Policy Updates

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Dutch Cabinet disagrees on forthcoming ODA funding decisions

The parties within the Netherlands' ruling coalition were unable to reach a consensus regarding the Netherlands’ ODA budget and unable to agree on what to do with the advice of the Advisory Council for International Relations (AIV), which suggested the government add an additional €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) to support the most vulnerable countries in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

The disagreement centered on the link between the Netherlands’ ODA spending and the country's domestic economic growth. Given that the Netherlands' economy is shrinking as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Democrats 66 (D66), and ChristianUnion (CU) want to eliminate the link between the country's gross national income (GNI) and ODA. This would automatically prevent an estimated 10% cut into the 2020 ODA budget. However, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) wants to maintain the policy, as it was part of the Coalition Agreement.

The parties are also in disagreement on whether to act on the AIV's advice and to allocate an additional €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in ODA to support countries in dealing with COVID-19. The CDA, D66, and CU are in favor of this allocation, while the VVD is more reluctant.

The final discussion to reach an agreement on the GNI/ODA link and on the advice of the AIV will likely take place in August, together with the 2021 budget discussions.

News article - NOS (in Dutch)

Japan postpones Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020 until December 2021

The Government of Japan has announced that it will delay the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020 until December 2021. The summit - which was originally planned for December 2020 - was to be held in line with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which have already been postponed until 2021.

In announcing the postponement, Japan reiterated its five themes for the summit, which will include:

  1. Health: Making nutrition integral to Universal Health Coverage for sustainable development;
  2. Food: Building food systems that promote safe, healthy diets and nutrition, ensure livelihoods of producers, and are climate-smart;
  3. Resilience: Addressing malnutrition effectively in fragile and conflict-affected contexts;
  4. Promoting data-driven accountability; and
  5. Securing new investment and driving innovation in nutrition financing.

Press release - Nutrition for Growth

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

German Development Ministry makes support of partner countries in combatting COVID-19 key priority during its EU Council Presidency

On July 1, 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which the country will hold for the next six months. In addition to mitigating the political and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany will focus on climate protection, digitalization, and the EU’s role in the world.

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has announced its key priority topics during the Council Presidency, putting special emphasis on supporting low- and middle-income countries to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and on providing assistance in the countries’ social and ecological restoration. Among the BMZ’s priorities are:

  • The expansion of the EU’s ‘Team Europe’ approach to support partner countries in their COVID-19 response;
  • Adopting a joint EU-Africa strategy at the EU-AU summit;
  • Finalizing a new EU agreement with countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific ('Post-Cotonou Agreement');
  • Promoting greater corporate responsibility in global supply chains; and
  • Increasing the EU’s engagement in the fields of global health, food security, and water supply in line with the 'One Health' approach.

For the German Ministry of Health (BMG), the joint response to COVID-19 and the strengthening of the EU’s future capacity to respond to health crises are key priorities during the Council Presidency. The ministry will put special emphasis on:

  • Expanding Europe’s production capacities for medical products and devices;
  • Promoting the creation of a European health data space; and
  • Strengthening European public health organizations such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Press release – BMG

Press release – BMZ (in German)

German Parliament adopts second supplementary budget worth US$26.2 billion

On July 1, 2020, the German Parliament approved a second supplementary budget for 2020 worth €24.0 billion (US$26.2 billion) to finance Germany’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as its economic stimulus package. The German government will, therefore, spend a total of €508.5 billion (US$554.6 billion) this year.

The supplementary budget includes budget increases for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) amounting to €1.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) for 2020. BMZ’s budget will, thus, amount to €12.4 billion (US$13.6 billion) in 2020. Another €1.6 billion in budget increases will be added towards BMZ’s 2021 budget. Taken together this sum almost equals the €3.2 billion (US$3.4 billion) requested by Development Minister, Gerd Müller, to finance his Corona Response Package.

BMZ’s budget increases for 2020 encompass increased contributions to international organizations amounting to a total of €48 million (US$52 million). For example, Germany’s contribution to the ‘Global Partnership for Education Fonds’ (GPE) increased from €50 million (US$55 million) to €75 million (US$82 million) and its contribution to UNICEF will be raised by €20 million (US$22 million) to a total of €90 million (US$98 million) in 2020.

Through the second supplementary budget, the Foreign Office (AA) will receive €560 million (US$611 million) for ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Prevention’. The Ministry of Health (BMG) will receive an additional €22.8 billion (US$24.9 billion).

The Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will receive an additional €2.0 billion (US$2.2 billion), including €560 million (US$611 million) channeled to the budget line 'Health research and health economy'.

Press release – German Parliament (in German)

Press release – German government (in German)

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 

European Commission and EIB pledge US$5.3 billion at Global Goal Summit

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged a combined €4.9 billion (US$5.3 million) in additional financing at the virtual 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' COVID-19 pledging event. This event, held on June 27, was co-hosted by EC and the international advocacy NGO 'Global Citizen' and was aimed at raising finances for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. The EC and the EIB were represented at the event by EC President Ursula von der Leyen and EIB President Werner Hoyer.

The EC and EIB's combined pledge funding will come from the EIB’s “own resources” to finance loans, guarantees, and equity – in partnership with the EC and will be directed toward supporting global economic recovery particularly in vulnerable countries, assisting health preparedness, and scaling the EIB’s pipeline of COVID-19 medical tools development.
Overall, the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' pledging event raised US$6.9 billion which comes in addition to the €9.8 billion (US$10.7 billion) committed during the first EC-hosted COVID-19 global response pledging event on May 4, 2020. 
Press release - European Commission
Press release - Global Citizen

Netherlands pledges US$28 million at Global Goal Summit

At the Global Goal Summit, convened by Global Citizen and the European Commission in London on June 27, 2020, the Netherlands pledged €25 million (US$28 million) towards an equitable and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte specifically mentioned in his video statement that the amount will be directed "to the procurement of vaccines for vulnerable countries that need it most because is essential that no-one is left behind". The summit raised a total sum of €6.1 billion (US$6.9 billion).

Event website - Global Citizen

Global Goal Summit raises additional US$6.9 billion for Coronavirus Global Response

Global Citizen and the European Commission (EC) hosted a closing event for the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' campaign on June 27, 2020. Comprised of a summit and a celebrity-headlined concert, the event was aimed at raising funding for the development and equitable delivery of COVID-19 solutions including tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Ultimately, the campaign succeeded in raising US$6.9 billion, which comes in addition to the approximately US$10 billion raised by world leaders at (and since) the May 4, 2020, Coronavirus Global Response Conference. Attendees and funders included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Wellcome Trust.

Funding will support:

  1. Key actors in global health cooperating to accelerate development and production of COVID-19 treatments through the World Health Organisation's ACT Accelerator;
  2. Regional and domestic organizations which are working to ensure equal access to COVID-19 treatments, once developed; and
  3. Regional and international equity collaborators working to strengthen states' resilience against the current and potential future crises.

The full list of individual countries' and organizations' contributions is available on the Global Citizen's website.

Press release - Global Citizen

Dutch Socialist Party starts petition with other European parties for free access to COVID-19 vaccine

On June 26, 2020, the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) announced a pan-European initiative with more than ten other European leftist parties to advocate for free access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Through the petition, called #Right2Cure, the coalition intends to put pressure on the European Commission (EC) to ensure free access to COVID-19 for everyone.

Despite the EC's commitment to free vaccine access, there is still a high risk that the vaccine will be privatized through patents. #Right2Cure was formed as a public pressure campaign to push back against this potential eventuality, which they see as a gross violation of human rights.

News article - SP (in Dutch)

Center for Global Development releases 2020 Commitment to Development Index

The Center for Global Development has released its 2020 Commitment to Development Index (CDI).

The CDI measures 40 countries' global development policy effort, emphasizing the importance of policies “beyond aid” in seven areas: development finance, investment, migration, trade, environment, security, and technology. Sweden, France, and Norway take the top three rankings with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emerates scoring the lowest.

2020 CDI Executive Summary - Center for Global Development

2020 Commitment to Development Index - Center for Global Development

Center for Global Development releases 2020 Commitment to Development Index

On June 25, 2020, the Center for Global Development, a non-profit development think tank, released the 2020 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), ranking 40 countries’ policy efforts based on their commitment to global development. Based on the idea that development goes beyond foreign assistance, the Index covers seven distinct policy areas: development finance, investment, migration, trade, environment, security, and technology.

This year, Sweden ranks first, followed by France, Norway, the UK, and Germany. India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are on the bottom of the league. Among the countries classified as middle-income countries, South Africa ranks best, taking the twenty-fifth position in the overall scoring, followed by Turkey, ranking twenty-ninth.

This year’s CDI also features several new measures including an assessment of the promotion of gender equality with a focus beyond development assistance and evaluating the ‘conflict potential’ of arms sales based on sales to low-income countries which are militarized and undemocratic.

Report – The Center for Global Development

Publish What You Fund releases 2020 Aid Transparency Index; more than half of donors now ranked 'good' or 'very good' across transparency indicators

On June 24, 2020, Publish What You Fund, a global campaign for assistance and development transparency, released the findings of the 2020 Aid Transparency Index. The index monitors and assesses development assistance donors’ progress towards transparency, aiming to improve the efficacy of development assistance and the quality of related information that donors make available.

The 2020 Aid Transparency Index reveals significant improvements in donors’ overall transparency compared to 2018, with over half of the 47 assessed donors now ranked as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Among the top-ranking donors are the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, the Global Fund, Canada, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. While Germany and Sweden are ranked as ‘good’, the transparency performance of France, Norway, Australia, Spain, Australia, and Italy, among others, is only rated as ‘fair’. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirate’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as China’s Ministry of Commerce have some of the lowest scores.

According to Publish What You Fund, the overall improvement is due to the fact that many donors increasingly publish both more and higher quality data in the International Aid Initiative (IATI) Standard, making the data more easily accessible, comparable, and better centralized.

However, the report highlights gaps when it comes to the publication of project outcomes; only a minority of donors share information on project performances and evaluations which limits the ability of stakeholders to gauge the effectiveness and value of development assistance spending.

To further improve development assistance data, Publish What You Fund provided a range of recommendations to donor countries, among them sharing wider information of project results, publishing project budget documents, and increasing the engagement with stakeholders of partner countries to build trust and share information on available data.

Report – Publish What you Fund

Dutch parliament rejects motion on AIV-recommended allocation of US$1.1 billion for global COVID-19 effort; final decision still to be taken by cabinet

On June 23, 2020, the Dutch parliament published the result of the motions put forward during the parliamentary debate a week earlier around the Netherlands’ approach to combating COVID-19 globally.

A number of motions were accepted, including the request for an extension to freeze debt payments of fragile countries, the call to ensure the most vulnerable people and countries receive sufficient support, the motion for a fair distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the creation of a public-private Africa coalition.

However, the motion to follow the budgetary guidelines presented by the Advisory Council for International Relations (AIV), which advised the investment of €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) to support the most vulnerable countries in the COVID-19 crisis, was rejected. The final decision on the additional ODA amount will be taken by the cabinet in the next few weeks. 

Press Release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

South Korea announces US$1.4 billion in expanded global contributions toward fighting COVID-19

The South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) unveiled its plan to expand South Korea's contribution to fight COVID-19 globally.

In addition to the commitment of US$100 million of humanitarian assistance announced by President Moon Jae-in at the World Health Assembly in May 2020, MOEF announced it will provide emergency support through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of over US$400 million. It will also expand the multilateral development bank trust funds for health and medicine to US$10 million from the usual US$2 million.

South Korea will also invest US$980 million (KRW1.2 trillion) to create a global fund dedicated to healthcare goods and services. It will provide a package of disease control assistance to the priority countries selected.

Finally, the South Korean government announced that it will actively identify and implement health projects related to its 'New Southern' and 'New Northern' policies.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance

USAID gives long-awaited clarification on rules for purchase of PPE by relief workers

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has clarified the guidance regarding implementing partners' ability to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) using USAID funds. The long-awaited guidance laid out broad restrictions against USAID implementing partners using any funds for PPE without prior written approval.

There are two exceptions to the restrictions -- one is for use by staff under any USAID grant or contract. The other is to allow the purchase of PPE for beneficiaries if the materials are manufactured in the area where assistance is provided, but only if the PPE is not intended for the US market. The guidance, which has been held up for months, has meant that relief groups have only received a portion of the US$1.6 billion that Congress approved in March as part of the global COVID-19 response. It will remain in effect until there is a surplus of PPE available in the US. 

News article - The New York Times

Guidance - USAID

South Korean President Moon Jae-in emphasizes role of the Committee for International Development Cooperation in ODA implementation

During a meeting with the prime minister, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea emphasized the important role of the Committee for International Development Cooperation (CIDC) for systematic implementation and enhanced effectiveness of South Korea’s ODA, especially with the role of ODA becoming more important with COVID-19.

The CIDC is chaired by the prime minister and is the highest decision-making body on South Korea’s ODA. In mid-2017, President Moon ordered that CIDC strengthen its function as the control tower of South Korea’s ODA and comprehensively and systematically manage South Korea’s overall ODA. The framework act on international development cooperation was amended on May 26, 2020, to reflect this stronger role. The amendment will come into force in late 2020.

Press release – South Korean Office of the Prime Minister (in Korean)

Norway pledges US$1 billion at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: 30% increase from 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, Norway pledged US$1 billion for the period of 2021-2025. This represents a 30% increase from Norway’s most recent pledge to Gavi in 2015 of US$771 million for the period of 2016-2020. Norway was represented at the event by both Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Development Dag Inge Ulstein.   

“We know from our own experience that investing in vaccines is one of the best public health investments we can make," Solberg said in her address. "Norway was one of the founders of Gavi 20 years ago. We believed, and still believe, in the vision and mission to improve the world, one vaccine at a time.” 

Speech transcript - Government of Norway

Germany pledges US$763 million at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: equal to 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, Germany pledged US$654 million for the period of 2021-2025, equaling its pledge to Gavi in 2015 for the period of 2016-2020. However, Germany announced an additional €100 million earmarked for Gavi’s COVID-19 response, bringing Germany’s contribution to a total of US$763 million. Germany was represented at the event by German chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Merkel emphasized Gavi’s pivotal role in both making vaccines “affordable, available and freely accessible worldwide” and in rolling out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine.“It is also vital to strengthen health-sector actors such as Gavi," she said, "because as soon as a suitable vaccine has been found, we need to be in a position to start a global vaccination campaign without delay." 

Merkel’s pledge prompted the criticism of an alliance of six German NGOs which, in the run-up to the pledging event, had called on the German government to increase its contribution to Gavi’s 2021-2025 strategic period by €100 million to a total of €700 million. “The German pledge for the Gavi vaccination alliance announced today is falling short of our expectations. An increase in funds for Gavi's core tasks by a further €100 million would have been important - because due to the current pandemic, lifesaving vaccination services against measles or polio are currently disrupted in many countries, ”said a joint statement by the six development organizations Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Global Citizen, ONE, Plan International Germany, Save the Children and World Vision Germany.

News article – Deutsche Welle

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Press release – DSW (in German)

South Korea pledges US$30 million at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: 50% increase from 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, South Korea pledged US$30 million for the period of 2021-2025. This represents a 50% increase from South Korea’s contributions to Gavi of US$20 million for the period of 2016-2020 ($4 million annually). South Korea was represented at the event by Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

In addition to the pledge, Minister Kang also discussed the Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response (G4IDR) which was recently launched by South Korea to work closely with the WHO and other multilateral health initiatives including Gavi, Global Fund, Unitaid, Stop TB, and the International Vaccine Institute. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

UK pledges US$2 billion at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: 44% increase from 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, the UK pledged £1.7 billion (US$2 billion) for the period of 2021-2025. This represents a 44% increase from the UK’s previous pledge of US$1.3 billion to Gavi for 2016-2020.

The UK was represented at the event by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Given that the UK was hosting the virtual summit, Johnson opened the event, identifying Gavi as a key institution in the fight against COVID-19. He called on the global community to unite in the fight against this pandemic.

Press release - UK Government