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UK invites India, South Korea, Australia to G7 summer meeting in 2021 with hopes of launching "D10" of leading democracies

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has invited South Korea, India, and Australia to attend the G7 face-to-face meeting on June 11-13, 2021, which the UK is hosting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

The invitations are part of a bid by Johnson to turn the G7, a meeting forum for the world’s leading economies, into a forum for the world’s ten leading democracies. Johnson notes that the "D10" meeting will represent over 60% of the people living in democracies around the world.

The move to reformat the G7 has been met with resistance from some diplomatic circles, with France and Italy seeing it as an apparent attempt by the UK to diminish the power of the EU. The move does, however, have broad support from the US, with US President-elect Joe Biden keen to host a summit of democracies in his first year of office.

Johnson has also announced that he wants to host an early virtual G7 leaders' summit in February of 2021, in part to enable Biden to reaffirm US support for multilateralism, which came under great strain under Biden's predecessor. The UK government also confirmed that the agenda for the G7 will focus on:

  • Recovering and rebuilding from the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Championing action on the climate crisis and girls’ education; and
  • Promoting open societies, shared values, and human rights.

News article - The Guardian

Twitter - G7UK

At One Planet Summit, German Chancellor Merkel calls for action to protect biodiversity “not whenever, but now”

On January 12, 2021, at the online One Planet Summit to discuss the environment and climate change, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an accelerated international effort to protect biodiversity and natural habitats, “not whenever, but now.”

Merkel announced that Germany would join the 'High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People', initiated by France and Costa Rica, committing to protecting 30% of land and sea habitats by 2030 to halt the accelerating loss of species and to preserve vital ecosystems.

Merkel also urged the global community to take active steps against deforestation. The protection of the world’s forests is not only vital for biodiversity and climate protection but also global health, she said. Referring to the concept of One Health, she stressed that “human beings can only do well on a healthy planet with healthy flora and fauna.”

The One Planet Summit was launched by France, the United Nations, and the World Bank, to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate. This year’s one-day online summit was the fourth convention, after summits in Paris in 2017, New York in 2018, and Nairobi in 2019. Around 30 heads of state and international organizations attended the online summit to discuss the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as fighting climate change.

Press release – Federal Chancellery (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

France announces 50% increase in funding to IFAD during One Planet Summit

During the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity, held virtually on January 11, 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will increase its funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) by 50%.

France’s previous contribution to IFAD during its last replenishment cycle amounted to US$71 million.

The pledge will contribute to IFAD’s 12th replenishment, which aims to fund projects for rural people (including small-scale farmers, rural women, youth, indigenous peoples) to support food security and agricultural projects.

News article - Global citizen

Report - IFAD

France launches 'PREZODE', new international initiative to prevent future pandemics

At the One Planet Summit for biodiversity on January 11, 2021, in Paris, France, the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs launched PREZODE (PREventing ZOonotic Diseases Emergence), a new initiative to prevent future pandemics.

The initiative aims to identify and prevent emerging zoonotic risks (diseases passed from animals to humans) and pandemics within the framework of a One Health approach, which considers how human health, animal welfare, and the environment are interconnected. According to participants of the initiative, the five pillars of PREZODE are:

  1. Zoonotic risk analysis;
  2. Zoonotic risk reduction;
  3. Early detection and evaluation of socio-economic impacts;
  4. Development of an international zoonotic risk monitoring system; and
  5. Stakeholder engagement and joint development of regional health and biodiversity networks.

Participants in this initiative will mobilize different research centers from France, Germany, and the Netherlands, such as the:

    Press release - CIRAD

    French NGOs urge Macron to adopt new law on development

    In an open editorial, more than 50 French associations and NGOs, including members of Coordination SUD (the French NGO umbrella organization), called for French President Emmanuel Macron to adopt a Program and Orientation Bill on development assistance in 2021. 

    The signatories expressed concerns that the law, which was supposed to be adopted at the beginning of Macron's term, has been postponed on a regular basis. The NGOs demanded that this law be discussed in the next Council of the Ministers meeting in order to be debated in Parliament next year.

    This law aims to modernize French development policy, providing a roadmap for France's thematic and geographic priorities for the forthcoming years. 

    The signatories recommended that the French government should adopt a financial trajectory for French assistance to mobilize 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) as soon as 2025, a commitment that could be made public during the forthcoming National Humanitarian Conference that will take place on December 17, 2020, according to the authors.

    Op-ed - Mediapart (in French)

    French NGOs criticize current relationship between migration policies and development assistance

    In a report published by its migration working group, Coordination SUD (a French umbrella NGO organization) analyzed the growing clashes between migration and development policies.

    The report scrutinized the link between migration policies and development assistance through an analysis of three public actors: the French government, the EU, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

    The authors of the report calculated that since 2015, the share of official development assistance (ODA) by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members for costs "related to the reception of refugees and/or asylum seekers" increased by 27.5%, representing one in ten dollars of total ODA amounts spent by members in 2016, or double compared to 2014 figures.

    In 2016, these 'in-donor refugee costs' were more of a priority than amounts disbursed by OECD-DAC members for humanitarian assistance. This trend is also observed in France where 'in-donor refugee costs' accounted for 10% of France's total ODA in 2019 and represented 75% of France's ODA increase between 2018 and 2019.

    The report also stated that the management of migration became a top priority of the European development strategy with the foundation of the 'European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa' (following the adoption of the 2015 Valetta Summit's action plan), for which France committed €240 million (US$290 million) in 2017.

    According to the authors, this management contradicts the principles of assistance effectiveness and their objectives (which are referred to in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action, and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation), while violating human rights. They wrote that "by increasing restrictions of people's mobility and by recreating internal borders in spaces of free movement, it tends to reinforce the inequalities against which ODA must fight." 

    The authors wrote in their recommendation that if "development policy were to serve an objective in terms of migration, it would be to help create the conditions so anyone can freely and safely make the choice" of whether or not to leave their country. 

    In the conclusion of the report, Coordination SUD recommended protecting development assistance and its principles at national and European levels so that they follow the principles of assistance effectiveness, humanitarian assistance, and human rights. 

    Report - Coordination SUD (in French)

    ONE France criticizes European Parliament's report on conditional assistance for migration

    Following the European Parliament's recent report on improving development assistance effectiveness, ONE France expressed concerns about the report's recommendation which supported the conditionality of assistance received by recipient countries in regards to migration policies.

    According to ONE France's press release, the French government supported this proposal and told the French members of parliament to adopt it.

    ONE France Director Najat Vallaud-Belkacem indicated that this move was counter-productive and that assistance should focus on fighting extreme poverty, especially given that 100 million additional people could fall into poverty as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Press release - ONE France (in French)

    Report - European Parliament

    Donor Tracker to host webinar on education in emergencies

    Join the Donor Tracker on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at 15:00-16:00 CET for a webinar addressing education in emergencies, featuring experts from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a global fund and partnership to improve education in lower-income countries, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency.

    The growth of protracted conflicts and the increasing prevalence of emergencies globally have impacted the educational opportunities of millions of children. Precarious humanitarian situations around the world have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. With just ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), amid a global pandemic, prioritizing the educational needs of the world’s most vulnerable children is more important than ever.

    However, are donors dedicating sufficient attention to education in emergencies? Join the webinar for a discussion on financing needs, donor priorities, and policy trends in the sector.

    This webinar complements our recently published report, ‘Decades of neglect: Donor financing for education in emergencies’.

    Registration - Zoom

    Report - Donor Tracker

    France's Macron talks Africa-France relations, including return of stolen artifacts, end of CFA franc currency

    In an interview given to the weekly 'Jeune Afrique' newspaper, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his vision on France's relations with the African continent three years after the beginning of his five-year term.

    In his interview, Macron shared what he considers as major steps, including the law recently adopted for the restitution of stolen African cultural property (with specific actions for Senegal, Benin, and Madagascar, according to Macron), the end of the CFA franc (a currency used in an economic zone consisting of 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as Comoros, implemented during France's colonization of most of these countries and widely contested), work the government has done with the African diaspora, and diplomatic relations initiated beyond French-speaking African countries.

    Macron also confirmed that two significant summits will be launched in France next year: an international "financing summit for Africa" to be held in May 2021, as well as the Africa-France summit that will take place in July 2021 and will convene new generations of entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, and politicians.

    Interview - French Presidency (in French)

    Interview - The Africa Report

    Public development banks support achievement of SDGs through US$4.0 billion to African MSMEs, launch of IDFC Climate Fund, statement on gender equality

    The Finance in Common Summit, an international forum mobilizing 450 public development banks which took place between November 9-12, 2020, resulted in a series of announcements aiming to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in line with the Paris Agreement for action against the climate crisis. 

    The Summit, convened by the World Federation of Development Finance Institutions (WFDFI) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), took place in the framework of the Paris Peace Forum, an annual event initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron to mobilize global governance.

    Major announcements included:

    • The official launch of the IDFC Climate Fund (initiated at the COP25 climate conference in 2019) and a strategic partnership with the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
    • Pledges made by public development banks to allocate US$4.0 billion to "micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa" by the end of 2021; and
    • The adoption of a joint statement on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment signed by 24 international, regional, and national public development banks.

    Press release - The French Development Agency

    Statements - Finance in Common

    50-year-old target of 0.7% of GNI to ODA remains unmet, say French NGO leaders; ODA is needed more than ever to combat global inequality

    On October 24, 1970, some of the wealthiest countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed to allocate 0.7% of their wealth for development assistance within five years. On October 24, 2020, fifty years later, leadership from prominent organizations co-authored an op-ed to call on these countries to meet their commitment.

    The authors—the heads of Oxfam France, ONE France, Coordination SUD (France's national NGO umbrella organization), and development economist Gabriel Zucman—indicated that this target has never been collectively reached by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries. They pointed out that development assistance is a much-needed redistribution mechanism, especially in today's world of unprecedented levels of inequality.

    In 2019, OECD DAC member states only redistributed 0.3% of their GNI on average. Oxfam calculated that if donor countries had kept their promise of allocating 0.7% of their wealth to development assistance, they could have collectively allocated an additional US$5.70 trillion to poor countries since 1970.

    Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, and the UK have met or even exceeded the 0.7% target, and the authors called for the other governments to increase their assistance as well to tackle poverty and inequality, notably through financial transaction taxes or other innovative financial levies.

    Op-ed - Le Monde (in French)

    Government funding urgently needed to reach US$7.2 billion target for COVID-19 treatment access, warn Unitaid and Wellcome Trust

    In an open editorial published in the weekly newspaper 'Le Journal du Dimanche', Philippe Duneton (interim executive director of Unitaid) and Paul Schreier (director of operations of the Wellcome Trust) called on governments to take action and support the most fragile countries in accessing COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

    Both representatives emphasized the need to support Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) while the richest countries currently are securing agreements with pharmaceutical companies to secure tests, treatments, and vaccines for their own populations.

    Duneton and Schreier advocated for additional funding for COVID-19 treatments while pointing out that US$300 million had been pledged compared to the US$7.2 billion urgently needed.

    They noted that despite the EU efforts to mobilize funding for ACT-A, from the US$16.0 billion pledged, funding has not been disbursed yet and needs to be followed through on.

    The authors concluded by indicating that from the US$7.2 billion needed to fund the 'therapeutics pillar' of ACT-A (led by Unitaid and Wellcome to accelerate the development of and fair access to treatments), US$4.0 billion should be secured within the next two months, and they called on donors to urgently take action.

    Op-ed - Le Journal du Dimanche (in French)

    France to increase anti-hunger funding by 30% in 2020

    On World Food Day, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that France will increase its funding to tackle the food crisis by 30% in 2020.

    Prior to this decision, France has already allocated a total of €565 million (US$668 million) per year to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    France allocates additional US$11 million to Unitaid COVID-19 response

    France pledged US$11 million to Unitaid as part of the Therapeutics Partnership (which is co-led by Unitaid and Wellcome Trust), as well as a part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative co-coordinated by the World Health Organization.

    France's financial support will support Unitaid's and Wellcome Trust's work, which aims to "develop, manufacture and distribute treatments for all stages of the disease; to prevent, suppress, treat and support recovery from COVID-19". The Therapeutics Partnership indicated that it is observing 1,700 trials and has identified several candidates, including antivirals and monoclonal antibodies. 

    Press release - Unitaid

    France supports African, Caribbean, Pacific agreement promoting cooperation in debt and climate crises

    French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, took part in the informal EU Foreign Affairs Ministerial Council on September 29, 2020, for a meeting dedicated to the partnership between the EU and Africa. 

    Lemoyne underlined the necessity to accelerate efforts to support the continent in facing the debt and climate crises, as well as promoting investments, regional integration, and digital transformation.

    France notably indicated that it will support the conclusion of an ambitious agreement with ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) countries to deepen cooperation, notably on education, youth emplacement, and commitments made at COP21 (the 21st Conference of Parties, referring to the pivotal 2015 Paris Climate Conference).

    This meeting will be followed by the formal Foreign Affairs Council on Development on November 23, 2020.

    Press release - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in French)

    In UN Security Council speech, French minister promotes coordinated global health response, emphasizes need to support SRHR initiatives

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, took the floor at the UN Security Council on September 24, 2020 to speak on on the role of multilateral action to tackle the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. He detailed what role France will play in this regard.

    France will hold the Generation Equality Forum next year, 26 years after the 'World Conference on Women' in Beijing. Le Drian emphasized the need to promote and support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and that the pandemic must not undo past progress on this front.

    Le Drian also indicated that France will play an active role in global health, notably through the WHO-led Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative, supporting diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines as public goods. France will also promote the consolidation of the multilateral health architecture and will consider creating additional instruments, such as a High Council for Human and Animal Health.    

    Speech transcript - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    First annual sustainable development meetings launch across France, facilitating debates on SDG achievements

    'Les Rencontres du Développement Durable' (the Sustainable Development Meetings) will take place from September 22-29, 2020, bringing together development and climate experts throughout the week. 

    This virtual event is organized by Open Diplomacy, a French think tank, with the participation of universities and business schools from six French regions. Les Rencontres du Développement Durable aims to facilitate informed debates on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and on ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while engaging citizens, public authorities, and government representatives, as well as the academic and private sectors.     

    The first of what is to become an annual event will host keynote speakers such as international experts Muhammad Yunus, Joseph Stiglitz, and French Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire.

    The event will also include the participation of representatives of several international organizations (such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNESCO, and Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as local and global civil society organizations.

    Event website - Les Rencontres du Développement Durable (in French)

    Donor Tracker seeks feedback on how to better serve advocacy community

    The Donor Tracker team wants to better understand its users' experience and to gather ideas about how we can make the Donor Tracker even more valuable to the global development community throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond. That's where we could use your help. We've put together a short survey to ask you directly about how you use the Donor Tracker, which content and features you find most useful, and the kinds of things you would like to see. Your responses will shape and inform new features that we bring to the website.

    Survey - Donor Tracker

    Twitter - Donor Tracker

    France takes part in first ACT-A Facilitation Council meeting for COVID-19 vaccine coordination

    On September 10, 2020, France took part in the first Facilitation Council meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative, a World Health Organization-led coordination mechanism aiming to provide an equitable global distribution of diagnostics, treatments, and a future vaccine, as well as to strengthen healthcare systems.

    France was represented by Clément Beaune, the newly appointed Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Other attendees included the presidents of the European Commission, South Africa, and Rwanda, the Norwegian prime minister, and the Director-General of WHO.

    France committed €510 million (US$603 million) in May to tackle the pandemic at the global level but has not yet formally joined the COVAX initiative, which aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable global access.

    Press release - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Paris' Club of creditor countries suspends US$1.8 billion in debt payments for 28 countries

    The Paris' Club, a coalition comprising the biggest creditor countries excluding China, has suspended debt payments for 28 countries in 2020, amounting to US$1.8 billion in total so far. 

    Countries benefiting from the debt payment suspensions are Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zambia.

    This is the result of an initiative led by the G20 in April of 2020 to support measures to counter the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. Eleven other countries could benefit from this delay, according to the director of the French Treasury, and President of the Paris Club, Odile Renaud-Basso.

    News article - La Croix (in French) 

    Press release - Paris' Club