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EU to deepen relationship with Horn of Africa on peace, human development, economic recovery

In establishing a new strategy with the Horn of Africa, the EU will deepen its strategic relationship with the region on areas of cooperation such as democracy, peace and security, social and human development, trade and regional integration, and post-COVID-19 social and economic recovery. 

The EU’s new strategy will promote multilateralism, provide "principled" humanitarian assistance, address the growing impact of the climate crisis and environmental degradation, enhance resilience, and strengthen the health sector while exploring potentially boosting local vaccine manufacturing capacity. Providing the region’s young people with skills and education will drive the EU’s approach to social and human development.

Press release - Council of the European Union

Strategy - Council of the European Union

UK government’s ODA cuts to nutrition put thousands of children at risk of famine, says Save the Children

A new analysis conducted by Save the Children UK, a development NGO, said that the UK government's deep budget cuts to its international development nutrition programs will put tens of thousands of children at risk of facing famine, including in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan.

Save the Children revealed that humanitarian assistance from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) for nutrition was £396 million (US$532 million) in 2019 and is estimated to be £218 million (US$293 million) in 2021, the equivalent to a 45% cut from 2019.

UK assistance funding to basic nutrition was £122 million (US$164 million) in 2019, £111 million (US$149 million) in 2020, and it is estimated to be just £26 million (US$35 million) in 2021, the equivalent of an 80% cut.

Save the Children highlighted that the budget cuts to the UK’s international nutrition programs, which are part of a wider reduction in the UK development assistance budget, come just as evidence mounts of a growing global food crisis. A report published by the Global Network Against Food Crises (an alliance of humanitarian and development actors including the UN's World Food Programme) reveals that the number of people in need is at its highest in five years with 155 million people around the world facing food shortages.

News article - The Guardian

UK hosts G7 meeting, agrees to uphold democracy, support equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, provide financial support to countries facing famine

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister, Dominic Raab, chaired a meeting of the G7’s foreign and development ministers last week on May 3-4, 2021, in London. The UK government also invited government representatives from India, Australia, South Korea, and the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reflecting the UK’s foreign policy goal of leaning in more to the Indo-Pacific region's growing strategic importance. Representatives from South Africa were also guests.

The G7 ministers agreed to defend democracy, increase funding to the COVAX Facility to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, provide funding for countries facing famine, and step up their efforts to help partner countries become more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis.

On upholding democracy and human rights, the G7 foreign and development ministers agreed to:

  • Uphold media freedom around the world, including by increasing funding to the Global Media Defence Fund;
  • Bolster their response to threats to democracy, including through a new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partnership aimed specifically at tackling threats such as vaccine disinformation; and
  • Support the new Canadian-driven action plan on tackling arbitrary detention.

On ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines, the ministers:

  • Endorsed the COVAX Facility as a primary way for countries to share vaccines globally;
  • Agreed to increase funding to the Facility, though no specific pledges of increased funding were announced; and
  • Committed to working toward expanding manufacturing for affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

On addressing famines, the ministers:

  • Agreed to provide £5.0 billion (US$6.7 billion) in humanitarian assistance to those countries facing famine, including Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria; and
  • Committed their support for the World Bank and UN on preparedness and early action to prevent famines.

On addressing the climate crisis, the ministers:

  • Agreed to do more to help low-income countries build resilience to the impacts of climate change and improve planning and response to climate-related disasters; and
  • Welcomed the role of the private sector in supporting climate resilience.

These agreements came in addition to the ministers' commitments to enhance girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment.

Press release - UK government

Statement - European External Action Service

EU parliamentarians adopt report calling for increased EU role in humanitarian assistance and development for COVID-19 response

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of the Committee on Development adopted a report calling for the EU to play a larger role in development cooperation and provide humanitarian assistance to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in EU partner countries. 

The report welcomed the new ‘Team Europe’ approach and highlighted the need for increased EU support to key sectors, such as food security, poverty, health, human rights, governance, democracy, education, and digitalization. It emphasized the importance of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, building resilience, and suspending debt service payments for the poorest countries.

Report - European Parliament

Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power confirmed to head USAID, role to be elevated to US National Security Council

By a bipartisan vote, former UN Ambassador Samantha Power was confirmed as Administrator to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The vote in the Senate was 68-26 and was met with enthusiasm from development groups and her new colleagues, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  

In a first for a USAID Administrator, her role will be elevated to be a part of the US National Security Council.

Power addressed her priorities in her confirmation hearing in March 2021, saying that she would aim to enhance USAID's work addressing food security, education, gender equality, global health, as well as the "interconnected and gargantuan" current global issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, state collapse, and "democratic backsliding",

News article - CNN

European Parliament calls for EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy to promote global transition to fair and sustainable agri-food system

A report by the European Parliament’s Committee on Development has called for the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy to help enable a global transition to resilient, fair, and sustainable agri-food systems that provide safe and affordable food for the global population. 

The report stated that the EU should help tackle all forms of malnutrition in humanitarian and development contexts, including in low-income countries. It emphasized the need for the Farm to Fork strategy to explicitly address gender inequality, strengthen resilience to climate change for smallholder farmers, and protect workers’ rights. 

The Committee on Development also encouraged the EU to support capacity-building for regional integration efforts such as the African Continental Free Trade Area. 

Report - European Parliament

UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will have US$10.9 billion ODA budget for 2021-2022, nearly quarter less than in 2020

The UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Commonwealth and Development, Dominic Raab, announced on April 22, 2021, that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will be responsible for delivering £8.1 billion (US$10.9 billion) of official development assistance (ODA) in 2021-2022, which is a reduction of 23% based on the UK’s 2020 provisional ODA figures.

Other government departments will be responsible for an additional £1.8 billion (US$2.4 billion), as announced in January, making the total UK ODA budget £9.9 billion (US$13.3 billion) in 2021-2022.

Raab also provided headline budget figures for key thematic priorities for the FCDO. The FCDO has allocated:

  • £534 million (US$729 million) for climate and biodiversity and £941 million (US$1.2 billion) in 2021-2022 will be counted towards meeting the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment of providing £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) over the next five years;
  • £1.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) for global health and COVID-19 – it is assumed that this is bilateral spending, but it is not entirely clear with the text noting a focus on COVAX (the global vaccine initiative), the World Health Organization, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and it also specifies bilateral spending via individual countries;
  • £400 million (US$537 million) for girls’ education to be invested directly in over 25 countries, helping to achieve the global target of getting 40 million girls into education systems – Raab noted that the UK will generously replenish the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) (the UK is co-hosting the GPE replenishment with Kenya this summer), but refused to reveal the exact UK commitment;
  • £906 million (US$1.2 billion) for humanitarian preparedness and response, which will include a £30 million (US$40 million) crisis reserve fund;
  • £251 million (US$337 million) in research and development across the UK's priority areas and a further £38 million (US$52 million) targeted directly at science, technology, and innovations;
  • £419 million (US$562 million) in support of open societies and conflict resolution;  
  • £491 million (US$659 million) on economic development and trade;
  • £3.1 billion (US$4.2 billion) will be provided as multilateral core contributions to key global funds and development banks, including keeping the UK’s pledge to be the top donor to the World Bank’s low-income lending arm (the International Development Association), and this bucket also includes funding to key bodies such as the British Council and the FCDO; and
  • Half of its bilateral ODA will go to Africa (with Raab noting that there will be a major tilt towards East Africa), and one-third of the bilateral budget will go to the Indo-Pacific region and South Asia, while funding to China will be cut by 90% and fall to £900,000 (US$1 million).

Many parliamentarians and civil society organizations criticized the government for a lack of clarity on where the cuts had actually been made and how spending would be affected beyond the broad thematic areas. The way the data had been presented made comparisons with 2020 and 2019 ODA spending extremely difficult. Commentators were also disappointed that there was no country budget level data announced, beyond China. Raab noted that country budget allocations were in the process of being decided and further information would be released once the decisions had been taken.

A joint statement made by numerous UK NGOs condemns the announcement as a "tragic blow" for the world’s poorest.

Press release - UK Government

News article - Devex

News article - The Guardian

Joint statement - Bond

Center for Global Development calls for UK government to return to 0.7% of GNI as ODA when economy returns to pre-pandemic size

The Center for Global Development (CGD), an international development think tank with a hub in London, has published a new blog exploring when the government should return to spending 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA).

The government temporarily suspended its commitment in 2020 in the face of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public finances, and it has stated that it will only return to the 0.7% commitment "when the fiscal situation allows". The government has failed to outline how it will decide this, despite repeated questioning. In the absence of a straight answer, the Center for Global Development has proposed three different potential scenarios for measuring "when the fiscal situation allows" that the government could use:

  • Scenario 1 – Under this scenario, the government deficit would be used as the measurement. The CGD notes that historically, the UK has met the 0.7% commitment with a government deficit of 1.6% of gross domestic product (GDP), on average. By this measure, the UK could return to 0.7% in 2023 when the deficit is projected to be around 0.8% of GDP.
  • Scenario 2 – Under this scenario, the measurement for when the UK could return to providing 0.7% of its GNI as ODA would be when the budget deficit is eliminated. The UK Chancellor of Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has stated that this scenario is his intention. However, according to a projection by the UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), an official independent body on UK public finances, this is unlikely to be reached until 2025-2026. Even then it is not a given, as historically, very few governments have achieved this goal. 
  • Scenario 3 – Under this final scenario, the government returns to 0.7% when the UK economy recovers to its pre-pandemic size, which is expected in 2022. While this option might pose value for money problems as the budget was dramatically cut and then has to rise quickly again, it also allows for programs to be paused rather than canceled, with payments delayed for a year only. It would also enable the UK to announce (as it hosts the G7 and the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021) that it will quickly resume its spending, maintaining global development leadership.

The CGD notes that its preference would be for the government to opt for Scenario 3, given the shortness of the cut, as well as the ability to press pause and to retain UK global development leadership. However, the CGD stresses that whichever scenario is chosen by the government, it is important for the government to set out a clear schedule for returning to the 0.7% target to enable those in the development community to plan effectively.

Op-ed - Center for Global Development

Norway launches strategy for climate adaptation, prevention of climate-related disasters, fight against hunger

On April 12, 2021, Norway launched a new strategy to combat the climate crisis and hunger that marked a greater focus of Norway’s climate assistance on climate adaptation than before, in line with the Paris Agreement. The budget for climate adaption will increase from NOK3.2 billion (US$377 million) to NOK4.0 billion (US$471 million).

The overall goal of the strategy is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by strengthening partner countries’ abilities to adapt to climate change and prevent and deal with climate-related threats and natural disasters. The support aims to eradicate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable food systems based on agriculture, aquaculture, and fisheries. 

The strategy has five thematic priority areas: 

  1. Warning systems and climate services;
  2. Nature-based solutions;
  3. Climate-adapted food production;
  4. Infrastructure; and
  5. Innovative finance mechanisms.

Press release - The Norwegian government (in Norwegian) 

Report - The Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

UK calls on World Bank to do more to support countries with health and economic impacts of COVID-19, to address climate emergency

The UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, Dominic Raab, and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, used the World Bank’s Development Committee meeting to call upon the World Bank to expand its efforts to support countries in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing climate emergency.  

The UK specifically called on the World Bank to focus on four key areas:

  1. Bolstering economic recovery – The UK called on the World Bank to pursue innovative ways of using its balance sheet to maximize resources for member countries’ COVID-19 recovery – including through the provision of low-cost financing. The UK is also keen for the World Bank to support the G20 to implement a Common Framework to provide orderly debt treatment for eligible countries. In order to ensure prosperity and restore global growth, the UK also called on the Bank to do all it can to strengthen low-income countries' capacities to engage in global trade and compete in a digital trade environment. 
  2. Supporting countries through the immediate health crisis – The UK government called on the World Bank to continue to support countries with the rollout and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. In particular, the UK asked for the Bank to work closely with the COVAX Facility (the global vaccine initiative) and to engage its private sector arm, the International Finance Committee (IFC), in order to boost the manufacturing capacity of low-income countries in this regard.
  3. Supporting the development of human capital and a green recovery – The UK government also called on the World Bank to hardwire tackling the climate crisis and biodiversity into all of its recovery planning and support for countries. The UK would like the World Bank to undertake more crisis risk scanning, particularly around food security, and to work with other institutions, such as the UN, to increase the volume of financing available for disaster preparedness and early response. It would also like the World Bank to support countries in building back human capital – investing in low-income countries' health workforce, public health, and social protection systems.
  4. Supporting countries to tackle the climate emergency – The UK government also called on the World Bank to help countries more in managing the climate crisis, and it welcomed the World Bank’s commitment to increase its financing for this to at least 35%. The UK called for the World Bank to formally reject coal and oil energy investments and step up its support to countering famine and rising global food insecurity.

Policy paper - UK government

Spain launches Rapid Recovery Fund for emergency humanitarian assistance

With an overall budget of €10 million (US$12 million) for 2021, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) launched the Rapid Recovery Fund to disburse ad-hoc humanitarian assistance and effectively respond to emergency needs in partner countries.

The Rapid Recovery Fund will focus on supporting vulnerable populations affected by climate disasters and conflict situations. Among other actions, the Fund will provide drinking water, health supplies, and food to affected people.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

UK cuts humanitarian assistance to Syria by nearly third; meanwhile, speculation grows over who will take over top UN humanitarian position

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister, Dominic Raab, has announced that the UK will provide £205 million (US$275 million) to the Syrian refugee program at a recent donor pledging conference. This represents a cut of up to a third of the UK’s contribution from last year, which amounted to £300 million (US$403 million), and the cut comes despite heavy lobbying for the UK to maintain its commitment to Syria.

The decision to cut the budget comes as speculation grows as to who will replace Mark Lowcock, the former Permanent Secretary of the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), when he leaves his role as the head of the UN’s humanitarian operations. Lowcock announced that he was departing imminently in order to spend more time with his family. The post has traditionally been given to a British national, though there is a drive to select the person based on merits.

British nationals in the running include Nic Dyer, the UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, or Harriet Mathews, the Director for Africa at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Outside of the UK, Olof Skoog (a Swedish diplomat who is the EU Ambassador to the UN), William Chemaly (a Lebanese human rights and humanitarian protection specialist who has worked as a Senior Policy Advisor for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)), and Koen Davidse (a Dutch Executive Director at the World Bank) have all been proposed as potential candidates.

News article - The Guardian

News article - The New Humanitarian

Spain launches 'Focus on Africa 2023' strategic plan

On March 29, 2021, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez participated in a high-level event to release ‘Foco África 2023’ (‘Focus on Africa 2023’), the new strategic program of the Spanish government to foster peace, stability, and sustainable development in the continent. Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and Arancha González Laya (Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation) also participated in this launch event, which served to reaffirm Spain’s goal to strengthen cooperation with the African continent.

The ‘Foco África 2023’ plan, which is aimed at supporting the implementation of the Spanish government’s ‘Third Africa Plan’ approved in March 2019, outlines Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa as priority partner countries. Specifically for development cooperation, Spain will focus its efforts on Mali, Niger, Senegal, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The new plan outlines seven strategic priorities:

  • Peace and security;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Trade and economic investments;
  • Global public services (with a focus on health, water, and sanitation);
  • Humanitarian assistance (with a focus on nutrition and education);
  • Gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment; and
  • Migration and mobility.

Press release – La Moncloa

'Foco África 2023' – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Cuts to public research budget threaten UK government’s ambition of being science superpower

Leading UK academics and members of the parliament have urged the UK government to reverse its short- and long-term cuts to the UK public research budget. Academics and parliamentarians noted that the cuts risk thwarting the government’s ambition of being a science superpower in the coming decade, as outlined in its recently published Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

Critics of the government's approach, point to the immediate short-term costs of the intended 70% cut in 2021-22 to UK official development assistance (ODA) funded research, noting that it will jeopardize COVID-19 research programs underway, including those supporting genomic analysis, as well as studies of transmission and treatment.

However, they also point to long-term concerns regarding funding for the UK’s continued participation in the Horizon Europe research program. Previously, funding for UK participation came from its EU membership fees, but now that the UK has exited the EU, there is a large hole in the budget.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the main public science funding body, estimates that it could have to pay £2.0 billion (US$2.7 billion) a year from its current £8.5 billion (US$11.4 billion) budget to maintain British participation in the EU research program. Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of the UKRI, has noted, however, that UKRI is in active discussions with the government on how it can help to ensure the UK maintains engagement in the program.

News article - Financial Times

Australia launches new strategy to assist key agricultural research in Bangladesh

Andrew Campbell, CEO of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), said a new strategy has been agreed upon by Australia and Bangladesh on long-term research partnerships.

Research priorities include crop improvement, water management, farming systems, soil fertility, and agricultural mechanization.

Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), highlighted the importance that agriculture plays not only in ensuring food and nutritional security, employment, and economic growth, but also in building resilience to challenges such as the climate crisis.

Press release - ACIAR

UK government will cut ODA to 0.5% GNI without parliamentary vote

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that the government will no longer give the members of parliament a vote on the government’s plans to cut the UK development assistance budget from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. The government announced a reduction in the UK development budget in November of 2020 as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the government finances.

Johnson cited the change in plans, stating that because the cuts are temporary, they do not require legislative change given the extraordinary circumstances.

The move came as something of a shock to UK members of parliament who were given the impression following the announcement of the cuts in November, that they would be given a vote on whether or not the budget should be reduced. The number of members of parliament, particularly in the Conservative party in opposition to the cuts has been growing in recent months. 

News article - the Guardian

Long-awaited UK Integrated Review calls for continued UK leadership on development with focus on climate change, global health, conflict, defending universal rights including gender equality

The UK government has published its long-awaited 'Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy'. The review sets out a new strategic framework for guiding UK defense, foreign, and development policy over the next decade in light of changing geopolitical and economic world.  

Key changes in the global environment identified by the review include the increasing strategic importance of China and the Indo-Pacific region, the rising competition between states and between democratic and authoritarian values, the fast pace of technological change, and transnational challenges such as climate change, global health risks, terrorism, and organized crime.

The review sets out four strategic objectives for navigating this changing world. Below is a summary of how the four objectives relate to international development assistance:  

  1. A strong focus on science and technology to ensure a UK strategic advantage: In terms of development, the review calls for science and technology to be fully integrated into the UK’s national security and international policy and confirms that the UK will continue to use its development assistance to support research and development (R&D) partnerships with low-income countries, sharing expertise to support the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The review pledges a stronger focus for public R&D spending on applied research, development and implementation, and supporting more high-risk research. Decisions on public funding for R&D should focus research on those areas with the potential for the greatest social and economic benefits including the most pressing global challenges of today and where the UK can add the most value.
  2. A continued UK leadership role in shaping an open international order including global development efforts: In terms of international development, the review calls for the UK to continue to be one of the world’s leading development actors and to focus on fighting poverty and achieving the SDGs. It also calls for the UK to ensure its development assistance investments remain evidence-based and transparent and focused on areas important to a global Britain and where the UK can have the greatest impact. The review notes that the UK will set out a new international development strategy that will align UK development assistance from 2022 to meet the Integrated Review’s strategic objectives. The review highlights the importance of the UK defending democracy and universal rights and makes specific mention of support to gender equality – via girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment. It also recommends that the UK continue to be a champion of humanitarian support and support the strengthening of institutions like the WTO and WHO. In terms of geographical focus and partner countries, the review calls for an Indo-Pacific tilt that goes beyond development cooperation, with the goal of the UK having the most integrated presence in the region of all European partners by 2030. The review also highlights South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana in particular as key partners in further shared prosperity goals, democratic values, and security interests, and the review confirms the UK's continued support to conflict resolution and stabilization efforts in Somalia, Sudan, and Mali. It also highlights Yemen, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Morocco as key partners. The review also makes explicit that as countries graduate to being able to finance their own development, the UK should move towards providing expertise, and switch from grants to loans and focus on transnational challenges where there is mutual self-interest.
  3. Strengthening security and defense at home and overseas: The review calls for a more integrated approach to government work on conflict and instability and a continued focus on addressing the drivers of conflict and strengthening fragile states. The review announces the creation in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office of a new 'Conflict Centre' and calls for the cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, which has an £874 million budget (US$1.1 billion) for 2021-22, to prioritize resources on stability, resilience and security in regions of strategic importance to the UK.
  4. Building resilience at home and overseas: The review calls for a focus on transnational challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global health. On climate change, the review highlights the government’s International Climate Finance commitment of £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between 2021 and 2025 and commits at least £3 billion (US$4 billion) of this to solutions that protect and restore nature. The review calls on the UK to strengthen its work on global health security with a focus on bolstering international pandemic preparedness, reforming the WHO, and prioritizing the support of health systems and access to new health technologies through its ODA.

The UK will build on its One Health approach that recognizes the close connection between the health of people, animals, and the environment, and will set up a Global One Health Intelligence Hub as a single source of intelligence on human, animal, and environmental risks, as well as global networks of zoonotic experts. It will continue to partner with the EU and multilateral development banks on issues such as Anti-Microbial Resistance, HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria. The review also calls for priority to be given to accelerating equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics worldwide and supporting Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Bond, the UK network of international development NGOs, has welcomed the review and its focus on open societies, climate change, health, and poverty alleviation but is concerned that development assistance funding will be reduced to countries most in need,

Report - The UK government

News article - Bond

Italy to host UN Food Systems Pre-Summit in July 2021

In partnership with the UN, the Italian government will host the Food Systems Pre-Summit in Rome on July 19-21, 2021.

Under the leadership of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the Pre-Summit will bring together global voices and contributions in an effort to transform food systems. 

The Food Systems Summit will take place in September alongside the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Press release - The Italian government

Website - Food Systems Summit

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation launches new nine-year strategy

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), has launched a new strategy for the next nine years aiming to increase its efficiency as well as strengthen and systematize the development, sharing, and use of research-based knowledge in Norad.

The overall framework for the strategy is set around how Norad can adjust its work in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Norad plans to disburse funding more strategically, and its overall goal is that the budget will function as a strategic tool for eliminating poverty, slow down the nature and climate crises, and combat various forms of inequality.

Norad also aims to be a central partner in promoting sustainable development, and it wants to boost innovation in development assistance, creating a culture that is conducive to testing out new ideas and expanding on existing good ones.

Norad's Director, Bård Vegar Solhjell, said that to improve efficiency, Norad would likely want to make fewer agreements. 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

UK civil society calls on G7 world leaders to deliver transformative agenda; civil society C7 Summit to be held in April 2021

Bond, the UK network of development non-governmental organizations, has called for G7 world leaders to deliver a transformative agenda at the G7 Summit this year focused on protecting the most marginalized and building an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for everyone. The UK is hosting the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

In a recently published briefing, Bond set out seven key policy asks for G7 world leaders, calling on them to address the following topics:

  1. Health – Invest at home and abroad in stronger healthcare systems to ensure access to quality healthcare for all, redress health inequalities, and ensure that nations are resilient for future pandemics;
  2. Climate and environment – End all investment in fossil fuels, decarbonize the global economy, prioritize climate finance for vulnerable countries, and sign the Leaders' Pledge for Nature to stop biodiversity loss;
  3. Sustainable economic recovery – Ensure the private sector will be supported in any future international debt cancellations, as they are also needed to support decent work, social protection, and protect the livelihoods of marginalized people;
  4. Open societies and civic space – Be active champions of democracy and civil and human rights;
  5. Education – Ensure quality, inclusive, and equitable education for every child, with a special focus on addressing girls’ education;
  6. Food security and nutrition – Build sustainable and climate-resilient food systems and increase financial contributions for famine prevention and relief; and
  7. Conflict and atrocity prevention – De-escalate current conflicts, commit to action to address some of the most pressing crises, and support building peaceful societies.

Bond will be hosting a virtual Civil Society 7 Summit on April 19-20, 2021. The 'C7 Summit' will bring together civil society leaders from around the world and provide them with the opportunity to talk to the UK government and provide ideas for the joint communiqué of the G7 leaders’ summit.

Registration for the C7 Summit is open at the Bond website.

Report - Bond