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South Korean officials attend MIKTA Deputy-Ministerial meeting on global health

On September 9, 2022, two South Korean officials attended the first Deputy-Ministerial Meeting of MIKTA, an informal consultation and coordination platform among Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia.

Yong-min Park, the South Korean Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Ko Deuk-young, Officer for Planning and Coordination at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) both attended the meeting. The representatives discussed ways to strengthen international health systems and cooperation between the five countries. Deputy Minister Park addressed the importance of cooperation in global health security and detailed the South Korean government's efforts to strengthen its response to future pandemics. With the adoption of a statement confirming the willingness to strengthen cooperation among MIKTA countries, the meeting reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism in global health issues.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Discoverynews (in Korean)

ADB and Japan provide US$203 million in assistance for Sri Lanka

On September 9, 2022, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) authorized a US$200 million emergency assistance loan alongside a US$3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR).

The funds will be used to secure food for the poor and vulnerable, especially women and children.

The ongoing economic instability in Sri Lanka has had a serious impact on food security. The loan will not only help vulnerable populations but will also support farmers to promote agricultural production. The ADB will also address immediate needs by providing emergency medical supplies, materials for water treatment, and working capital for small and medium-sized businesses. The funds will also be used to provide pregnant and lactating women with cash transfers. The donation from JFPR will be used to provide basic needs for women and children, as well as to promote technologies for precision agriculture.

Press release – Asian Development Bank

Japan provides US$6 million of food security package to Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Palestine

On September 8 - 9, 2022, the Japanese government contributed an additional US$6 million to Guinea-Bissau, Niger, and Palestine as part of its US$200 million pledge in response to global food insecurity.

The package included two donations of US$1 million through the World Food Programme (WFP) to Guinea-Bissau and Palestine, and a US$3 million bilateral grant to improve food security in Niger. Each country is facing serious food crises that have been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese) 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese) 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese)

Germany increases pledge to Global Fund by 30%, totaling US$1.4 billion

On September 8, 2022, Germany increased its contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) for 2023 - 2025 by 30% compared to its last pledge, totaling €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion).

Svenja Schulze, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, made the announcement during the international conference “Get back on track!”, hosted by several CSOs in anticipation of the Global Fund’s replenishment on September 18 and 19, 2022.

Of the €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) pledged, €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) will come from the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) regular budget. Another €100 million (US$106 million) will be provided through debt swaps, called 'Debt for Health Swaps.' This means Germany will agree with countries that are indebted to Germany to waive debt repayment and instead invest the resources in Global Fund programs instead.

Up to September 2022, Germany is the fourth-largest donor to the Global Fund, having contributed €1.0 billion (US$1.0 billion) for the 2020 - 2022 funding period.

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

Press release – The Global Fund

Netherlands provides additional US$4 million for Pakistan flood victims

On September 8, 2022, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that it has contributed an additional €4 million (US$4 million) in relief assistance for the victims of severe flooding in Pakistan through the Dutch Relief Alliance and the Red Cross.

CSOs have also expressed concern for the situation, given its magnitude and the Pakistani government's ongoing ban on relief from international non-governmental organizations (INGOs).

A recent article estimated that flooding in Pakistan since June 2022 has affected the lives of 33 million people, with deaths totaling over 1,200. NGOs in Pakistan have experienced difficulty accessing affected populations and locations, citing the near-total flooding of the Sindh province as an example. Likewise, the flooding's impact on agriculture, including damage to Pakistan's second-largest granary and delays to the cotton harvest, have caused extensive consequences for individuals and the export sector.

In addition to the issue's magnitude, most INGOs, including those in the Netherlands, remain unable to offer relief in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif has refused to lift an ongoing ban on INGOs, instead asking high-income countries to donate to his ‘Prime Minister Flood Fund’. Some Pakistani voices have expressed concern over this strategy, noting history has shown that such donated funds rarely reach victims, instead lining corrupt leaders’ pockets. The Pakistani government likewise refused to accept support from the Indian government, citing a tense bilateral relationship.

While Dutch relief organizations have attempted to support local partners in Pakistan, increasing gas prices in the Netherlands are expected to decrease donations from individuals. Moreover, the ongoing nature of the disaster promises further destruction, as rain showers are predicted to overflow a sweet water lake outside of Karachi, which may cause a tsunami to hit the historical town of Sehwan.

Tweet – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

News article – Nederlands Dagblad (in Dutch)

News article – Nikkei Asia

Japan provides US$21 million to Mozambique for maternal, child health

Japan will provide Mozambique with a ¥3 billion (US$21 million) grant to support the construction of a neonatal unit in Maputo Central Hospital.

The Government of Mozambique launched its Health Sector Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and has been expanding services with a focus on maternal and neonatal health. However, current maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates in Mozambique are relatively high when compared to other countries in the region.

The project aims to enhance pediatric medical services and continue to improve maternal and child health services. It is a part of Japan's commitment to supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which was announced at the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) in Tunisia earlier in 2022.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese)

UK NGOs list priorities for new UK Foreign and Development Ministers

On September 7, 2022, BOND, the UK network of international development NGOs, laid out a set of key priorities for the new UK Foreign and Development Ministers to ensure the UK delivers on its promise to use diplomacy and development to tackle global challenges.

BOND listed the need to ensure the right resourcing in terms of people and finance as its top priority. The network also noted issues arising from the 0.5% ODA/GNI cap, particularly in the wake of rising ODA-eligible costs of hosting refugees in the UK. BOND called on the new Foreign and Development Ministers to stop treating the 0.5% ODA/GNI target as a cap and outlined the path for returning to 0.7% ODA/GNI as soon as possible, while also celebrating the cabinet-level representation of development professionals in the new administration.

The network likewise recognized the ongoing need for the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) to prioritize ODA spending, noting the UK’s legal requirements set out in the International Development Acts, which call for a primary focus on poverty alleviation. With this in mind, BOND encouraged the FCDO to prioritize:

  • Equitable investment in marginalized populations;  
  • Increased direct funding to people, public services, and civil society in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Transparent adherence to development assistance effectiveness principles;
  • Adequate investment in tackling the drivers of conflict and the climate emergency; and
  • Responsible investment via British International Investment (BII; formerly CDC) and British Investment Partnerships (BIP).

News article – BOND

UK NGOs list new development priorities for Parliament

In response to a call from BOND, the UK international development NGO network, on September 7, 2022, working groups provided their priorities for the new UK government on international development.

Covering a broad array of topics, specific priorities included:

  • Publication of a fully-funded and sufficiently staffed cross-government civic space strategy;
  • Pro-active engagement by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with NGOs to raise awareness of the importance of poverty-focused development cooperation;
  • Restored funding for civilian peacebuilding and conflict prevention and support for grassroots and local CSOs working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts;
  • Delivery on commitments made at the Global Disability Summit, FCDO Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy (February 2022), and in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto relating to girls' education;  
  • Development of a strategy for supporting locally-led funding initiatives, including transparent and trackable targets for direct funding allocations to local actors;
  • Restoration of the 0.7% GNI/ODA target and prioritization of support for humanitarian efforts, including gender equality and food security;
  • Leadership by the FCDO in tackling racism in the sector through inclusive engagement with NGOs and people of color to create a plan to address racism;
  • Reduction of the impact of sanctions on humanitarian action by issuing exceptions or general licenses for humanitarian work across all UK sanction regimes;
  • Commitment by the Prime Minister to greater transparency and accountability of public finance, with specific regard to the ODA budget; and
  • Restoration of funding for water, hygiene, and sanitation efforts to 2018 levels and integration of these sectors into the UK’s global health and climate approach.

News article – BOND

UK's Truss appoints Cleverly as Foreign Minister, creates new Development Minister post

On September 6, 2022, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss appointed Conservative MP James Cleverly as the UK’s new Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development.

In an unexpected move, Truss also appointed Conservative MP Vicky Ford to be the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) first Development Minister. The Development Minister post reports to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development but will attend the Prime Minister’s cabinet meetings. The creation of the new post has been welcomed by UK NGOs.

Formerly a Minister of State within the FCDO, Cleverly was promoted within this role to Minister of State for Europe and North America in February 2022, and was seen by many as Truss’s de facto deputy foreign secretary while Truss managed the UK's response to the war in Ukraine. Cleverly was also co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade out of Poverty. As a Minister in the FCDO, he consistently defended the ODA cuts.

Vicky Ford was also formerly a Minister of State in the FCDO, where she was responsible for covering assistance in Africa, British International Investment (BII), global education, and gender equality.

News articles – Devex

USAID introduces new guide on 'dekleptification'

On September 7, 2022, the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) released a new guide to assist countries and citizens that aim to dismantle entrenched, corrupt political systems.

The new approach, labeled "dekleptification," draws on experiences from a number of countries, including Ukraine, Malaysia, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic. 

The resource was part of a commitment made by USAID Administrator Samantha Power in June 2022 to assist citizens who take substantial risks to increase popular democratic participation and make domestic governments work for their people. The document provided guidance on partnering effectively to create democratic transformation and was developed by USAID's Anti-Corruption Task Force to advance US strategy and counter corruption. 

Press release - USAID

Germany supports Pakistan with US$14 million to address flood disaster

On September 7, 2022, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze discussed how Germany should support Pakistan in addressing the acute flood disaster and strengthening climate change adaptation in the medium- and long-term with Pakistani Climate Minister Sherry Rehman.

During the discussions, Schulze announced that Germany will provide €13 million (US$14 million) to Pakistan. The funds are primarily directed at supporting the most vulnerable groups through an existing social security system. In both the medium- and long-term, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will focus its support on increasing the quantity and quality of domestic and global climate adaptation efforts in Pakistan.

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

Italian CSOs present action plan to political parties ahead of September elections

On September 7, 2022, the European Third Sector Forum, composed of more than 101 Italian CSOs, organized a panel with representatives from all political parties running for national elections on September 25, 2022.

During the meeting, CSOs presented a six-point action plan to revamp social policy, prioritizing a more robust welfare state, reducing inequality, a novel approach to foreign policy and development cooperation, and new investment in human and social capital. The plan consisted of six main action points:

  1. Tackling multidimensional poverty and socio-economic inequalities by investing in education and health systems;
  2. Investing in equitable energy- and digital transitions;
  3. Supporting welfare systems, especially the National Recovery and Resilience Plan;
  4. Preserving peace by immediately stopping the war in Ukraine and increasing resources for development cooperation by meeting the 0.7% ODA/GNI target by 2030;
  5. Boosting cohesion and citizen participation, through programs to involve 100,000 younger citizens to take part in the national volunteer civil service; and
  6. Empowering CSOs of all sizes through government spending.

The CSOs asserted that these measures would be crucial to supporting the transition towards a more equitable country. CSOs play an outsized role in Italy, employing more than 860,000 workers and engaging over 5 million volunteers, and are crucial to realizing new models of socio-economic development based on social cohesion and innovation. 

Report  Forum del Terzo Settore (in Italian)

EIB addresses concerns about funding diversions resulting from focus on Ukraine

As the European Investment Bank (EIB) grows its support for reconstruction in Ukraine, low-income countries have raised questions about the bank’s ability to honor its global commitments in other geographies.

On September 6, 2022, the head of the new EIB Global branch Markus Berndt disputed the notion that the EIB will step back from its other commitments, citing ongoing investment in projects to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa, though no specific partner countries were mentioned.

Concerns about potential funding diversions reflect the hard-felt impacts of the war in Ukraine on low-income countries, particularly in food security and energy. Efforts to quell these concerns are apparent in the EIB board's June 2022 approval of €6 billion (US$6.3 billion) for ramping up the bank’s investments in these areas. 

In a separate statement, EIB President Werner Hoyer noted the need to justify the scale of the bank’s financing for Ukraine to low-income countries to mitigate perceptions that these crises are caused by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) sanctions, rather than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

News article - Devex

Biden supplemental request includes US$12.3 billion in assistance to Ukraine, global health efforts

With US fiscal year (FY) 2022 coming to an end on September 30, 2022, and no consensus regarding funding for FY2023, the White House released a request for a US$47 billion supplement to be included in a continuing resolution, with hopes that it will pass Congress before the end of September.

Primarily, the funding relates to domestic needs, including energy spending and domestic efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and hMPXV, also known as monkeypox. However, the supplement would also provide US$11.7 billion in support for Ukraine and US$600 million to address the spread of hMPXV globally. 

Both the supplement and the resolution face an uncertain future in Congress, which normally funds the government at FY2022 levels until FY2023 bills are approved.

News report - Politico 

York University launches US$6 million project on AI, big data in disease prevention

From 2022-2027, an international team led by York University will receive over CA$7 million (US$6 million) from Canada’s International Development Research Centre for a project aimed at ensuring vulnerable populations are included in disease outbreak management and policies. 

The project will support prevention, early detection, preparedness, and mitigation efforts in low-and middle-income countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, though information on specific partner countries was not provided. The project’s goal is to ensure that at-risk and vulnerable populations are included in disease outbreak policies, including racialized visible minorities, women, Indigenous communities, refugees, and more.

Press release - International Development Research Centre

Japan signs agreement with ADB to bolster regional food security

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on September 6, 2022, aiming to strengthen sustainable and resilient agri-food systems in the Asia Pacific region.

The food system in the Asia Pacific region has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and these complications have been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The partnership between Japan and the ADB intends to shore up efforts to ensure sustainable, resilient food systems to guarantee food security in the region. Accordingly, the ADB will work with Japan to strengthen climate-smart agriculture and food security by engaging with stakeholders at each stage of the food supply chain.  

Press release – Asian Development Bank

Netherlands postpones deadline for municipalities to cancel Russian gas contracts

On September 6, 2022,  Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Rob Jetten announced that Dutch municipalities, schools, and drinking water companies will not be required to end their gas contracts with SEFE, a Dutch subsidiary of the Russian state company Gazprom, by October 1, 2022. Those entities which have not succeeded in finding another energy supplier will be granted a three-month extension until January 1, 2023.

In April 2022, Minister Jetten required 120 municipalities, educational institutions, and water authorities to cancel their gas contracts with SEFE following EU sanctions on Russia. The decision was met with concern from a majority of Dutch parliament members regarding the negative financial implications of the decision, culminating in requests for its reversal. At the time, Jetten was not receptive to these appeals.

Parliament members have argued that due to German control of Gazprom's European headquarters, and thus SEFE, since April 2022, gas contract profits no longer go to Russia. However, Minister Jetten maintained that SEFE’s shares still benefit Russian shareholders. Parliament members have questioned the Minister’s decision to interpret the EU sanctions this way, when France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States will continue to do business with SEFE.

Minister Jetten noted in a letter to the House of Representatives that many municipalities and water authorities had successfully switched gas providers, and that the ministry received fifteen applications for provisional exemption. While not reversing the decision, Minister Jetten indicated he will ask the European Commission for clarification on the sanctions against SEFE as well as differing interpretations by EU member states.

Some members of parliament expressed their hope that the postponement would result in cancelation, and that the ministry will consider the financial disadvantage for the municipalities that have switched providers.

News article – NOS (in Dutch)

Archi appointed Italian UN Permanent Representative in Rome

Bruno Archi was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in Rome on September 5, 2022.

Italy's Permanent Representative to the UN Rome hub leads negotiations with and within the UN food security organizations such as Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP). Furthermore, the Permanent Representative works closely with Bioversity International (BI) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) based in Rome.

In addition, Archi will represent Italy at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, which works closely with food security UN agencies in Rome.

Archi has served as Diplomatic Adviser in the Prime Minister's Office and Special Representative for Balkan Reconstruction. In addition, he was a Member of Parliament from 2013 - 2018 and Deputy Foreign Minister during Enrico Letta's government from 2013 - 2014.

Twitter – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

'Action must accompany EU sustainability goals,' says Dutch Finance Minister

In a speech at the Bruegel Annual Meeting in Brussels on September 6, 2022, Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag highlighted the importance of public and private investment in climate mitigation, calling for direct action and funding to accompany the ambitious goals of governments and firms. 

Minister Kaag started her speech by highlighting the importance of common European climate policy, such as the Fit for 55 package that aims to align current laws with the 2030 and 2050 ambitions. She then continued to note the importance of EU funds, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) which requires member states to spend 37% of funds on green measures, and that at least 30% of funding from the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the RRF together must contribute to climate goals.

However, Kaag emphasized the insufficiency of EU funds and called on member states to allocate sufficient funding for climate change mitigation, referencing the Dutch commitment of US$38 billion to the domestic energy transition from 2021-2031.

Minister Kaag also encouraged the financial sector to generate change in polluting industries through more sustainable and responsible investment. She likewise noted growing calls among stakeholders for transparency from banks, insurers, or pension funds as they adopt more sustainable practices. Moreover, the Minister emphasized the stabilizing impact of climate change mitigation for the sector itself.

Speech – Dutch Government

Spain hosts COVID-19 Global Action Plan High-Level Meeting

On September 5-6, 2022, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) organized a High-Level Meeting of the Global Action Plan against COVID-19 in Madrid.

The Global Action Plan (GAP) High-Level Meeting, which was mainly aimed at advancing global efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, gathered senior representatives from 35 countries and multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Red Cross, the Global Network for Academic Public Health (GNAPH), the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS), the European Commission, and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

With the aim of joining forces and improving international coordination to overcome the pandemic collectively, GAP was created as a follow-up to the “Global Summit on COVID-19," hosted by the United States in September 2021.

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Press release – MAEC