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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

Influential group of UK Conservative parliamentarians call for development budget focus on liberal values, human rights

An influential group of UK Conservative members of parliament, the One Nation Caucus, which represents a third of all Conservative Party parliamentary members, has released a new report on reforming the UK’s approach to international development.

The report makes several recommendations including calling for the UK to shift the focus of its development budget away from exclusively focusing on poverty reduction to also supporting liberal values and human rights.

The report also calls on the UK to maintain its commitment to spending 0.7% of its gross national income on official development assistance (ODA), but it recommends that the annual target become a multi-year target over a rolling period, to enable greater spending stability and to avoid departments feeling compelled to spend at the end of the year to meet the commitment. 

Other recommendations include:

  • Continuing to focus UK development assistance on fragility, girls’ education, and gender equality;
  • Continuing to work to change the international rules that govern what can be spent on ODA to enable more activities that support peace-keeping;
  • Appointing a deputy Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) minister that would be responsible for international development policy and attend the Cabinet;
  • Maintaining the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (an independent public body that scrutinizes UK ODA spending); and
  • Seeking to create an international development alliance with like-minded nations such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to boost cooperation on shared development assistance priorities.

Report - One Nation Conservatives

News article - The Telegraph

News article - Conservative Home

South Korean president announces updated policy for stronger partnership with Southeast Asia

South Korean President Moon Jae-in unveiled the New Southern Policy Plus at the 21st Republic of Korea-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held on November 12, 2020. This policy is an updated version of the New Southern Policy which aimed to build a stronger partnership with the ASEAN member states.

Under the goals of expanding people-to-people exchange, increasing trade, and enhancing trust as a key partner country, the seven core areas of cooperation are as follows:

  • Cooperate on comprehensive health and medicine post-COVID-19;
  • Support human resource development and share South Korea’s education model;
  • Promote mutual cultural exchange;
  • Establish the foundation for mutually beneficial and sustainable trade investment;
  • Support infrastructural development of rural and urban areas;
  • Cooperate on future industries for mutual prosperity; and
  • Cooperate in non-traditional security sectors.

Regarding health, South Korea will not only increase the amount of official development assistance (ODA) on health but will also support the fundamental strengthening of health and medical systems over the long term.

News article – Chosun Biz (in Korean)

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)

Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation addresses Dutch role in mental healthcare assistance to low-income countries

On November 9, 2020, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, responded to parliamentary questions regarding mental healthcare in low-income countries.

Kaag stated the Netherlands is committed to promoting the integration of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) into broader development policy. In particular, she noted that the Netherlands has worked towards increased MHPSS in its efforts with Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a global fund to provide education during emergencies.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

European Commission proposes MFF budget compromise of US$17.7 billion increase in research, health, development funding

The European Commission has proposed a new potential compromise on the next EU long-term budget plan—the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF)—to help address the European Parliament’s demand for more money for vital programs, including research, development, education, health, and security. 

The compromise proposal would increase funding for target programs by €15.0 billion overall (US$17.7 billion), including a €500 million (US$591 million) top-up for research by shifting funds from the budget margins, as well as a €1.0 billion (US$1.8 billion) top-up for development programs using reflows from an investment facility.
The Parliament’s demands included a €39.0 billion (US$46.1 billion) increase in funding for certain programs, whereas EU governments have only been willing to offer a €10.0 billion (US$11.8 billion) increase. Although it cannot offer amendments, the Parliament must approve the MFF deal before it can be officially adopted by the EU governments in the Council of the EU. 
Negotiations continued on November 9, 2020, and a final vote is expected in mid-November during a Parliament plenary session. 

News article - Euractiv

News article - Politico Pro

Spanish CSOs join GPE’s education financing campaign

On November 6, 2020, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) co-hosted, in collaboration with several Spanish organizations, a virtual event to launch its ‘Raise Your Hand’ financing campaign in Spain to raise awareness about the need to continue investing in global education, especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

GPE hosted the event in collaboration with ProFuturo, a Spanish digital education program led by the Telefónica and ‘la Caixa' Foundations, as well as the Spanish Campaign for Global Education (CME), which was formed by development NGOs working on education issues.

The Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno, and the Spanish Olympic swimmer, Teresa Perales, also took part in GPE’s event.

Press release - CME (in Spanish)

Press release - ProFuturo (in Spanish)

Dutch parliamentarians assess efforts to protect vulnerable children during COVID-19 crisis

On November 4, 2020, Anne Kuik, a Dutch member of parliament (MP) of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), and Jöel Voordewind, a Dutch MP of the Christian Union (CU), submitted parliamentary questions about vulnerable children in poor countries who have been overlooked due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Kuik and Voordewind asked the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, what efforts the Netherlands is making to prevent child trafficking, as well as to protect and help children who are unable to go to school because of the pandemic.

The MPs also asked the minister to provide answers to these questions before next week’s debates on the 2021 foreign trade and development cooperation budget.

Press release – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

EU supports Mozambique with US$118 million for education, health, social protection

The European Commission committed €100 million (US$118 million) in short-term budget support for Mozambique's government to enable the continuation of its essential services during the COVID-19 crisis. The funding supports an expansion of social protection, and it will help ensure that children can safely return to school and that vulnerable people can access health services.

Including the new funding, the Team Europe COVID-19 support from EU bodies and EU member states for Mozambique totals €170 million (US$201 million). The Commission will also support Mozambique’s civil society to strengthen accountability processes and provide the government technical assistance on monitoring COVID-19-related spending. 

Press release - European Commission

Netherlands organizes virtual conference to hear young people's voices from Middle East and Africa on current challenges

On November 2, 2020, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organized a virtual conference, called Youth at Heart, aimed at involving youth in development cooperation and addressing the challenges related to the large number of young people in the Middle East and Africa compared to the number of available job opportunities.

The themes of this conference included the global COVID-19 crisis, education, work, youth-led change, and mental health, as well as the experiences of refugees and women.

Hundreds of participants talked with young people from regions including the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East to hear their ideas on improving their future prospects.

Recordings of the conference can be found on the MFA's YouTube channel.

News article - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Virtual conference videos - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

UK, World Bank-backed expert panel publishes report on cost-effective approaches to alleviating global education crisis

The Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP) has released its first report on the best investments for tackling the learning crisis in vulnerable countries.

The GEEAP, convened by the UK and World Bank and hosted by Building Evidence in Education (BE2), consists of leading global education experts with the mandate to give "succinct, usable, and policy-focused" recommendations for policymakers' education investments in low- and middle-income countries.

The report recommends that donors prioritize:

  • Ensuring that teaching is based on the ability and learning level of students rather than age or grade;
  • Increasing investments in pre-primary education to halt the learning disparity seen by age five;
  • Developing structured lesson plans with teacher mentoring and training;
  • Supporting merit-based scholarships to disadvantaged children to help them remain in school; and
  • Working to reduce travel times to schools.

The UK's involvement in these efforts contributes to the UK's goal for every girl to have up to 12 years of quality education and ties into the UK's upcoming leadership of the Global Partnership for Education replenishment summit and the G7 next year (of which girls' education will be a central theme).

Evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis is adding to what was already a global learning crisis in many low-income countries.

Report - Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel

Press release - UK government

Spanish NGO publishes annual report on global education, makes recommendations to achieve SDG 4

On October 28, 2020, the Spanish development and faith-based organization Entreculturas released its annual report, this year titled ‘The return to school: a global challenge in the shadow of the pandemic’, which analyzed the current state of global education and made recommendations on how to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on quality education.

Entreculturas also called on the Spanish government to strengthen global education policies and increase funding to multilateral instruments such as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a fund dedicated to improving education in low-income countries.

Press release - Entreculturas (in Spanish)

Report - Entreculturas (in Spanish)

Dutch parliament and Global Partnership for Education discuss investments in education

On October 26, 2020, Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), held a talk with Dutch members of parliament (MPs) of the Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation committee on the importance of further investments in global education.

MPs asked questions on the work of GPE regarding digital learning, psychosocial support, and support for marginalized groups such as children who are LGBTQ+.

Press release – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Japan will provide US$33 million to improve schools, living conditions of Palestinian refugees

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will provide ¥2.4 billion (US$33 million) to improve schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as improve the living environments of refugee camps in the West Bank.

JICA will improve 155 classrooms, rooms for teachers, libraries, multipurpose halls, science laboratories, technology laboratories, accessible classrooms, toilets, and more, to ten schools. JICA will procure ICT (information and computer technology) and educational equipment, as well as provide consulting services. JICA will also provide grants to improve refugee camps in the West Bank, especially for youth, people with disabilities, and women.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

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)

European Commission’s 2021 plans include formation of continental research and development agency, COVID-19 humanitarian assistance

The European Commission released its 2021 work program listing key initiatives for the upcoming year, which includes plans to present a proposal for an agency for biomedical research and development to be a "European BARDA" (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) as well as building a "global approach" to the topics of research, innovation, education, and youth.

As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed in her recent State of the European Union address, the Commission plans to put forward several health-related proposals in late 2021 to strengthen the "European health union" which includes creating a common data space for healthcare. The plan to strengthen the health sector also includes a new agency that would emulate the role of the United States' BARDA, which has allowed the US to quickly fund vaccine research, development, and manufacturing via advance deals with vaccine producers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the EU had to repurpose an emergency instrument with limited funds for this purpose. The European BARDA would support biomedical research, preparation, and response. 

The 2021 work program additionally includes the release of proposals on:

  • The EU’s role in strengthening multilateralism, including by leading the global response to ensure equitable access to a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine (early mid-2021);
  • A renewed partnership with the EU’s Southern Neighborhood (early 2021); and
  • Humanitarian assistance in the context of the COVID-19 crisis (early 2021).  

Press release - European Commission

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

With eye toward zoootic disease detection, Japan announces technical support for veterinary clinical studies in Zambia

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced plans to strengthen the capacity for clinical studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia.

In the Republic of Zambia, about 60% of the working population is involved in the agricultural sector, of which more than 70% have at least one kind of livestock. However, outbreaks of animal diseases and zoonoses (infections or diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) can affect farmers' livelihoods and threaten human health.

While the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia has cooperated with Japan to further clinical research, most of their equipment is degraded and the educational system needs improvement, according to JICA. Therefore, JICA will strengthen teaching capacity and help improve lectures and practical classes to produce skilled veterinarians.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency