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Team Europe to provide US$32 million in financing for health system development in Rwanda

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a €22 million (US$26 million) loan, complemented by a €5 million (US$6 million) grant from the EU, for the Rwanda Biomedical Center to help the Rwandan National Health Laboratory develop its diagnostic, surveillance, and research capabilities. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will partner with Rwanda to redevelop the National Health Laboratory, Rwanda's central health implementation agency in Kigali, which will result in enhanced medical diagnostic tools and research in the region. 

The €27 million (US$32 million) Team Europe investment in epidemic and pandemic preparedness in Rwanda was announced in Kigali at the Second African Union-European Union ministerial meeting. This funding is the largest EIB financing provided for health in East Africa.

Press release - European Investment Bank

European Council leaders encourage Commission to reduce COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing barriers

During the conclusion of the European Council meeting, which took place from October 21 - 22, 2021, EU leaders called on the European Commission to engage with vaccine manufacturers to quickly remove obstacles impeding the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines; leaders hope to enable EU member states to rapidly deliver vaccines to countries most in need of assistance.

EU leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the global COVID-19 response and access to vaccines for all. They said the EU will continue to support both production and uptake of vaccines in EU partner countries.

Press release - European Council

European Parliament adopts climate position for COP26, focuses on climate finance

The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted its position for the UN COP26 climate talks, which will take place in Glasgow from October 31 - November 12, 2021; the adopted position calls for the EU to remain a world leader in fighting climate change and will encourage high-income countries to improve climate finance for partner countries.

The resolution urged donor countries to deliver on their promise to provide at least US$100.0 billion per year in climate finance to support the green transition in target countries. It also calls for the European Commission to create an international climate club with other major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) to set common standards, raise global climate ambition, and create a common carbon border adjustment mechanism. 

Press release - European Parliament

NGOs call on Canada to fulfill COVID-19 vaccine donation promises, suspend intellectual property rights

Canada has taken over 970,000 doses from COVAX, the World Health Organization's vaccine alliance, for its own use, while delivering only 3.2 million – or 8% – of the 40 million doses it promised.

The US has delivered the largest quantity of donated doses - nearly 177 million - and yet, this number is merely 16% of the 1.1 billion promised. Meanwhile, the EU and countries including Germany and the UK, have refused to support the proposal by over 100 nations to waive patents on vaccines and COVID-19 - related technologies.

Preceding the G20 summit in Rome this week, the People’s Vaccine alliance – which consists of 77 members including ActionAid, the African Alliance, Oxfam, and UNAIDS – is calling on rich countries to:

  • Deliver on promises to donate COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries;
  • Immediately redistribute existing vaccines equitably across all nations; and,
  • Suspend intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines, tests, and treatments by agreeing to the proposed waiver of the TRIPS Agreement at the World Trade Organization.

​​​​Op-ed - Oxfam Canada 

US climate envoy, Kerry, calls on leaders to back climate commitments before COP26

Ahead of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, John Kerry, the US envoy for climate change, declared more must be done to meet needed targets to cut coal, gas, and oil emissions.

Kerry, who has spent the last year negotiating with world leaders on climate diplomacy, is encouraged by steps the European Union, Japan, and others have taken, but is concerned that some of the largest polluters have not pledged enough. 

The UN's COP26 climate summit will take place from October 31 - November, 12, 2021.

Kerry has plans for last-minute climate diplomacy talks in Mexico and Saudi Arabia before the two-week summit. Kerry will face the possibility that the US Congress, with a slim Democratic majority, will not support the necessary legislation and funding to back US commitments. Kerry remains optimistic, however, that Congress will act "responsibly."

News report - AP

EU commits US$1.2 billion in emergent humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

The European Commission announced a €1.0 billion (US$1.2 billion) humanitarian assistance package for Afghanistan, which will include €250 million (US$294 million) for “humanitarian plus” support for local Afghan populations with urgent needs, particularly in the health sector.

The “humanitarian plus” support will be funded by the EU’s Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe (NDICI - Global Europe) and will be channeled to international organizations working in-country.

Press release - European Commission

Members of European Parliament suggest US$235 million top-up to Health Cluster budget with surplus funding

Budget Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) agreed that half of the unused funding from Horizon 2020, the 2014-2020 EU research program, should be allocated to health research in the current program for 2021-2027, Horizon Europe, giving the Health Cluster budget a €200 million (US$235 million) boost.

The MEPs said the funding should be used for health research in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Health Cluster top-up proposal makes up part of the Parliament’s position on the 2022 EU budget. Parliament will vote on the overall annual budget position on October 20, 2021, after which MEPs will begin negotiations with member states in the Council of the EU.

News article - Science|Business

European Commission proposes US$530 million top-up in 2021 budget to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts

The European Commission proposed to amend the 2021 EU budget to give a €450 million (US$530 million) boost to the Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI - Global Europe) to accelerate the global COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The EU committed to sharing 250 million vaccine doses and is prepared to provide an additional 200 million doses to lower- and middle-income countries through COVAX, the global COVID-19 vaccine procurement facility, by mid-2022. To donate the additional doses, the EU will need €1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion), of which €850 million (US$1 billion) can be leveraged from the current budget. An amended budget will provide the additional financing needed to fill the gap by mobilizing the EU Flexibility Instrument.

Q&A - European Commission

Draft amending budget - European Commission

EU ministers agree on joint position for COP26, focusing on climate finance for mitigation and adaptation strategies

Ministers in the Council of the EU adopted conclusions establishing the EU’s joint position for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, including a call for increased international climate finance mobilization that better balances mitigation and adaptation action.

Combined, the EU and its member states are the world’s largest providers of both development assistance and climate finance, providing more than one-third of global public climate finance.

Conclusions - Council of the EU

Dutch government pledges US$87 million to CGIAR at Global Citizen Live concert

The Dutch Government announced it will donate €75 million (US$87 million) to CGIAR for 2022-2024 to help develop sustainable food systems, support smallholder farms, and improve water management. 

The Dutch donation was announced by Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, simultaneously with the European Commission and Belgian government pledges during the Global Citizen concert on September 25, 2021.

Press Release - CGIAR

EU ministers establish public-private research partnerships, including clinical trial collaboration in sub-Saharan Africa

Research ministers in the Council of the EU reached an agreement on the legislative basis for nine public-private partnerships on research and innovation (R&I) under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research program for 2021-2027. The program includes a partnership on clinical trials in Africa.

The European Commission’s European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a partnership that includes participating EU and African countries. Horizon Europe includes the third iteration of EDCTP, called EDCTP3 or the EU-Africa Global Health Partnership, which focuses on poverty-related infectious diseases affecting sub-Saharan Africa. EDCTP has historically been a public-public partnership but the new EDCTP3 will be public-private, meaning industry will also participate.

News article - Science|Business

Council of EU adopts new international research and innovation strategy

EU research ministers in the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on the EU’s new global approach to research and innovation (R&I); they called for strengthening the EU’s global role, focusing on shared values and principles, ensuring reciprocity in cooperation, and balancing openness with prudence. 

The Council conclusions stress the importance of seeking symbiotic partnerships with the EU’s external action programs, including the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI-Global Europe), especially for building R&I capacity in partner countries. The Council also calls on the European Commission to work with the African Union (AU) Commission and EU and AU member states to develop a joint EU-AU Research and Innovation Agenda.

The EU will host an international conference in early 2022 with key international partners on shared values and principles in global R&I cooperation. 

Press release - Council of the EU

Conclusions - Council of the EU

UK reports on achievements of 2011-2021 international climate finance investments; commits US$15.6 billion for next five years

The UK's recently released Corporate Report, '2021 UK Climate Finance Results' provides an overview of achievements from the UK's portfolio of International Climate Finance (ICF) investments between April 2011 and March 2021. According to the report, during this period the UK provided £9.6 billion (US$12.9 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) focused on helping low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) to:

  • Adapt to the current and future effects of climate change; 
  • Follow low-carbon economic growth; 
  • Assist with sustainable management of natural resources; 
  • Improve access to clean energy; and, 
  • Reduce deforestation.

The report estimates that the UK's ICF programs have:

  • Provided direct support to 88 million people to help them with the impacts of climate change; 
  • Improved 41 million individuals’ access to clean energy; 
  • Helped to reduce or avoid 180 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions; and, 
  • Mobilized £5.2 billion (US$7.2 billion) in public and £3.3 billion (US$4.6 billion) in private finance for climate change purposes in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs).

The UK has committed to increasing its ICF to £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between April 2021 and March 2026 — a doubling compared to its previous five-year commitment. 

Report - 2021 International Climate Finance Results

EU Commission commits US$165 million to CGIAR and US$29 million to ECW at Global Citizen Live

The European Commission announced new commitments of €140 million (US$165 million) to CGIAR, a global partnership on agriculture and food security research and development (R&D), and €25 million (US$29 million) to the UN Education Cannot Wait (ECW) global education fund at the Global Citizen Live concert on September 25, 2021.

CGIAR brings together organizations around the globe that conduct R&D to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve health and nutrition, and foster the sustainable management of natural resources. 

The EU is a founding supporter of ECW, a global fund to finance education during humanitarian crises for crisis-affected children. The Commission has committed nearly €53 million (US$62 million) in total to ECW since its inception in 2016.

Press release - European Commission

Impact report - Global Citizen

EU and US announce joint COVID-19 vaccination plan and support new Financial Intermediary Fund

The US and the EU announced a new partnership to expand cooperation on global COVID-19 vaccination efforts. 

The ‘U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic: Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now, and Building Back Better Health Security’ outlines five pillars of joint US-EU commitments:

  1. vaccine sharing;
  2. vaccine readiness;
  3. bolstering global vaccine supply and therapeutics;
  4. proposal to achieve global health security; and
  5. a partners' roadmap for regional vaccine production.

The US and the EU have committed to donating more than 1.1 billion and 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, respectively. Both entities will support organizations in vaccine delivery and promote the equitable distribution of vaccines. Through their recently launched Joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce, the US and the EU will support vaccine manufacturing and distribution by resolving supply chain issues among other tasks. They call on other partners to support their efforts. 

The US and the EU will both support and help sustainably capitalize the establishment of a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) overseen by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of 2021; the fund will support global pandemic surveillance and will cooperate to expedite the development of new vaccines. They will also coordinate investments in regional manufacturing capacity in low and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) for vaccines and treatments. 

Press release - European Commission

News article - Politico

Sweden takes first place in Center for Global Development's ranking of high-income countries' committment to development

The Center for Global Development, an independent thinktank, published their Commitment to Development Index, (CDI) which measures development policy engagement in 40 major economies. The report consolidates key findings in development finance, investment, migration, trade, environment, health, security, and technology.

The CDI, rooted in "genuine policy effort" relative to country size, added health as a new component this year, taking into account pandemic preparedness as well as other health issues like pollutant concentration and prevention of medication resistance. 

Key findings included:

  • Sweden ranked first in overall development efforts, with top spots in both environmental and migration policies;
  • The UK slipped back to fifth place overall, suggesting a general decline in its development superpower status;
  • China ranked 36th and struggled with migration, security, and a lack of transparency;
  • The US dropped from 18th to 22nd in overall development commitments, indicating fallout from Trump-era policies;
  • France ranked second overall, the highest of the G7 countries;
  • Norway placed third overall with strong performances in development finance and migration; and
  • Australia moved up to fourth place following the introduction of health measurement indicators.

The CDI celebrated successful development policies and made recommendations for improvement for each of the countries it evaluated.

Commitment to Development Index - Center for Global Development

US and EU to reduce methane emissions by one-third by 2030, Biden says

United States President, Joe Biden, held a virtual summit with global leaders to address responses to harmful methane emissions; Biden announced that the US and Europe agreed to cut global methane emissions by one-third by 2030 and similarly urged other nations to join the "global methane pledge.” 

Biden welcomed representatives from the EU, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russian, Korea, India, Mexico, and the United Nations Secretary-General, to the event. Notably absent were the president of China, although he did send an envoy, and Brazil. 

The meeting precedes the UN's Climate Change Conference, COP26, which will take place in November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Biden called the reduced methane emissions target “ambitious but realistic” and also pledged that the US will assist lower-income countries in meeting the new target. 

News report - The New York Times

 

Team Europe disbursed US$40 billion to EU partner countries in COVID-19 response

Team Europe has disbursed €34 billion (US$40 billion) to EU partner countries since the COVID-19 crisis began to support pandemic responses as of April 2021.

Team Europe’s total pledged support package thus far has grown from €20 billion (US$23.5 billion) in spring 2020 to €46 billion (US$54.1 billion).

The funding targets the following areas: 

  • Emergency response to humanitarian needs: €1.8 billion (US$2.1 billion)
  • Strengthening health, water, and sanitation systems: €6.3 billion (US$7.2 billion)
  • Mitigating social and economic consequences of the pandemic: €25.8 billion (US$30.4 billion) 

Team Europe consists of the European Commission (EC), European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and EU member states. 

Press release - European Commission

European Commission proposes new EU Health Authority (HERA)

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, gave her State of the European Union speech on September 15, 2021; the European Commission subsequently released its legislative proposal on September 16 addressing the new EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), which was announced during the speech, to strengthen the EU’s cross-border health capacities. 

The EU's long-term budget will provide HERA with €6 billion (US$7.1 billion) in funds for the next six years. Von der Leyen additionally proposed mobilizing an investment of €50 billion (US$58.8 billion) by 2027 from Team Europe through a new health preparedness and resilience mission. 

The EC proposal calls for HERA's establishment under the European Commission as opposed to a separate agency to enable full operation of the project beginning in early 2022.

The HERA proposal emphasizes the international dimension of public health threats more urgently than the initial impact assessment. HERA aims to closely collaborate with global partners on supply chains, global production capacity (especially in lower- and middle-income countries, or LMICs), global access to medical countermeasures, funding preparedness, and response capacity in LMICs, and global surveillance.

Press release - European Commission

Proposal - European Commission

Q&A - European Commission

European Parliament Development Committee urges European Commission to prioritize global food systems

Tomas Tobé, the Chair of the Committee on Development in the European Parliament, submitted several oral questions to the European Commission concerning the EU’s role in improving global food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While acknowledging that resources will be limited in the EU budget’s Global Europe instrument and that tough choices will have to be made, Tobé said he hopes the EU will aim to lead by example by taking action at the UN Food Systems Summit.

Tobé posed the following questions:

  1. How will the Commission ensure the EU can take a leadership role in reaching SDG2 including by making financial commitments for nutrition under the 2021-2027 EU budget given the current huge global funding gap?
  2. How does the Commission intend to use EU trade policy to support the global transition to sustainable agri-food systems in accordance with the 'Farm to Fork' Strategy?
  3. What measures does the Commission intend to propose to support partner countries and the local farmers, fishers, foresters, and food producers in moving toward more sustainable practices in key areas such as animal welfare, the use of pesticides, and the fight against antimicrobial resistance?

​​Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, responded to the questions by recognizing the need to ensure the shift to sustainable food systems is global. He said the EU has been active in the preparation for the UN Food Systems Summit.

The Development Committee will begin working on a report on food systems in low- and middle-income countries, which will incorporate the Commission’s answers to the committee’s questions.

Video - European Parliament