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Dutch development minister addresses parliament concerning next Product Development Partnership Fund

Dutch member of parliament (MP), Anne Kuik of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), encouraged Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Tom de Bruijn, of Democrats 66 (D66), to evaluate the impact of Product Development Partnerships III (PDPs) and to develop a multi-annual budget plan to safeguard the financing of the PDP IV Fund.

De Bruijn stated that the necessary resources are available in the Ministry’s budget for Trade and Development Cooperation and will likely be granted in July of 2022. Minister De Bruijn awaits the outcome of the final evaluation report of PDP III, delivered in mid-November of 2021, which will support the content of the PDP IV framework.

The PDP IV will be the fourth iteration of a fund intended for the development and availability of affordable, effective medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and innovative products for neglected diseases and conditions to combat poverty and inequality.

Press release - Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Finance in Common Summit mobilizes 500 development banks to address climate change, promotes sustainable development

Following the inaugural Finance in Common Summit (FiCS), held in 2020 during the Paris Peace Forum, more than 500 public development banks will meet for a second time from October 19-20, 2021, to address climate change and sustainable development action.

FiCS, held under the leadership of the Italian G20 presidency, will be hosted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the Italian National Promotional Institution and Financial Institution for Development Cooperation, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Finance in Common Coalition.

The event will take place in Rome via face-to-face and digital formats.

Speakers include: the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guteres; the Secretary General of the OECD, Mathias Cormann; the President of the European Investment Bank, Wermer Hoyer; the managing director of development policy and partnerships of the World Bank, Mari Pangestu; and many others.

Website - Finance in Common

Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State and development advocate, dies at 84 with COVID-19 complications

Colin Powell, former United States Secretary of State, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and steadfast supporter of US international development programs, died at age 84 of complications from COVID-19.

Although best known for his military and diplomacy roles - which often put him in a controversial spotlight - Powell also served for 15 years as the National Chair of the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a coalition of business, military, and civic organizations which advocates for the elevation of development alongside diplomacy and defense.

Powell frequently claimed that military might is not the only way to keep the United States safe. In a New York Times op-ed, the former military leader said “Throughout my career, I learned plenty about war on the battlefield, but I learned even more about the importance of finding peace. And that is what the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. do: prevent the wars that we can avoid, so that we fight only the ones we must.”

News report - The Washington Post

Statement - USGLC

As stalemate on climate policy persists, Australian churches call for zero-emissions commitment

Leaders from major religious denominations wrote to Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, calling for a commitment to cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Australian government is still in negotiations to ratify a firm 2050 zero-emissions target. 

Divisions between regional Members of Parliament have hindered the Australian governing coalition's agreement on climate change commitments. A formal policy must be agreed upon by the COP26 event in Glasgow, Scotland in November of 2021.

By comparison, New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinta Ardern, has announced her country's commitment to provide NZ$1.3 billion (US$928 million) in climate change assistance in the Pacific region and other countries.

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

News article - West Australian  

Each US$1.3 billion in UK recycled IMF Special Drawing Rights to LMICs will result in US$416 million net loss, says Center for Global Development

The Center for Global Development (CGD), a leading international development think-tank, published a new report criticizing the UK’s proposal to count some of its recycled International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as official development assistance (ODA).

CGD calculated that for every £1.0 billion (US$1.3 billion) of SDRs that the UK recycles, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will experience a £310 million (US$416 million) net loss in development assistance. The UK will count 31% of its recycled SDRs as part of its commitment to reach 0.5% of gross national income (GNI) as ODA, reducing resources from the UK ODA budget that are available to LMICs. CGD has described the UK’s decision to count its recycled SDRs as ODA as "giving with one hand while taking with the other."

Other donor countries that have also decided to recycle their SDRs to LMICs have chosen not to count them as ODA; this decision will ensure that the full amount of SDRs is available to target countries in addition to planned ODA budgets.

The report is heavily critical of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) rules which enable the UK to count IMF lending, via its Poverty, Growth and Reduction Trust, as ODA, arguing that rules do not appropriately reflect the low-level risk of the loans.

The report recommends that:

  • In the short term, the new UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, push the UK Treasury to ensure all of its recycled SDRs are additional to the UK’s 0.5% of GNI ODA budget. If this is not possible, the report recommends that the IMF actively draw on other countries' flows that are not counted as ODA; the funding only counts as ODA when it is drawn down by the IMF and released to countries. It is not counted as ODA when it is merely committed.
  • In the long-term, if a new fund at the IMF is used to channel the additional SDRs to LMICs, it should ensure that any funding that is counted as reserves and subsides by other donors should not be counted as ODA.

Report – Center for Global Development

Japan calls on international financial institutions to support low-income countries with sustainable energy transition

During a virtual meeting of the Development Committee held by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Japan called for the funding of natural gas projects to reduce greenhouse emissions in low-income countries.

Japan emphasized the need to address country needs individually, taking into consideration that some countries do not have resources for an energy transition that excludes natural gas. While natural gas produces greenhouse gases, it emits carbon and other harmful gases at lower quantities than coal or oil. Japan outlined criteria for providing assistance in cases where target countries' resources or private funds are insufficient.

Furthermore, Japan expressed its support for the World Bank’s policy to oppose new coal projects.

News article – The Mainichi

Canada's Justin Trudeau announces selection date for Minister of International Development

Following the Canadian federal election on September 20th, 2021, re-elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the Cabinet swearing-in ceremony will take place on October 26, 2021, and that Parliament will return on November 22, 2021.

The Cabinet selection will include a new, or reinstated, Minister of International Development who will set priorities for Canada’s international development portfolio. The resumption of Parliament will be accompanied by a Throne Speech, which will outline the government’s plans to tackle international development issues such as COVID-19 recovery, climate action, gender equality, and humanitarian crises.

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

South Korean development agency announces new strategy for 2021-2025

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a major South Korean grant assistance agency, announced its mid-term sectoral strategy for 2021-2025.

The published document includes strategic objectives and programs in the following sectors: education, health, governance and peace, agriculture and rural development, water, energy, transportation, urban development, science, technology and innovation (STI), climate action, gender equality, and human rights.

In the case of the health sector, KOICA will continue to focus on maternal, child, and reproductive health, mirroring key targets in the previous strategy for 2016-2020. In addition, the new measures will aim to improve health security and strengthen the digital health capacity of partner countries.

Website – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

Abridged report - Korea International Cooperation Agency

Australia ceases domestic AstraZeneca vaccine production, reducing regional assistance options

Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, indicated that Australia will not renew its contract with CSL to produce more than the originally promised 51 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. 

CSL is expected to cease production of AstraZeneca in its Australian factory in early 2022. At present, the factory produces one million doses per week and up to 800,000 of weekly doses are provided to assist vaccine rollouts in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. 

Spokesperson for the End COVID For All Campaign, Tim Costello, called for the Australian government to strengthen domestic production capability to produce up to 100 million vaccines which should be provided at cost to Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.

In the meantime, over one million unused AstraZeneca doses are being collected from Australian facilities and pharmacies for use by partner countries in the region.

News article - ABC News

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

US climate envoy, Kerry, calls on leaders to back climate commitments before COP26

Ahead of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, John Kerry, the US envoy for climate change, declared more must be done to meet needed targets to cut coal, gas, and oil emissions.

Kerry, who has spent the last year negotiating with world leaders on climate diplomacy, is encouraged by steps the European Union, Japan, and others have taken, but is concerned that some of the largest polluters have not pledged enough. 

The UN's COP26 climate summit will take place from October 31 - November, 12, 2021.

Kerry has plans for last-minute climate diplomacy talks in Mexico and Saudi Arabia before the two-week summit. Kerry will face the possibility that the US Congress, with a slim Democratic majority, will not support the necessary legislation and funding to back US commitments. Kerry remains optimistic, however, that Congress will act "responsibly."

News report - AP

Spanish government proposes US$471 million increase in development spending in 2022 budget proposal

On October 13, 2021, the Spanish Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, presented the 2022 state budget bill at the Congress of Deputies. The current government expects parliament to approve the 2022 budget before December 31, 2021.

Overall estimates of official development assistance (ODA) are not finalized; however, the Spanish government’s budget draft for 2022 includes an increase of at least €400 million (US$471 million) for budgetary envelopes concerning development policy.

The budget managed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) increased from €384 million (US$452 million) in 2021 to €485 million (US$571 million) in 2022. 

Other agencies like the Foreign Ministry’s State Secretariat for International Cooperation (SECI) saw negligible changes. The proposed 2022 budget for the agency amounts to €295 million (US$347 million), a €2 million (US$2 million) increase compared to 2021.

According to the proposed 2022 budget bill, the Spanish government plans to create a new ODA envelope of €293 million (US$345 million), managed by the Ministry of Health, to foster universal access to COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income partner countries.

Press release - la Moncloa (in Spanish)

2022 Budget Bill - Ministry of Finance (in Spanish)

EU commits US$1.2 billion in emergent humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

The European Commission announced a €1.0 billion (US$1.2 billion) humanitarian assistance package for Afghanistan, which will include €250 million (US$294 million) for “humanitarian plus” support for local Afghan populations with urgent needs, particularly in the health sector.

The “humanitarian plus” support will be funded by the EU’s Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe (NDICI - Global Europe) and will be channeled to international organizations working in-country.

Press release - European Commission

Members of European Parliament suggest US$235 million top-up to Health Cluster budget with surplus funding

Budget Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) agreed that half of the unused funding from Horizon 2020, the 2014-2020 EU research program, should be allocated to health research in the current program for 2021-2027, Horizon Europe, giving the Health Cluster budget a €200 million (US$235 million) boost.

The MEPs said the funding should be used for health research in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Health Cluster top-up proposal makes up part of the Parliament’s position on the 2022 EU budget. Parliament will vote on the overall annual budget position on October 20, 2021, after which MEPs will begin negotiations with member states in the Council of the EU.

News article - Science|Business

In lead up to COP26, Sweden doubles climate finance ODA

In preparation for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the Swedish government announced its intention to double official development assistance (ODA) for climate finance to reach SEK15.0 billion (US$1.7 billion) by 2025.

Sweden made the announcement before the Summit in hopes that it would increase pressure on other high-income countries to increase global support for climate finance.

Swedish ODA for climate finance primarily seeks to reduce emissions and develop more resilient societies in low-income countries. Through the additional provision of capital, Sweden hopes to persuade recipients to adopt more ambitious action plans to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

Norway to hit 1.01% GNI ODA target in 2022 budget, double climate finance by 2025

The Norwegian government's overarching development policy strategy is to promote sustainable economic development and welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and contribute to combating poverty. The proposed 2022 government budget includes a record-breaking development assistance budget of NOK41.9 billion (US$ 4.7 billion), corresponding to 1.01% of gross national income (GNI). 

The government wishes to continue its focus on the fight against infectious diseases and support for maternal, child, and adolescent health. Efforts to remedy non-communicable diseases, such as mental health, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are also priorities. 

The government emphasizes combating climate change and supporting climate adaptation to prevent natural disasters in its strategy. Increased efforts against hunger, including an increased focus on food from the sea to ensure global food security, are an important part of climate adaptation and COVID-19 response work.

The government proposes NOK8.2 billion (US$ 926 million) for climate measures through the development assistance budget, which includes both climate and forestry programs. With this increase, Norway is on track to double its climate assistance by 2025. 

The government also proposes strengthened development assistance through civil society organizations in the 2022 budget. 

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)  

Norway increases humanitarian assistance budget by US$45 million to meet rising sector concerns; total assistance rises to US$734 million

The UN Emergency Aid appeal for 2021 estimates that more than 235 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection, an increase of 40% from 2020. The Norwegian government, therefore, proposes an increase of NOK400 million (US$45 million) for emergency and humanitarian assistance in 2022, totaling NOK5.2 billion (US$587 million).

In addition to the additional funding, the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will receive NOK1.35 billion (US$ 152 million). In total, the proposed assistance budget for 2022 is a record-breaking NOK6.5 billion (US$734 million). With the proposed increase, the Norwegian humanitarian budget has doubled since 2013.  

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian) 

G20 leaders commit to ensuring humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan

At the G20 extraordinary meeting on Afghanistan, the G20 head of states committed to supporting humanitarian assistance in the country, focusing primarily on vulnerable groups, such as women, children, and people with disabilities.

The G20 leaders called upon leaders to find solutions to maintain essential services; in particular, they desire for strengthened education and health sectors. Furthermore, the leaders flagged the importance of a functioning payment system and overall financial stability in the region. The G20 leaders committed to cooperate with international organizations, international financial institutions, including multilateral development banks, and humanitarian actors in the field. The G20 countries invite the World Bank to explore possible ways to redirect support to international agencies for humanitarian efforts.

Finally, the G20 leaders emphasize the importance of ensuring a rapid vaccination campaign and fully administering previously donated vaccines via COVAX and stand ready to provide more.

Chair summary - G20 website

South Korea begins COVID-19 vaccine donation campaign with Vietnam and Thailand

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of South Korea announced that it will donate COVID-19 vaccines for the first time to its partner countries, beginning with Vietnam and Thailand.

In particular, 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be provided to Vietnam. Both Vietnam and Thailand are key partner countries in South Korea’s New Southern Policy. While South Korea has provided humanitarian assistance and official development assistance (ODA) for COVID-19 response to its partner countries, it has not previously donated vaccines, signaling a shift in its global health policy and pandemic response.  

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

Japan pledges US$190 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at G20 emergency summit

During the G20 emergency summit, Japan’s Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio, pledged US$190 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Struggling with droughts and severe poverty following decades of war, Afghanistan faces a major economic and humanitarian crisis. G20 members agreed to provide assistance, and Japan announced that it will provide US$190 million through international organizations to help address this crisis.

Kishida affirmed the need to protect the rights of all citizens and to safeguard environments where women can study and work.

News article - Japan Broadcasting Corporation

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Failure to to uphold US$100.0 billion climate finance agreement will lead to deteriorating trust between development partners, UK warns

A new UK parliament report acknowledged that the UK is unlikely to meet one of its key goals for its Presidency of the COP26 international climate conference - confirming high-income countries' commitment to providing $100.0 billion in climate finance for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The report notes that the failure to achieve this goal will damage the level of trust between negotiating parties, making it harder to make progress on key UK goals for the upcoming COP26.

The UK government set out four key goals for its Presidency of COP26:

  • Have all participating countries submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), that commit to further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030;
  • Have all countries commit to reaching net-zero emissions as soon as possible;
  • Ensure that high-income countries honor their commitment to providing US$100.0 billion dollars a year in climate finance for LMICs and climate-vunlerable countries; and,
  • Agree on a package that furthers the Paris Agreement.

Progress is observable for most goals, but the UK parliament acknowledged that the government is likely to miss its goal of having all high-income countries honor their commitment to provide US$100.0 billion dollars per year in climate finance for LMICs.

The original commitment to provide US$100.0 billion in climate finance to LMICs was made by high-income countries in 2009 and has been reiterated at key meetings following its initial proposal and ratification. While final figures will not be available on climate finance until 2022, it is generally accepted that the 2020 goal has not been met. The most recent figures available are dated to 2019 and show that only US$79.6 billion has been raised in climate finance so far. The UK has committed to increasing its commitments to £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) in the next four years, and recent pledges by the US, Germany, and Canada mean that total pledges may currently hover around US$10.0 billion short of the target.

The report is clear that this shortcoming will have a negative impact on the level of trust between countries and is likely to make it difficult to make ambitious progress on other key UK goals at COP26. LMICs are being asked to cut their own future emissions while being most-vulnerable to climate change as a result of high-income countries’ historic emissions.

The report also highlights tensions in the type of financing that high-income countries are providing to LMICs as climate finance. Target countries have indicated a clear preference for climate finance to be provided in the form of grants, not loans. However, most public climate finance to date has been provided as loans. In 2019, around 79% of the US$79.6 billion in climate finance provided to LMICs was from governments, and loans comprised 71% of this funding. The UK, to its credit, has provided most of its climate finance as grants. 87% of UK climate finance between 2014 and 2021 was delivered as grants, totalling £4.9 billion (US$6.6 billion).

Report – UK Parliament