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Germany supports Education Cannot Wait with additional US$11 million

At the New Yorker Global Citizen Festival on September 24, 2022, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze announced that Germany will increase its contribution to the UN organization Education Cannot Wait (ECW) by 10 million (US$11 million).

The additional funding will support the rebuilding of educational infrastructure in Ukraine as well as efforts to provide psychosocial support for children impacted by the Russian invasion.

The new pledge increased Germany’s total contributions to ECW to 330 million (US$349 million), making Germany the largest donor to ECW. Germany will co-host ECW’s replenishment conference in February 2023, together with Switzerland, Niger, Norway, and South Sudan.

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Press release – Education Cannot Wait

Canada co-hosts UN Transforming Education Summit event

On September 19, 2022, Canada’s Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan co-hosted an event during the UN Transforming Education Summit to celebrate collective successes achieved since the Charlevoix Declaration in 2018 with the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group. 

The event focused on the importance of supporting quality education for refugees and other forcibly displaced children and youth through the Together for Learning campaign. 

Additionally, Minister Sajjan participated in an event with UNICEF, where Canada joined the Generation Unlimited Leadership Council to help expand education, training, and employment opportunities for young people in low- and middle-income countries by working with youth leaders, the private sector, and civil society. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Norway presents development priorities at UNGA

Over the week of September 19, 2022, Norway’s delegation to the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 77) was led by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide and representatives from the Parliament attended together with Støre.

In advance of the high-level week in New York, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented Norway`s main priorities for UNGA 77, including:

  1. Support for Norway’s efforts as an elected member of the UN Security Council and promote Norway’s broad priorities in the UN;
  2. Promoting binding international cooperation and respect for international law and safeguarding the multilateral system;
  3. Leading efforts to promote disarmament;
  4. Strengthening the UN’s capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts;
  5. Strengthening human rights and the international legal order;
  6. Strengthening the UN’s capacity to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises and promoting international cooperation on refugees and migrants; and
  7. Promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with particular emphasis on climate and environmental issues, energy, food security, gender equality, health, the oceans, and reducing inequalities.

The Prime Minister and the rest of the Norwegian delegation were very active during UNGA 77. Norway`s participation can be summed up in the following activities:

Keynote speech during the General Assembly
During the General Assembly, the Prime Minister delivered Norway's keynote speech and emphasized that the Russian war in Ukraine is a direct violation of the UN Charter and the global legal order, and indicating that the responsibility for stopping the war lay with Russia.  At the same time, he pointed out the war's impact on existing global crises, such as high energy prices, food shortages, and development in low-income countries. Støre called for global unity to protect the multilateral system.

Meeting in the UN Security Council
Støre also participated in a separate meeting, led by France in the UN Security Council, on the war in Ukraine. Norway and other members of the council agreed that Russia's warfare is a violation of humanitarian law and human rights.

Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting
Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, chaired the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting during UNGA. The aim of the meeting was to mobilize support for the United Nations Organization for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA), which is facing severe challenges related to its budget.

Meeting about the situation in Sahel 
Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development attended a high-level meeting on the situation in Sahel, led by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union. The purpose of the meeting was to launch a high-level panel for security, development and good governance in Sahel.

The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People
More than 100 countries committed to protecting at least 30 percent of the earth's land and seas by 2030. Espen Barth Eide, Minister for Climate and Environment attended the first steering committee meeting of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. This is an intergovernmental group championing a global deal for nature and people that can halt the accelerating loss of species, and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.

Article - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Spain's Sánchez shares pledges, development priorities at UNGA

On September 22, 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez addressed a statement to the plenary session of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) outlining Spain's development priorities of global health, food security, climate change, education, and gender equality.

Sánchez reiterated his commitment to increasing Spain’s official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of its gross national income by 2030, as underlined in the development cooperation bill that will be approved by the end of 2022.

He also provided updates on Spanish development finance and strategic priorities. Key takeaways included:

  • Sánchez's announcement that Spain would disburse up to €237 million (US$235 million) from 2023 - 2026 to foster global health initiatives, including a €130 million (US$129 million) pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and other instruments related to pandemic preparedness and global health R&D;
  • A €237 million (US$235 million) pledge aimed at addressing the current food crisis caused by the Ukrainian war;
  • An agreement between Spain and Senegal to promote the creation of an International Alliance for Resilience for Drought, an initiative that will be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 2022 to be held in Egypt in November;
  • The establishment of the UN's GIGA Technology Center for digital education in Barcelona; and
  • A statement that Spain will contribute €100 million (US$99 million) over 2023 - 2026 to different organizations, including UN Women, that work on gender equality and particularly on sexual rights and reproductive health programs.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)


Japan’s Kishida delivers remarks at UNGA calling for greater human security

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 20, 2022, and called for increased support for human security.

During his remarks, Kishida reiterated Japan's commitment to collaborative problem-solving with the UN and the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). The prime minister also mentioned Japan's US$30 billion investment in Africa with an emphasis on human resource development and capacity building at TICAD 8 (the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development) in August 2022, and expressed Japan's commitment to supporting education efforts based on the results of the UN Transforming Education Summit, which was held from September 16 -19, 2022.

Kishida also reinforced Japan’s commitment to global health, highlighting the country's US$5 billion in support for global COVID-19 response. He further reiterated that Japan will take lead in strengthening global health architecture and achieving universal health coverage as the G7 Summit lead in 2023.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

EU reaffirms commitment to minimum 3% ODA increase for education at Transforming Education Summit

On September 21, 2022, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to global education at the Transforming Education Summit, including its pledge to increase the proportion of its development assistance for global education from 7% to 10%, or approximately US$540 million. 

At the summit in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the EU also highlighted the role of its Global Gateway initiative in mobilizing education investments, such as its Global Gateway Investment Package on Education, Skills and Technical and Vocational Training, which was announced at the 2022 EU-Africa Summit. 

The EU has also dedicated 10% of its humanitarian assistance to education in emergencies. It acknowledged the critical role of protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of its commitment to education. 

Press release - European Commission

Education - European Union

Spain's Sánchez discusses Ukraine, food security at UNGA

On September 19, 2022, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss several topics concerning international relations such as the Ukrainian conflict and the global food security crisis.

Sánchez and Guterres discussed the need to strengthen multilateral institutions to effectively manage global challenges. In addition to discussion about the new Giga Technology Center that will be opened in Barcelona, Sánchez and Guterres spoke on food shortages caused by the war in Ukraine ahead of the Global Food Security Summit, a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event, which will be co-hosted by Spain, US, EU, and the African Union (AU) on September 20, 2022, in New York.

Press release – la Moncloa (in Spanish)

Norway's Tvinnereim speaks at Transforming Education Summit

On September 17, 2022, Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, spoke at the 'Mechanisms for Capacity Building, Policy Support and International Collaboration' roundtable at the Transforming Education Summit.

In her statement, Tvinnereim highlighted the role of education in achieving gender equality, poverty reduction, and climate adaptation, and called for more ambitious planning and commitment to reverse the learning deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tvinnereim named four priorities for policy makers, namely:

  1. Ensuring that all children, especially girls, have access to quality education;
  2. Increasing the resilience of schools to increasingly frequent extreme weather events, which disrupt the education of millions of children every year;
  3. Strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus and coordination of short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term development efforts; and
  4. Full implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and UN Security Council resolution 2601.

Norway will be a co-convener of the Education Cannot Wait’s High-level Financing Conference in February 2023.

Speech - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

News article - UN Association of Norway (in Norwegian)

Italian NGO network publishes development priorities ahead of September elections

CINI, a network of seven international NGOs based in Italy, issued a joint statement on September 14, 2022, urging the political parties to prioritize the following development cooperation objectives ahead of the September 25, 2022, election:

  1. Increasing the resources allocated to Italy’s development cooperation, meeting the international 0.7% GNI/ODA target by 2030, reaching 0.5% by 2027, and prioritizing support to low- and middle-income countries while finding alternative funding sources for migration and asylum policies;
  2. Boosting the quality of Italy’s development cooperation through better planning, monitoring, and policy coherence;
  3. Mainstreaming gender equality across Italy’s humanitarian and development cooperation efforts, and further integrating gender equity into Italy’s foreign policy;
  4. Investing in preventive mechanisms and tools to build local capacity for countering future crises through investment in health systems, education programs, and social protection of the most vulnerable groups;
  5. Promoting a new external migration policy based on human rights protection and removing funding for repatriation programs from the budget, which received US$10 million in 2022; and 
  6. Supporting the fight against climate change through equitable ecological transitions domestically and abroad that reduce inequalities and actively engage young people. 

Report - CINI (in Italian)

Sweden partially restores development assistance cuts

Sweden has announced it intends to restore SEK4.2 billion (US$398 million) of the SEK9.1 billion (US$850 million) it initially diverted from its international development budget in 2022 - roughly 18% of its annual development assistance spending - to cover the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in-country.

Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Matilda Ernkrans said that the latest decision followed a lower forecast from the country’s migration agency last month on Ukrainian refugee numbers this year. 

The move - which follows an earlier reinstatement of SEK4.2 billion (US$398 million) in June 2022 for climate, democracy, and human rights assistance - was met by relief by development advocates. They have criticized Sweden’s proposed development budget cuts, highlighting the government's hasty decision to freeze substantial parts of development spending before the full impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was clear.

Currently, SEK6.1 billion (US$570 million) of the SEK57.4 billion (US $5.3 billion) in development spending for 2022 - roughly 11% - will go to in-donor refugee costs. This represents a lower share than the period from 2015-2017 when Sweden took in large numbers of Syrian refugees, though higher than the pre-COVID-19 pandemic years of 2018 and 2019.

Press Release – Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

UK outlines specifics on funding uses for US$295 million in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine

The UK released a new report highlighting where its £220 million (US$295 million) in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine is going. The report highlights that 6.6 million people are displaced inside Ukraine, and 5.8 million people are registered as refugees across Europe, making it one of the fastest-growing refugee crises since World War II.

UK funding, which includes £145 million (US$194 million) for the UN and Red Cross Agencies and an additional £25 million (US$34 million) in matched funding to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal (DEC), is focused on supporting the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly, and disabled. The UK has three core objectives:

  • Providing assistance in Ukraine and to people seeking refuge in the region;
  • Working with others to deliver a well-coordinated and well-funded response; and
  • Advocating for respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

Report – UK Government

UK unlikely to meet fiscal tests to return to 0.7% ODA/GNI due to inflation

The UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), an independent research institute, issued a new briefing note on the outlook for UK public finances over the coming years; the note suggests that the UK’s fiscal tests to return to 0.7% ODA/GNI will likely not be satisfied by FY2023/24 as anticipated by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in April 2022. The two fiscal tests set by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, were that the country is not borrowing for day-to-day spending and that the ratio of underlying debt to GDP is falling.

The IFS’s briefing note is based on the Bank of England’s August 2022 forecasts which show higher and more persistent inflation than anticipated by the OBR. The report, which provides a set of scenarios for government spending and revenue, shows that higher inflation combined with higher interest rates, will push up public spending and that while revenues will also be pushed up by higher inflation, they will likely be moderated by weaker growth in real-terms earnings and household spending. As a result, the note shows that borrowing could be about £16 billion (US$22 billion) higher than forecasted in 2022 and £23 billion (US$ 40 billion) higher in 2023.

Briefing Note - Institute for Fiscal Studies

Twitter – Richard Watts

FCDO Annual Report fails to outline future ODA budgets, reflects trend to prioritize economic growth

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) 'Annual Report', released in August 2022, contained no forward-looking ODA budget outline for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022/23 against key geographies and key departments - a stark omission; the report usually contains this information. The UK’s international development NGO network, BOND, criticized the omission as a blow to transparency. The FCDO stated that it will release its projected ODA budget sometime in the fall.

The report does, however, provide some insight into ODA spending across FCDO departments between FY2020/21 and FY2021/22 when the UK reduced its ODA/GNI ratio from 0.7% to 0.5%.

Health: FCDO’s health program, which includes the 'Global Health Funds' department, had a marginally higher budget, moving from £1.15 billion (US$1.5 billion) in FY2020/21 to £1.19 billion (US$1.6 billion) in FY2021/22. However, two additional areas were counted under this programmatic area in the latest 'Annual Report': the 'Health Directorate Central' and 'Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics' work. If these two additional spending items are excluded, health spending fell by 14%, from £1.15 billion (US$1.5 billion) in FY2020/21 to £993 million (US$1.3 billion) in FY2021/22.

Education and Gender: 'Education, Gender and Equality' program funding fell by 43%, moving from £308 million (US$414 million) in FY2020/21 to £174 million (US$234 million) in FY2021/22. Specific spending items were different between evaluated years due to organizational department changes, so it is difficult to determine cut locations at this stage. However, this thematic area performed better than anticipated, as it had a projected budget of just £124 million (US$167 million) for FY2021/22 in 2021.

Climate: 'Energy, Climate and Environment' program funding fell by 39%, from £330 million (US$443 million) in FY2020/21 to £201 million (US$270 million) between FY2021/22, with the largest drop in funding to the International Climate Change and Green Growth Department; this drop was anticipated in the projected budget.

Economy: 'Economic Cooperation & Growth' was the biggest winner with allocated funding growing almost five-fold, from £61.4 million (US$83 million) in FY2020/21 to £336 million (US$451 million) in FY2021/22.  This reflects the changing priorities of the UK government toward increasing economic growth and shifting away from traditional development programs.

News article – BOND

Report – FCDO

Norad to encourage private sector investments in low-income countries

Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, proposed several instruments for mixed financing in which development funding would de-risk private investments to increase overall funding; results were published in a recent report entitled “How to reach the SDGs through mobilizing private investments in developing countries through development funding?” 

There is a US$2.5 trillion uncovered funding gap in current efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in low- and middle-income countries, according to statistics from the UN. New calculations indicate that this gap has increased by more than US$700 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Norad intends to mobilize private sector support to close some of the existing gap.

During Arendalsuka, the largest political festival in Norway, Director-General of Norad Bård Vegard Solhjell expressed that he wanted to challenge the private sector to think differently about investments in low-income countries. He argued that many people have an "old-fashioned" view of the African continent and that the continent is experiencing high growth and several functioning markets. Solhjell also pointed out that energy use on the continent will likely double by 2024. As such, it is likely that countries in Africa will represent the largest market for several Norwegian companies in a few decades. 

News article – E24 (in Norwegian)

Panel - Arendalsuka 

Sweden increases sustainable development strategy budget by US$42 million

The Swedish government recently approved a new strategy for promoting socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development conditions in Sweden's global development cooperation between 2022–2026.

The strategy – targeting people living in poverty and under oppression – amounts to SEK4.3 billion (US$42 million), a SEK250 million (US$25 million) increase compared to the previous strategy period.

Press Release – Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

Youth committee advises Netherlands to prioritise education, labor market

Six months after its inception, the Youth Advisory Committee met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands to share experiences and ideas for foreign policy. The committee recommended that the Netherlands combat global unemployment among young people by adapting education systems and strengthening entrepreneurship.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Youth Council set up the committee to involve young people in the ministry’s decision-making, for instance around youth participation, media literacy, and employment. The committee comprises ten people below 30 from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and the Netherlands. Members share their insights and pose critical questions about the Ministry’s development policy when needed.

The committee met with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Director-General for International Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden. The committee highlighted the issue of unemployment among young people in their countries, with many graduates lacking skills needed for the labor market. Using examples from their own countries, members of the committee pointed out potential opportunities in digital content and social media for work and entrepreneurship, as well as education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The committee also encouraged Dutch embassies globally to set up local youth advisory committees to gain better local insight from young people.

The Youth Advisory Committee is an 18-month pilot project. The committee previously advised on the new Dutch development strategy.

Blog – Dutch Government (in Dutch)

Website – Youth Advisory Committee

Canada announces US$94 million loan, US$20 million grant assistance to Jordan

On August 10, 2022, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced a concessional loan of up to CA$120 million (US$94 million) to support Jordan’s education sector provide access to safe, equitable education, particularly for youth and vulnerable groups, including girls and refugees.

Sajjan also announced CA$25 million (US$20 million) in funding for development programs in Jordan. The funding will be allocated to five projects that support innovative financing, improve women’s access to the labor market, support children and refugees’ access to high-quality education, improve solid waste management, and support sustainable and inclusive growth among Jordan’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada 

Committee recommends reducing Norwegian development spending channels to improve oversight

A survey conducted by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and Deloitte, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), resulted in a discussion about how Norwegian international development funding is managed. 

The survey performed an area review of the Norwegian Foreign Service and found potential for streamlined and improved efficiency in development policy funding. 

The committee was critical of the disparate and high number of government parties managing development funding, including the UD, other ministries, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and 46 different foreign missions.

Within the UD, 35 units cover international development funding, involving 800 case workers and 170 managers in the decision-making process. The committee argues that the large number of units, both in Norway and internationally, leads to fragmented management and the lack of a holistic approach to development funding. 

In addition, the survey notes that funding is also allocated to a variety of multilateral organizations, Norwegian NGOs, local NGOs, government entities in recipient countries, and private actors, making oversight difficult.

The committee argues that Norwegian international development funding can be strengthened by:  

  • Consolidating responsibility for development policy into one department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Clearly prioritizing what needs to be achieved in development spending oversight;
  • Assessing which channels are most effective for achieving these goals;
  • Significantly reducing the number of entities managing Norwegian development funding; and
  • Reducing the number of recipient countries for Norwegian development funding, but ensuring the appropriate allocations of emergency humanitarian assistance, as needed.

News article – Aftenposten (in Norwegian)

UK suspends all 'non-essential' ODA ahead of Prime Minister race

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Nazim Zahawi announced in late July 2022 that all ‘non-essential’ ODA spending will be suspended until the Conservative Party selects a new Prime Minister for the UK on September 7, 2022. The decision was made due to concerns that higher-than-anticipated ODA spending on resettling refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan will result in the ODA budget breaching the new 0.5% gross national income (GNI) spending target. The UK government has not defined what counts as essential or non-essential ODA.

The UK Home Office's ODA budget is expected to be higher than originally planned because it will count the cost of housing refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan in the UK as ODA. While no specific figures are given, Devex suggests ODA-eligible costs could be as high as £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in the UK in 2022.  

UK NGOs and development experts have criticized the move, noting that at a time of rising development needs with a global food crisis and the development impacts of COVID-19, it is not the time to suspend UK ODA.

The Financial Times, which first broke the story, has cited that the decision on whether to breach the 0.5% ODA/GNI limit, is one of six overarching challenges facing the next UK Prime Minister. They note that while reducing UK ODA is popular with many Conservative voters, it risks alienating centre-left Tory voters, particularly young graduates and professionals who are key for marginal Conservative seats.

News article - Devex

News article - Financial Times

News article - The Guardian

South Korea's WHO Training Hub begins vaccine production instruction with personnel from 25 partner countries

South Korea, as the World Health Organization (WHO)’s global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub, began training vaccine production personnel from 25 low- and middle-income countries.

Trainees are expected to have the basic capability to cope with future infectious diseases via education on vaccine development and production. WHO and South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) have held two steering committee meetings to discuss training plans and cooperation. They also plan to operate the WHO training hub in a way that reduces vaccine inequality around the world through a strengthened cooperation system.

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Whosaeng (in Korean)