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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

Norway allocates US$133 million to combat non-communicable diseases in low-income countries

Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein announced that Norway, from 2020 to 2024, will contribute an additional US$133 million to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in low-income countries.

The government is following its 'Better Health, Better Lives' strategy, announced by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019. Ulstein emphasized that this funding is important in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, as the risk of getting seriously ill from the virus increases when one has underlying conditions.

There is an overall need to strengthen health systems in low-income countries. Non-communicable diseases receive only 1-2% of overall global health-related development assistance funding. This increases the funding gap for the most vulnerable. According to the Norwegian government's press release, Norway is the first donor country with a strategy focusing on non-communicable diseases in low-income countries. 

Press release - Norwegian government 

As civilian death toll in deadly Nagorno-Karabakh conflict rises, Norway provides US$2 million to relief organizations; UN warns of war crimes

Norway is contributing NOK17 million (US$2 million) to organizations providing humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the rapidly escalating territorial and ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The conflict is ongoing since the late 1980s, but a recent resurgence of violence in the fall of 2020 has led to warnings from UN officials that insurgent attacks on civilians fall under the definition of war crimes.

The support will be allocated through several organizations and Norway will also support displaced children through its strategic partnership with Save the Children and the organization Halo Trust, which works to protect civilians from land mines. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide emphasized that she hoped the different parties of the conflict abide by the recently-instated ceasefire and resume substantial negotiations; violence has since resumed.

Norway affirmed its support of the work of the OSCE Minsk Group (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) which has been working toward a peaceful solution since 1994. 

Press release - Norwegian government

University of Bergen establishes first pandemic center in Norway

The University of Bergen (UiB) opened its first pandemic center in Norway on October 27, 2020. The center will be the third of its kind in the world and will promote and gather research on pandemics, particularly on COVID-19. The center will include researchers from all of the university's faculties. 

The center aims to be a resource for the general public, government authorities, and researchers to educate all sectors and ensure better preparation for the next pandemic.

It will provide research-based knowledge on infection control measures and infections' stages. Beyond research on medical consequences, the center also hopes to contribute research on the socio-economic, legal, and ecological impacts of pandemics.

The pandemic center is a part of the new 'Alrek health cluster' in Bergen, Norway, which consists of the University of Bergen, Bergen Municipality, Norwegian Health Institute, NORCE Research Center, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and Haraldsplass Hospital. 

Press release - University of Bergen (in Norwegian)

Norway allocates additional US$44 million to Sahel crisis relief

At the Digital Donor Conference hosted by the UN, Denmark, Germany, and the EU, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide announced that Norway will allocate an additional NOK390 million (US$44 million) for victims of the crisis in the Sahel that has intensified as a result of COVID-19, among other reasons. 

Norway has already agreed to support the region with NOK100 million (US$11 million). The additional funding is allocated from the humanitarian budget and supports measures toward peace, food security, and education. The funding is valid from 2020 to 2022. 

News article – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

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

Evaluation of Norwegian development assistance shows global health as priority; US$8 million aimed at COVID-19 projects

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) evaluated the use of Norwegian development assistance funding during the first six months of 2020. The evaluation showed that NOK700 million (US$8 million) was aimed at COVID-19-related projects and that increased efforts on global health and vaccines are the dominating priority.

Norad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also made it easier for the recipients of funding to be flexible and re-allocate it to COVID-19-related projects. Most of the funding was allocated through international multilateral organizations. 

The mapping of funds is an initial mapping for future evaluations, including for long-term projects, future projects, and ongoing COVID-19-related projects. 

Press release - Norad (in Norwegian)

Report - Norad

Norwegian government calls for stronger collective action on women's and girls' rights

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein, and Minister of Culture and Equality Abid Q. Raja published a joint speech on the International Day of the Girl Child in which they focused on the setback for women's and girls' rights during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The ministers emphasized that education for girls is an important intersectional area for Norwegian development assistance and called for a stronger international collective action to achieve gender equality and to prevent the consequences of the ongoing pandemic. 

Some other areas they listed as important to address are the following:

  • Preventing conjugal slavery (forced and child marriage) and female genital mutilation (FGM);
  • Strengthening efforts to stop gender-based violence (GBV) and increase access to sexual and reproductive health services; 
  • Decreasing infant mortality and maternal mortality; and 
  • Protecting children’s vaccination programs (Norway is working hard to combat this with its leading position in global health and increased funding to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance). 

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Norway's 2021 state budget increases focus on global health

Norway's budget proposal for 2021 indicated that the Norwegian government will increase funding to global health with NOK500 million (US$56 million). The total amount will be close to NOK4.0 billion (US$447.0 billion). The government will follow their “leave no one behind” strategy, making sure that all countries receive a fair distribution of vaccines, medicines, and tests in the fight against COVID-19. The measures will also target improving health systems so that the efforts fighting other diseases will not be forgotten.  

There will be increased funding for vaccines. The government is allocating NOK10.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and an additional NOK2.0 billion (US$223 million) to Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) from 2021 to 2030. Previously, CEPI had been allocated NOK1.6 billion (US$178 million) from 2017 to 2025.  

Furthermore, work on non-communicable diseases will be continued in 2021, and efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) will also be prioritized.

Press release - Norwegian government

Norwegian government allocates US$614 million for humanitarian assistance in 2021

The Norwegian government has proposed an overall humanitarian budget of NOK 5.5 billion (US$614 million) for 2021. 

As of 2020, Norway is the sixth-largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the world, and since 2013, it has increased the total humanitarian assistance budget by 67%. Norway will target the funding where it is most needed. This includes the protection of children and youth, the protection of civilians against landmines and other explosives, and the promotion of green humanitarian response. 

The substantial response to the crisis in Syria will be continued in the years ahead. Additionally, the sharp rise in humanitarian needs in the Sahel region has led to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) intensifying its efforts.

The funding will mainly be allocated through the Red Cross, the UN, and Norwegian humanitarian organizations. The government has entered into four-year, strategic partnerships with organizations including the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, and Caritas. 

Press release - Norwegian government

Norway prioritizes education for vulnerable children in new state budget

According to Norway's state budget for 2021, allocations for global education will be continued at the same levels as in 2020 with a strengthened focus on the most vulnerable.

NOK56 million (US$7 million) has been moved from the education budget section to the section for funding for vulnerable groups in order to secure educational needs for girls and children with disabilities. This targeting is a part of a wider strategy for children and people with disabilities and measures against modern slavery. For these target groups, there is a proposed amount of NOK522 million (US$58 million) in 2021. A new development assistance program to combat modern slavery has also been established.

The government believes that local civil society plays a crucial role during a crisis. In 2021, a total of NOK500 million (US$55 million) will go to education by funding such organizations. 

The government increased funding to Education Cannot Wait, a global fund that supports education during times of crisis and conflict, by NOK20 million (US$2 million), allocating it a total of NOK540 million (US$60 million) for the 2019 to 2022 period. 

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Norway lacks anti-corruption initiatives, says Norad-commissioned report

A new report done by the Nordic Consulting Group on behalf of the Norwegian Directorate of International Development (Norad), showed that Norway is not doing enough to prevent corruption in development assistance funding.

Norway has increased funding spent in corrupt countries from NOK700 million (US$78 million) to NOK2.5 billion (US$279 million) since 2012. The statistics are drawn from Transparency International and Norad’s own funding portal.

The evaluation also states that Norway lacks insights into how the money spent in multilateral organizations reaches its target and that Norway lacks an overall strategy on how to prevent corruption. Norad’s response was that they have a zero-tolerance for corruption and that they have a whistleblower arrangement with a control mechanism at every stage in each project they fund. They stated that they continue their efforts to assure that the funding ends where it is targeted.

News article - E24 (in Norwegian)

Report - Norad

In speech to UNGA, Norway's Solberg focuses on importance of multilateral solutions to pandemic

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg delivered a statement during the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA), emphasizing that the UN must continue to cooperate on multilateral solutions to COVID-19 to ensure that human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and gender equality are at the core of the responses and recovery efforts. 

Norway wants to ensure that women and girls are protected and have access to health care and that women have access to financial incentives for response and recovery. She further underlined that it is a common responsibility of all member states to make sure that there are no financial safe havens for the proceeds of crime, corruption, or tax evasion. Norway will also continue to focus on ocean conservation and on accelerating the green shift in the economy. Solberg encouraged all member states to designate seafarers as key workers and to implement the International Maritime Organization's protocols. The UN must be at the center of all coordinated efforts.  

Norway is also preparing for the UN Security Council and will focus on four thematic areas:  

  • Fulfilling the UN’s untapped potential to prevent and resolve conflicts and sustain peace;

  • Building on the women, peace, and security agenda and promote women’s participation in peace processes;

  • Focusing on the protection of civilians, including children, based on international humanitarian and human rights laws (especially to prevent sexual violence in conflict); and

  • Prioritizing discussions of climate-related security threats. 

Speech – Norwegian Government

Norway wins UN Prize for strategy to combat non-communicable diseases in development work

Norway won the 'United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases' Award. It was given to Norway for its efforts against non-communicable diseases with the strategy titled 'Better health, better life'. 

The government allocated NOK140 million (US$16 million) to the strategy in 2020 and will increase its efforts towards 2024. Norway was motivated to create the strategy because more than 41 million people worldwide die yearly from non-communicable diseases, yet only 1-2% of the world’s total health care goes to these diseases. Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein emphasized that this work is also important because people who are affected by non-communicable diseases have an increased risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.   

Press release – The Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

With new satellite system, Norway revolutionizes global rainforest monitoring

The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment entered a contract of up to NOK400 million (US$45 million) with the Norwegian company Kongsberg Satellite Services for the use of a revolutionary monitoring system for the deforestation of tropical forests.

Conservation of the world's rainforests is crucial to achieving climate goals. With high-resolution satellite images, funded by Norway, the Ministry states that the monitoring of the deforestation of tropical forests will be much better. The photos will be available free of charge and anyone can detect deforestation in very small areas. 

The monitoring system is useful for authorities, companies that buy raw materials with deforestation risk, investors, journalists, researchers, and NGOs. 

The Ministry also highlighted the importance that the system has for indigenous communities. The new initiative is already endorsed by Ianukulá Kaiabi Suiá (an indigenous leader from the Associação Terra Indígena do Xingu) and Ricardo José Lozano Picón (Colombia's Minister of the Environment). 

Press release – The Norwegian Government

Friends of COVAX Facility issue joint statement calling for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine

Member countries of the Friends of the COVAX Facility (FOF) issued a joint statement that called for equitable, fair, and affordable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all.

The COVAX Facility has made it a goal to deliver two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by 2021 and is managing the largest, most diverse vaccine portfolio. Members of FOF will also support other global health initiatives including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the World Health Organization (WHO); and the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to operationalize the facility.

Stressing the importance of collective and bold efforts to end the global pandemic, FOF concluded by calling for other countries to join the global work towards vaccine multilateralism.

Press release – European Union

Nordic prime ministers call for Nordic collaboration in a stronger UN

In a co-written opinion piece, all five Nordic prime ministers called for more Nordic collaboration in a stronger UN. The Nordic countries give their full support to the proposed declaration and will further strengthen their commitment to ensuring it is implemented in six main areas.  

  1. A stronger and reformed UN: The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for a stronger multilateral system that can better meet the needs of tomorrow. They support the Secretary General’s wish to make the UN more effective.
  2. Support the UN in dealing with the ongoing pandemic: They give the UN, the World Health Organization, and the vaccine alliance Gavi their full support in the work to ensure global access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Nordic thinking of universal values such as human rights, the rule of law, and equality should be fundamental in addressing the pandemic.
  3. Sustainable reconstruction: The global reconstruction following the pandemic must be used to return better, stronger, and greener. They support better implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.  
  4. A just and inclusive reconstruction: They argue that the UN needs more measures to counter systematic discrimination that has a divisive effect on society. They emphasize human rights and women’s rights, which includes protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as supporting women’s financial position to strengthen the economy.  
  5. Strengthening common security: With Norway in the Security Council in 2021–2022, the Nordic prime ministers believe their countries can once again contribute to promoting a more efficient and open Security Council. The countries will continue to demand the implementation of the resolution on women, peace, and security. 
  6. Nuclear disarmament: They believe that multilateral cooperation must be used to find solutions, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the backbone of the work on nuclear disarmament.

Op-ed – Aftenposten (in Norwegian)

Norway announces participation in COVAX Facility efforts toward COVID-19 vaccine

The Norwegian government will participate in the COVAX Facility, which it confirmed in a press release through an official letter to the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  

Norway and Iceland will together contribute NOK 64 million (US$7 million) to the COVAX Facility, which corresponds to options for 2 million vaccine doses. Norway will also contribute to the same amount of NOK 64 million (US$7 million) to enable the COVAX Facility to start purchasing the corresponding number of vaccine doses to low-income countries. 

The commitment demonstrates Norway's responsibility on a global level, said Minister of Health Bent Høie and Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein, emphasizing that a fair distribution of vaccines is beneficial for everyone. 

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

Multilateral cooperation tops Norway’s priority list for UNGA

Norway announced its main priorities for the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in a press release from the Norwegian government. Norway will maintain its involvement in the UN and continue its leadership role in many areas. Prime Minister Erna Solberg is leading the Norwegian delegation.  

The priorities are the following:  

  1. Facilitate and support Norway's membership of the UN Security Council;

  2. Be a driver for disarmament;

  3. Support compulsory international cooperation and the multilateral system;

  4. Strengthen the UN's ability to prevent and resolve conflicts;

  5. Implement Agenda 2030 with a special focus on integrated pandemic response, education, health, gender equality, climate, oceans, and funding for sustainable development;

  6. Strengthen human rights and the international legal order; and

  7. Strengthen the UN's ability to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises, and strengthen international cooperation on escape and migration.

Norway will also participate in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and it will follow up on the work of the Norwegian presidency that ended in July of 2020 to secure the important work being done in this part of the multilateral system. 

Press release – The Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

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

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