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NGOs call on Canada to fulfill COVID-19 vaccine donation promises, suspend intellectual property rights

Canada has taken over 970,000 doses from COVAX, the World Health Organization's vaccine alliance, for its own use, while delivering only 3.2 million – or 8% – of the 40 million doses it promised.

The US has delivered the largest quantity of donated doses - nearly 177 million - and yet, this number is merely 16% of the 1.1 billion promised. Meanwhile, the EU and countries including Germany and the UK, have refused to support the proposal by over 100 nations to waive patents on vaccines and COVID-19 - related technologies.

Preceding the G20 summit in Rome this week, the People’s Vaccine alliance – which consists of 77 members including ActionAid, the African Alliance, Oxfam, and UNAIDS – is calling on rich countries to:

  • Deliver on promises to donate COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries;
  • Immediately redistribute existing vaccines equitably across all nations; and,
  • Suspend intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines, tests, and treatments by agreeing to the proposed waiver of the TRIPS Agreement at the World Trade Organization.

​​​​Op-ed - Oxfam Canada 

Germany releases 16th One World development report; outgoing development minister calls for increased development budget

Following the release of the German government's One World development report- the sixteenth of its kind- outgoing development minister, Gerd Müller, highlighted recent German development cooperation results, such as reaching the 0.7% official development assistance (ODA) / gross national income (GNI) target for the first time in 50 years.

In light of global challenges like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, Müller called on the incoming government to further development efforts and increase the ODA/GNI quota to 1.0.

During his eight-year term as german development minister, Müller doubled the German development budget to exceed €13.0 billion (US$ 15.1 billion). Müller additionally highlighted the emergency COVID-19 Support Programme, worth €4.7 billion (US$ 5.5 billion), which began in 2020, and the German Supply Chain Act, passed this year.

Following the September 26, 2021 German federal elections, coalition negotiations are ongoing. A new development minister has not been announced.

News article – Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)

Press release - Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Germany pledges additional US$59 million to Education Cannot Wait

During the United Nations General Assembly Week (UNGA), German development minister, Gerd Müller, announced Germany's commitment of an additional €50 million (US$59 million) to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) for 2022 to support its multi-year resilience programs.

With this new funding, Germany’s contributions to ECW amount to US$137 million, making Germany the second-largest donor to ECW.

Press release – Education Cannot Wait

Social Democrats (SDP) win German federal election; center-left coalition probable

The Social Democrats (SPD) won the federal election in Germany on September 26, 2021, with 25.7% of the vote; at least three parties will need to come together to form a governing coalition. 

The conservative bloc - consisting of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and resigning Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and their Bavarian counterpart, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - received its worst results since World War II with 24.1% of the vote. The Greens party (Alliance 90/The Greens) increased its voting percentage by almost 6% and won 14.8% of the votes.

Coalition talks are in progress; the Social Democrats will most likely attempt a coalition with the Greens party and the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), which won 11.5% of the votes. This coalition formation is colloquially referred to as the "traffic light" coalition in reference to the respective parties' colors of red, green, and yellow. 

Negotiations are expected to take weeks or months as the parties try to find common ground and stitch together a governing coalition.

Germany's future chancellorship remains in question until coalition negotiations are finalized, with the SPD’s candidate, Olaf Scholz, and the CDU’s candidate, Armin Laschet, in the running. 

News article – Deutsche Welle

News article – The Guardian

UK reports on achievements of 2011-2021 international climate finance investments; commits US$15.6 billion for next five years

The UK's recently released Corporate Report, '2021 UK Climate Finance Results' provides an overview of achievements from the UK's portfolio of International Climate Finance (ICF) investments between April 2011 and March 2021. According to the report, during this period the UK provided £9.6 billion (US$12.9 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) focused on helping low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) to:

  • Adapt to the current and future effects of climate change; 
  • Follow low-carbon economic growth; 
  • Assist with sustainable management of natural resources; 
  • Improve access to clean energy; and, 
  • Reduce deforestation.

The report estimates that the UK's ICF programs have:

  • Provided direct support to 88 million people to help them with the impacts of climate change; 
  • Improved 41 million individuals’ access to clean energy; 
  • Helped to reduce or avoid 180 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions; and, 
  • Mobilized £5.2 billion (US$7.2 billion) in public and £3.3 billion (US$4.6 billion) in private finance for climate change purposes in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs).

The UK has committed to increasing its ICF to £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between April 2021 and March 2026 — a doubling compared to its previous five-year commitment. 

Report - 2021 International Climate Finance Results

Germany pledges US$87 million during talks with African Union

COVID-19 pandemic response and regional economic integration were key topics during annual talks between the African Union Commission and the German development ministry. In particular, both parties emphasized the importance of COVID-19 vaccine access for the African Union and highlighted the potential African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as areas for immediate action. 

The parties agreed to strengthen the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to promote COVID-19 pandemic response measures; Germany promised a promotional loan worth €250 million (US$292 million) for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and local vaccine production. Germany contributed an additional €29 million (US$34 million) in support of AfCFTA. 

Germany committed €74 million (US$87 million) in assistance in 2021 to the African Union with particular support funneled toward the African Peace and Security Architecture (strategic initiatives on conflict prevention, management, and resolution) promotion of intra-continental labor migration, and cooperation on green infrastructure projects. 

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

US and EU to reduce methane emissions by one-third by 2030, Biden says

United States President, Joe Biden, held a virtual summit with global leaders to address responses to harmful methane emissions; Biden announced that the US and Europe agreed to cut global methane emissions by one-third by 2030 and similarly urged other nations to join the "global methane pledge.” 

Biden welcomed representatives from the EU, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russian, Korea, India, Mexico, and the United Nations Secretary-General, to the event. Notably absent were the president of China, although he did send an envoy, and Brazil. 

The meeting precedes the UN's Climate Change Conference, COP26, which will take place in November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Biden called the reduced methane emissions target “ambitious but realistic” and also pledged that the US will assist lower-income countries in meeting the new target. 

News report - The New York Times

 

India-Germany climate cooperation strengthens; Germany joins International Solar Alliance

The parliamentary state secretaries at the German development ministry, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth and Norbert Barthle, visited India to strengthen cooperation between India and Germany on climate policy and expand renewable energy sources; the state secretaries confirmed Germany’s accession to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), emphasizing Germany’s support for a worldwide energy transition with secure funding for technology and market development.

ISA is a collaborative platform, which was initiated by India in 2015, and focuses on increasing solar capacity worldwide, especially in countries with high solar radiation.

Flachsbarth highlighted climate change adaption measures as another vital policy focus moving forward and announced Germany’s continued cooperation with India for climate crisis mitigation. Germany will also invest in financing solutions to provide better protection against climate disasters, she said.

The visit also addressed the expansion of India-Germany cooperation on agroecological farming and its potential contributions to food security, income generation, and climate mitigation impacts.


Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Germany pledges US$118 million at UN Afghanistan donor conference

On September 13, 2021, the UN hosted a donor conference to raise funds for Afghanistan, ultimately securing US$1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance for the nation, approximately double the original funding goal for the conference.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, confirmed Germany's contribution of €100 million (US$118 million) in assistance and is planning to pledge an additional €500 million (US$590 million) to further support Afghanistan and its neighboring countries.

German development minister, Gerd Müller, urged a reformation of the international humanitarian emergency relief system and suggested moving away from crisis intervention towards crisis prevention. He proposed a UN emergency fund of €10.0 billion (US$11.8 billion), which would provide reliable and proactive funding for UN organizations and their relief agencies.

News article – Deutsche Welle

News article – Deutschlandfunk (in German)

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Germany solidifies protection measures for Congo Basin rainforests

At the Tropical Forest Symposium on September 8, 2021, Germany’s development minister, Gerd Müller, along with representatives of ten bordering states to the Congo Basin, agreed on enhanced protection measures for its rainforests.


According to Müller, the destruction of tropical forests accounts for 11% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, and experts estimate that by the year 2100, the entirety of the Congo Basin's rainforests will be destroyed.

Germany supports the protection of rainforests in Africa via the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). The initiative's goal is to protect and rebuild 127 million hectares of the forest by 2030, inter alia, by building transparent wood supply chains, establishing economic alternatives for the people in the region, and closely engaging indigenous groups in the process.

Press release - Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

News article - Deutsche Welle (in German)

Germany increases COVID-19 vaccine sharing commitment to 100 million doses

German health minister, Jens Spahn, announced that Germany will contribute 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 following the G20 Health Ministers' meeting on September 5, 2021.

Germany had previously committed to sharing 30 million doses, increasing its contribution by 70 million jabs. According to Spahn, the number of committed doses is equivalent to the number of doses that have been distributed to the German population. The G20 Health Ministers' goal is to vaccinate at least 40% of the world population by the end of 2021 in order to contain the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.

News article - Deutsche Welle (in German)

News article - Tagesschau (in German)

WHO opens Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin

On September 1, 2021, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, inaugurated a new WHO Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin.

Germany contributed US$100 million in initial investment to the Hub, whose mission is to better detect and respond to pandemic and epidemic situations by providing better data, analytics, and decisions on global disease threats. The Hub is a collaboration of countries and partners from across the world and its work will focus on increasing the availability of key data, developing analytical tools and risk analysis, and supporting the work of public health experts and policy-makers worldwide. Dr. Tedros emphasized the Hub’s contribution to detecting and assessing risks of disease outbreaks in their earliest stages when the impacts on health and social disruptions can be contained effectively.

The Director of the new Hub is the Nigerian epidemiologist, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who currently leads Nigeria’s health authority.

Press release - WHO

News article - Tagesschau (in German)

 

G7 leaders support UN-led international humanitarian response in Afghanistan, call on Taliban government to uphold international human rights

The UK, as President of the G7 in 2021, hosted a virtual leaders’ meeting of the G7 on August 24 to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. 

The leaders, delivering a statement from the meeting, called for a cessation of all violence, and agreed to support an UN-led international humanitarian response. The G7 leaders also called upon the new Taliban-led government to uphold international human rights particularly for women and girls and uphold international humanitarian law.

The UN has estimated that 18 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan following the collapse of the government and the Taliban takeover, as US and UK troops withdrew from the country. The UN has also warned that the violence in Afghanistan must stop, noting that if current trends continue, Afghanistan could record the highest-ever number of documented civilian casualties, since the UN’s began collecting annual data on these figures.  

The UK has agreed to increase its official development assistance (ODA) to Afghanistan to £286 million (US$384 million) and has committed to receiving 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years. It also has an Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) which was launched on April 1, 2021 and will remain in place until November 2022, that offers any current or former locally employed staff working for the UK government in Afghanistan (that is assessed to be under serious threat to life) to be offered relocation to the UK.

G7 Leaders' statement - G7

News article - BOND

Germany cuts development funds to Afghanistan; NGOs say humanitarian assistance is desperately needed

After the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan, Germany has announced that it will halt all bilateral funding for development programs with the country. According to a spokesman of the German development ministry, there are concerns that development funds will fall into the hands of the Taliban regime.

German NGOs, including Welthungerhilfe and Misereor, called on the German government not to cut the funding for development cooperation with Afghanistan completely; cuts would hit the civilian population the hardest and humanitarian funding is much needed in the current situation, they argued. German politicians from the liberal party and the green party also emphasized the need to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, independent of the political conditions, and to reallocate funds earmarked for development cooperation in the state budget to humanitarian and emergency assistance for Afghanistan.

This year’s development funds for Afghanistan were budgeted at around €250 million (US$293 million), but none of these funds have been paid out so far.

News article – Deutsche Welle

News article – Tagesschau (in German)

Germany continues dose sharing through COVAX

After last week’s announcement that Germany will share over one million AstraZeneca vaccine doses with Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan via the COVAX initiative, Germany has committed to contributing another two million. The vaccines were supposed to be delivered to Germany next week but now will instead go to COVAX directly.

Around 3 million unused AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are currently stored in distribution centers across Germany, and it is unclear how many more unused doses there are at the vaccination centers. 

The German division of Doctors Without Borders praised the government’s decision to share doses with COVAX, but criticized the decision as late and repeated the call for a waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents to ramp up vaccine production in countries with currently low vaccination rates, especially on the African continent. Germany remains the main state opponent of the international movement to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents.

On July 15, 2021, Germany promised to share at least 30 million COVID-19 doses by the end of this year. 80% will be provided to COVAX while the remaining 20% will be shared bilaterally, inter alia with Namibia, Ukraine, and Western Balkan countries.

News article – Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)

News article – Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (in German)

Germany shares over one million COVID-19 vaccine doses with five countries through COVAX

Following Germany’s commitment on July 15, 2021, to share at least 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of this year, the German government has announced it will share a total of over one million AstraZeneca vaccine doses with Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan via the Covax initiative.

213,600 doses are planned to be shared with Afghanistan, 271,200 doses with Ethiopia, 357,600 doses with Sudan, 100,800 doses with Tajikistan, and 355,200 with Uzbekistan. According to the World Health Organization, these countries have a severe demand for vaccines and can use these doses directly for their national vaccination campaigns.

According to the German ministry of health, all AstraZeneca vaccines doses ordered by Germany will now be donated directly to Covax without being delivered first to Germany.

News article - Deutschlandfunk (in German)

News article - FAZ (in German)

As German vaccination rates decline and doses near expiration, urgent calls for dose sharing increase

As the demand for vaccines is falling in Germany and available vaccines are going unused, the risk increases that doses will expire. German development minister Gerd Müller appealed to his government to share these surplus doses with low- and middle-income countries to drive the global vaccination forward.

Several federal states have signaled their desire to give unused vaccine doses back to the German government, which can in turn share these with low- and middle-income countries. The number of unused, soon-to-expire doses is estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

Müller reminded the German government of its commitment to share 30 million doses by the end of the year and called for an increase to this amount, describing the scenario in which viable doses expire in Germany while other countries urgently need them as "incomprehensible."

According to a spokesman for the German Ministry of Health, the German government is planning to share surplus doses with other countries from August on, especially doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

News article - Tagesschau (in German)

News article - FAZ (in German)

Press release - ONE (in German)

Germany pledges US$375 million to to Global Partnership for Education for 2021-2025

At the Global Education Summit, the replenishment conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), on July 28 and 29, 2021, Germany committed €316 million (US$375 million) to GPE for the period between 2021 and 2026. Part of this pledge are commitments worth €100 million (US$117 million), which Germany already confirmed to provide for GPE’s Girl’s Education Accelerator in May of 2021, as well as €25 million for GPE's COVID-19 response window. 

The German NGO ONE criticized Germany’s commitments as insufficient, calling on Germany to pledge €110 million per year or €660 (US$653 million) by 2026. More funds and action are needed, the campaign said, given the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on international education.

GPE is a multi-stakeholder partnership between low- and middle-income countries, donors, multilateral and civil society organizations, foundations, and companies, founded in 2020 with the objective to give children and youth all over the world access to education. According to GPE, for the period between 2021 and 2025 US$5.0 billion is needed to support their work.

News article - Tagesschau (in German)

News article - Evangelisch.de (in German)

Press release - ONE (in German)

GPE replenishment concludes with US$4.0 billion of US$5.0 billion funding target raised by global donors

At the Global Education Summit, co-hosted by the UK and Kenya to replenish funds for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), donors raised a record US$4.0 billion in funding for educating the world's most vulnerable children between 2021 and 2026.

GPE leadership has said they hope that donors will provide additional financial support in the years to come, in order to reach the full US$5.0 billion in programming funds, which they say would enable up to 175 million children to access education and help get 88 million more young children enrolled in school by 2o25. The replenishment came against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis; the pandemic's dramatic disruption of education worldwide is well documented and is of major concern to sector experts.

Donor contributions included:

GPE is a multi-stakeholder partnership between low- and middle-income countries, donors, multilateral and civil society organizations, foundations, and companies, founded in 2020 with the objective to give children and youth all over the world access to education.

Press release - GPE

Germany provides US$8 million to Climate Change Competence Centre in Burkina Faso

The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the main funder of the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), provided €7 million (US$8 million) for the establishment of the Climate Change Competence Centre, which will serve as WASCAL’s research and data hub in Burkina Faso.

The ceremony for the commencement of the Centre took place at the WASCAL Ministerial Council's 4th biennial meeting on July 23, 2021.

WASCAL was initiated by eleven West African countries and the BMBF in 2010, and it leads research and capacity-building programs related to climate change adaption and land use management in West Africa.

In a statement, the German Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, emphasized the relevance of strategic and international partnerships to mitigate the climate emergency and foster the adaption to it. WASCAL, serving as a partnership between West African countries and Germany, makes a significant contribution to regional research on climate change in West Africa, she said.

Press release – Ministry of Education and Research (in German)

Press release – WASCAL