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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)

Everyone, "poor or rich", must have access to COVID-19 vaccine, says German Development Minister

German Development Minister Gerd Müller repeated his call for low-income countries to be guaranteed fair access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Given that low-income countries often experience delayed access to vaccines, Müller emphasized that “it has to be different with the COVID-19 vaccine,” so that people all over the globe can have equitable access to the treatment.

To this end, Müller underscored his support for the EU’s Global Response initiative as well as for the joint effort of the international organizations Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to ensure a fair distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine through the established COVAX Facility.

News article – RND (in German)

As India passes 400 million COVID-19 infections, Germany provides test equipment worth US$17 million

The German government will provide India with 330,000 COVID-19 test kits and 600,000 pieces of protective equipment for medical personnel to slow the spread of the virus.

The support will be financed with €15 million (US$17 million) in funding through the development ministry's (BMZ's) COVID-19 response package. Additionally, short-term loans amounting to €460 million (US$528 million) will be provided to support food provision to 800 million people and to provide interim help for 320 million people who have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic, said Development Minister Gerd Müller.

On September 5, 2020, the reported number of COVID-19 infections in India passed the four million mark, making it the country with the third most COVID-19 cases worldwide.  

Press release – German government (in German)

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

Germany joins ACT-Accelerator’s COVAX Facility

According to an announcement made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus at a press conference in Geneva on Monday, August 31, Germany has submitted an expression of interest to join the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility represents the vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator. It aims to procure two billion potential COVID-19 vaccine doses for all countries in the world by the end of 2021.   

News article – Reuters

Germany aims to contribute to global COVID-19 vaccine supply, says German Minister

The German Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, has announced Germany’s support for three biotech companies in building up production capacities for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. According to Karliczek, Germany aims to contribute to vaccine manufacturing for Europe and the world. It understands its obligation to produce vaccine doses beyond Germany’s national demand. 

Press release – BMBF (in German)

Radical rethinking of global economy is necessary to protect planet Earth and humankind, urges German Development Minister

In recognition of Earth Overshoot Day, German Development Minister Gerd Müller has called for a radical rethinking of the global economy to protect the environment and humankind. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date annually when humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

While this year’s Earth Overshoot Day is later than the previous years due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Müller emphasized that COVID-19 should be a wake-up call for the world. Against the backdrop of the global devastation brought on by the pandemic, and given the advancing climate crisis, he called for setting the course for climate-neutral development, such as an ambitious innovation and investment package for the expansion of renewable energies across the African continent and in India, among other regions.  

Press release – BMZ (in German)

UK government will close Public Health England, open new National Institute for Health Protection

The UK Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has announced that the government will be closing Public Health England (PHE) and replacing it with a new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP).  The NIHP, which will be modeled on Germany's Robert Koch Institute will have the single mission of protecting people from external health threats including pandemics, biological weapons, and infectious diseases.

The new NIHP will formally open in the spring of 2021. However, as an interim measure, the government is combining Public Health England, the NHS’s Test and Trace Network in England, and the Joint Biosphere Centre under a single leadership team, which will be headed by Baroness Dido Harding. Harding currently runs the NHS’s Test and Trace Network and will be the interim chief as the new institute is set up.

The new NIHP will be responsible for the following areas:

  • Emergency response and preparedness to deal with the most severe incidents at the national and local levels;
  • Providing local health protection teams to deal with infections and other threats;
  • Supporting and resourcing local authorities to manage local outbreaks;
  • Managing the COVID-19 testing program and contact tracing program;
  • Running the Joint Biosecurity Centre;
  • Overseeing research and reference laboratories and associated services;
  • Supervising specialist epidemiology and surveillance of all infectious diseases;
  • Running the Centre for Radiation, Chemical, and Environmental Hazards;
  • Overseeing global health security initiatives, including interventions funded via the UK development assistance budget; and
  • Providing specialistic scientific advice on immunization and countermeasures.

The move has been criticized by some who believe that the closure of PHE was politically driven by a desire from the government to blame the organization for the mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis. Others, however, have welcomed the move, noting that PHE, which was formed in 2012, had too broad a mandate, covering health protection and prevention initiatives such as anti-obesity strategies and that this led to its expertise being spread too thin.

Like the former PHE, the Institute will have a key role in UK’s global health security work and will be responsible for delivering key projects funded via the UK’s development assistance budget.

News article - BBC

Press release - UK government

EU’s 'external action' budget is insufficient, say German Development Minister and leader of European People's Party

In a joint open editorial published in the German newspaper “Handelsblatt”, German Development Minister Gerd Müller and the Leader of the European People's Party in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, called on the EU to increase the budget for the EU’s ‘external action` in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. They also suggested abandoning the unanimity rule to ensure the EU’s ability to act in its foreign and development policy. 

Pointing to persisting wars as well as global challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic, they outlined the need for a united Europe willing to take geopolitical responsibility in a turbulent world. However, with less than 10% of the budget currently earmarked for its external action, Europe denies itself the ability to act, they stated.

Müller and Weber further highlighted the importance of funding for an effective Africa strategy to enable the continent to become economically self-sustaining. To this end, new instruments such as a European Investment and Development Bank would be necessary, they said.

News article – Handelsblatt (in German)

Germany pledges US$23 million in emergency assistance to Lebanon

At the August 9, 2020 virtual pledging conference to raise money for Lebanon's recovery efforts, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced a German contribution of €20 million (US$23 million) in emergency funding to support Lebanon in the aftermath of the August 4 explosion in Beirut.

Half of the funding will come from the Federal Foreign Office budget, while another €10 million (US$11 million) will be provided by the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  This pledge comes on top of the already announced €2 million in funding for relief supplies to be delivered by the German Red Cross.

The virtual event was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and mobilized pledges worth US$297 million to help address the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster.

Press release – Federal Foreign Office

News article – Politico

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

German Education and Research Ministry gives grant support to three biotech companies developing promising COVID-19 vaccines

The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has provided funding grants to three biotech companies – Tübingen-based CureVac, BioNTech from Mainz, and IDT Biologika from Dessau – to support accelerating progress on their potential COVID-19 vaccines. In return, Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, noted, the federal government expects that “an appropriate amount of an approved vaccine will be made available for demand-oriented supply in Germany."

The funding is channeled through a €750 million (US$844 million) national vaccine program, announced in May by the BMBF. The program aims to scale up clinical testing and expand production capacities for vaccine development in Germany.

While Karliczek stated that all three supported firms are currently working on promising vaccine candidates, she emphasized that an eventual COVID-19 vaccine is not expected to be available before mid-2021.  

Press release – BMBF (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

African Union to receive 1.4 million COVID-19 tests from German Development Ministry

As part of its Emergency COVID-19 Support Program, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will provide a total of 1.4 million COVID-19 tests to the African Union to support it in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pointing to the 20,000 new infections currently reported every day on the African continent - twice as much as last month's rate – German Development Minister Gerd Müller underscored Germany’s solidarity with its partners and the importance of a global response to beat COVID-19.  

The first batch of test kits was handed over to the African Union by the BMZ’s Epidemic Preparedness Team on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Press release - BMZ

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

690 million people affected by hunger, says SOFI 2020 report; Germany responds with increased funding for ‘ONE WORLD - No Hunger’ initiative

Citing the newly released report ‘The State of Security and Nutrition in the World 2020’ (SOFI 2020), German Development Minister Gerd Müller has announced budget increases for the special initiative ‘ONE WORLD - No Hunger’ in 2021.

The report presents the latest estimates and trends in food insecurity, malnutrition, and hunger at both the global and regional levels and is jointly produced by the five UN agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).  

According to this year’s report, 690 million people around the world are hungry, an increase of 10 million in one year and 60 million more than five years ago.

In addition to the €200 million already allocated to food security through the COVID-19 response package, the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) plans to increase funding for the special initiative ‘ONE WORLD - No Hunger’ in 2021, Müller said. The initiative aims to improve the nutrition of 4.6 million people by 2022.

The SOFI 2020 report underscores that the world is not currently on track to eradicate hunger by 2030, a cornerstone of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). If recent trends continue, the number of undernourished people in 2030 will exceed 840 million people. A preliminary assessment in the report further estimates that the pandemic could tip an additional 83 to 132 million people into hunger.

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Report – SOFI 2020

Women's empowerment is key to addressing world population growth, says Merkel

Speaking on World Population Day on July 11, 2020, Germany's Angela Merkel highlighted the challenges posed by global population growth. Low-income countries will be most strongly impacted, she said, with 2/3 of the world population’s annual growth taking place in so-called "developing countries".

Germany plans to support the affected countries through development cooperation programming, and to put special focus on girls and women, she said. According to Merkel, women's empowerment initiatives, for example, those that promote opportunities for education and economic independence, are key to increasing girls' and women’s autonomy in family planning and, thus, have a profound impact on world population growth.

Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, Merkel repeatedly called for international cooperation and solidarity to respond to the virus.

News article – BR24 (in German)

Press release –Die Bundeskanzlerin, Video-Podcast (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)

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)

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