Policy Updates

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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 

New Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform will bring together major stakeholders in Italian global response to COVID-19

The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, has announced the first meeting of the Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform on the Italian Global Response to COVID-19.

The coordination platform will bring together the main Italian actors involved in the global fight against Covid-19. Delegates from the Ministries of Foreign affairs, Health, Treasury, Economic Development, University, and Research and Agriculture will take part, as well as members of the Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, members of civil society organizations and universities, research institutions the National Health Institute, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry.

Italy is interested in the global health impact of COVID-19, but also in the pandemic's socio-economic effects, including implications on the food systems of most vulnerable countries.

Interview- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Italy, Germany, France, and Netherlands sign agreement with British drugmaker for 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials

The Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, a group formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, signed a contract with the British drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply up to 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, is still in clinical trials. If the trial results convince regulators the vaccine is safe and effective, deliveries are expected to start by the end of 2020.

The Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, announced that the vaccine would be distributed for free, starting with the highest-risk groups. Speranza added that a significant part of the production process would take place in Italy.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Health website

At Gavi's Global Vaccine Summit, world leaders exceed funding target with historic US$8.8 billion

Representatives of 52 countries, including 35 heads of state, joined the June 5, 2020, Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to raise a total of US$8.8 billion in financing for childhood immunizations and vaccine infrastructure. World leaders, meeting with representatives of 12 organizations and corporations for the London-based pledging moment, hoped to reach a US$7.4 billion funding target. By the time the pledging ended, the target had been overshot by US$1.4 billion.

Against the backdrop of a still-raging COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and laid waste to the global economy, attendees of the summit spoke passionately about the need for global cooperation and solidarity in ensuring that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, once developed, be accessible to all.

The US$8.8 billion will support Gavi's campaign to vaccinate 300 million children in the world's poorest countries against diseases including diphtheria, polio, and measles by 2025. Disruptions to Gavi's regular immunization activities, caused by COVID-19, have endangered an estimated 80 million children under one year old. The funding will also bolster Gavi's efforts in strengthening health systems in low-income states which have been ravaged by the pandemic and will help build out infrastructure to support the eventual provision of a vaccine against the virus.

A further US$567 million was also raised for 'Gavi Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines' (Gavi Covax AMC), a new financing instrument designed to provide access to the eventual COVID-19 vaccine specifically in low- and middle-income countries.

“To beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs more than breakthrough science. It needs breakthrough generosity,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “...When COVID-19 vaccines are ready, this funding and global coordination will ensure that people all over the world will be able to access them.”

Press release - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Italy pledges US$314 million at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: 20% increase from 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, Italy pledged €288 million (US$314 million). €120m ($131 million) was allocated as a direct contribution to Gavi for the period 2021-2025, representing a 20% increase over Italy’s previous direct pledge for the 2016 to 2020 period. Italy announced a further €150 million ($164 million) to be paid in equal installments from 2026 to 2030, to Gavi's International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) on top of the previous IFFIM commitment. Italy was represented at the Summit by Prime Minister Conte.

Over the past 20 years, Italy has taken a leading role in launching the first Advance Market Commitment to accelerate the development and availability of pneumococcal vaccines, and it is the largest donor to the AMC. In his London remarks, Conte announced on behalf of all AMC partners that the AMC's financial balance would be allocated to the new Gavi Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines (Gavi Covax AMC).

In his speech, Conte also confirmed that effective multilateralism, international cooperation, and solidarity will be central pillars of Italy’s G20 presidency in 2021.

Speech transcript - Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Italian Health Minister calls for COVID-19 vaccine to be recognized as global public good, made universally accessible

The Italian Minister of health, Roberto Speranza, committed at the World Health Assembly to working to ensure the future COVID-19 vaccine would be recognized as a global public good, accessible to all.

Speranza also confirmed Italy's support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), emphasizing that WHO must remain completely independent of any political or financial influence and it must be guided only by science.

Speech transcript - Il Messaggero (in English)

Italy launches 'Coalition for Food' initiative to combat COVID-19-related food insecurity

The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, in a call with the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Anne-Marie Belinda Trevelyan, presented the Coalition for Food initiative.

The initiative aims to mitigate food insecurity exacerbated by the pandemic. The multilateral action will ensure the sustainability and resilience of the agri-food sector during the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Italy's Conte pledges US$155 million to GAVI, CEPI, WHO at Coronavirus Global Response conference

At the EU's Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged €120 million (US$133 million) to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, €10 million (US$11 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and €10 million (US$11 million) to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In his speech, Conte confirmed Italian commitment to global health and emphasized the importance of a multilateral approach to pandemics.

Speech transcript – Il Sole 24 Ore (in English)

Italian Prime Minister Conte joins launch of 'Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator'

On April 24, 2020, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte participated in the launch of the 'Access To COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator' and expressed his support for the initiative through a video message. 

Conte framed his participation partly as a response to Italy’s request for global cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine development, as well as a follow-up to the Africa COVID call to action published in the Financial Times as an op-ed signed by 18 world leaders.

Speech transcript - Il Fatto Quotidiano (in English)

Italian G20 presidency will prioritize population, planet, prosperity

Italian Ambassador Pietro Benassi, Prime Minister Conte’s diplomatic advisor, announced in a recent interview the three central priorities of the upcoming G20 summit to be held in Italy: population, planet, and prosperity.

When the dust of the COVID-19 emergency settles, the G20 will need to help build a new global economy ensuring a sustainable and inclusive future for all, said Benassi. Gender equality and sustainable development across the African continent will be at the center of the Italian G20 agenda. The coronavirus crisis has shown starkly how interconnected the world truly is and has highlighted the fact that to safeguard our own health, we must support health systems all over the world, especially in fragile states.

Interview - Il Giornale Diplomatico (in Italian)

International cooperation is cornerstone of successful pandemic response, says Italy's Del Re

Italy's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, in an interview with the Italian press agency Dire, emphasized the importance of international cooperation and multilateral approaches in the global response to COVID-19.

Only by acting globally can local action be effective, said Del Re. Italy remains committed, she said, to increasing official development assistance (ODA) to reach the 0.7% GNI to ODA target by 2030, despite cuts to the development assistance budget over the last two years. The Vice Minister admitted that Italy may have to reassess its priorities in international cooperation in order to sufficiently respond to COVID-19.

Del Re further emphasized the importance of developing more targeted health programs that focus on the most vulnerable groups with more significant support for local communities.

Interview - Dire agenzia di Stampa Nazionale (in Italian)

 

European and African leaders call for international support for Africa’s pandemic response

European and African world leaders co-signed an op-ed in the Financial Times arguing for a debt moratorium and health and economic assistance to support African countries’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. Leaders called for governments, multilateral institutions, businesses, foundations, and NGOs to join forces to boost Africa’s emergency health response and to provide economic stimulus and humanitarian assistance through existing institutions like the Global Fund, Gavi, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. 
 
The opinion piece, titled 'Only Victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere', was signed by 18 world leaders. EU signatories included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of France Emmanuel Macron,  and the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. 
 
Opinion article - Financial Times

European and African leaders call for international support for Africa’s pandemic response

European and African world leaders co-signed an op-ed in the Financial Times arguing for a debt moratorium and health and economic assistance to support African countries’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. Leaders called for governments, multilateral institutions, businesses, foundations, and NGOs to join forces to boost Africa’s emergency health response and to provide economic stimulus and humanitarian assistance through existing institutions like the Global Fund, Gavi, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. 
 
The opinion piece, titled 'Only Victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere', was signed by 18 world leaders. EU signatories included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of France Emmanuel Macron,  and the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. 
 
Opinion article - Financial Times

 

Prominent global leaders say G20 must immediately fill role of global coordinator for COVID-19 efforts, propose convening executive taskforce and pledging conference

More than 160 leaders from around the world, including many prominent former and present heads of state, signed a letter calling on G20 members to take bold action to strengthen weak health systems in regions of Latin America and Africa and to allocate US$8 billion in emergency funding for relief amid the ever-escalating public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus continues to rip through even the best established and funded health systems, the letter's authors urged G20 members, who represent some of the wealthiest and most industrialized nations, to immediately establish a task force with executive powers to centrally coordinate global COVID-19 containment and treatment plans.

Efforts to contain the global spread of the deadly novel coronavirus have been haphazard and splintered, with nation after nation putting too little too late towards prevention and primarily taking national or sub-national measures which do not dovetail. Experts have highlighted again and again that this approach is fundamentally unsuitable to mitigate a pandemic at this scale; national lockdowns can do little to prevent the spread of an infectious disease whose contagions know no borders. Though daily life for most people on the planet is now fundamentally unrecognizable, supranational organizations have thus far failed to respond with a plan or package to scale with the level of shock echoing through the global economy and society at large. Radio silence from some of the default leaders on the world stage is deafening.

According to the letter, US$1 billion is desperately needed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is at present operating in large part on revenue from individual philanthropic donations, which is hardly a sustainable or reliable source of funding. Authors call for a further US$3 billion in spending on vaccine research and US$2.3 billion for therapeutics. The letter further proposes the convening of a global pledging conference, to be hosted by the G20 task force, to address the state of emergency.

News article - The Guardian

Letter to G20 Governments - Project Syndicate

Oxfam denounces 'lack of ambition' in Italian international cooperation

Oxfam Italy, in partnership with the think tank Openpolis, published a report analyzing Italy's Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the 2020 budget.

Despite previous engagement to achieve the 0.3% GNI to ODA by 2020, the budget allocated to international cooperation in 2020 will be €5milion (US$5 million), corresponding to 0.26% of GNI if considering the current growth estimates by the Treasury. (The report was drafted before the COVID-19 crisis, which is expected to significantly impact economic growth.)

The report also flagged the “good news” first, that the ODA budget allocated to the Ministry of the Interior for migration management has been reduced by 6% compared to 2019. Italian spending has been consistent with the priority areas set out in strategy documents; in fact, in 2018, health education and agriculture sectors represented 43.8% of bilateral, allocable ODA, compared to 35.7% in 2017.

Report: 'Italy 2020 cooperation, the missed target' - Oxfam Italy and Openpolis

130+ Italian CSOs request protection plan for migrants against COVID-19

The Italian association for legal studies on migration (ASGI) launched an appeal to the government to develop a protection plan against COVID-19 for vulnerable populations, including migrants, asylum seekers, and the homeless. More than 130 Italian CSOs of different backgrounds joined the call for action launched by ASGI.

ASGI - Call to action

New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

ONE highlights need for better data, alongside release of their new gender data dashboard

ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, has joined the growing number of organizations calling attention to the fact that "more funding for gender equality may not be all it seems". Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeting gender equality reached an all-time high of US$45.2 billion in 2018, accounting for 39.4% of ODA. However, closer examinations of the figures recently released by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that challenges remain, especially in terms of the quality of the data available on the state of funding for gender equality in development.

As part of ONE's commitment to back up their advocacy with data-driven tools, they released a new interactive dashboard to explore gender ODA from nine major donors. The tool provides data on how each donor spends gender equality focused development funding, information on their key gender strategies, details on the sectors and income levels that they target, and analysis of how different agencies prioritize gender equality.

Blog post - ONE

Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs calls for cooperation at ministerial meeting on migration and development

Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, attended the 8th Ministerial Conference of the 5+5 Dialogue in Marrakech on March 1-2, 2020. At the Dialogue, ministers and high representatives discussed strategies for the facilitation of legal migration and the connections between migration and development. Following the conference, Del Re called for further multilateral cooperation to manage migration.

The Western Mediterranean Forum, or 5+5 Dialogue, was established in 1990. It is an informal sub-regional forum made up of five countries from the northern side of the Mediterranean and five from the southern shore. In addition to Del Re, attendees at the meeting in Marrakech included the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Foreign Affairs Ministers from France, Spain, Portugal, Malta, and representatives from Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

ActionAid report denounces ODA cuts in Italy's 2020 budget

A recent analysis of Italy's 2020 budget by ActionAid Italy, reported that the country's Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be cut by €329 million (US$365 million) compared to 2019. More than 80% of this decrease is due to a reduction of in-country refugee costs and EU contributions.

The downward trend in Italy's spending on international development began in 2018 when ODA fell by €806 million (US$895 million) compared to 2017. Despite an increase in Italy's ODA in 2019, the cuts planned for 2020 will leave the country's ODA below 2017 levels, according to this report.

Report - ActionAid Italy