Displaying 1 - 20 of 458

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

European Commission President calls on G20 leaders to mobilize US$4.5 billion in 2020 for global COVID-19 response

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on leaders at the G20 Leaders' Summit to fill the US$4.5 billion gap in immediate funding needs of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), a global initiative to ensure affordable and equitable access for all to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

Saudi Arabia hosted the virtual summit where leaders discussed the COVID-19 crisis, the climate crisis, debt relief for low-income countries, economic recovery, World Health Organization (WHO) reform, and other issues. Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel represented the EU at the summit.

G20 leaders committed to mobilizing the immediate global financing required for ACT-A and ACT-A’s COVAX Facility, the mechanism for the procurement and equitable distribution of vaccines.

Leaders will also continue to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which suspends bilateral debt service payments for lower-income countries, through June 2021. They also acknowledged the important role of the WHO, confirmed their commitment to financing Universal Health Coverage in low-income countries, and expressed a commitment to improving global pandemic preparedness, prevention, detection, and response.

Press release - European Council

G20 Leaders' Declaration - G20 Riyadh Summit

Global health will top Italian G20 presidency agenda in 2021

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attended this year's G20 Leaders' Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, and announced Italy's priorities as its G20 presidency will start officially on December 1, 2020.

Conte declared that health and socio-economic responses to the COVID-19 crisis would be at the top of the agenda, in addition to ensuring universal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, strengthening health systems, and emphasizing multilateralism.

He pointed out the overlapping priorities between the G20's health agenda and the European Commission's Global Health Summit to be hosted by Italy in May 2021.

Furthermore, Conte said that the Italian presidency intends to promote sustainable, inclusive, and resilient recovery, building the presidency around three pillars: people, planet, and prosperity, with women's empowerment as a critical focus across all issues.

Italy's presidency will culminate with its hosting of the next G20 Leaders' Summit on October 30-31, 2021.

Speech - President of the Council (in Italian)

Germany's Merkel calls for participation in ACT-A COVAX Facility, WHO reforms

At the virtual G20 summit on November 21-22, 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for more global efforts in securing equitable access to COVID-19 tools. Emphasizing the importance of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), Merkel called for more participation in ACT-A's COVAX Facility, the mechanism that aims to procure and equally distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

The Facility, led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, aims to provide two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. While the international community has provided around US$5.0 billion to the Facility so far, more global effort and funding will be needed to ensure a fair distribution and to tackle the global challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, Merkel said.  

At the same time, she expressed concerns that while wealthy countries have already secured access rights to promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates, no major deals have yet been closed for low-income countries. 

Merkel further called for a strengthening of the WHO and more sustainable WHO funding to guarantee better cooperation and independence.

News article – Zeit Online (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

COVID-19 vaccines must first be available to the most vulnerable in all countries, "not all people in just a few countries," says German Federal President

In a guest commentary of the German newspaper, Tagesspiegel, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged for a globally fair distribution of future COVID-19 vaccines. Given that the EU would likely end up having access rights to more vaccine doses than needed within the EU, Germany and the EU should send a clear political signal to be willing to share these with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), he stated.

Steinmeier pointed to the fact that while EU member states had already secured access to promising vaccine candidates, more than half of the world’s people live in countries lacking the means to acquire such access rights early in the process. Germany and the EU have from early on supported the COVAX Facility which aims to ensure that over 90 LMICs will have access to two billion vaccine doses until the end of 2021. However, some major donor countries have not contributed to the extent possible yet, Steinmeier noted.

He further emphasized that ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines would not solely be an act of solidarity but also an economically meaningful response. To respond as a global community to the pandemic, “we would have to recognize that it is in our own, enlightened interest that some people are vaccinated in all countries first, and not all people in just a few countries”, Steinmeier stated.

News article – Tagesspiegel (in German)

German Federal Cabinet nominates Development Minister Müller as German candidate for UNIDO Director-General position

The German Federal Cabinet has nominated Development Minister Gerd Müller as the German candidate for the Director-General position of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The application process has just started, with the election taking place in November 2021.

UNIDO’s mission is to promote and accelerate industrial development to diminish poverty, ensure inclusive globalization, and work towards environmental sustainability. According to the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UNIDO is an important partner for Germany in creating new jobs in low-income countries – a goal that has become an increased focus of Germany’s development policy over the last years, including with the 'Training and Employment Special Initiative' (which supports European and African companies and investors be more engaged in Ethiopia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia).

In September 2020, Development Minister Müller had announced that he would not run in the upcoming federal election in October 2021 anymore but rather withdraw from federal politics after the end of the parliamentary term. 

Press release - BMZ (in German)

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

Spain leads global joint statement to strengthen multilateralism

On November 10, 2020, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hosted a high-level meeting in Madrid to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and heads of state and government from Sweden, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Jordan, and Senegal virtually participated in this event. 

This group of donor and partner countries convened to publish the call to action ‘Joint Statement: Reinforcing Multilateralism Together', with the ambition of reinforcing multilateral institutions, advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and taking concrete measures to address global challenges in key areas such as global health, climate change, gender equality, and digitalization.

This initiative will be shared with other countries to actively mobilize the international community around the following goals:

  • Reduce inequality and leave no one behind;
  • Improve conditions for health, health preparedness, and effectiveness of global health systems;
  • Protect our planet;
  • Promote peace, security, and justice;
  • Defend human rights, democracy, and gender equality;
  • Take "advantage of the digital revolution"; and
  • Ensure sustainable financing.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

German Health Minister calls for WHO funding reform after repeated financing challenges

At the 73rd World Health Assembly on November 9, 2020, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, speaking on behalf of the EU, outlined the need to strengthen the World Health Organization's (WHO's) mandate and ensure more sustainable funding in the future.

According to Spahn, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed the “gap between WHO’s 194 member state expectations and requests vis-à-vis the organization and its de-facto capacities to fulfill them.” The WHO member state fees would be too little to provide the WHO with the adequate funding to fulfill its mandated role, he said.

Therefore, the EU member states have already kicked off internal discussions to define a potential WHO reform agenda. Further, Germany wants to put the topic of new avenues of sustainable financing on the agenda of the WHO’s 148th board meeting, planned for January 2021.

Emphasizing that Germany would be ready to delve into all possible options to strengthen the WHO, Spahn stated that this would only be possible if all 194 WHO members are willing to increase their financial contribution. 

News article – Devex

News article – Health Policy Watch

2020 Principled Aid Index reveals decline in donor scores, higher focus on national interests

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released its 2020 Principled Aid Index, which measures how foreign assistance is spent, and the research has found that donors are increasingly spending their assistance on short-term national interests.

The Index measures "the balance 29 bilateral donors strike between advancing the values of global solidarity and protecting their national interests" according to their development assistance spending over the last five years.

The Index weighs the following three criteria:

  1. Development gaps: The assistance is aimed at addressing critical vulnerabilities and inequalities;
  2. Global cooperation: The assistance is given to channels/activities that address shared challenges; and
  3. Public spiritedness: The assistance allocation maximizes opportunities to have positive impacts with fewer domestic gains as an indirect result.

Nilima Gulrajani, co-author of the report, pointed out that all donors "are doing poorly but highly ranked countries had their score decline more than the worst scorers." While Ireland had the highest score overall and in 'public spiritedness', its score decreased from previous years for all three criteria.

The ODI commented that bilateral donors' fragmented response to the COVID-19 crisis coincides with the Index's downward trajectory. This is due to donor countries first providing their citizens with assistance before helping others, which Gulrajani likened to first securing one's own oxygen mask in an airplane and added, "While perhaps an understandable first response, donors must now urgently look to assist others in need."

Looking towards the next steps, the report suggested that donors must now seriously address the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis beyond their own borders and aim for a 'principled recovery', in order to reduce both global and local challenges.

Report - ODI

Press release - ODI

News article - Devex

South Korean president emphasizes importance of multilateral cooperation on health and climate change, will contribute US$10 million to COVAX AMC

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered a keynote speech at the 2020 Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, emphasizing the need for stronger multilateral cooperation on health and the climate crisis.

In particular, he stressed the following:

  • South Korea will increase official development assistance (ODA) on health in 2021 to support its partner countries’ COVID-19 responses;
  • South Korea will contribute US$10 million to the COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC) and strengthen its partnership with the International Vaccine Institute while calling for others to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all people; and
  • South Korea will cooperate with partner countries on smart green industrial complexes (to increase renewable energy production and the number of jobs) and 'smart city' projects, as well as organize the P4G Summit in Seoul in 2021 for global sustainable development.

The Jeju Forum took place on November 5-7, 2020, and it is an annual event to discuss international cooperation for peace, prosperity, and security in East Asia.

Transcript - The Blue House (in Korean)

Trump's US foreign assistance approach will likely affect Biden's efforts to increase development priorities

Following the US presidential election, more attention is turning to what policies a Biden administration would favor for US global development.

President-elect Joe Biden has extensive experience in foreign policy and most experts agree that, if he is president, global development will be reestablished as a core element of foreign policy, alongside defense and diplomacy. He is also likely to reengage with the multilateral system.

What is less clear, however, is whether Biden will return to the pre-Trump approach to development or whether he will adopt a more progressive, human rights-based approach. Increasing pre-Trump global development priorities would seem even more liberal than before to some, due to President Donald Trump's consistent rejection of and budget cuts in foreign assistance, as well as the presence of fewer Republican lawmakers in Congress who champion development.

The Trump administration's departure from a once-shared bipartisan consensus on US leadership in humanitarian assistance may now test Biden's efforts to receive bipartisan support.

Progressives in the US, however, emphasize the importance of reassessing the use of military tools and the national security argument that has been prominent since the 9/11 attacks on the US. Nazanin Ash, a representative from the International Rescue Committee (a humanitarian relief NGO) indicated that the post-9/11 framework has detrimentally affected the possible impacts of humanitarian and development work. Ash highlighted that a rights-based approach entails fewer "paternalistic" projects and rather more empowerment of local populations to address the economic and political inequalities in their governments.

News analysis - Devex

Netherlands organizes virtual conference to hear young people's voices from Middle East and Africa on current challenges

On November 2, 2020, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organized a virtual conference, called Youth at Heart, aimed at involving youth in development cooperation and addressing the challenges related to the large number of young people in the Middle East and Africa compared to the number of available job opportunities.

The themes of this conference included the global COVID-19 crisis, education, work, youth-led change, and mental health, as well as the experiences of refugees and women.

Hundreds of participants talked with young people from regions including the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East to hear their ideas on improving their future prospects.

Recordings of the conference can be found on the MFA's YouTube channel.

News article - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Virtual conference videos - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Devex study highlights five potential effects of US election on global development policy

The November 3, 2020, US elections could have significant implications for the future of US global development policy. Authors of a Devex analysis pointed to five possible development changes following elections, in addition to the races to watch for:

  1. More money for a global COVID-19 response: Emergency COVID-19 funding has been stalled for months, so experts hope the election will revive those efforts and see some version of the Heroes Act (versions of which were approved by the House in May and October) or another package.
  2. The level of funding for US foreign assistance: Trump administration has made it clear that it will dramatically cut development budgets. Experts caution not to expect that a Biden administration or Democratic Senate majority would automatically mean more money, but it could mean the distribution of current development funds. New congressional leaders will also impact these funds, considering that both Democratic and Republican development champions will be leaving their roles.
  3. Changes in congressional committee leadership: The House of Representatives leadership was expected to shift, with an open leadership spot for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as for the Appropriations Committee and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate's future was less certain; it has ten senators on its Foreign Relations Committee up for re-election which could change the fabric of the Senate even if Republican Senator Lindsey Graham remains chairman.
  4. Renewed priority for foreign assistance reforms: The Trump administration significantly restructured and limited the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A Biden administration could provide an opportunity to recommit to assistance reforms that have been subsequently neglected, as well as give more weight to the development and diplomacy sectors again since the defense sector has had more focus under Trump.
  5. Changes in the US's credibility of democratic governance over foreign assistance programs: The analysis highlights that Biden has promised that if elected, his administration would seek to prioritize democracy and governance. 

News article - Devex 

Dutch government addresses parliamentary questions on foreign policy expenditures, climate financing, ODA cuts

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister, Stef Blok, answered 85 questions about the 2021 ‘Homogeneous Group for International Cooperation’ (HGIS) note, a document in which the foreign policy expenditures of all ministers are specified.

Questions answered by Blok ranged from details on climate financing, definitions of gender-sensitive COVID-19 responses, and which cuts to official development assistance (ODA) are currently being prepared.

Press release – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

South Korea contributes US$10 million to COVAX AMC

South Korea announced its plan to donate US$10 million to the COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), the financial mechanism designed to provide low-income countries equitable and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

South Korea's contribution supports Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's financial goal to be able to secure one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for partner countries by the end of 2021.

South Korea has already announced its plan to secure COVID-19 vaccines for 60% of its population through the COVAX Facility, the global procurement mechanism of COVAX's efforts, organized by the World Health Organization and Gavi.

News article – Relief Web

Dutch parliament debates 2021 development budget; COVID-19 divides and delays debate

On October 26, 2020, the Dutch parliament debated the 2021 budget for foreign trade and development cooperation with Dutch Development Minister Sigrid Kaag. Disagreements notably arose regarding potential increases to the development cooperation budget.

Anne Kuik, a member of parliament (MP) for the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), highlighted the importance of health systems in low-income countries in the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis. MPs of the Reformed Political Party (SGP), Socialist Party (SP), Green Party (GroenLinks), and Labour Party (PvdA) expressed their concerns about the budget for development cooperation in the coming years. For this reason, SP, GroenLinks, and the PvdA proposed to increase the budget by €500 million (US$573 million).

Conversely, the largest opposition party, the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), argued that the economic situation in the Netherlands due to the COVID-19 crisis should be a reason to decrease the development budget.

The amendment for an increase in the budget will be discussed in the second part of the budget debates, which was postponed due to Kaag's quarantine after being in close contact with a COVID-19 case. 

Press release – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

South Korea commits US$10 million to support Rohingya refugees

On October 22, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of South Korea participated in a conference on sustaining support for refugees of the Rohingya crisis, and MOFA announced that the South Korean government will provide US$10 million in humanitarian assistance this year to support the Rohingya refugees.

The assistance will be used to not only help the refugees overcome the humanitarian crisis but also to respond to the health crisis due to COVID-19.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

New development bank, Invest International, cannot include SDGs as institutional goals, says Dutch development minister

Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister, Sigrid Kaag, answered the questions raised by the parliamentary Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation committee on the authorization to establish the Dutch financing and development institution, Invest International.

Kaag explained that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be included as goals of Invest International due to their end date of 2030 and because Invest International's budget will be a mix of official development assistance (ODA) funds and non-ODA funds.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

South Korea partners with UNDP to support sustainable rural development in ASEAN member states

South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the rural development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states by committing to provide KRW6.0 billion (US$5 million) from 2020 to 2022.

With financial support from the MAFRA, the UNDP will implement official development assistance (ODA) projects in Cambodia and Myanmar, the two key partner countries of the South Korean government’s New Southern Policy. This is also the first agreement between the MAFRA and the UNDP in the area of agriculture and rural development.

News article – Financial News (in Korean)