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Australia's major parties present differing ODA plans in lead-up to elections

The Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre is co-hosting three forums on international development leading up to Australia’s national elections on May 21, 2022. The Greens, the Australian Labor Party, and the Liberal-National Coalition parties (incumbent) will each present their priorities and platforms for Australian international development cooperation.

The Australian Greens' Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Senator Jenna Rice, and spokesperson on international aid and development, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, presented their policies on May 4, 2022.

Opposition Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, will outline Labor's position on May 9, 2022. Current Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, will speak at the University on 13 May, 2022.

The live-streamed forums will be available on the Development Policy Centre’s YouTube channel.

Event: Australian Green Party

Event: Australian Labor Party

Event: Liberal-National Party

UK commits US$20 million to Global Financing Facility

The UK Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East, Amanda Milling, tweeted that the UK has committed £15 million (US$20 million) to support the Global Financing Facility (GFF), a global mechanism for supporting low- and middle-income countries to invest in women, children and adolescent health.

The commitment was made at GFF’s ‘Reclaim the Gains’ meeting in Washington, DC on April 22, 2022, which saw international development providers, including the UK, provide an additional US$500 million in total to GFF. The impact of COVID-19 has severely restricted access to health services; GFF reported that coverage of lifesaving health interventions for women, children, and adolescents in 36 GFF countries dropped up to 25% in the first year of the pandemic.

Tweet - Amanda Milling

Press release – GFF

Japan commits US$171 million to Vietnam to address climate change, promote development

Japan will provide Vietnam with an ¥18.9 billion (US$166 million) loan for climate change countermeasures and ¥550 million (US$5 million) in grant assistance for social and economic development.

The loan will be used to acquire the necessary equipment for earth observation satellites and to provide training on how to use satellite data. The goal of the project is to enhance Vietnam’s ability to respond to disasters and climate change. The grant assistance will be used to train engineers in the manufacturing industry to promote domestic industries and development.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Canada commits US$8million to World Bank's Childcare Incentive Fund

Canada, alongside Australia and the United States, launched a new program, the Childcare Incentive Fund, together with the World Bank and foundation partners to support quality, affordable childcare in low- and middle-income countries.

The fund will catalyze at least US$180 million in new funding in the next 5 years to support childcare in low and middle-income countries and provide evidence on the impacts of quality childcare on women’s empowerment. The Fund will match country investments in childcare on a $1:$1 basis, up to US$10 million per country. Canada has committed up to CA$10 million (US$8 million) thus far.

Press release - The World Bank

Canada contributes up to US$25 million to UN-affiliated BUILD Fund

Canada has committed up to CA$32 million (US$25 million) for the BUILD Fund, a blended impact investment vehicle to finance small and medium-sized businesses in low-income countries to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Fund was established in partnership with the US, Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden, and the Nordic states through the Nordic Development Fund, and was announced at the UN Financing for Development Forum. The 6 member states have commited over US$60 million thus far.

Press release - UN Capital Development Fund

Australian voters support maintaining or increasing ODA, survey indicates

A survey by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has found that only 13% of respondents believed Australia’s ODA should be reduced.

The figure came from an ongoing survey, "Vote Compass”, which is being conducted during the current election campaign. Australia faces a national election on May 21, 2022.

More than half of respondents who voted for the current government, the Liberal-National Party Coalition, supported maintaining ODA at current levels; 21% would support an increase.

Of voters supporting the main opposition party, the Australian Labor Party, 54% supported an increase in ODA. This result was consistent with a trend of increased support by Australians for development assistance.

Report – Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Japan provides 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Sierra Leone through COVAX

The Japanese government announced it would provide 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in Japan to Sierra Leone.

The vaccines were donated through the COVAX facility and will arrived on April 29, 2022.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan

Japan commits US$117 million to Ukraine for emergency economic recovery, medical system development

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese government will provide Ukraine with an Emergency Economic Reconstruction Development Policy Loan of up to ¥13 billion (US$114 million) and an Economic and Social Development Programme Grant of up to ¥300 million (US$2.6 million).

The emergency loan is being financed through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and will support a variety of institutional reforms in the economic field to contribute to economic stabilization.

The grant assistance will be used to strengthen the Ukrainian health system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

KOICA emphasizes strengthened ODA cooperation between entities in addition to more funding

Sohn Hyuk-Sang, President of KOICA, highlighted the emergence of more strengthened development cooperation among countries and international organizations during the post-COVID era.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic widened the gap between rich and poor, the need for ODA is rising. President Sohn suggested that the size of ODA is not enough to respond to various challenges, and reiterated that development cooperation should consider the complex dynamics of partner countries and international organizations when disbursing ODA. He also contended that a realistic way to replenish ODA finances would be to expand international community participation and the private sector in ODA, which would put more focus on strengthening cooperation between countries and international organizations.

News article – The Joongang (in Korean)

South Korea could increase contributions to international organizations by 8% in 2023

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) hosted the International Organization Contribution Deliberation Committee for South Korea’s contributions in 2023.

The government members from a total of 38 central government agencies and civilian committee members discussed and finalized the Plan for International Organization Contributions in 2023. A total of 38 central government agencies will request about KRW980 billion (US$774 million) for 2023, an increase of 8% compared to the 2022 budget at KRW910 billion (US$719 million). MOFA will closely work with related ministries and experts to ensure that its contribution would become an effective means of implementing foreign policy and promoting national interests. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Korea (in Korean)

USAID launches new digital service initiative with private sector

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new blended finance program "Digital Invest," issuing an invitation to the private sector to co-invest in projects to improve digital infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries. The initial investment will be US$3 million with the aim of mobilizing US$335 million in private capital.

The new program recognizes that there are limits to mobile internet access, especially in emerging markets. Digital Invest will invest in digital services, including fixed-line technology. The program will provide technical assistance, capitalization support, and other direct financial support to support early-stage, higher-risk investments that have a clear development impact, including those that can advance women's economic empowerment and gender equality. USAID's grants will mitigate the risk for private sector investors, providing a necessary enticement to existing companies in these emerging markets.

News report - Devex

Press release - USAID

German draft supplementary budget adds US$1.1 billion for development ministry in response to Ukraine war

On April 27, 2022, the German government approved a draft supplementary budget worth €26.3 billion (US$29 billion) that addresses the impacts of the war in Ukraine, which complements the original draft budget for 2022, worth €457.6 billion (US$504.4 billion). The draft supplementary budget includes additional funding amounting to €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), both to support Ukraine directly and to mitigate the consequences of the war for low- and middle-income countries and emerging economies.

According to the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, roughly half of the US$1.1 billion in additional funding will be used to respond to the global food crisis caused by the current war in Ukraine.

In the upcoming weeks, the parliament will debate both the original budget draft and the draft supplementary budget. A final decision on both budgets is expected in the beginning of June of 2022.

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

News article – Evangelische.de (in German)

Norway failed to meet 2021 0.1% ODA/GNI target

Despite economic growth and Norway giving more money to humanitarian efforts than ever before, the government did not reach its target of giving 0.1% of its gross national income (GNI) to international development in 2021.
The OECD recently published its preliminary development funding figures for 2021. The figures showed that Norway's ODA levels fell by 11.6% compared to 2020. Despite increased support for pandemic control and Norway giving more than NOK40 billion (US$4.2 billion) in funding - its highest contribution ever - to international development, Norway's ODA total fell from 1.11% of GNI in 2020 to 0.93% percent in 2021.

The government has promised to keep development assistance at one percent of GNI. However, in 2021 Norway fell short by NOK3 billion (US$339 million).

Revised figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that Norway's GNI grew by over 22% last year. The increased growth is mainly the result of record-high oil and gas prices towards the end of 2021 and the reopening of society during the COVID-19 pandemic. With high petroleum revenues as a result of the war in Ukraine, Norway's economy continues to grow, and the gap between economic growth and funding levels for international development may persist into 2022.

However, Norwegian ODA levels relative to GNI are still the second-highest among OECD donors, bested only by Luxembourg.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

Canada reaches 100 million COVID-19 vaccine dose donations to COVAX

Canada has now donated the equivalent of more than 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX, through both surplus doses and financial contributions.

According to Global Affairs Canada, to date, 51 million doses deemed surplus from Canada’s procurement have been donated to the alliance. On April 8, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an additional CA$220 million (US$175 million) to the COVAX facility, on top of the up to CA$800 million (US$627 million) previously committed.

Canada’s contribution thus far puts the government about halfway to reaching its target to share 200 million doses through both financial and in-kind contributions by the end of 2022.

News Article - CBC

Canada announces US$57 million to respond to drought in Horn of Africa

At a high-level roundtable on the drought in the Horn of Africa, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced over CA$73 million (US$57 million) in funding for gender-responsive development assistance to meet the needs of people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. 

The funding is being distributed to these three countries, as the drought conditions they are facing could result in over 20 million people needing emergency food assistance in 2022. The funding will address hunger, acute malnutrition, water and sanitation, medical care, and other critical needs of crisis-affected populations. The funding will also support climate action, education, and women’s economic development and empowerment. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s development NGOs praise government's response to war in Ukraine, but warn against diverting resources from other development issues

Cooperation Canada, the development NGO umbrella, lauded Canada’s support for Ukraine amidst the ongoing war and welcomes Canada's Budget 2022's significant support for Ukraine, but warns against diverting resources from other global development needs.  

The organization called on Canada to continue its development assistance and stand up for democracy and human rights in Ukraine. Furthermore, given reports of human trafficking and sexual violence by Russian soldiers, Cooperation Canada urged the government to deploy its feminist leadership in its peace-building efforts and long-term development funding in response to the crisis.

Cooperation Canada also urged the government to maintain its assistance to other countries needing significant development support and to continue to support those around the world suffering under crises resulting from conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change. As an international leader, the organization believes that Canada should use its influence to encourage international partners to do the same.

Op-ed - Cooperation Canada

German Helmholz Center launches new 'One Health' research institute

On April 26, 2022, a new Helmholz Institute for One Health (HIOH) was inaugurated in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with participation from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The institute is a branch of the Helmholz Center for Infection Research, which is partly funded by the German government.

HIOH's research will focus on zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and pathogen evolution. Researchers will conduct longitudinal and comprehensive sampling and data collection and analysis related to emerging infections and resistance in two model regions, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Sub- Sarahan-Africa.

Press release – Federal Ministry of Education and Research (in German)

Press release – Helmholz Center for Infection Research

Australian opposition party commits to providing more development assistance to Pacific region in lead-up to election

In the lead-up to elections on May 21, 2022, the Australian Labor Party's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, committed to increasing official development assistance (ODA) to the Pacific Island countries by A$525 million (US$387 million) over the next 4 years; the statement included assistance to Timor-Leste.

Wong indicated that the increase in funding would support the recovery of lost development gains due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under a seven-point plan, the Labor Party also committed to increasing links between defense forces by setting up a new Asia Pacific Defence School, resuming Australian broadcasting to the Pacific, and reforming the labor mobility scheme that allows seasonal workers entry to Australia. The Labor Party would also aim to restore Australia’s leadership on climate action and establish an infrastructure financing partnership to support climate and energy projects in the Pacific region.

Wong has not yet announced Labor’s intentions for ODA to countries other than the Pacific. Her stated preference was to increase ODA, but the Party needed to be financially responsible.

News article – The Guardian

Norwegian Foreign Minister announces International Solar Alliance membership during India visit

During an official visit to India last week, Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that Norway will become a member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). ISA works to increase the global use of solar energy. The alliance focuses on targeting Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

ISA is a global platform consisting of private and public sector organizations, civil society, multilateral development banks (MDBs), development financial institutions (DFIs), and other international institutions.

Huitfeldt highlighted that Norway plays an active role in efforts to increase access to clean energy and combat the climate crisis. Norway sees ISA as an important arena for strengthening collaboration and political cooperation on solar energy solutions. 

Norway and India have a long tradition of collaboration, especially on environmental protection and climate change. Huitfeldt says that Norway`s participation in the ISA will strengthen cooperation with India.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Dutch Parliament debates upcoming Global Health Strategy

On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) presented advice to parliament on the upcoming Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation's Global Health Strategy. The Ministry is currently finalizing the strategy, which will be completed before the summer of 2022. 

AIV included the following recommendations:

1. Specify the goal of the Global Health Strategy within international frameworks;

2. Ensure international embedding and a long-term focus;

3. Choose distinct strategic priorities - coherence, preparation for future pandemics, and health infrastructure expansion and improvement;

4. Formulate guiding principles - treat health as a universal right and take context-specific approaches;

5. Involve all ministries in policymaking, but leave control of health-related aspects to the Health Ministry;

6. More concretely shape multi-sectoral cooperation; and, 

7. Strive for affordability and accessibility of healthcare.

Committee Debate - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)