Displaying 21 - 40 of 6666

Japan provides US$668 million to African Development Bank fund for economic growth and poverty alleviation

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided ¥73.0 billion (US$668 million) to the African Development Bank for the Fifteenth Replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF-15).

This loan will contribute to economic growth and help alleviate poverty in low-income countries in Africa during the ADF-15 period, from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2022. The loan will be used for activities focusing on the African Development Bank’s 'High 5s', or development priorities: "Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa."

This loan consists of grant participation and concessional lending, with an annual interest rate of 0.11%, a repayment period of 40 years, and a grace period of 10 years.

Press release - Japan International Cooperation Agency

News article - Reuters

UK government proposes new resolution at UN Security Council to enable temporary ceasefires to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has put forward a resolution at the UN Security Council to support temporary ceasefires in conflict-affected areas to enable a coordinated effort for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The resolution also calls on COVID-19 vaccination plans to include all high-risk populations, including refugees.

More than 160 million people worldwide are at risk of being excluded from vaccinations because of instability and conflict. Vaccination ceasefires are not new and have been successfully adopted in previous years to ensure those living in fragile contexts benefit from vaccination programs.  

The UK currently holds the presidency of the UN Security Council, for February 2021.

Press release - UK government

European Commission strikes deals with Moderna, BioNTech-Pfizer for 300 million more possible vaccines from each

The European Commission (EC) has struck a second deal with Moderna for access to an additional 300 million vaccines for EU member states (150 million in 2021 and the option for 150 million in 2022), on top of the 160 million the EU already had through its previous agreement with Moderna.

The EC also finalized a second agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer for an additional 200 million doses to be delivered during 2021, with the option for 100 million more. This is on top of the 300 million doses (committed for 2021) through its first agreement signed last year.

Press release - European Commission

Press release - BioNTech

EU's newly released agenda for renewed multilateralism aims to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines

The European Commission and the European External Action Service released a new EU strategy for “renewed multilateralism” that includes the goal to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines through funding research and production, ensuring global access, and strengthening the global health system (including through leading on World Health Organization reform efforts).

The joint communication calls for the EU to step up its leadership and make better use of its ability to act as a "convenor, honest broker and bridge-builder,” calling for a “new generation of partnerships.”

Other categories of action include strengthening global recovery and tackling inequalities; combatting the climate crisis and building more sustainable systems; establishing global rules for new digital technologies; and modernizing global institutions.

Press release - European Commission

Factsheet - European Commission

Strategy document - European External Action Service

Dutch development minister responds to parliamentary questions on climate finance for low- and middle-income countries 

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, responded to parliamentary questions about transparency concerning climate finance for low- and middle-income countries.   

Kaag acknowledged that using different methods to measure climate financing complicates making a clear overview of the funds that are provided. However, she did point out that the Netherlands has always been transparent about the methods it uses to calculate climate finance. Kaag also stated that she is not in favor of ruling out loans and guarantees as a form of climate financing because they may be suitable solutions depending on the activity and purpose of the financing. 

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch) 

Dutch NGOs host debate on migration, development cooperation, climate crisis  

On February 17, 2021, Amnesty International, Greenpeace Netherlands, and Oxfam Novib organized a debate during which Dutch politicians discussed the future outlook of their political parties on international dilemmas and solutions.

Focus points during the debate included migration, the global climate crisis, and the return of the budget for development cooperation to 0.7% of the gross national income. 

The politicians who took part in the debate were Rob Jetten (Democratic 66), Kati Piri (Labor Party), and Anne Kuik (Christian Democratic Appeal), Tom van der Lee (GreenLeft), Don Ceder (ChristianUnion), Mahir Alkaya (Socialist Party), and Ruben Brekelmans (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy).  

News article - Oxfam Novib (in Dutch) 

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia

Australia’s medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has announced that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in Australia and is considered safe for those over 65. This followed the World Health Organization’s recommendations on the vaccine.

The TGA recommended a 12-week gap between the first and second vaccine injections. The previously anticipated end date of October 2021 for all Australians to vaccinated may be pushed out further, due to this longer gap between the first and second shots.

The Australian government has agreed to buy 50 million doses of the vaccine from CSL Limited (formerly Commonwealth Serum Laboratories), the major Australian vaccine producer. Australia has also announced it will aim to provide COVID-19 doses for people in the Pacific and other regional countries.

CSL has already commenced production of the vaccine and aims to produce one million doses per week.  The company expressed that it is confident that, once supplied with updated materials, it could adapt the vaccine to combat new strains of the virus.

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

News article - Sydney Morning Herald

University of Western Australia, Food and Agriculture Organization identify 150+ underused crops to reduce hunger

University of Western Australia researchers have indicated that the Asia-Pacific region’s overreliance on a limited number of crops has led to undernutrition and low dietary diversity, which has resulted in a significant prevalence of stunting and wasting.

More than 150 underused food crop species have been identified by the university's researchers and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The full study has been published in the journal Nature Plants, with the species ranked in terms of their nutritional value, climate change resistance, economic value, and availability.

News article - Mirage

Sweden reduces ODA to Myanmar following military coup

On February 16, 2021, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, decided to suspend part of its official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar. The decision comes after a military coup on February 1.

Swedish ODA to Myanmar has primarily been focused on supporting peace, democracy, and health care, and while Sida has now decided to suspend all ODA directed to state actors, the agency will continue to support initiatives implemented by independent actors that promote democracy and human rights.

In practice, this means that the Swedish ODA that has been channeled through the UN Development Program to support accountability mechanisms and strengthen democratic institutions, including Parliament, has now been suspended. In addition, support channeled through the anti-corruption program out of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has also been terminated.

After the military coup, all three programs were immediately frozen by the UN and the principles of the UN’s engagement with Myanmar are currently under review. In conflict areas where other health services are lacking, exceptions have been made to allow for limited continued cooperation with the Access to Health Fund and the UN Population Fund to promote lifesaving operations, such as ambulance transport and COVID-19 protection equipment for field personnel.

In 2019, Sweden's ODA to Myanmar amounted to SEK 306 million (US$37 million).

Press release – Sida (in Swedish)

Under Spain’s leadership, Sahel Alliance General Assembly adopts resolution to foster regional sustainable development

On February 16, 2020, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEUEC), Arancha González Laya, chaired the second General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance that took place in N’Djamena, Chad, to review the current situation of the region and advance coordination to effectively address the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result of this meeting, the Sahel Alliance adopted a joint statement aimed at improving the living conditions of populations in the Sahel in a sustainable manner and guaranteeing equal access to essential services. Among other measures, it underlines the need to strengthen actions addressing the COVID-19 crisis, rural development, food security, climate change adaptation, and gender equality in the Sahel region.  

González Laya stated that the Sahel Alliance is committed to working towards post-COVID-19 recovery, strengthening public health services, as well as achieving inclusive and sustainable development in the region.

Created in July 2017, the Sahel Alliance is a regional organization that gathers the G5 Sahel member states—Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad—in addition to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the UN Development Programme, and EU institutions. Since June 2020, Spain holds the presidency of the Sahel Alliance for a one-year period.

Press release – MAEUEC (in Spanish)

Joint statement – General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance

South Korea's grant assistance agency commits US$7 million to prevent gender-based violence in Timor-Leste

South Korea's Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it will implement a project dedicated to preventing gender-based violence in Timor-Leste worth US$8 million in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with KOICA providing US$7.3 million and the UN agencies contributing US$0.7 million.

The project will run until 2024 with the objectives of enhancing access to basic legal and medical services and building women's policy and economic capacity. The project will target both the government and civil society.

News article – Newsis (in Korean)

Japan provides emergency grant assistance of US$6 million for people affected by crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region

Japan announced that it will provide US$6 million in emergency grant assistance for people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia since an armed conflict broke out in November 2020.

Through the World Food Programme, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Japan will provide health-related humanitarian assistance, including mental health services and the repairing of health centers, as well as the provision of relief items such as food and hygiene products.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Norway increases support to small-scale, rural farmers through IFAD by 40%

The Norwegian government is allocating NOK508 million (US$58 million) to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The funding will be distributed over a three-year period from 2022 to 2025. The amount is a 40% increase from their last project period and supports the ambitions of IFAD to double the organization’s work before 2030. 

The agreement is flexible, meaning that if other countries join the effort and IFAD can secure the funding for low-income countries itself, Norway will provide the full amount as core support. However, if IFAD does not manage to increase support for low-income countries, Norway will still ensure that a very high proportion of the Norwegian contribution goes to low-income countries through earmarked funds. Norway is cooperating with the other Nordic countries to encourage the rest of IFAD's member countries to increase their support. 

IFAD's work is aimed at increasing the pay of small farmers in low-income countries and improving their families' quality of life. The funding is a part of Norway’s action plan on sustainable food systems in the context of foreign and development policy. 

Press release - the Norwegian government

South Korea's Ministry of Environment contributes US$5 million as official development assistance in 2021

South Korea's Ministry of Environment (MOE) announced that it will provide KRW5.4 billion (US$5 million) in official development assistance (ODA) for international development cooperation projects on water.

The projects will specifically focus on Indonesia, Cambodia, and Uzbekistan as part of the ministry’s efforts to implement the government’s main foreign policies of the New Southern and the New Northern Policies that target South, Southeast, and Northeast Asian countries.

All the projects in the three countries will aim to improve water management and infrastructure.

News article – Newsis (in Korean)

Assistance from South Korea’s major grant agency to closely align with government’s foreign policy priorities

President Hyuk-Sang Sohn of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, the major grant assistance agency of South Korea, stated in an interview that the agency will primarily focus on the New Southern Policy and the New Northern Policy, as well as the Green New Deal, which are major strategies of South Korea.

The New Southern and Northern Policies are the major foreign policies of the South Korean government. The New Southern Policy focuses on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states as well as India, and the New Northern Policy focuses on Eurasian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

The Green New Deal is a sustainable transition strategy that aims to promote more environmentally- and socially-aware development based on a low-carbon economy.

Sohn also stressed that Korea will take more of a leading role in international development cooperation than it has in the past, based on its agenda and strategy.

News article – Yonhap News (in Korean)

Dutch cabinet responds to evaluation reports on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

The Dutch cabinet responded to two evaluation reports on the five-year implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Netherlands, which began in 2016.

The reports provided recommendations and adjustments for the domestic implementation of the SDGs in the coming years.  

In adherence to the evaluation reports, the cabinet acknowledged that the responsibility for the SDGs should be placed within the Ministry of General Affairs and that an SDG platform should be set up within the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands. Furthermore, the cabinet agreed that designing policy and visibly assessing it should be improved upon by an integrated assessment framework.  

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch) 

New Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi swears in governing coalition and cabinet, appoints Italy's first-ever Minister of Ecological Transition

Led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Italy's new government was sworn in on February 13, 2021. Draghi's coalition, composed of politicians and independent technocrats, is supported by a large, multi-partisan majority in the Italian Parliament, including the Five Star Movement (M5S), the right-wing League (Lega), the center-right Forza Italia (FI), the center-left Democratic Party (PD), the centrist Italia Viva (IV), and the leftist Article One (Art.1).

In Draghi's cabinet, some roles were reconfirmed, such as Luigi Di Maio for Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Roberto Speranza as Health Minister; Luciana Lamorgese as Minister of the Interior; Dario Franceschini as Culture Minister; and Elena Bonetti as Gender Equality and Equal Opportunity Minister. Daniele Franco has been appointed as the new Ministry of the Treasury. Franco, a high-level Italian bureaucrat, previously served at the European Commission, Bank of Italy, and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Physicist Roberto Cingolanithe also was sworn in as the first-ever Minister of Ecological Transition to head a brand new ministry created by Draghi to ensure that a transition to green energy drives recovery from COVID-19 and makes full use of EU funds. In his role, Cingolani will take over energy matters previously shared with other ministries and combine them with a larger environmental portfolio.

The new government will face votes of confidence in both houses of Parliament on February 17 and 18. The confidence vote will be the first opportunity for Draghi to present his programmatic agenda for his government.

In the coming days, Draghi will appoint Vice Ministers, including the Vice Minister for International Cooperation. Draghi will also set up his advisors team, including his diplomatic advisor, G7, and G20 sherpa.

List of the Ministries - Presidency of the council of the Ministries

Previous and current Dutch development ministers kick off election campaigns of their political parties

During the weekend of February 13-14, 2021, Sigrid Kaag, Party Leader for Democratic 66 (D66), and Liliane Ploumen, Party Leader for the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA), kicked off their campaigns for the upcoming elections on March 17, 2021. 

In her speech, Kaag addressed her party’s plans to tackle the climate crisis in the Netherlands by putting an end to all subsidies and tax credits for the majority of the fossil fuel industry. Additionally, the party aims to close all coal-fired power stations before 2030 and to end the bio-industry within ten years.  

On the other hand, Ploumen focused on her party’s plans to tackle wealth inequality in the Netherlands. The party also wants higher taxes for multinationals corporations and millionaires as well as a "digital tax" for tech companies such as Google and Facebook. 

News article - NOS (in Dutch) 

News article - NOS (in Dutch) 

German draft supply chain law would increase companies' accountability to social, environmental standards

The German government has published a draft supply chain law intended to guarantee German companies' compliance with social and ecological standards at all stages of the value chain, including with foreign suppliers.

According to the draft law, if a German company becomes aware of a deficiency in the supply chain, it is legally required to remedy it. Companies would be fined in the event of human rights and environmental breaches and run the risk of being excluded from public tenders for up to three years.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) and Minister for Employment Hubertus Heil (SPD) have long been pushing for legal regulation entailing minimum social end ecological standards for foreign supply chains. Minister of Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier (CDU), however, had rejected these plans until now. With the newly published supply chain law, they have now agreed on a compromise. The proposed law would be a “signal for a just globalization”, Müller said.

Business and industry associations criticized the government’s draft law as a solo national effort and called for a comprehensive European supply chain law. While many supporters of the law, such as the development organizations Bread for the World and Misereor, said that the draft law would be an important first step, they criticized the lack of governing liabilities that would enable victims of human rights violations to claim indemnification.

Müller and Heil hope to see the supply chain law adopted in the current legislative period, by June 25, 2021.

News article – Deutschlandfunk (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

UK hosts first G7 finance ministers’ meeting, centering green recovery, support to vulnerable countries, jobs protections, taxes on digital economy

The UK hosted its first virtual G7 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ meeting on February 12, 2021. The UK Chancellor for the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, led the meeting by calling upon his counterparts – the Finance Ministers and Central Governors from France, Italy, Germany, Canada, the US, and Japan – to ensure a green recovery post-COVID-19 by putting the climate and nature at the center of all economic and financial decision-making in 2021.

Sunak also called for G7 countries to work with international institutions to enable vulnerable countries to manage the pandemic. This included supporting a rapid and fair vaccine distribution, and supporting debt relief, with a call for private-sector creditors to help ensure sustainable debt treatment to the poorest countries and ensure access to credit and grants for low-income countries.

Sunak also called for the G7 finance ministers to focus in the year ahead on protecting jobs and reaching a global solution to the tax challenges created by the digitalization of the economy.

The meeting comes ahead of the UK’s first G7 virtual leaders meeting on February 19, 2021.

Press release - UK government

News article - Devex