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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

Finance in Common Summit to address sustainable recovery from COVID-19

On November 12, 2020, during the 3rd-annual Paris Peace Forum, the Finance in Common Summit will take place, to stress the role of public development banks in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the summit, participants are expected to launch a coalition to support the emergence of a financial response to the COVID-19 crisis that takes into consideration sustainable development and climate change. The aim is to define a global strategy for the 450 public development banks operating at sub-national, national, regional, international, and multilateral levels, whose volume of activity represents about US$2 trillion annually, according to organizers.

The summit is intended to feed into the forthcoming COP26 Conference and the G20 Summit. It will gather the development bank community, heads of state, governments, representatives from the private sector, civil society, think tanks, and academia.

This high-level meeting is an initiative of the World Federation of Development Finance Institutions (WFDFI) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), organized under the high patronage of French President, Emmanuel Macron, with the support of UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. 

Press release - Finance in common website

News article - Devex

France and UN convene donor summit, mobilize US$297 million for Lebabnon recovery efforts

After explosions devastated Beirut on August 4, 2020, fifteen government leaders took part in a virtual resource mobilization conference to support the early recovery and humanitarian assistance in Lebanon. The pledging conference was organized by France and the United Nations.

The conference mobilized pledges worth US$297 million, according to the office of the French President, Emmanuel Macron. France pledged €30 million (US$35 million) and the EU Commission €63 million (US$74 million).

Officials estimate the explosion may have caused up to $15.0 billion of damage.

News article - BBC

Donor Tracker to host webinar on climate finance and role of ODA

Join the Donor Tracker this Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), for a webinar addressing the pressing need for international climate finance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In 2015, the latest in a series of global climate change agreements was signed in Paris. The Paris Agreement includes a pledge made by donor countries to mobilize US$100 billion a year by 2020 for climate action in LMICs. This upcoming Donor Tracker webinar will examine the role that ODA can and should play in funding for climate action, including the US$100 billion target. It will include an overview of trends in ODA-related climate funding and policies by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) donors.

This webinar, and our recently published report on climate finance and ODA, complements the recent addition of ‘Climate’ as a sector of analysis across the Donor Tracker Donor Profiles. Climate was added this year in recognition of the importance of climate action to the future of global development efforts.

Registration - Zoom

Annual report shows French development agency group mobilized US$16.1 billion in 2019

The French Development Agency (AFD) released the summary of its annual report synthesizing the 2019 activities led by the AFD group (which includes its private sector instrument, Proparco, and its technical expertise agency, Expertise France.

In total, the AFD group mobilized €14.1 billion (US$16.1 billion) in 2019, supporting 115 countries in their development efforts, a 70% increase since 2015 according to the report. Of this amount, €2.5 billion (US$3.0 billion) were allocated as grants. The annual report indicates 1,072 new projects were initiated this year.

The French development agency mobilized €477 million (US$547 million) for global health projects, €621 million (US$712 million) for agriculture and nutrition, US$1.4 billion (€1.2 billion) for water and sanitation, and €877 million (US$1.0 billion) for education and professional training.

In 2019, €740 million (US$849 million) was committed to projects with gender equality as a principal objective. 49% of AFD overall projects integrated gender as one of several goals.

The African continent received 50% of the total volume of AFD's financial support throughout the year, of which €1 billion (US$1.2 billion) was allocated to the Sahel region.

2019 Annual Report - AFD (in French)

Donor Tracker to host webinar on gender equality and donor finance for women's economic empowerment

Join Donor Tracker this Friday, July 24 from 15:00-16:00 (CEST) for a webinar exploring donor financing for women’s economic empowerment, featuring analysis from the Donor Tracker team and our partner, the ONE Campaign.

Gender equality, including women's financial inclusion and economic empowerment, has gained increasing attention from the international donor community in recent years; but to what extent can donors' rhetorical commitment to the issue be seen reflected in data on donors' financing for women's economic empowerment? In this Donor Tracker webinar, Kalila Jaeger and Isabela Vera from the Donor Tracker and Ebba Henningsson from ONE will guide participants through an introduction to the OECD’s gender equality policy marker, discuss the current state of donor finance for gender-related development programming, and explore trends in donor countries' spending on economic empowerment initiatives for women.

Registration - Zoom

French NGOs criticize latest MFF proposal

Coordination SUD, the French umbrella organization for international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), has expressed deep concerns about the revisions made by the European Council to the proposal for the next EU Budget, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF). In particular, it has raised concerns regarding the 17% (€20.0 billion or US$ 22.5 billion) cut to the international development budget, compared to the previous proposal from the European Commission.

According to Coordination SUD, the budget proposed by the heads of state following negotiations on the EU's COVID-19 recovery plan, will not be sufficient to 'leave no one behind' or to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the world's poorest countries. It is furthermore concerned by the privileging of loans and guarantees over grants in the proposed budget.

Press release - Coordination SUD (in French)

French NGOs call for drastic increase in ODA in response to COVID-19

Considering the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on poor countries — in Africa in particular — Coordination SUD, the French national umbrella organization of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), is calling on the French government to drastically increase its funding for development assistance.

Coordination SUD calculated that according to financial needs expressed by World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) alone, France should proportionally to its size, contribute as much as ‎€14.5 billion (US$15.9 billion) toward international development efforts.

Specifically, Coordination SUD is calling on the French government to:

  1. Increase the volume and the rate of the Financial Transaction Tax to mobilize additional funding for official development assistance (ODA);
  2. Increase its ODA as soon as the next 2020 budget law amendment to rapidly reach the 0.7% UN ODA to GNI target, a commitment to be renewed in the 2021 budget law and the forthcoming orientation and program bill on international development; and
  3. Mobilize the G20, Development Banks, and private lenders to relieve the debt burden of the most affected countries.

Press release - Coordination SUD (in French)

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 

Thirteen NGOs launch call to action against "vaccine nationalism" in joint op-ed

In a joint open editorial, 13 heads of NGOs, including Doctors without Borders, Oxfam France, and ONE, expressed their concerns about "vaccine nationalism" in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.

While some NGO leaders welcomed the promises of world leaders, including France's President Macron, to make future COVID-19 vaccines a global public good accessible to all nations, the signatories of this op-ed expressed worry about the growing competition among nations to secure access to vaccines for their own countries first.

The foundation of the Inclusive Alliance, initiated by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, which committed to pre-purchase 400 million doses for European member states, could negatively impact countries with the most fragile health systems, according to the authors. 

For this reason, the op-ed's signatories called for the implementation of transparent processes, an agreement to benefit from vaccines at cost price, and the adoption of conditionality measures for pharmaceutical companies where public money is engaged. The authors notably asked the French Government to join the WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool which aims to share intellectual property and knowledge to facilitate access to the populations the most in need. 

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

France adopts new strategy to support domestic resource mobilization in low-income countries

France has released its new domestic resources mobilization strategy for low-income countries, which provides a framework to support states in their capacity to raise taxes and allocate funding to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategy, to be implemented by the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, defines three main objectives:

1) Support for the definition of efficient fiscal public policies;

2) Support for the modernization of administrations in low-income countries (with an emphasis on the most fragile nations and Sahel states); and

3) The optimization of international cooperation instruments.

To implement the plan, France will allocate €60 million (US$65 million) for the 2020-2023 period. France plans to promote the strategy through the G7 and G20, the OECD, and the EU.

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

Efforts to make future COVID-19 vaccine available across EU are insufficient, warn French NGOs; vaccine must be classified as global public good

With France's President Macron planning to visit a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing site in Lyon, French NGOs Global Health Advocates (GHA), ONE, and Oxfam France have increased pressure on the government to classify a future COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good.

The NGOs' joint statement comes after France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands launched the 'Inclusive Vaccine Alliance', a coalition which will jointly select research programs, negotiate with vaccine developers and producers, and broker deals with various pharmaceutical companies with the ultimate goal of ensuring that a vaccine is accessible across the EU. 

GHA, ONE, and Oxfam expressed concerns that this initiative may not sufficiently prioritize access to COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries, despite statements made by French officials emphasizing the importance of global solidarity in vaccine distribution.  

Press release - ONE