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France announces 50% increase in funding to IFAD during One Planet Summit

During the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity, held virtually on January 11, 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will increase its funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) by 50%.

France’s previous contribution to IFAD during its last replenishment cycle amounted to US$71 million.

The pledge will contribute to IFAD’s 12th replenishment, which aims to fund projects for rural people (including small-scale farmers, rural women, youth, indigenous peoples) to support food security and agricultural projects.

News article - Global citizen

Report - IFAD

Norway announces continued funding of US$16 million for 600,000 farmers through Farm to Market Alliance

Norway continued its funding to the Farm to Market Alliance with a new contribution of NOK150 million (US$16 million) as part of the Norwegian action plan on sustainable food systems.

The Farm to Market Alliance is working to create resilient value chains and facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors to leverage the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure of leading experts in agriculture. During the project period leading up to 2023, a total of 628,500 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia are expected to benefit directly from the program.

From 2018 to 2020, Norway financed the first phase of the Alliance's work with NOK25 million (US$3 million) through the World Food Programme Trust Fund. The new funding will be a part of the second phase.

The Alliance consists of the World Food Programme as the secretariat, as well as Rabobank Group (a Dutch bank), Bayer, Syngenta, and Yara (respectively: German, Swiss, and Norwegian companies).

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian) 

EU reaches political deal on new partnership agreement with African, Caribbean, Pacific countries, to replace ‘Cotonou Agreement’

Negotiators from the EU and the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) have reached a political deal on a new twenty-year treaty to govern EU-ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries) relations, replacing the current ‘Cotonou Agreement’ enacted in 2000. 

The political deal focuses on the following areas: human rights; democracy and governance; security; human and social development; environmental sustainability and climate change; sustainable growth; and migration and mobility. It takes into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement. 

The deal no longer has an associated development budget as the EU’s off-budget European Development Fund is being phased out in favor of a single on-budget EU development instrument.

Negotiations have been ongoing for three years. While the current Cotonou Agreement was initially due to expire in 2020, it has been extended until November 30, 2021. The new treaty text still needs to be finalized and ratified and the new treaty will enter force in December 2021. 

The European Parliament’s approval of the agreement is required, but parliamentary representatives have threatened to withhold approval unless it includes greater parliamentary scrutiny. 

Press release - European Commission

News article - Euractiv

UK's new strategic framework for ODA will only focus on countries where UK development, security and economic interests "align"

The UK’s Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, announced that the UK will be putting in place a new strategic framework for guiding its official development assistance (ODA). The announcement came in a letter Raab wrote to the Chair of the UK parliamentary International Development Select Committee, Sarah Champion, on November 25, 2020. No date was given for the actual publication of the full strategy.

The UK’s new ODA strategy will focus "only on countries where the UK's development, security and economic interests align", such as those in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indo-Pacific region, according to Raab's letter. No specific priority countries were identified. Raab also highlighted seven key global challenges that the new strategy will focus on:

  1. Climate change and biodiversity: The new strategy will focus on research and development and supporting low-income countries' adaptation and mitigation plans. Raab confirmed that the new strategy will also maintain the government’s commitment to providing at least £11.6 billion (US$15.1 billion) of the ODA budget between 2021- 2025 for climate change via the International Climate Fund.
  2. COVID-19 and global health security: This includes continued support to multilateral initiatives and organizations (such as the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) as well as support to fragile health systems in low-income countries.
  3. Girls' education: The strategy will work towards ensuring that the UK contributes to the global commitment to get 40 million girls into education and 20 million more girls reading by age of ten.
  4. Science, research, and technology: The new strategy will continue to ensure that ODA for research and development remains a priority with focus areas including health, education, resilience, low-carbon technologies, agriculture and economic development, and conflict and poverty.
  5. Open societies and conflict resolution: The new strategy will focus on using UK ODA to strengthen democratic institutions, human rights, free media, and effective governance. While governance has been a long-standing priority for UK ODA, the focus on free media and human rights has gained greater traction recently, given Raab’s stated interest due to being a former human rights lawyer.
  6. Trade and economic development: UK ODA will focus on forging trade and investment partners for the future via its ODA in a far more explicit link of UK trade priorities with development efforts. The focus will be on supporting an improved trade and investment environment in low-income countries, infrastructure, and widening access to finance with support from the UK Export Finance (a UK government export credit agency and ministerial department) and the CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institute).
  7. Humanitarian preparedness and response: The strategy will focus on leading a stronger collective response to crises and famine and continuing the UK’s efforts at multilateral reform in this area. The strategy will also maintain the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) crisis reserve.

Raab confirmed in the letter that the UK will continue to provide core investments to the multilateral development banks in the future, but these will be based on new strategic objectives. He noted that the UK will retain its place as the largest donor to the World Bank and a major donor to the World Health Organization.

Finally, Raab outlined three ways he is keen to improve the quality and impact of UK ODA spending:

  • Putting in place a new management approach for assessing assistance projects: Bilateral programs will also be the default option due to their advantages of effectiveness, local ownership, and strategic impact (exceptions for global research, core multilateral activity, and policy-influencing work), with most of the centrally-managed programs to be instead managed at regional or country level. Failing or underperforming projects will be closed. 
  • Strengthening FCDO oversight of the assistance budget: The FCDO will be responsible for oversight of the majority of ODA, including that delivered by other governments. This is a change from the former Department for International Development (DFID), which did not have oversight powers over ODA delivered by other departments.
  • Reforming rules of contractors: Spending limits that forced the DFID to outsource to expensive consultants will be removed, and instead, the FCDO will work to build greater in-house project management expertise.

Letter - FCDO

Press release - FCDO

News article - Devex

Australia allocates US$16 million for combatting domestic anti-microbial resistance

Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced Australia’s recent federal budget contained A$23 million (US$16 million) to undertake activities prioritized in 'Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy – 2020 and Beyond'.

This includes enabling quick response capacity when multi-drug resistant organisms are detected. The strategy will focus on resistance in both humans and animals.

Press release - Department of Health

Australian university provides interactive map and sector details of Pacific Islands' COVID-19 responses

Four centers at the Australian National University in Canberra have collaborated to produce an interactive map of the COVID-19 responses by Pacific Island governments.

Weekly updates are collected by the Australia Pacific Security College with additional input by groups including the Development Policy Centre and the Department of Pacific Affairs. Each country has a pop-up box indicating its responses to COVID-19 and an interpretation of the impact on the ground.

The Australian Pacific Security College also provides a tracking matrix of sector responses, based on information from the South Pacific Commission in New Caledonia. This includes detailed information on health, education, and transportation.

Interactive Map - Asia & The Pacific Policy Society

Tracking Matrix - Australia Pacific Security College

European Parliament and Council presidency reach agreement on next EU long-term budget with US$17.7 billion additional funding for development, health, research

European Parliament (EP) negotiators and the German presidency of the Council of the EU have struck a political agreement on the next EU long-term budget that provides €15.0 billion (US$17.7 billion) in additional funding for flagship programs such as health, research, and education and €1.0 billion (US$1.2 billion) more in flexibility funding for future needs and crises. 

These changes would apply to the €1.80 trillion (US$2.10 trillion) deal struck by EU leaders in their July European Council meeting that included €1.07 trillion (US$1.26 trillion) for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and €750.0 billion (US$882.8 billion) for the EU recovery fund, Next Generation EU.

The additional €16.0 billion (US$18.8 billion) in the compromise agreement for flexibility and targeted programs will be funded via revenue from competition fines (€12.5 billion, or US$14.7 billion) and reallocations (€2.5 billion, or US$2.9 billion).

Increases to program funding in the compromise deal from the EU leaders’ July deal include: 

  • €4.0 billion (US$4.7 billion) increase for the Horizon Europe research program’s health, climate, and digital research for a final program budget of €84.9 billion (US$99.9 billion);
  • €1.0 billion (US$1.2 billion) increase for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) for a total budget of €71.8 billion (US$84.5 billion); and
  • €3.4 billion (US$4.0 billion) increase for the new EU4Health program, tripling the total to €5.1 billion (US$6.0 billion).

The EP-Council presidency agreement also includes a roadmap to introduce new sources of 'own resources' (additional revenue streams) in addition to the planned plastics levy, including a carbon border adjustment mechanism, a digital levy, a financial transaction tax (FTT), and a common corporate tax base. The EP also successfully negotiated the ability to have more budgetary scrutiny over Next Generation EU and increased ambition on biodiversity.

The deal will need to be approved by the whole European Parliament and unanimously adopted by the Council of the EU. The Council must also approve the Own Resources Decision that will enable the EU to begin borrowing funding for Next Generation EU, and then the Own Resources Decision will need to be ratified in the 27 member states’ national parliaments. Following this, negotiations will need to be finalized on the legislative files establishing the various EU programs.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has threatened to veto the MFF and Next Generation EU over his objection to a new mechanism linking EU funding to the rule of law. Other member states have threatened to veto if the rule-of-law mechanism is not approved. 

News article - Politico

News article - Science|Business

Press release - Council of the EU

Press release - European Parliament

Spain leads global joint statement to strengthen multilateralism

On November 10, 2020, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hosted a high-level meeting in Madrid to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and heads of state and government from Sweden, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Jordan, and Senegal virtually participated in this event. 

This group of donor and partner countries convened to publish the call to action ‘Joint Statement: Reinforcing Multilateralism Together', with the ambition of reinforcing multilateral institutions, advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and taking concrete measures to address global challenges in key areas such as global health, climate change, gender equality, and digitalization.

This initiative will be shared with other countries to actively mobilize the international community around the following goals:

  • Reduce inequality and leave no one behind;
  • Improve conditions for health, health preparedness, and effectiveness of global health systems;
  • Protect our planet;
  • Promote peace, security, and justice;
  • Defend human rights, democracy, and gender equality;
  • Take "advantage of the digital revolution"; and
  • Ensure sustainable financing.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Australian agencies to work jointly on plant biosecurity

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) announced it will work with the Australian Plant Bio Security Research Initiative (APBRI) to address the problems related to global pests being introduced to Australia naturally and via cargo movement.

ACIAR is a part of Australia's development assistance program and is the government’s specialist research-for-development agency on agriculture, forestry, livestock, and fisheries, in addition to environmental management and social sciences. 

APBRI develops cross-sectoral research to minimize the consequences of biosecurity threats such as pests, diseases, and weeds that impact Australia's environment, communities, and plant industries.

News article - Mirage

Japan completes US$20 million irrigation project in Rwanda to help agricultural sector

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) completed a project worth US$20 million of three irrigation dams and a main irrigation canal in Eastern Rwanda.

Launched in February 2019, the project included the rehabilitation of two storage dams, called Cyimpima and Gashara, and the construction of a new storage dam, Bugugu. The project covered three marshlands totaling 170 hectares located in Kigabiro, Mwulire, and Rubona, which is used by 1,174 farmers.

The project will improve irrigation and increase the yield of farms, contributing to the development of the agricultural sector.

News article - The New Times

Italy and FAO launch food coalition to support food systems facing COVID-19 crisis

On November 5, 2020, Italy and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the Food Coalition, a voluntary multi-stakeholder alliance to prevent and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on food systems.

The Food Coalition aims to advocate for strengthening global agri-food systems, raise awareness, share best practices, as well as mobilize financial resources and technical expertise to support the most vulnerable. More than 30 countries have expressed interest in joining the coalition.

At the launch event, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte committed to including the fight against hunger in the Italian G20’s presidency agenda for 2021.

News article - OnuItalia

Report shares six-month survey results on food security and recovery under COVID-19, proposes R&D investment options

Research funded by the Australian Council for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) has assessed food security and opportunities in the following five geographies: the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and seven Pacific Island Countries (Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji).

The results highlighted COVID-19 related problems including limited access to agricultural supplies and areas, as well as ten pre-existing vulnerabilities that exacerbated the COVID-19 crisis in all five geographies.

The study also listed six factors important to post-pandemic agricultural recovery and resilience, which include the availability of imported staples, food system governance, and support provided by social protection measures.

The review proposed several research and development (R&D) investment options to support the recovery and resilience of food systems in each geographical area.

Op-ed - Development Policy Centre, Australian National University

Report - Australian Council for International Agriculture Research

South Korea partners with UNDP to support sustainable rural development in ASEAN member states

South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the rural development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states by committing to provide KRW6.0 billion (US$5 million) from 2020 to 2022.

With financial support from the MAFRA, the UNDP will implement official development assistance (ODA) projects in Cambodia and Myanmar, the two key partner countries of the South Korean government’s New Southern Policy. This is also the first agreement between the MAFRA and the UNDP in the area of agriculture and rural development.

News article – Financial News (in Korean)

Members of UK's Conservative Party call for national leadership on WASH and nutrition

Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Mitchell, a former Secretary for State for International Development, wrote an article in the Telegraph newspaper calling for UK global leadership on 'water, sanitation and hygiene' (WASH). In the same newspaper, Conservative MP David Mundell, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nutrition, made a similar plea for UK leadership on nutrition.

Regarding WASH, Mitchell highlighted the problem that three-quarters of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have soap and water with which to wash their hands at home. He also noted the limited funding to date available for addressing the problem – even before the COVID-19 crisis, only 15% of countries had the money they needed to get water, lavatories, and hygiene to the people in their country without it. Mitchell underlined the importance of WASH to address COVID-19 and noted that out of the US$20.00 trillion committed to the COVID-19 response so far by the international community, only 0.02% has support WASH interventions. He called on the UK to encourage other donors to come behind the UN’s 'Hand Hygiene for All' partnership. He also indicated that the UK should use its upcoming G7 and COP26 leadership to highlight that addressing climate change and the pandemic requires a focus on the basics of water and sanitation.

Regarding nutrition, Mundell cited the pandemic's impact on undernourishment, noting that the UN is warning that the number of people facing starvation could double to 260 million with a further five million likely to suffer 'wasting' (connected to a higher risk of death if not properly treated). Mundell acknowledged UK leadership in the past on nutrition. However, he also noted that UK development assistance on nutrition will run out this year and called on the foreign secretary to renew the government's commitments to addressing global malnutrition.

News article - The Telegraph

News article - The Telegraph

Hunger relief, sustainable food initiatives will be top priorities at G20, says Italy's Conte

On October 16, 2020, commemorating World Food Day and the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, shared on Twitter that Italy will make anti-hunger and sustainable food initiatives top priorities in the framework of its G20 presidency in 2021.

Conte also promoted the 'Food Coalition', a project spearheaded by Italy through FAO, to tackle the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on agriculture and nutrition.

Conte congratulated the FAO on its anniversary, saying Italy was proud to celebrate the organization in Rome.

Twitter - Giuseppe Conte

Assessment of Australian development assistance performance in 2018-19 shows most targets met

The final report under the Australian government’s development performance framework, 'Making Performance Count', has been published. Nine of the government’s ten performance measures were met in 2018-19. The gender equality performance target had not been met but was improving, particularly in education.

This is the sixth and final performance report under the 2014 policy framework for the Australian development assistance program.

A new performance system will be used in the future, as announced in May 2020. This will be in line with the new Partnerships for Recovery policy for the Australian government’s development assistance program.

News article - Reliefweb

Canada's IDRC approves new research initiatives on COVID-19, food security in sub-Saharan Africa

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has approved five new research initiatives related to COVID-19’s impact on food systems, nutrition, and food security in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, in West Africa and the Sahel.

The below 12-month projects were selected for "their capacity to document interventions in real time and share lessons widely for effective responses from government and donor agencies" to the COVID-19 crisis. 

  1. 'Initiative prospective agricole et rurale' (IPAR) will assess the role of social protection and strengthening local food systems in Niayes, Senegal; 
  2. 'Conseil ouest et centre africain pour la recherche et le développement agricoles' (CORAF) will explore the impacts of the pandemic on "food systems and livelihoods" in the Sahel;
  3. 'Association pour la promotion de l'élevage au Sahel et en Savane' (APESS) will support the livestock sector in West and Central Africa;
  4. Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) will examine the political economy of African food systems during the pandemic; and
  5. Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) will research "opportunities for reconfiguring unequal gender relations" in Burkina Faso and Senegal.

News release- IDRC

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