Displaying 41 - 60 of 7535

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve gender mainstreaming approaches following IOB evaluation

The Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) evaluated the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Gender Mainstreaming. The evaluation, which covered the 2015-2020 period, noted that while major progress has been made, gender work has not systematically translated into a concrete gender strategy. 

The Ministry responded by announcing that it will implement the IOB's recommendations by increasing internal gender expertise, training its employees on gender, and by improving its own gender mainstreaming instruments.

Press Release – Dutch Parliament (in Dutch)

Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to lead global health initiatives

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, could be a global leader in improving global health, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 29, 2021, Fumio Kishida won the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election.

Kishida’s predecessor, Suga Yoshidide, made important pledges and contributions to support the global COVID-19 response, including the donation of 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and a pledge of US$1.2 billion towards the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative.

In collaboration with partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the US, Japan has provided health equipment and developmental assistance to target countries. However, Japan’s contributions to ACT-A are only half of its “fair share” based on GDP per capita. By furthering Japan’s leadership in global health, Kishida could also advance his goal to strengthen soft power and promote human rights.

News article – The Japan Times

South Korean health experts call for ODA changes due to prolonged COVID-19 crisis

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), two major grant agencies which implement global health projects, co-hosted a conference on global health official development assistance (ODA) on September 30, 2021.

With weakened health and medical infrastructure in partner countries due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, the conference highlighted the need to approach global health differently. Partnership with the private sector was also emphasized, focusing on the crucial domestic production of medical supplies.

News article – Daily Medi (in Korean)

In breakthrough in Netherlands government formation, current coalition parties could stay

After months of coalition talks, there were breakthroughs in the formation of the new Dutch government. In a complete change of course, Sigrid Kaag, party leader of Democrats 66 (D66), announced her party's willingness to continue with the current formation, consisting of the Liberal Party (VVD), D66, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and Christian Union (CU), despite differences on ethical matters with the latter.

All parties have expressed a desire to implement structural changes, hoping for a 'new restart.' Most significantly, the new plan includes a larger role for parliament. Kaag said she wants the new agreement to be ‘more progressive, open, generous, and humane.'  

News Article – NOS (in Dutch)

News Article - DutchNews

Swedish environmental minister leads discussions on climate finance at pre-COP26 meeting

At a ministerial meeting held in Milan in late September of 2021, Sweden’s Minister for the Environment, Per Bolund, led preparatory discussions on climate finance before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

COP26 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 30 - November 12, 2021. At the pre-COP Milan meeting, ministers focused on general issues concerning the COP26 agenda, such as climate adaptation, change, and finance, as well as specific issues such as meeting the 1.5°C target limit for global warming and finalizing the Paris Agreement Rulebook.

Regarding climate finance, the objective - set at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 - is to mobilize US$100.0 billion per year for the period 2020-2025; deliberations on a new target for the post-2025 period will be initiated during COP26.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

UK ODA fell by US$937 million in 2020 in major budget reform

The UK government released its official statistics on international development for 2020 on September 30, 2021; the report shows that the UK spent £14.5 billion (US$19.3 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) in 2020.

While the government kept its commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on ODA, the actual budget decreased by £698 million (US$963 million) - 4.6% - due to the UK's shrinking economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Budget cuts were made during the middle of 2020, as the government stated it wanted to meet but not exceed its 0.7% GNI ODA target. 

The official statistics reveal:

  • A shift toward multilateral ODA - multilateral ODA rose by 3.6% (£173m); 
  • Bilateral ODA fell by 8.4% (£871 million) compared to 2019, which may indicate that the cuts in the budget predominately fell on the bilateral program. Eight of the 14 top thematic sectors of UK bilateral ODA received a reduced budget; 
  • Health initiatives accounted for 16.7% of UK bilateral ODA, taking the top spot- the health sector as the largest spend area for UK bilateral ODA, increasing by £164 million (US$220 million) in 2020, compared to 2019. Within health, the top three spending areas were: Medical Research (£373 million (US$501 million)), COVID-19 response (£317 million (US$439 million)), and infectious disease control (£169 million (US$227 million)).
  • The largest cut was to the education sector with spending reduced by 31%. 
  • The African continent continues to receive the majority of UK region-specific ODA – It received over half (52%) of all UK region-specific bilateral ODA in 2020, but the amount of bilateral ODA provided to the region decreased by £375 million (US$503 million) in 2020. The top three recipients of UK bilateral country-specific ODA were Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Somalia.
  • In 2020, the UK estimates that it spent £1.6 billion (US$2.2 billion) of its bilateral ODA on COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • The EU remains the largest recipient of UK multilateral ODA, accounting for 31% of all UK Multilateral core ODA, followed by the World Bank’s IDA (19%) and then the Global Fund (10%).
  • NGOs have criticized the UK government's lack of transparency and are requesting access to the original 2020 ODA budget spending plans in order to adequately assess cuts. 

Report – UK Final Statistics on International Development 2020

News article – BOND

New parliamentary report calls for UK to bolster WHO reforms, support COVAX, and develop comprehensive global health strategy

The UK House of Common’s Foreign Affairs Committee released its Global Heath, Global Britain report on September 30, 2021.

The report argues that "health security cannot be separated from foreign policy" and notes that the government’s cuts to its global health development assistance are ‘ill-considered" and risk "endangering Global Britain’s reputation as a science superpower and force for good.’’

The report recommendations include a call for the UK government to:

  • Prioritize driving reform at the World Health Organisation (WHO) to bolster its independence and power. It also recommends that the UK support the recommendations made by the WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) for the organization to be given greater powers to independently investigate outbreaks. It calls for the UK to encourage other countries to increase their core funding to the WHO to give it more independence and power moving forward;   
  • Speed up and increase the number of vaccines it donates through COVAX as both a moral imperative and a crucial aspect of UK security. Importantly, it calls for a clear strategy to guide the UK’s bilateral donations that enable predictable and sustained support in a timely manner to vulnerable people;  
  • Put in place mechanisms for ongoing cooperation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and assess the impact of maintaining UK access to the ECDC’s Early Warning Response System on the UK’s ability to access key data and enhance global health security;  
  • Help enable greater manufacturing capacity of key vaccines and drugs in lower-income countries via transfer of knowledge and technical support;   
  • Ensure global health spending is maintained post-COVID-19 crisis, including for vital health system strengthening;
  • Publicly commit to allocating previous levels of funding to development assisted health research programs when the fiscal situation allows; and,
  • Publish a new global health strategy by the end of 2021. 

Report - Global Health Global Britain

Italy's Draghi calls on leaders to raise US$100.0 billion for climate climate crisis

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attended Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition, the COP26 pre-conference in Milan for youth advocates fighting for climate action. 

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 - November 12, 2021.

In his final speech, Draghi called for a pledge of US$100.0 billion for low- and lower-middle-income countries and climate-vulnerable nations, specifying the need for grants rather than loans to address the ongoing climate crisis. 

Video transcript - Italian Government Website 

Japan highlights universal health coverage and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines during UN High-Level Meeting

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, joined in the UN High-Level Meeting side-event on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where participants discussed lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and promoted universal healthcare.

Motegi stated the importance of providing equitable access to vaccines to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and Japan’s contributions to the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility to ensure access to vaccines worldwide. Motegi also called for international cooperation to achieve universal healthcare coverage and emphasized Japan’s commitment to achieving UHC.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Netherlands will donate 27 million COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX in October

Dutch Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, announced that the Netherlands will donate 27 million vaccines to COVAX, the World Health Organization's (WHO) global COVID-19 vaccine initiative, in October 2021.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government donated 1.5 million vaccines bilaterally to Indonesia, Cape Verde, and Suriname. De Jonge has now promised to donate one vaccine globally for each vaccine registered in the Netherlands.

Currently, the Netherlands is donating vaccines that are left over from Dutch Health Services, but soon the Netherlands will start donating new vaccines to COVAX directly. In the coming three weeks, the Netherlands will work to donate all 3.5 million vaccines that are leftover, with the majority going to Indonesia. 

Press Release – Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Canada must invest more in climate adaptation and support climate migration, says op-ed

A critic from Open Canada published an op-ed arguing that Canada takes a reactionary stance on climate change, suggesting that the country should consider how it can better support climate finance and future climate migrants.

The piece argues that Canada should increase its international development assistance for climate change adaptation. Contending, that while Canada’s recent commitment to double its climate finance to CA$5.3 billion (US$4.2 billion) over five years is promising, far more investment is necessary for low- and lower-middle-income countries to meet current and future climate adaptation challenges.

The piece maintains that Canada must be ready and willing to accept climate migrants and should proactively build partnerships with climate-vulnerable countries concerning climate migration and adaptation. If Canada acts now to increase its climate finance and better define its climate migration policies, it could avoid potentially devastating humanitarian crises in the future.

Op-ed - Open Canada 

UK NGOs raise concerns over additional cuts to UK development assistance budget

UK NGOs raised concerns over the UK Treasury's plan to make further cuts to the UK’s development assistance budget as a result of so-called ‘accounting tricks.’ 

The UK government announced that it will only spend 0.5% of its gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) from 2021 onwards. However, UK NGOs are concerned that in addition to this cut, the Treasury will count the following spending items in its ODA budget, further reducing the discretionary funds available to the UK in 2021-2022:

  • Cancellation of a multi-million-pound debt owed by Sudan to the UK, despite the debt having been written off years ago;
  • 30% of Special Drawing Rights given by the IMF, which the UK has agreed to recycle and hand on to low- and lower-middle-income countries in order to help with the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic, despite this funding providing additional new resources to the UK budget; and,
  • The cost of giving COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries as official ODA, which could amount to £1 billion (US$1.4 billion).

While these spending items are all allowed under the international rules for measuring ODA set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation, UK NGOs argue that they either don’t represent current real flows of money (Sudan’s historic debt relief) or should be given in addition to the UK’s ODA budget as they come from an additional budget or are responding to exceptional circumstances.   

NGOs note that if the Treasury decides to count these items as part of its ODA spending, the discretionary spending of the UK’s development assistance budget will be significantly reduced. The budget has already been cut by £4 billion (US$5.4 billion) due to the government’s decision to reduce the volume of ODA to 0.5% of UK's GNI in 2021/22. However, these additional costs could cut the UK’s discretionary spending by a further £2 billion (US$2.7 billion), leaving the UK with only £8 billion (US$10.7 billion) for its discretionary ODA budget in 2021/22.

News article – DEVEX

Australian Greens' policy would triple ODA spending on climate finance, establishes assistance monitoring mechanism

Senator Mehreen Faruqi, the spokesperson on International Aid and Development for the Greens Party, announced a policy to provide A$4.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) for climate finance and reparations.

Speaking at an annual conference of Australia’s international development organizations, Faruqi stated the Greens would “decolonize” Australian assistance and establish a new independent agency to monitor and evaluate official development assistance (ODA). 

The Greens are a minority party in the Australian Parliament and are not expected to secure a majority in government. However, they currently hold nine out of 76 seats in the Australian Senate, where neither major party has a clear majority.

News article - Mirage News

Netherlands allocates US$110 million to global health organizations to fight COVID-19 in LMICs

The Dutch government has announced it will donate €95 million (US$110 million) to four international health organizations to fight COVID-19 in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). 

The donation will be shared between the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine AllianceThe Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Global Financing Facility.  

The aim of the additional donation is to strengthen health care systems in LMICs and improve health care issues that have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Press Release – Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Australia is largest donor in Pacific region; Chinese assistance to region falls by one-third

The Lowy Institute’s annual Pacific Aid Map shows that Australia is the largest assistance contributor in the Pacific region, with A$864 million (US$628 million) given in 2019.

New Zealand and Japan were the second and third largest contributors respectively; Chinese assistance was cut by one-third to US$169 million.

Total assistance to the Pacific region in 2019 was US$2.4 billion.

News article - ABC News

Report - The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map

Australia may provide US$283 million budget assistance loan to Papua New Guinea

Negotiations are underway for Australia to lend Papua New Guinea A$390 million (US$283 million) or more to assist with its national budget.

Australia has recently lent Papua New Guinea US$550 million to assist with its budget shortfall. The loan is unlikely to be considered official development assistance (ODA), but would reportedly maintain a 2% interest level.

News article - The Australian

EU ministers establish public-private research partnerships, including clinical trial collaboration in sub-Saharan Africa

Research ministers in the Council of the EU reached an agreement on the legislative basis for nine public-private partnerships on research and innovation (R&I) under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research program for 2021-2027. The program includes a partnership on clinical trials in Africa.

The European Commission’s European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a partnership that includes participating EU and African countries. Horizon Europe includes the third iteration of EDCTP, called EDCTP3 or the EU-Africa Global Health Partnership, which focuses on poverty-related infectious diseases affecting sub-Saharan Africa. EDCTP has historically been a public-public partnership but the new EDCTP3 will be public-private, meaning industry will also participate.

News article - Science|Business

Council of EU adopts new international research and innovation strategy

EU research ministers in the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on the EU’s new global approach to research and innovation (R&I); they called for strengthening the EU’s global role, focusing on shared values and principles, ensuring reciprocity in cooperation, and balancing openness with prudence. 

The Council conclusions stress the importance of seeking symbiotic partnerships with the EU’s external action programs, including the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI-Global Europe), especially for building R&I capacity in partner countries. The Council also calls on the European Commission to work with the African Union (AU) Commission and EU and AU member states to develop a joint EU-AU Research and Innovation Agenda.

The EU will host an international conference in early 2022 with key international partners on shared values and principles in global R&I cooperation. 

Press release - Council of the EU

Conclusions - Council of the EU

Netherlands' Rutte highlights vaccine inequity at UNGA, introduces one-to-one vaccination program

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte held a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) in New York on September 24, 2021, in which he discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and global vaccine inequity. He highlighted the importance of increasing global vaccination rates to deter new variants of COVID-19 and emphasized vaccines as the only way out of the pandemic.

Furthermore, it was announced that the Netherlands will give away vaccines on a one-to-one basis. One vaccine will be donated for every vaccine registered nationally, with the goal of donating 20 million vaccines to COVAX, the World Health Organization's vaccine initiative, by the end of 2021. Additionally, Rutte expressed plans to increase donations to the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Trust Fund to support socio-economic recovery.

South Korea announces enhanced Knowledge Sharing Program Plus, aimed at sharing development expertise

South Korea's Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) announced that it will update South Korea’s Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) to KSP Plus, which is a trademark program aimed at sharing South Korea’s development experience, knowledge, and innovation with partner countries.

Under the principles of sustainability and synergy, KSP Plus will develop into a multi-year and large-scale program to enhance KSP's long-term effectiveness. Efforts will also be made to standardize consultations, strengthen the linkage between KSP and follow-up projects, and enhance partnerships with non-ODA partner countries.

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