Policy Updates

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Donor Tracker to host webinar on donors’ international COVID-19 response following Global Goal Summit pledges

On July 2, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), Donor Tracker will host a second webinar on donor countries’ international COVID-19 responses following the Global Goal Summit. The Summit, held on June 27, raised US$6.9 billion for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

The Donor Tracker's expert team will analyze the Summit's outcomes and discuss implications for donor countries’ further international responses to the pandemic.

Registration - Zoom 

New Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform will bring together major stakeholders in Italian global response to COVID-19

The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, has announced the first meeting of the Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform on the Italian Global Response to COVID-19.

The coordination platform will bring together the main Italian actors involved in the global fight against Covid-19. Delegates from the Ministries of Foreign affairs, Health, Treasury, Economic Development, University, and Research and Agriculture will take part, as well as members of the Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, members of civil society organizations and universities, research institutions the National Health Institute, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry.

Italy is interested in the global health impact of COVID-19, but also in the pandemic's socio-economic effects, including implications on the food systems of most vulnerable countries.

Interview- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

South Korea announces new initiative to support COVID-19 response in partner countries

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) unveiled the 'ODA Korea: Building TRUST (Transparency, Resilience, Unity, and Safety Together)' initiative to support partner countries with COVID-19 response and sustainable development over the mid- to long-term.

According to a MOFA press release, the initiative consists of three key pillars: humanitarian assistance, health cooperation for priority partner countries and organizations on disease control, and socioeconomic impact response.

For health cooperation with priority partner countries and organizations, MOFA will implement a comprehensive COVID-19 response emergency support program worth US$29 million (KRW36 billion) this year. Target partners include Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Colombia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, and the Africa Center for Disease Control. MOFA will closely coordinate with the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare as well as implementing agencies for development assistance such as the Korea International Cooperation Agency and Korea Foundation for International Healthcare. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

Thirteen NGOs launch call to action against "vaccine nationalism" in joint op-ed

In a joint open editorial, 13 heads of NGOs, including Doctors without Borders, Oxfam France, and ONE, expressed their concerns about "vaccine nationalism" in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.

While some NGO leaders welcomed the promises of world leaders, including France's President Macron, to make future COVID-19 vaccines a global public good accessible to all nations, the signatories of this op-ed expressed worry about the growing competition among nations to secure access to vaccines for their own countries first.

The foundation of the Inclusive Alliance, initiated by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, which committed to pre-purchase 400 million doses for European member states, could negatively impact countries with the most fragile health systems, according to the authors. 

For this reason, the op-ed's signatories called for the implementation of transparent processes, an agreement to benefit from vaccines at cost price, and the adoption of conditionality measures for pharmaceutical companies where public money is engaged. The authors notably asked the French Government to join the WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool which aims to share intellectual property and knowledge to facilitate access to the populations the most in need. 

Op-ed - Le Journal du Dimanche (in French)

Germany pledges US$418 million at Global Goal Summit

At the June 27, 2020, Global Goal Summit, hosted by the European Commission and Global Citizen, Germany pledged €383 million (US$418 million) to support the global COVID-19 response.

Of this funding, €150 million (US$164 million) will be channeled towards the Global Fund's Response Mechanism, and €233 million (US$254 million) will go to organizations helping people in low-income countries cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

In her speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reemphasized the importance of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for everyone, everywhere. Together with Germany’s pledge of €525 million (US$573 million) at the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference on May 4, 2020, Germany has pledged a total of €908 million (US$990 million) to the global COVID-19 response so far.

The summit raised a total of US$6.9 billion in funding to ensure universal access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Press release – Global Citizen

Video – Global Citizen (Speech Angela Merkel)

European Commission and EIB pledge US$5.3 billion at Global Goal Summit

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged a combined €4.9 billion (US$5.3 million) in additional financing at the virtual 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' COVID-19 pledging event. This event, held on June 27, was co-hosted by EC and the international advocacy NGO 'Global Citizen' and was aimed at raising finances for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. The EC and the EIB were represented at the event by EC President Ursula von der Leyen and EIB President Werner Hoyer.

The EC and EIB's combined pledge funding will come from the EIB’s “own resources” to finance loans, guarantees, and equity – in partnership with the EC and will be directed toward supporting global economic recovery particularly in vulnerable countries, assisting health preparedness, and scaling the EIB’s pipeline of COVID-19 medical tools development.
 
Overall, the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' pledging event raised US$6.9 billion which comes in addition to the €9.8 billion (US$10.7 billion) committed during the first EC-hosted COVID-19 global response pledging event on May 4, 2020. 
 
Press release - European Commission
 
Press release - Global Citizen

UK International Development Minister defends merger between DFID and FCO

The UK’s Secretary for State for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has written an article in the Guardian defending her government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development (DFID) into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Trevelyan claims that the merger will not diminish UK global leadership on development; she notes the Prime Minister’s commitment to maintain poverty reduction at the heart of the new department’s mission and to continue to spend 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA).  

Trevelyan goes on to say that the government has an "ambitious vision for the future of the UK as an active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation". As an example of its leadership, she cites the UK’s recent hosting of the Global Vaccine Summit 2020. Trevelyan wants humanitarian assistance to be central to the new department's mandate and to establish a stronger role for the UK military in the country's humanitarian efforts as a means of further strengthening the UK’s delivery of humanitarian assistance.

News article – The Guardian

In poll, two thirds of conservative UK voters say UK has no responsibility to alleviate poverty

Conservative Progress, a UK-based think-tank, has undertaken a poll of 2,000 conservative party voters and found that 9 out of 10 want the government to drop its commitment to provide 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance. 55% of those polled said they wanted the commitment dropped completely, while 37% said the commitment should be reduced.

In addition, two-thirds of the polled voters do not think the UK has a responsibility to alleviate poverty in poor countries. The overwhelming majority (86%) also agree with the Prime Minister’s recent decision to merge the Department of International Development (DFID) in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Almost half the people polled live in seats in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales, which were recently won by the Conservatives, but are traditionally Labour party supporting areas.

News article – The Express

Australia announces new funding for TB, antimicrobial resistance research

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, and Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced that Australia will provide A$8 million (US$5 million) in funding for new research on tuberculosis (TB) and microbial resistance.

Half of the funding will be provided to the University of Sydney to target antibiotic-resistant TB in the Pacific Islands. This funding will support technical training in six Pacific countries, focusing particularly on Kiribati, which has a high incidence of TB. Other grants will assist in the rapid detection of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) and community-based solutions to reduce the transmission of MDR TB.

The funding is being provided through Australia's Medical Research Futures Fund.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Netherlands pledges US$28 million at Global Goal Summit

At the Global Goal Summit, convened by Global Citizen and the European Commission in London on June 27, 2020, the Netherlands pledged €25 million (US$28 million) towards an equitable and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte specifically mentioned in his video statement that the amount will be directed "to the procurement of vaccines for vulnerable countries that need it most because is essential that no-one is left behind". The summit raised a total sum of €6.1 billion (US$6.9 billion).

Event website - Global Citizen

Spain pledges US$11 million at Global Goal Summit

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez participated at the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' COVID19 pledging summit. This event, held on June 27, was co-hosted by European Commission and the international advocacy NGO 'Global Citizen' and was aimed at raising finances for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. 

Prime Minister Sánchez announced that Spain will provide €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) aimed at combating hunger and guaranteeing nutrition standards in partner countries severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the summit, Sánchez reiterated Spain’s engagement in the global response against COVID-19 and also expressed support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the ACT-Accelerator initiative. Furthermore, Sánchez called upon the international community to take action for protecting the most vulnerable populations worldwide, particularly women and girls.  

 

Press release – European Commission

Video – Pedro Sánchez's Twitter profile (in Spanish)

Norway pledges US$9 million at Global Goal Summit

The international organization Global Citizen and the European Commission co-hosted the Global Goal Summit on June 27, 2020 as part of a global campaign to coordinate the development of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines and to ensure equitable access to treatment for all people.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg attended the summit and pledged NOK 100 million (US$9 million). The funding will go to Gavi’s COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (Covax Facility), which is working to ensure universal vaccine access. 

Through its commitment to establishing and supporting the vaccine coalition, Cepi, and through its contribution to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, Norway has proven itself a driver for equitable global vaccine access.

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

Global Goal Summit raises additional US$6.9 billion for Coronavirus Global Response

Global Citizen and the European Commission (EC) hosted a closing event for the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' campaign on June 27, 2020. Comprised of a summit and a celebrity-headlined concert, the event was aimed at raising funding for the development and equitable delivery of COVID-19 solutions including tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Ultimately, the campaign succeeded in raising US$6.9 billion, which comes in addition to the approximately US$10 billion raised by world leaders at (and since) the May 4, 2020, Coronavirus Global Response Conference. Attendees and funders included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Wellcome Trust.

Funding will support:

  1. Key actors in global health cooperating to accelerate development and production of COVID-19 treatments through the World Health Organisation's ACT Accelerator;
  2. Regional and domestic organizations which are working to ensure equal access to COVID-19 treatments, once developed; and
  3. Regional and international equity collaborators working to strengthen states' resilience against the current and potential future crises.

The full list of individual countries' and organizations' contributions is available on the Global Citizen's website.

Press release - Global Citizen

Swedish development cooperation ranked number one by Center for Global Development

The Commitment Development Index (CDI), an annual survey conducted by the Center for Global Development (CGD), has ranked Sweden first amongst 40 countries providing development assistance to low-income countries.

In addition to levels of development finance, policy areas surveyed included climate, migration, security, technology, trade, and investment. Sweden scored well across six out of the seven components and ranked first in the area of migration, third in development finance, and in the top ten in trade, investment, environment, and security.

"Sweden has a tradition of listening, learning, and improving," said Peter Eriksson, Minister for International Development Cooperation. "The result of this year's Commitment to Development Index is proof of this constant work. We are now working on further and deepening our work to ensure long-term sustainable green development for poor people where we safeguard climate, biodiversity, gender equality, and democracy."

In previous rankings, only the G-20 and OECD DAC countries were examined, but the 2020 survey was expanded from the original 27 countries.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

UN Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security prepares to push for stronger pandemic response by UN Security Council

The 'Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security' at the UN - co-chaired by Canada, Denmark, Sierra Leone, South Korea, and Qatar - held its second official meeting and discussed its activity plans for 2020. According to a South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, the group agreed to deliver its joint remarks at the Security Council High-level Open Debate on “Pandemics and Security” on July 2, 2020, with a coordinated message emphasizing the need to strengthen global cooperation and solidarity on COVID-19 response which is a threat to global health, peace, and safety.

The group also agreed in the meeting to reach out to the UN Secretary-General for the active cooperation of the UN secretariat and to hold a high-level event on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in September 2020 on global health and security.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dutch Socialist Party starts petition with other European parties for free access to COVID-19 vaccine

On June 26, 2020, the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) announced a pan-European initiative with more than ten other European leftist parties to advocate for free access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Through the petition, called #Right2Cure, the coalition intends to put pressure on the European Commission (EC) to ensure free access to COVID-19 for everyone.

Despite the EC's commitment to free vaccine access, there is still a high risk that the vaccine will be privatized through patents. #Right2Cure was formed as a public pressure campaign to push back against this potential eventuality, which they see as a gross violation of human rights.

News article - SP (in Dutch)

South Korea announces US$76 million for COVID-19-related projects in 13 countries

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) of South Korea announced funds totaling US$76 million for COVID-19-related ODA projects in 13 countries including Ethiopia and Myanmar.

The project will be funded through South Korea’s concessional loan program, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), as well as South Korea's trust funds with the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In particular, the ODA project in Ethiopia funded by the EDCF will consist of health sector budget support and provision of medical supplies.

The EDCF projects are part of a larger US$400 million support policy announced by the South Korean government to support partner countries with COVID-19 response.

Press release – Ministry of Economy and Finance (in Korean)

Sweden approves new strategy for development cooperation with Palestine

On June 25, 2020, the Swedish government adopted a new strategy for its development cooperation with Palestine, covering the period between 2020 and 2024. The strategy aims to support poverty reduction, improve conditions for democratic development, and help foster greater respect for human rights in the country. Out of a total funding envelope of SEK 1.5 billion (US$154 million), SEK 1.46 billion (US$150 million) will be managed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) while the remaining SEK 40 million (US$4 million) will be managed by the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

"Through the new strategy, Sweden will contribute to democratic development and increased respect for human rights, as well as to strengthen the conditions for conducting Palestinian elections, including in East Jerusalem," said Peter Eriksson, Minister for International Development Cooperation.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

Center for Global Development releases 2020 Commitment to Development Index

On June 25, 2020, the Center for Global Development, a non-profit development think tank, released the 2020 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), ranking 40 countries’ policy efforts based on their commitment to global development. Based on the idea that development goes beyond foreign assistance, the Index covers seven distinct policy areas: development finance, investment, migration, trade, environment, security, and technology.

This year, Sweden ranks first, followed by France, Norway, the UK, and Germany. India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are on the bottom of the league. Among the countries classified as middle-income countries, South Africa ranks best, taking the twenty-fifth position in the overall scoring, followed by Turkey, ranking twenty-ninth.

This year’s CDI also features several new measures including an assessment of the promotion of gender equality with a focus beyond development assistance and evaluating the ‘conflict potential’ of arms sales based on sales to low-income countries which are militarized and undemocratic.

Report – The Center for Global Development

German Minister of Health pledges additional US$290 million to WHO, bringing total 2020 contribution up to historic US$545 million

On June 25, 2020, the German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, announced an additional €266 million (US$290 million) of funding to the World Health Organisation's (WHO’s) core mandate and its international COVID-19 response. 

€41 million (US$45m) will be channeled to WHO’s core mandate until 2023, while €25 million (US$27 million) in funding will be distributed to the implementation of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

An additional €200 million (US$218 million) will be channeled to WHO in 2020, on top of the €110 million (US$120 million) already pledged in May. Altogether, Germany will contribute a total of €500 million (US$545 million) to WHO in 2020: Germany’s highest annual amount ever pledged to WHO.

Spahn emphasized that Germany’s increased funding comes with the expectation that current challenges within WHO will be adequately addressed and that necessary reforms will move forward. 

Video – WHO (Press Conference with Jens Spahn)

News article – Die Zeit (in German)