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Germany increases contributions to Legacy Landscape Fund by US$108 million

In the lead-up to the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2022, development minister Svenja Schulze announced that Germany will commit an additional €100 million (US$108 million) to the Legacy Landscape Fund

The Legacy Landscape Fund was founded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with international partners and foundations such as the French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) one year ago on May 22, 2021. The Legacy Landscape Fund is a financing instrument aimed at nature conservation and the protection of biodiversity in legacy landscapes across low- and middle- income countries.

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Advocates criticize Norway for development budget reprioritization in response to Ukraine crisis

The Norwegian government is proposing a record-high development assistance budget of NOK44.9 billion (US$4.5 billion). On May 12, 2022, the government published the revised state budget, indicating the intent to increase the development assistance budget by NOK3.6 billion (US$366 million), to NOK44.9 billion (US$4.5 billion) total, corresponding to a 1.09% ODA/GNI ratio for 2022.
 
The government will increase funding to Ukraine and its neighboring countries by NOK1.75 billion (US$178 million), meaning that Norway will contribute at least NOK2 billion (US$203 million) in response to the Russian invasion. In addition, the government allocated 50% of the increase - NOK 1.8 billion (US$183 million) - to in-country refugee costs in Norway, which has been met with heavy criticism. 

The government also proposed the reprioritization of NOK4 billion (US$407 million) within the development assistance budget to finance increased refugee expenditure in Norway. This move aligns with OECD regulations, but advocates are increasingly concerned. The funding will draw from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to cut NOK3.6 billion (US$366 million) and the Ministry of Climate and Environment, NOK300 million (US$30 million).

According to the revised budget, the follwing thematic areas and organizations will be affected by the reprioritization:

  • Afghanistan: NOK60 million (US$6 million);
  • Gender equality: NOK65 million (US$7 million);
  • UN Organization for Rights and Equality (UN Women): NOK75 million (US$8 million);
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): NOK99 million (US$10 million);
  • World Health Organization: NOK118 million (US$12 million);
  • Human rights: NOK136 million (US$13 million);
  • Stabilization of countries in crisis and war: NOK140 million (US$14 million);
  • Civil society: NOK208 million (US$21 million);
  • Africa, regional allocation: NOK250 million (US$25 million);
  • The Knowledge Bank: NOK250 million (US$25 million);
  • United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef): NOK358 million (US$36 million);
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP): NOK440 million (US$44 million);
  • Health: NOK470 million (US$47 million); and
  • Education: NOK553 million (US$56 million).

The only increased allocation in the development assistance as part of the reprioritization is funding towards food security, fish, and agriculture. The funding will be increased by NOK200 million (US$20 million) as a response to the impending global food crisis, which will be exacerbated by the Russian invasion.
 
Several Norwegian CSOs and international development advocates decried the revised budget. Henriette K. Westhrin, Secretary-General of Norwegian People's Aid indicated that it is incomprehensible that the government would consider cutting funding to the world`s poorest, especially since Norway is profiting immensly from the invasion. Secretary-General of Norwegian Church Aid, Dagfinn Høybråten, said that the cut could have major consequences for vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries and could have a major domino effect on other donor countries' ODA. Secretary-General of Save the Children Birgitte Lange was similarly unimpressed with the development assistance budget cuts, highlighting that in the revised budget, for each seven dollars in development assistance, one will go to Norway rather than partner countries.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Canada announces US$181 million to support people affected by conflict in Syria

Canada participated in the sixth conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region on May 9 and 10, 2022, with the intention of addressing the critical needs of millions of people across the region amid the ongoing Syrian conflict. Canada announced that it would commit CA$229 million (US$181 million) in funding for humanitarian and development assistance to Syria and the region this year.

CA$60 million (US$48 million) of the funding will specifically support development assistance in Syrian, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. The funding will focus on supporting accountable governance, empowering women and girls, advancing gender equality, improving the quality and sustainability of gender-responsive services including health and education, fostering economic growth, and addressing climate change.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

EIB and European Commission sign new agrreement to guarantee US$28.8 billion for Global Gateway investments

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission signed a new guarantee agreement to support €26.7 billion (US$28.8 billion) in EIB lending for Global Gateway investments over the next seven years.

The guarantee will support investments in the green and digital transitions, health, and education in EU partner countries as a part of the EU’s Global Gateway initiative. More than two-thirds of the guarantee cover will be targeted at investments in enlargement and neighborhood countries, including financing for Ukraine's post-war reconstruction. The rest will be targeted toward partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The guarantee agreement is housed within the framework of the new European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus ("EFSD+"), a part of the EU’s development instrument for 2021-2027, the Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI – Global Europe). 

The EFSD+ will provide guarantee cover of €40 billion (US$43.2 billion) total, including the €26.7 billion (US$28.8 billion) reserved for the EIB. The rest of the €13 billion (US$14 billion) in guarantee cover will be available to eligible international financial institutions (including the EIB) under the EFSD+ open architecture.

Press release - European Commission

Press release - EIB

Australia’s opposition Labor Party will co-bid on COP29 with Pacific Island neighbors in 2024

Opposition spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, announced that the Australian Labor Party party intends to proceed jointly with its neighboring Pacific Island countries to co-host the 2024 Conference of the Parties (COP29). The proposal depends on Pacific nations' support.

The proposal also depends on whether the Australian Labor Party wins in Australia's national elections, which will be held on May 21, 2022.

The last COP was held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2021. COP27 will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2022, Egypt and COP28 will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2023. Australia has not hosted a United Nations Climate Change Conference before, and the move would be seen as a significant shift in Australia’s position on climate change.  

Australia has previously been criticized for its reluctance to provide leadership on climate change.

The Labor opposition has set stronger targets than the current government for domestic emissions reductions by 2030. Both parties support a national net-zero target for 2050.

Report – Pursuit

Norway disbursed US$4.2 billion in development assistance in 2021

Statistics, released on May 10, 2022, by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), demonstrate that Norway gave NOK40.1 billion (US$4.2 billion) in development assistance in 2021 - the highest amount in absolute terms in Norway's history. In addition, the number represents a NOK600 million (US$6.2 million) increase from 2020.

Norad manages 50% of Norwegian development assistance, which is equivalent to NOK20 billion (US$2.1 billion). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages 32% of the total funding, while the rest of the funding is managed by other ministries such as the Ministry of Climate and the Environment and Norwegian embassies in partner countries. 

In total, Norway gave NOK7.9 billion (US$822 million) in health-related funding in 2021. This number also includes core support for multilateral organizations. In 2021, NOK2.9 billion (US$301 million) was earmarked to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its respective consequences in low-income countries. Norway contributed 6.6 million COVD-19 vaccines, valued at NOK 380 million (US$39 million), according to the OECD.

The World Food Program (WFP), GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria received the largest increases in funding in 2021 for individual organizations.

NOK6.4 billion (US$666 million) of the development assistance in 2021 was targeted at climate-related funding in low-income countries. According to Norad, 16% of Norwegian funding was directed toward climate. 

Syria is still the single country receiving the most funding from Norway as a result of the ongoing humanitarian crisis due to the more than 10-year civil war. In 2021, Norway gave NOK895 million (US$93 million) in humanitarian assistance to Syria. In the 10-year period between 2012-2021, Syria received NOK7.4 billion (US$770 million) in funding. In 2021, Norwegian funding for humanitarian assistance equated to NOK6.6 billion (US$687 million). 

Multilateral organizations received 58% of all Norwegian funding in 2021. NOK12.6 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) went to the UN system, while NOK3.2 billion (US$333 million) went to the World Bank Group. CSOs received 23% of Norwegian development assistance. Among CSOs, Norwegian Refugee Council received the largest amount of funding, followed by the Norwegian Red Cross, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People's Aid, and Save the Children Norway. 

Norad – Press release (in Norwegian)

Bistandsaktuelt – News article (in Norwegian) 

FCDO international development strategy remains unpublished, internal budget allocations delayed

Devex recently reported that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has not yet finalized internal allocations for its budget for FY2022/23. 

The overall budget envelope for the FCDO was set by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review at £11.1 billion (US$14.3 billion) for FY2022/23 (for both ODA and non-ODA spending). Normally, funding allocations to core thematic and geographic departments within the FCDO are decided by April the latest. However, Devex noted that the FCDO is struggling to finalize these internal allocations.

Part of the reason for the delay could be the failure of the FCDO to finalize its policy priorities, particularly in international development. The UK’s long-awaited International Development Strategy, which has been drawn up by the FCDO, was initially scheduled for release last year but remains unpublished. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in March was cited as the latest reason for the delay, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, set about re-writing the strategy in light of the geopolitical shift.

Devex noted that there are concerns that following the recent UK local elections on May 5, 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson may reshuffle the cabinet reshuffle, potentially causing further delays in the strategy's publication.

The UK NGO community has called for the publication of the International Development Strategy as soon as possible, especially in light of the currently reduced ODA budget and the need for transparency and clarity over the UK’s priorities moving forward.

News article – DEVEX

Climate Action Network calls on UK to increase quantity, quality of climate finance for adaptation

The UK Climate Action Network (CAN-UK) and BOND, the UK network for international development NGOs, issued a new report in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth assessment report.

The report focused on adaptation, loss & damage (L&D) financing, investment, and ecosystem preservation and called upon the UK to use its COP26 Presidency in 2022 to:

  1. Increase the quality and quantity of climate finance for adaptation: The report calls for the UK, as COP26 President in 2022, to work with other countries to ensure the delivery of the original US$100 billion climate finance commitment and to start work on a new collective quantifiable climate finance goal to replace the US$100 billion in 2025. The report urges the UK, when setting the future finance goal, to move away from top-down donor-led negotiation processes and to instead ensure any new agreement is based on science, needs, and justice;
  2. Broker an agreement on L&D finance by COP27: The report calls for the UK to utilize its Presidency this year to prioritize an agreement for a new, and well-resourced, finance facility for loss & damage;
  3. Drive forward the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) with concrete actions: The report calls upon the UK to set out a clear unambiguous goal for GGA and to set milestones for assessing progress towards this goal in 2022 and 2023;
  4. Embed locally-led, inclusive, and rights-based adaptation into climate action: The report calls on the UK to set an example and ensure that UK International Climate Finance is spent on inclusive and locally-led adaptation. The report also calls for the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation, which have been endorsed by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to be mainstreamed across all UK ICF programming;
  5. Increase investment in high-quality ecosystem-based adaptation: The report urges the UK to increase the role of nature in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Adaptation Communication this year;
  6. Integrate and promote early warning and early action:  The report calls for the UK to ensure it has integrated climate change adaptation across all development and humanitarian programming and provides long-term finance to enable this to happen. It also notes that the forthcoming Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2022 provides an opportunity for the UK to advocate for international financial institutions and partner countries to do the same;
  7. Transform agricultural investment to support sustainable practices: The report calls for the UK to use mechanisms identified within the Just Rural Transition Policy Action Agenda to ensure policies that support sustainable agriculture and calls for the UK to ensure that the FCDO’s agriculture strategy and programming support agroecology approaches.

Report – CAN-UK /BOND Adaptation and Vulnerability Report

Spanish think tank holds conference pandemic preparedness and response conference

On May 5 and 6, 2022, the global health think tank and research institution Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) organized a conference aimed at discussing global preparation to respond to future environmental and public health crises.

Bringing together researchers, health professionals, practitioners, and decision-makers in the two-day workshop held in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, ISGlobal conducted technical discussions to exchange varying points of view and amalgamate lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic; participants shared ideas geared toward advancing preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience to future pandemics.  

The workshop concluded with a high-level roundtable that gathered different institutions like the Spanish ministries of Health and Science, the European Commission, the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, and the African Centre for Disease Control.

Press release - ISGlobal

Japan’s Kishida commits to post-COVID-19 recovery, tackling climate change

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke in London about the need for a new form of capitalism and his government’s plan to address global issues. In his speech, Kishida reconfirmed Japan’s commitment to post-pandemic recovery in Asia and beyond and to tackling climate change.

Prior to visiting London, Kishida was in Vietnam and Thailand where he announced loans and grant assistance for strengthening healthcare systems and climate change countermeasures. He also reiterated Japan’s commitment to energy diversification and introducing renewable energy. 

News article – Nikkei Asia

Speeches and Statements - Government of Japan

Canada's 2020-2021 international assistance focused on gender equality, global health, says report

Canada recently published its annual report on international assistance for 2020-2021, which provides an overview of Canada's global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a summary of Canada’s work to advance the priorities set out in the Feminist International Assistance Policy and the 2030 Agenda, and Canada's commitment to global partnerships.

Key highlights of Canada’s international assistance in 2020-2021 included:

  • Canada’s leadership role in the ACT-Accelerator and the COVAX Facility, committing CA$1.3 billion (US$1.0 billion) to support access to COVID-19 tests and vaccines;
  • Providing close to CA$1.2 billion (US$930 million) to meet the humanitarian needs of approximately 115 million people; and 
  • Supporting the empowerment of women and girls through CA$375 million (US$290 million) in development assistance specifically to advance gender equality around the world.

The report highlighted that Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Mali were the top 5 recipients of Canada’s international assistance in 2020-2021. It also found that global health and nutrition, and climate and environment were the top-funded action areas of the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Report - Global Affairs Canada

Stakeholders call for AU-EU Innovation Agenda to make African R&I ecosystem as strong as Europe’s

Stakeholders participating in a roundtable hosted by the publication Science|Business called for the new African Union (AU)-EU Innovation Agenda to strengthen the African research and innovation (R&I) ecosystem until it is on a level playing field with Europe’s and suggested that EU-AU research cooperation should be driven by opportunity, not foreign assistance. 

Participants suggested during the March 29, 2022, meeting in Brussels that the EU should provide funding for researchers at the PhD level and above in AU countries and improve research infrastructures. A joint study exchange program for PhD students across Europe and Africa could enable knowledge exchange and create a research network. Creating a database of African research could facilitate data sharing between European and African research teams as well.

The AU-EU Innovation Agenda will target cooperation around health, the green transition, and enhancing R&I capacities. Public consultation on the agenda is open until May 13, 2022.

News article - Science|Business

EU steps up support on food security to drought-affected Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, including US$255 million in development funding

The EU and its member states are providing a total package of €633 million (US$698 million) in Team Europe support to address food security in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, including €231 million (US$255 million) in development funding from the European Commission (EC).

The Team Europe package was announced at a high-level roundtable in Geneva co-hosted by the EC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It includes €348 million (US$384 million) overall from the EC and €285 million (US$314 million) from EU member states. The EC’s contribution includes funding for humanitarian assistance, conflict management, and €231 million (US$255 million) in development funding to tackle the root causes of food insecurity.

Food security in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia is threatened by climate-induced drought and conflict in the region, which is exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine.

Press release - European Commission

India and Germany strengthen development cooperation with 3 new agreements

During the sixth intergovernmental consultations between India and Germany on May 2, 2022, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, signed three declarations for collaboration in climate, energy, and agriculture.

Building on cooperation for solar technology that has been in place since 2015, India and Germany signed another partnership to build up renewable energies in India. Between 2020 and 2025, €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) will be contributed to the partnership.

Additionally, the two countries made an agreement on triangular development cooperation with third countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The collaborations will focus on technical cooperation in climate protection and sustainability.

The third initiative focuses on agroecological agriculture and sustainable resource management. Funding of up to €300 million (US$331 million) will be made available for the initiative by 2025, according to the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In addition, Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed a 'Green and Sustainable Development Partnership', a joint declaration of intent to cooperate on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action.

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Joint Statement – 6th German-Indian Inter-Governmental Consultations 

Japan commits US$171 million to Vietnam to address climate change, promote development

Japan will provide Vietnam with an ¥18.9 billion (US$166 million) loan for climate change countermeasures and ¥550 million (US$5 million) in grant assistance for social and economic development.

The loan will be used to acquire the necessary equipment for earth observation satellites and to provide training on how to use satellite data. The goal of the project is to enhance Vietnam’s ability to respond to disasters and climate change. The grant assistance will be used to train engineers in the manufacturing industry to promote domestic industries and development.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Norway failed to meet 2021 0.1% ODA/GNI target

Despite economic growth and Norway giving more money to humanitarian efforts than ever before, the government did not reach its target of giving 0.1% of its gross national income (GNI) to international development in 2021.
 
The OECD recently published its preliminary development funding figures for 2021. The figures showed that Norway's ODA levels fell by 11.6% compared to 2020. Despite increased support for pandemic control and Norway giving more than NOK40 billion (US$4.2 billion) in funding - its highest contribution ever - to international development, Norway's ODA total fell from 1.11% of GNI in 2020 to 0.93% percent in 2021.

The government has promised to keep development assistance at one percent of GNI. However, in 2021 Norway fell short by NOK3 billion (US$339 million).

Revised figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that Norway's GNI grew by over 22% last year. The increased growth is mainly the result of record-high oil and gas prices towards the end of 2021 and the reopening of society during the COVID-19 pandemic. With high petroleum revenues as a result of the war in Ukraine, Norway's economy continues to grow, and the gap between economic growth and funding levels for international development may persist into 2022.

However, Norwegian ODA levels relative to GNI are still the second-highest among OECD donors, bested only by Luxembourg.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Canada announces US$57 million to respond to drought in Horn of Africa

At a high-level roundtable on the drought in the Horn of Africa, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced over CA$73 million (US$57 million) in funding for gender-responsive development assistance to meet the needs of people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. 

The funding is being distributed to these three countries, as the drought conditions they are facing could result in over 20 million people needing emergency food assistance in 2022. The funding will address hunger, acute malnutrition, water and sanitation, medical care, and other critical needs of crisis-affected populations. The funding will also support climate action, education, and women’s economic development and empowerment. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Norwegian Foreign Minister announces International Solar Alliance membership during India visit

During an official visit to India last week, Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that Norway will become a member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). ISA works to increase the global use of solar energy. The alliance focuses on targeting Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

ISA is a global platform consisting of private and public sector organizations, civil society, multilateral development banks (MDBs), development financial institutions (DFIs), and other international institutions.

Huitfeldt highlighted that Norway plays an active role in efforts to increase access to clean energy and combat the climate crisis. Norway sees ISA as an important arena for strengthening collaboration and political cooperation on solar energy solutions. 

Norway and India have a long tradition of collaboration, especially on environmental protection and climate change. Huitfeldt says that Norway`s participation in the ISA will strengthen cooperation with India.
 

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

EIB and IDB agree to co-finance climate resilience projects in Latin America, Caribbean

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a new agreement to accelerate co-financing climate-resilient projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The agreement was signed by EIB President Werner Hoyer and IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. The collaboration will seek to increase alignment between the two institutions and ensure the greatest development impact.

Press release - EIB

Norway to focus on food security, food prices, inclusive food systems, following 2022 Spring Meetings

Between April 20 - 22, 2022, Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim participated in the 2022 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). Key topics discussed were climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global effects of the war in Ukraine. 

Minister Tvinnereim aimed to focus on food security and how to build sustainable and inclusive food systems. The World Bank's efforts on health, climate, pandemic preparedness, and solutions to handle debt in low-income countries were also discussed. 

Tvinnereim spoke at meetings focusing on how to finance food security and inclusive food systems, as well as an event marking three years of contributions to the Global Financing Facility (GFF). GFF is the main channel of Norwegian funding, which targets maternal, reproductive, child, and adolescent health and nutrition. 

In a press release from the Ministry, Tvinnereim underlined that the World Bank is one of Norway`s most important partners in reducing poverty, building food security, and meeting other global challenges. In 2021, Norwegian funding through the World Bank Group was estimated at around US$504 million (NOK4.6 billion). US$118 (NOK1.1 billion) of the total amount was directed towards IDA, the International Development Association. 

More information on the IMF and World Bank's 2022 Spring Meetings can be found in this Donor Tracker Commentary

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (only in Norwegian)