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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

German Green Party updates party manifesto with broadened political scope, aiming to resonate with more voters

On November 22, 2020, the German Green Party adopted their updated party manifesto, which should remain valid for the next 15 to 20 years. The comprehensive policy program is understood as a shift away from the party’s former image of an 'eco-only' party, to broaden their scope of political topics, with the hope of resonating with more voters and having the opportunity to co-govern Germany after the next parliamentary elections in 2021.

One of the key elements of the program is the Greens’ commitment to the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 at the UN level to tackle the climate crisis. The program states that “the central basis for the Greens' policy is the Paris Agreement and the International Panel on Climate Change report on the 1.5-degree target". 

With the new policy program, the Greens also move away from their former rejection of genetic engineering, emphasizing that “freedom of research must be guaranteed” in this area too. Co-party leader Robert Habeck stated that the focus should not be on the technology itself but its “opportunities, risks and consequences”. 

News article - Der Spiegel (in German)

Press release - Green Party (in German)

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)

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

UK parliament debates whether to waive intellectual property rules on COVID-19 products

Some members of the UK parliament have challenged the government to use its influence at the international level to push for a waiver of intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, to enable wider access for low- and lower-middle-income countries.  

Speaking at a debate in the Houses of Parliament on November 5, 2020, Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat Party’s chief whip, noted that without such urgent action, richer countries will likely crowd out poor countries' access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, resulting in a two-tier rollout and deepening existing inequalities.

Chamberlain noted that rules within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) already exist to enable countries to override health monopolies in exceptional public health circumstances. She also cited how Germany, Australia, and Canada have already taken advantage of these rules, loosening their laws around compulsory licenses in order to allow (if required) the use of interventions to assist with COVID-19 without the patent holders' consent.

Chamberlain, who was supported by Sarah Champion (Labour MP and Chair of the International Development Select Committee), called for the UK to step up as a force for good and support the South African and Indian proposal for intellectual property monopolies to be waivered on COVID-19 products.

However, Wendy Morton, minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), noted that the UK government wanted the existing rules on intellectual property rights to be upheld and not waivered. Morton cited the importance of intellectual property rights in incentivizing companies to invest in research and development around new drugs against COVID-19. 

The UK government has spent around £1.0 billion ($1.3 billion) on research for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines and has contributed £548 million (US$709 million) to the COVAX Facility, an international partnership under the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator that pools resources to negotiate vaccine deals, with the goal to also help lower-income countries have more equitable access to vaccine candidates.

News article - Devex

Germany strengthens 'One Health' project, will invest US$35 million in Kenyan pandemic center

At the 2020 World Health Summit, an annual leading global health conference, German Development Minister Gerd Müller announced that the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will invest €30 million (US$35 million) to set up a 'One Health' pandemic center in Kenya.

One Health is a multidisciplinary approach that recognizes humans' connections with other species and their shared environment, a concept discussed in the context of zoonoses (infectious diseases which spread from animals to humans) which can lead to pandemics.

The funding is part of Germany's efforts to expand the One Health and pandemic preparedness projects in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Given that at least 40 more potential pandemic-causing viruses have been identified, the BMZ will put an additional focus on food security and early detection of zoonoses in food production, in cooperation with the World Bank.

Parliamentary State Secretary, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, will be heading the newly set up One Health Directorate at the BMZ. According to Flachsbarth, the “One Health triad of human health, animal health, and a healthy environment” needs to be strengthened to effectively tackle future pandemics.

Press release – BMZ

Overcoming pandemic will be impossible with “vaccine nationalism", says German federal president

At the opening of the World Health Summit on October 25, 2020, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier appealed to the community of states to better collaborate in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis. While acknowledging that governments have to first and foremost represent their people's interests, he urged that this pandemic cannot be overcome through “vaccine nationalism”.

Emphasizing that “no one is safe until we are all safe” from COVID-19, Steinmeier underscored the importance of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to ensure globally fair and affordable access to treatment, and he called for further support for the COVAX Facility which contributes to this collaboration. Thereby, he particularly addressed the US, saying “When it comes to making a success of our efforts to date, no country has been missed more than the United States of America,” and he called on the next US presidential administration to join the COVAX Facility.

The World Health Summit was originally planned to take place in Berlin, with around 2000 participants. Due to COVID-19, the event took place as a fully digital conference.

Press release – Federal President

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

German development minister supports World Bank president’s call for debt relief

During the World Bank’s annual meeting on October 16, 2020, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called on private banks, investment funds, and China to participate in a debt moratorium for the "poorest countries" in the world.

According to Müller, the G20 debt moratorium agreed on in April had helped the 46 poorest countries save US$5.0 billion in interest that could be used to fight COVID-19. However, the G20’s planned extension of this moratorium until mid-2021 would not be enough, as the COVID-19 crisis “won’t be over in a year”, Müller stated.

Therefore, he called on investment funds, private banks, and also Chinese creditors to participate in a moratorium. With many states on the brink of state collapse, Müller warned of a new debt crisis. Backing Word Bank President David Malpass' call to forgive poor countries’ debts, Müller emphasized that debt cancellation is a pivotal step. However, a debt transparency initiative would be a prerequisite, Müller said, to ensure that the interest saved will be channeled in health and social security.

News article - Reuters (in German)

Press release - BMZ (in German)

Additional US$33.0 billion in yearly funding could end global hunger crisis, says Ceres2030 study; German Development Minister calls for green agricultural revolution to reach goal

During World Food Week, German Development Minister Gerd Müller convened a conference on October 13, 2020, to present the findings of two new studies on how to end the global hunger crisis. One study was undertaken by Ceres2030 (a partnership between academia, civil society, and economists), and the other was done by the University of Bonn's Center for Development Research (ZEF) in cooperation with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to the studies, US$33.0 billion a year will be needed in additional funding to eradicate hunger by 2030. The experts involved in the studies believe that donor countries could realistically contribute an additional US$14.0 billion a year, while low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) could provide US$19.0 billion. Currently, donor countries contribute US$12.0 billion per year to food security and nutrition, thus, they would have to double their commitments. The additional funding could prevent 490 million people from suffering from hunger, double the incomes of 545 million small-scale producers in LMICs, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions for agriculture to levels below the Paris Agreement commitments, the studies say.

Pointing to the studies’ findings, Müller emphasized that a world without hunger would be possible with a green agricultural revolution and additional funding. He urged that “we must not fail for a lack of political will” and announced that Germany will increase funding to fight the hunger crisis. Currently, Germany annually channels around €2.0 billion (US$2.3 billion) to food security and rural development. Highlighting that the Nobel Peace Prize to the UN World Food Programme “sends the right signal at the right time”, Müller called on other donor countries to live up to their commitments, to together end the global hunger crisis by 2030.

Press release – German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Report – Ceres2030

Report – FAO, ZEF

Germany pledges US$229 million at GAFSP’s 2020-2025 replenishment kick-off to tackle hunger

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) raised nearly US$315 million at its 2020-2025 replenishment kick-off on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Germany contributed €200 million (US$229 million) to GAFSP’s overall replenishment target of US$1.5 billion over five years.

Further pledges were announced by Australia, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Norway, and Spain. With the approximately US$315 million raised, GAFSP could reach its annual replenishment goal for 2020.

GAFSP is a financing instrument hosted by the World Bank, aimed at mobilizing funding to improve food and nutrition security and to eventually reach SDG2 – the Sustainable Development Goal for a world without hunger. Since 2010, GAFSP has channeled US$1.6 billion to tackle malnutrition, hunger, and poverty in more than 45 low-income countries.

News article – Devex

Press release – GAFSP

Australia commits US$7 million as part of pledge to replenish Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

Australia has committed A$10 million (US$7 million) as part of the first replenishment period for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). Other donors to contribute to the replenishment were Germany, Norway, and Spain as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In total, US$300 million in contributions was announced.

Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke, emphasized Australia’s long-standing role as a supporter of the GAFSP because the organization has a proven track record in assisting smallholder farmers and could play an important role in reducing hunger during the COVID-19 crisis.

News article - ReliefWeb

Germany's US$115 million Gavi pledge to be fully channeled to COVAX AMC

At a UN side event on the global initiative to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tools (Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-A), German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the special funds of €100 million (US$115 million) pledged to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, in June 2020 will be fully channeled to the COVAX AMC, a financing instrument that supports low- and lower-middle-income countries in the COVAX Facility.

Spearheaded by Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the COVAX Facility works to ensure that vaccines are accessible and affordable for all countries.

Merkel once more underscored the importance of equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and eventually vaccines, and she called for a joint global response to fight the pandemic. 

German Development Minister Gerd Müller welcomed Merkel's announcement, emphasizing that access to vaccines “must not depend on whether you are rich or poor”. According to him, Germany will support 92 countries in procuring eventual COVID-19 vaccines with the €100 million provided. 

News article – Deutsche Welle

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Germany's Müller warns of “heat apocalypse" if action on climate crisis continues as is

Together with German economist Claudia Kemfert, German Development Minister Gerd Müller warned of a catastrophic scenario if the world does not take the climate crisis more seriously.

20 million people have already had to flee drought regions because they no longer had a livelihood, according to Müller. While he praised the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 as a great success, he highlighted that only 8 out of 193 countries are still on track to reach the set climate goals.

According to Müller, the African continent would be key in the transition to a climate-neutral planet; if the 600 million people without access to any electricity on the African continent were to be provided with electricity through coal-fired plants, we will never achieve our climate goals, he said. Therefore, Müller called for a European investment plan to support the African continent in becoming “the green continent of renewable energy”. Since Europe, North America, and parts of Asia have primarily caused climate change, it is their responsibility to mitigate the crisis and support the African energy transition, Müller emphasized.

Meanwhile, Germany joined heads of state and government from more than 60 countries in signing a joint declaration underlining the countries’ intention to do more to preserve global biodiversity. On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly New York, these heads also jointly adopted a "promise for nature", assuring to act beyond words and take “meaningful deeds and mutual accountability to address the planet's crisis”. 

Many large countries, such as Brazil, India, the US, and China were not part of the signatories. 

News article – t-online (in German)

News article – ZDFheute (in German)

Germany provides Bolivia with 100,000 COVID-19 test kits

As part of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ’s) COVID-19 response program, the German Epidemic Preparedness Team has provided Bolivia with 100,000 COVID-19 test kits to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Together with Bolivian partner organizations, the team is also conducting laboratory trainings to improve the detection of the COVID-19 virus. The team consists of experts from the Charité, the Robert Koch Institute, and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

As of September 28, 2020, Bolivia has reported more than 130,000 cases of COVID-19, with 7,500 deaths.

Press release – BMZ (in German)

German cabinet adopts federal budget draft bill; development ministry’s budget set to remain stable

On September 23, 2020, the German cabinet adopted the government draft bill for the 2021 federal budget, as well as midterm financial planning through 2024.

The federal budget is set to stand at €413.4 billion (US$474.3 billion) in 2021. The budget for the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is set to remain stable at €12.4 billion (US$14.2 billion) and includes the €1.6 billion (US$1.8 billion) funding increases following from the BMZ’s COVID-19 Response Package (Corona-Response-Paket), approved in June 2020. The Federal Foreign Office's budget, through which funding for humanitarian assistance is provided, is set to decrease by 8.8%, from €6.6 billion (US$7.6 billion) in 2020 to €6.0 billion (US$6.9 billion) in 2021. 

According to the midterm financial planning, funding for the BMZ will decrease over the coming years, with the BMZ’s budget set at €9.4 billion (US$10.8 billion) in 2022, and at €9.3 billion (US$10.7 billion) in 2023 and 2024. Therefore, according to the budget draft, the midterm financial planning for the BMZ’s budget will drop below the 2020 pre-COVID-19 levels of €10.9 billion (US$12.5 billion). However, the midterm financial plannings have been equally conservative over the past years, with actual increases in the respective budget years.

The budget draft will be discussed, amended, and finalized by parliament by December 2020.

Press release – Federal Ministry of Finance (in German)

After devastating fire at Moria refugee camp, Germany's Merkel plans to take in 1,500 refugees from Lesbos, Greece

After the devastating fires in Moria, Europe’s biggest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer have agreed to take in an additional 1,500 migrants from Greece, mostly families with children who have already been recognized as especially vulnerable.

Seehofer had previously announced that Germany would accept between 100 and 150 unaccompanied minors from Lesbos.

According to reports, while this new agreement was discussed with the Greek government, it has not been discussed yet with the ruling parties, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) and the Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) alliance. Hence, it remains to be seen whether the parties, especially the SPD will agree. Prior to Merkel’s and Seehofer's proposal, Saskia Esken, co-leader of the SPD, had said that Germany should take in “a high 4-digit number” of refugees.

Similarly, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called on Germany to take in 2,000 refugees. According to Müller, the fire in the camp was a “foreseeable catastrophe”, given its poor safety conditions. While both Merkel and Seehofer have emphasized the necessity of finding a Europe-wide solution, Müller stressed that due to lack of consensus, a smaller group of states willing to take in people could meet the challenge alone.

On Monday, September 14, 2020, Merkel underscored that while Germany could make “a substantial contribution”, any German action taken must be embedded as part of an overall European strategy. She expressed her support for the establishment of a new refugee camp under EU responsibility on the Greek island of Lesbos and promised help from Germany if such a camp were to be constructed.

News article – Tagesschau (in German) 

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

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

German Development Minister plans withdrawal from federal politics

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has announced that he will not run in the upcoming federal election in October 2021; he will withdraw from federal politics by the end of the parliamentary term. According to Müller, after 32 years of being a part of the European Parliament and the German Bundestag, he would now like to "initiate a generation change.”

Müller has been serving as Development Minister since 2013.

News article – Merkur (in German)