribution is a 30% increase from the €550 million (US$546 million) pledge the EU made to the Global Fund for 2020-2022.The pledge supplements the €150 million (US$149 million) the EU provided earlier this year to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism to provide support for personal protective equipment, diagnostic tests, and therapeutics.

Von der Leyen announced the pledge at the Global Fund’s replenishment event in New York City during the week of the UN General Assembly. The Global Fund is aiming to raise US$18 billion for 2023 - 2025;  as of September 27, 2022, the Replenishment has raised US$14.3 billion. 

With this pledge, the EU will have committed more than €3.5 billion (US$3.5 billion) to the Global Fund since it was started in 2002. 

Press release - Global Fund

Press release - European Commission 

Statement - European Commission

News article - Euractiv

EU reaffirms commitment to minimum 3% ODA increase for education at Transforming Education Summit

On September 21, 2022, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to global education at the Transforming Education Summit, including its pledge to increase the proportion of its development assistance for global education from 7% to 10%, or approximately US$540 million. 

At the summit in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the EU also highlighted the role of its Global Gateway initiative in mobilizing education investments, such as its Global Gateway Investment Package on Education, Skills and Technical and Vocational Training, which was announced at the 2022 EU-Africa Summit. 

The EU has also dedicated 10% of its humanitarian assistance to education in emergencies. It acknowledged the critical role of protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of its commitment to education. 

Press release - European Commission

Education - European Union

MEPs urge EU to strengthen support for global climate adaptation

Ahead of the September 2022 UN General Assembly (UNGA), Members of European Parliament (MEPs) passed a non-binding resolution calling for the EU to increase its efforts to fight climate change, with a focus on global climate adaptation financing goals.

MEPs noted the disproportionate impact of droughts and floods on individuals living in lower-income countries, particularly Indigenous and low-income communities. Motivated by extreme weather events on the European continent leading up to 2022, MEPs called on the EU to increase funding for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts worldwide. The resolution likewise urged the EU to strengthen its commitment to shoring up global resilience through reducing vulnerability to climate change and supporting disaster risk reduction projects.

Resolution - European Parliament

Von der Leyen's State of the Union speech largely omits global development

The war in Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis dominated European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech on September 14, 2022, with few mentions of global development beyond references to the EU’s Global Gateway investments in vaccine manufacturing in Africa. 

Von der Leyen briefly touched on what she characterized as the EU’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including securing 4 billion vaccine doses for Europeans and the rest of the world. She also mentioned the need for EU cooperation with other countries on global challenges like climate change and digitalization. Von der Leyen cited the success of similar efforts in global health, such as the Global Gateway investment initiative, which she announced in the 2021 State of the Union speech. She noted the initiative's capacity building in mRNA vaccine manufacturing in Rwanda and Senegal.

The speech contained far fewer policy announcements than the 2021 iteration, with the surprising omission of many issues, such as the global food security crisis, which von der Leyen only addressed in response to questions from the Members of the European Parliament following the speech.

Speech - European Commission

News article - Euractiv

News article - Politico

Team Europe delivered US$50.4 billion to support partner countries’ COVID-19 pandemic response through 2021

The European Commission announced on September 13, 2022, that Team Europe had delivered €47.7 billion (US$50.4 billion), or 88% of its commitment to provide €53.7 billion (US$56.7 billion) by the end of 2021, to support EU partner countries with COVID-19 response. 

Funding amounts were calculated as of December 31, 2021. Included in this funding, the European Commission provided €16.6 billion (US$17.5 billion) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided €12 billion (US$12.7 billion), for a total contribution of €28.7 billion (US$30.3 billion) from the EU Institutions.

Team Europe, which is composed of the EU Institutions, EU member states, and European financial institutions, mobilized global COVID-19 response funding to provide support for the emergency response to humanitarian needs; strengthening health, water, and sanitation systems; and mitigating the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Press release - European Commission

Factsheet - European Commission

Ukrainian CSOs call for 30% increase in EU support to Global Fund

Ukrainian CSOs organized a flash mob in front of the European Commission’s headquarters, to draw attention to an open letter calling for the EU to increase its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) by 30% for the fund’s seventh replenishment for 2024-2026. 

The letter, signed by more than 100 Ukrainian and international CSOs, highlighted the Global Fund's support for Ukraine to address its high HIV and tuberculosis (TB) disease burden. It also expressed the organizations’ solidarity with those around the world suffering from the impacts of these diseases. 

The Commission’s commitment to the Global Fund’s previous replenishment for 2021-2023 was €550 million (US$581 million). It also committed €150 million (US$158 million) in May 2022 to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism. The Commission is the Global Fund’s seventh-largest public donor. 

Letter - Ukrainian Civil Society Organizations

Press release - European Commission

EIB addresses concerns about funding diversions resulting from focus on Ukraine

As the European Investment Bank (EIB) grows its support for reconstruction in Ukraine, low-income countries have raised questions about the bank’s ability to honor its global commitments in other geographies.

On September 6, 2022, the head of the new EIB Global branch Markus Berndt disputed the notion that the EIB will step back from its other commitments, citing ongoing investment in projects to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa, though no specific partner countries were mentioned.

Concerns about potential funding diversions reflect the hard-felt impacts of the war in Ukraine on low-income countries, particularly in food security and energy. Efforts to quell these concerns are apparent in the EIB board's June 2022 approval of €6 billion (US$6.3 billion) for ramping up the bank’s investments in these areas. 

In a separate statement, EIB President Werner Hoyer noted the need to justify the scale of the bank’s financing for Ukraine to low-income countries to mitigate perceptions that these crises are caused by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) sanctions, rather than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

News article - Devex

'Action must accompany EU sustainability goals,' says Dutch Finance Minister

In a speech at the Bruegel Annual Meeting in Brussels on September 6, 2022, Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag highlighted the importance of public and private investment in climate mitigation, calling for direct action and funding to accompany the ambitious goals of governments and firms. 

Minister Kaag started her speech by highlighting the importance of common European climate policy, such as the Fit for 55 package that aims to align current laws with the 2030 and 2050 ambitions. She then continued to note the importance of EU funds, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) which requires member states to spend 37% of funds on green measures, and that at least 30% of funding from the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the RRF together must contribute to climate goals.

However, Kaag emphasized the insufficiency of EU funds and called on member states to allocate sufficient funding for climate change mitigation, referencing the Dutch commitment of US$38 billion to the domestic energy transition from 2021-2031.

Minister Kaag also encouraged the financial sector to generate change in polluting industries through more sustainable and responsible investment. She likewise noted growing calls among stakeholders for transparency from banks, insurers, or pension funds as they adopt more sustainable practices. Moreover, the Minister emphasized the stabilizing impact of climate change mitigation for the sector itself.

Speech – Dutch Government

Italian CSOs urge government to finalize common agricultural policy strategic plan

On September 5, 2022, 17 Italian CSOs issued a joint statement asking the Italian government to revive and conclude discussions regarding the country's Strategic Plan on the common agricultural policy (CAP).

The EU's CAP program is designed to strengthen the relationship between agriculture and society with a strong focus on farmers. In 2021, the EU decided to reform the CAP; countries will implement new strategic plans on January 1, 2023. 

While seven European countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain) have already received approval from the European Commission, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture has not submitted its revised plan.

In the statement, the CSOs asked the government to share its revised plan. The CSOs additionally called upon the government to address the European Commission's 40 pages of feedback through collaboration with all relevant CSOs at both the national and local levels, a crucial step to ensuring Italy’s agricultural strategy aligns with broader environmental goals set in the EU’s Green Deal, Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, and Farm to Fork Strategy.

The Ministry of Agriculture promised that the new Strategic Plan will be submitted to the European Commission by the end of September 2022. 

Press release  Cambiamo Agricoltura (in Italian)

EU should 'defend domestic interests while building bridges with Africa as equals,' says European Internal Market Commissioner

During a keynote speech at Eindhoven University of Technology on September 5, 2022, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said the EU will remain open and committed to international trade, and that its approach to global powers and regional actors will be to partner as equals. Breton specifically mentioned Africa and Asia, but failed to elaborate on partnerships with specific actors in these areas.

While speaking about what he called the ‘geopolitics of supply chains,’ Breton said Europe should be more assertive in guarding its interests, while acting as a credible partner that "builds bridges" around the world and brings something to the table. 

Speech - European Commission

European Commission to announce climate adaptation finance pledge at COP27

On September 5, 2022, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans gave a speech at the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam, in which he stated that he will push for more climate adaptation financing from the Commission.

Timmermans added that, while the Summit invite came too late for the Commission to prepare a pledge in time, the EU should be able to make a new pledge at COP27; he also spoke about the potential for Africa to be a renewable energy powerhouse by shoring up solar and wind.

Speech - European Commission

EIB to triple global climate adaptation finance by 2025, focus on African countries

European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer spoke about the bank’s plans to partner with African countries and triple its climate adaptation finance by 2025 during the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam on September 5, 2022; the move equates to investing around US$25 billion in countries in Africa by 2025. 

The summit, organized by the Global Center for Adaptation (GCA), convened UN, government, and business leaders for the first global summit of its kind.

In his opening remarks, Hoyer discussed the EIB’s plans to invest in climate adaptation projects across the African continent as a part of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). The program, created by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GCA, aims to scale up climate adaptation finance in Africa by US$25 billion by 2025. 

The EIB’s Climate Adaptation Plan enables it to scale up investments and take on more risk while focusing on countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Press release - EIB

Speech - EIB

Netherlands considers EU proposal to alter farm data reporting requirements

In June 2022, the European Commission submitted a proposal to expand EU Member States’ obligation to provide information about farm sustainability indicators. The Netherlands generally supports the proposal, though there are some concerns around proposal elements, such as introducing a farm ID, special surveys, legally requiring farms to provide the requested information, and requiring the EU Member States to give financial compensation to agricultural companies.

Since 1965, all EU Member States are legally required to collect, verify, and submit economic and accounting data about agricultural holdings. Each year, information from more than 80,000 farms across the EU is entered into the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Recently, the European Commission proposed to convert the FADN into a Farm Sustainability Data Network (IDL). The amendment aims to provide environmental and social data on farms in addition to economic and accounting data. The proposal is estimated to enter into force in 2025.

The Dutch Interministerial Working Group for the Assessment of New Commission Proposals (BNC) expressed support for the aim of the amendment. In its technical sheet, the BNC recognized the importance of 'relevant and reliable data and accompanying sustainability and social policies.' At the same time, the working group expressed concerns about some of the accompanying changes outlined in the proposal.

First, it questioned the feasibility of introducing unique ‘farm IDs’ to enable links with other integrated agricultural statistics and information systems used by other member states. It also noted a lack of concrete outcomes regarding how proposed links will improve policymaking and evaluation, and guarantee participating companies’ privacy.

The working group believed existing regulations and opportunities for ad-hoc and periodic data collection in the European agricultural sector are sufficient, and expressed concerns that proposed 'special surveys' would increase administrative burdens. Similarly, the Netherlands questioned the necessity of a provision requiring farms to provide information, as most provide sufficient data voluntarily.

Finally, the working group expressed doubts about the proposal’s suggestion for member states to offer financial compensation for farmers’ participation, citing differences in member state data collection methods as grounds for different criteria for compensation.

The Netherlands remained open to the proposed legal requirements, however, if other member states find them important.

Article – AgriHolland (in Dutch)

Report – Dutch Interministerial Working Group (in Dutch)

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

Democracy, inclusivity should be at heart of EU development assistance, says think tank

The EU’s new development instrument, the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) - Global Europe, should put democracy at the center of its programming by being more inclusive and participatory, argues Carnegie Europe. Decision-making about development funding should not be imposed on EU partner countries.

The think tank suggests that policy dialogue should be conducted not just at the executive level but should also include more democratic actors, such as parliaments, trade unions, and political parties, particularly around budget support, one of the EU’s main financing modalities.

Carnegie Europe also argues for fostering increased women’s political participation, particularly for gender strategies. 

White Paper - Carnegie Europe

EU’s global health clinical trials partnership publishes 2021 annual report

The EU’s partnership for funding global health research and research capacity building in 'sub-Saharan Africa', the European Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), has published its annual report for 2021. 

According to the annual report, EDCTP’s grants portfolio totaled €814 million (US$860 million) for 435 projects in 2021, including 140 collaborative clinical research projects, 90 capacity development projects, and 205 fellowships. EDCTP also launched a Global TB Vaccine Research & Development (R&D) Roadmap to help coordinate global efforts on developing tuberculosis vaccines.

Report - EDCTP

Leaked internal report calls for ‘transactional’ approach to EU foreign assistance in African countries

A leaked internal report from EU delegations in Africa called for a more transactional approach to providing EU development assistance to African countries by tying it to those countries’ support for “common values and a joint vision.”

The document was overseen by the head of the EU delegation to the African Union and was shared with Brussels-based diplomats in the European External Action Service (EEAS).

While the European Commission previously maintained that the war in Ukraine will not impact the level of assistance provided to African countries, the report acknowledged that as the war drags on, the conflict will inevitably impact resource levels.

The report came amidst a backdrop of ambivalent responses from African countries to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with many refraining to support a UN condemnation. Additionally, some African leaders expressed concern that EU sanctions against Russia are contributing to the global food crisis despite EU leaders’ assurances that the sanctions do not target the agricultural sector. 

News article - Devex