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Italian CSOs urge government to finalize common agricultural policy strategic plan

On September 5, 2022, 17 Italian CSOs issued a joint statement asking the Italian government to revive and conclude discussions regarding the country's Strategic Plan on the common agricultural policy (CAP).

The EU's CAP program is designed to strengthen the relationship between agriculture and society with a strong focus on farmers. In 2021, the EU decided to reform the CAP; countries will implement new strategic plans on January 1, 2023. 

While seven European countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain) have already received approval from the European Commission, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture has not submitted its revised plan.

In the statement, the CSOs asked the government to share its revised plan. The CSOs additionally called upon the government to address the European Commission's 40 pages of feedback through collaboration with all relevant CSOs at both the national and local levels, a crucial step to ensuring Italy’s agricultural strategy aligns with broader environmental goals set in the EU’s Green Deal, Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, and Farm to Fork Strategy.

The Ministry of Agriculture promised that the new Strategic Plan will be submitted to the European Commission by the end of September 2022. 

Press release  Cambiamo Agricoltura (in Italian)

Liz Truss elected UK Prime Minister

Liz Truss was elected as the new Prime Minister of the UK on September 5, 2022. She won 57% of Tory members’ votes in the final contest, beating former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak by a smaller margin than anticipated.

It is unclear at this stage what Truss' appointment as Prime Minister will mean for international development. In her victory speech, she committed to cutting taxes, growing the economy, and managing the UK’s National Health Service. Truss also promised to deal with the energy crisis both in the short-term, with the provision of assistance for consumers, and in the long-term by addressing the UK’s energy supply,

Truss, who was the former Foreign Secretary under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, campaigned on an economic agenda of lowering taxes in an attempt to help boost the economy, but it is unclear what sources will fund this change; many economists have suggested the approach may aggravate the UK’s already high inflation.

Truss' campaign also committed to increasing UK defense spending to 3% of GDP from its current allocation of 2%. No detail has been provided regarding how the increase will be funded. She also committed to updating the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, the overarching strategy guiding UK development policy. Truss also indicated that she will declare China an 'official threat' for the first time. In her campaign, Truss said very little about international development, apart from stating the budget for development assistance would not change.

Sarah Champion, Labour Party MP and chair of the parliamentary committee on International Development, is worried that the UK's ODA focus will shift further from poverty under Truss’s Premiership. Champion noted that under Truss’s tenure as Foreign Minister, the ODA budget focused on economic development in partner countries and trade deals for the UK. Champion asserted that this approach detracts from efforts to ensure UK assistance reduces poverty and supports those most in need.  

News article – Devex

News article –The Sunday Times

News article –The Guardian

EIB to triple global climate adaptation finance by 2025, focus on African countries

European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer spoke about the bank’s plans to partner with African countries and triple its climate adaptation finance by 2025 during the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam on September 5, 2022; the move equates to investing around US$25 billion in countries in Africa by 2025. 

The summit, organized by the Global Center for Adaptation (GCA), convened UN, government, and business leaders for the first global summit of its kind.

In his opening remarks, Hoyer discussed the EIB’s plans to invest in climate adaptation projects across the African continent as a part of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). The program, created by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GCA, aims to scale up climate adaptation finance in Africa by US$25 billion by 2025. 

The EIB’s Climate Adaptation Plan enables it to scale up investments and take on more risk while focusing on countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Press release - EIB

Speech - EIB

European Commission to announce climate adaptation finance pledge at COP27

On September 5, 2022, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans gave a speech at the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam, in which he stated that he will push for more climate adaptation financing from the Commission.

Timmermans added that, while the Summit invite came too late for the Commission to prepare a pledge in time, the EU should be able to make a new pledge at COP27; he also spoke about the potential for Africa to be a renewable energy powerhouse by shoring up solar and wind.

Speech - European Commission

EU should 'defend domestic interests while building bridges with Africa as equals,' says European Internal Market Commissioner

During a keynote speech at Eindhoven University of Technology on September 5, 2022, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said the EU will remain open and committed to international trade, and that its approach to global powers and regional actors will be to partner as equals. Breton specifically mentioned Africa and Asia, but failed to elaborate on partnerships with specific actors in these areas.

While speaking about what he called the ‘geopolitics of supply chains,’ Breton said Europe should be more assertive in guarding its interests, while acting as a credible partner that "builds bridges" around the world and brings something to the table. 

Speech - European Commission

India and Germany strengthen 'Green and Sustainable Development Partnership'

On September 5, 2022, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze met with the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI), India’s leading government think tank, to discuss how to implement and advance the 'Green and Sustainable Development Partnership' (GSDP) between the two countries.

This meeting signals a deepening of relations established in May 2022, when India and Germany signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a 'GSDP.'

The discussion focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate protections, energy transition, new technologies, and agroecology. Schulze announced that Germany will contribute an additional €4 million (US$4 million) to support the GSDP, especially for the implementation of the SDGs and climate protection measures at the Indian state level.

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

ActionAid highlights need for accessible climate adaptation finance ahead of COP27

In a commentary on the Africa Adaption Summit in the Netherlands on September 5, 2022, ActionAid policy advisor Nils Mollema expressed the need for discussions at the upcoming COP27 in Egypt in November 2022 to address increased access to climate adaptation finance.

The Africa Adaptation Summit, held in the Netherlands in Rotterdam, was convened by the Global Center on Adaptation, the African Union (AU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Adaptation Initiative, and Climate Vulnerable Forum and brought together leaders from countries in Africa and around the world to outline key aspects of the international community’s response to the climate crisis in Africa. The Summit also resulted in commitments of US$55 million toward COP27's goal of mobilizing US$25 billion for climate adaptation programs on the continent.

During the summit, Mollema noted the disparity in climate finance streams between lower- and higher-income countries, asserting that most climate finance goes to high-income countries. He also mentioned the additional barriers that women and marginalized groups face in accessing climate adaptation funds, which he said should be prioritized over discussions of mitigation and adaptation solutions, a sentiment that met with agreement from other attendees.

Commentary - ActionAid (in Dutch)

News article – The Diplomatic Insight

US$2 million in UK humanitarian support to Pakistan 'minimal,' says Labour MP

On August 27, 2022, the UK government announced £2 million (US$2 million) in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in response to record-breaking floods.

However, Labour Party MP and Chair of the UK parliamentary International Development Committee Sarah Champion criticized the UK for its extremely small donation. In a letter to former Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Champion noted that the support amounts to less than 5 pence (US$0.07 cents) for each person affected by extreme rainfall, which has destroyed at least 700,000 homes.

In comparison, the last time Pakistan faced floods in 2010, the UK provided £134 million (US$165 million).

News article – The Independent

Press release – UK Government

Germany to contribute up to US$1 billion additionally for global food security in 2022

On September 3, 2022, the German government earmarked up to €1.0 billion (US$1.0 billion) for global food security in response to rising global energy prices and disruptions in food supply caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This development was part of an agreement on a third financial relief package with an overall volume of €65.0 billion (US$68.7 billion), mostly dedicated to domestic issues.

The additional €1.0 billion (US$1.0 billion) must be spent in 2022 and will be funded through surpluses in the 2022 federal budget. Therefore, the exact amount of the contributions cannot be specified at this point.

Report – German Federal Government (in German)

France to drastically increase development budget by US$874 million

During the annual conference of French ambassadors held in Paris on September 2, 2022, Catherine Colonna, Minister for European and Foreign Affairs announced that France's ODA will increase by €860 million (US$874 million) in 2023, in line with ambitions to reach the 0.7% ODA/GNI target by 2025.

The amount will be proposed to the Parliament, which will debate the budget law until December.

France's development policy will be supported by Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships Chrysoula Zacharopoulou. According to Colonna, France's development priorities will be discussed and possibly adapted by the president and prime minister in a forthcoming Presidential Council for Development meeting, followed by a meeting of the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) session at the beginning of 2023.

Speech - Ministry for European and Foreign Affairs

Australia will provide additional US$14 million in COVID-19 budget support for Timor Leste

Timor-Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Adaljiza Magno, announced Australia committed to providing an additional A$20 million (US$14 million) to support Timor-Leste's budget programs during fiscal year (FY) 2022/23.

In a joint press conference in Timor-Leste, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong indicated that the increased A$20 million (US$14 million) in development assistance will be provided as budget support for the COVID-19 response. The funding will add to the Timor-Leste government’s Bolsa da Mãe Jerasaun Foun program to support mothers and children and the village development program (PNDS).

The Australian government also aimed to expand its Labour Mobility Scheme to enable people from Timor Leste to work more easily in Australia.

Transcript – Foreign Minister of Australia

France's Macron pledges development assistance increase during second term

At the annual gathering of French ambassadors on September 1, 2022, President Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech in which he pledged to increase France's development assistance during his second term (2022-2027).

This increase will follow the financial trajectory adopted in the 2021 Law on Inclusive Development, which set an ODA spending target of 0.7% GNI by 2025.

On global health, President Macron highlighted the importance of reinforcing the role and independence of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its One Health approach. Macron also asserted that strengthening the local production of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics should be considered a priority.

In addition, Macron declared France will continue to modernize its development policy through a practice of "solidarity investments," composed of partnerships with multilateral organizations, countries, companies, and CSOs in addition to mobilizing development banks through the Finance in Common initiative led by the French Development Agency (AFD). 

Speech - French Presidency (in French)

Canadian COVID-19 vaccine donations total nearly 5 million in August 2022

In August 2022, Canada donated a total of nearly 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to five countries - Nigeria, Tanzania, Guyana, Burkina Faso, and Haiti. Most notably, nearly 3 million doses were donated to Nigeria, and over 1 million doses were donated to Tanzania.

These donations are part of Canada’s commitment to donating the equivalent of at least 200 million doses to COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools - Accelerator (ACT-A), by the end of 2022. So far, Canada has donated the equivalent of over 137 million doses, including over 50 million surplus doses from Canada’s own supply. 

In addition to vaccine donations, Canada has also promised CA$200 million (US$156 million) in funding for Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE). The funding was announced in June 2022, and will support vaccine distribution in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania).

Report - Government of Canada

New US$229 million institute for pandemic therapeutics established in Melbourne

A new A$325 million (US$229 million) center, the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, targeting anti-pandemic medicines will be established in Melbourne, Australia; the center will be housed within the newly-established A$650 million (US$457 million) Australian Institute for Infectious Disease, a partnership between the University of Melbourne, the Doherty Institute, and the Burnet Institute. 

In the largest philanthropic donation ever to a medical research facility in Australia, Canadian businessman Jeffrey Cumming committed to providing A$250 million (US$176 million) to enable the rapid development and testing of new therapeutics to combat emerging pandemics. The Victorian State government has also committed A$75 million (US$53 million) to establish the center.

Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Cummings Centre, stressed the need for greater innovation in anti-pathogen therapeutics. Investments in therapeutics lagged significantly compared to funding for the development of preventatives like vaccines in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new center will, therefore, focus on research in developing new therapeutics quickly, including through computational techniques and molecular platforms.

Press release – The Doherty Institute

Netherlands considers EU proposal to alter farm data reporting requirements

In June 2022, the European Commission submitted a proposal to expand EU Member States’ obligation to provide information about farm sustainability indicators. The Netherlands generally supports the proposal, though there are some concerns around proposal elements, such as introducing a farm ID, special surveys, legally requiring farms to provide the requested information, and requiring the EU Member States to give financial compensation to agricultural companies.

Since 1965, all EU Member States are legally required to collect, verify, and submit economic and accounting data about agricultural holdings. Each year, information from more than 80,000 farms across the EU is entered into the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Recently, the European Commission proposed to convert the FADN into a Farm Sustainability Data Network (IDL). The amendment aims to provide environmental and social data on farms in addition to economic and accounting data. The proposal is estimated to enter into force in 2025.

The Dutch Interministerial Working Group for the Assessment of New Commission Proposals (BNC) expressed support for the aim of the amendment. In its technical sheet, the BNC recognized the importance of 'relevant and reliable data and accompanying sustainability and social policies.' At the same time, the working group expressed concerns about some of the accompanying changes outlined in the proposal.

First, it questioned the feasibility of introducing unique ‘farm IDs’ to enable links with other integrated agricultural statistics and information systems used by other member states. It also noted a lack of concrete outcomes regarding how proposed links will improve policymaking and evaluation, and guarantee participating companies’ privacy.

The working group believed existing regulations and opportunities for ad-hoc and periodic data collection in the European agricultural sector are sufficient, and expressed concerns that proposed 'special surveys' would increase administrative burdens. Similarly, the Netherlands questioned the necessity of a provision requiring farms to provide information, as most provide sufficient data voluntarily.

Finally, the working group expressed doubts about the proposal’s suggestion for member states to offer financial compensation for farmers’ participation, citing differences in member state data collection methods as grounds for different criteria for compensation.

The Netherlands remained open to the proposed legal requirements, however, if other member states find them important.

Article – AgriHolland (in Dutch)

Report – Dutch Interministerial Working Group (in Dutch)

South Korea releases draft 2023 ODA budget totaling US$3.3 billion

The South Korean government released a draft 2023 budget plan that significantly expands the total amount of ODA from KRW3.9 trillion (US$2.9 billion) in 2022 to KRW4.5 trillion (US$3.3 billion) in 2023.

Since ODA and contributions to international organizations have significantly increased, the budget for South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will increase by 10%. Contributions to international organizations rose about 64% from KRW168.6 billion (US$124 million) to KRW276.7 billion (US$230 million). The government will use humanitarian assistance to contribute US$100 million to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) per year from 2023 - 2025, equivalent to an additional US$300 million to ACT-A over that time period.

News article – Yonhapnews (in Korean)

Sweden approves additional US$50 million in development assistance for Ukraine

Sweden announced a new development assistance package of US$100 million for Ukraine on September 29, 2022. The package includes military assistance worth SEK500 million (US$50 million) and SEK500 million (US$50 million) for reconstruction efforts.

Non-military funds will be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine, focusing on the sustainable management of destroyed infrastructure and humanitarian procurements. In addition, Sweden will assist with the delivery of Ukrainian wheat to countries most at risk of widespread starvation. As part of these efforts, Sweden will cover the costs for at least 30,000 tons of wheat to be transported by sea from Ukraine.

Sweden will also be responsible for coordinating waste management and recycling during reconstruction – a request made by President Zelenskyy when Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson visited Kyiv in July 2022.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, Swedish support to Ukraine has more than doubled through a number of decisions amounting to an additional SEK5.2 billion (US$519 million) thus far for military, humanitarian, and reconstruction support, in addition to financial guarantees and civilian operations.

Press Release - Government of Sweden (in Swedish)

Save the Children warns billions could be diverted from UK ODA for Ukraine refugee costs

Save the Children have raised the alarm over the UK government’s controversial decision to use the ODA budget to cover the costs of housing 118,000 Ukrainians in the UK. Save the Children has estimated that the cost could be as high as 25% of the UK ODA budget in 2022, or £3 billion (US$4 billion). While Save the Children welcomes the UK’s support to refugees, it argues that it must not come at the cost of helping others in need. In order to cover the costs and ensure the ODA budget does not exceed 0.5% of UK gross national income, Save the Children estimates that hundreds of ODA projects will need to be stopped.

The UK only announced in July that it would begin to count the costs of housing Ukrainian refugees in the UK via its ODA budget.

News article – The Independent


German development minister calls for increased protection of climate-vulnerable countries

In an interview, German Minister for Development and Cooperation Svenja Schulze said that she will advocate for more climate protection for particularly vulnerable low- and middle-income countries at this year’s COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

According to Schulze, she aims to collaborate with countries most affected by climate change on the development of a Global Shield against Climate Risks, which Germany proposed in July at this year’s 13th Petersberg Climate Dialogue. The Global Shield is intended to assure sufficient financial resources are available to support low- and middle countries in the short term in the case of extreme weather events.

Schulze also called for more solidarity with climate-vulnerable countries, especially since these countries usually contribute the least to global CO2 emissions but are most affected by the impacts of climate change.

News article – Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (in German)

Sweden partially restores development assistance cuts

Sweden has announced it intends to restore SEK4.2 billion (US$398 million) of the SEK9.1 billion (US$850 million) it initially diverted from its international development budget in 2022 - roughly 18% of its annual development assistance spending - to cover the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in-country.

Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Matilda Ernkrans said that the latest decision followed a lower forecast from the country’s migration agency last month on Ukrainian refugee numbers this year. 

The move - which follows an earlier reinstatement of SEK4.2 billion (US$398 million) in June 2022 for climate, democracy, and human rights assistance - was met by relief by development advocates. They have criticized Sweden’s proposed development budget cuts, highlighting the government's hasty decision to freeze substantial parts of development spending before the full impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was clear.

Currently, SEK6.1 billion (US$570 million) of the SEK57.4 billion (US $5.3 billion) in development spending for 2022 - roughly 11% - will go to in-donor refugee costs. This represents a lower share than the period from 2015-2017 when Sweden took in large numbers of Syrian refugees, though higher than the pre-COVID-19 pandemic years of 2018 and 2019.

Press Release – Government of Sweden (in Swedish)