UK's Department for International Development (DFID) released its first Economic Development Strategy describing how investing in economic development will speed up growth, trade, and industries in developing countries, and help to alleviate poverty. The strategy outlines five priority sectors for DFID’s work: 1) infrastructure, energy and urban development; 2) agriculture; 3) exports, manufacturing and services; 4) extractive industries; 5) economic inclusion. According to Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, not only will activity under this new strategy help to boost economic growth in the poorest countries, including through job creation, but economic growth is also necessary to tackle persistent global problems, including mass migration and instability.
The UN hosts the 6th Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum in New York. The Forum provides a platform for young leaders to engage in a dialogue with high-level national and international policy makers, and share ideas on innovation, collective action and solutions to global problems. It will also address the concept of “shared prosperity”, which lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Location: US, New York
Website - United Nations
On the issue of global inequality, Canada is doing its part by refocusing development policy toward the poorest and most vulnerable, argues Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau in an op-ed. In the article, she makes the case for Canada’s new overarching development policy objective to reduce poverty and inequality, specifically through an even greater focus on women and girls. More details about this refocus will be released soon, she notes, but preliminary findings from a 2016 review of Canada's international assistance have indicated a focus on the poor, marginalized, and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls. Education, climate change, and green economic growth are among the sectors in which Canada will be concentrating its development efforts and work “toward greater equality,” highlights Minister Bibeau.
The French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Bank are set to launch the 2017 World Development Report at the French National Assembly. This annual report, published since 1978, focuses on a specific aspect of economic development. The 2017 edition, entitled ‘Governance and the Law’, examines the role governance plays in influencing the success or failure of policy interventions in the field of development. The three main arguments laid out in the report are already available on the World Bank’s website. Registration to attend the event, held January 30, is mandatory.
Location: Paris, France.
In the run-up to the French elections, Coalition Eau, a movement of French NGOs advocating for access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), published 5 recommendations for the presidential candidates. These are: 1) translate the right to water and sanitation into facts, 2) increase the ambition of French development policy to achieve the ‘water and sanitation’ SDG, 3) rank water-related climate change adaptation high within France’s external policy agenda, 4) prevent and respond to humanitarian crises, and 5) strengthen government participation in the WASH sector. The coalition comprises almost 30 French NGOs.
The Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) has approved 36 research projects with Japanese small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to examine how Japanese products and technology can be used in development projects. Out of the 36 projects, two are health-related, including a project on artificial aspirators for newborns in Mexico, and nine are agriculture-related, including one project to improve income generation through better technology in silk cultivation in Laos. More than half of the projects are implemented in South-East Asia and the Pacific region.
A recent analysis by Australian researchers found that Australia’s official development assistance (ODA) as a share of the Gross National Income (GNI) stands at an all-time low. Based on government figures, the results show highest levels of development assistance from 1967 to 1968 under the Holt, McEwen, and Gorton administrations, when it stood at 0.48% of GNI. This share is expected to decline to 0.22% in the financial year 2016/17.
The Australian Government is partnering with XPRIZE and India’s Tata Group to run the ‘Water Abundance Prize’ -- an open challenge to use technology to improve affordable access to clean water in high humidity areas where water is currently unavailable or inaccessible. The prize, worth USD 1.5 million, will be awarded to the creator of the most innovative and effective device that uses energy-efficient technology to harvest water from air, producing a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day, and using 100 per cent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than 2 cents per liter.
The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), a coalition of volunteer organizations working around the world for sustainable development, has updated its brief on the upcoming budget for fiscal year (FY) 2017/18. The draft budget is expected sometime in February 2017 and would likey start in April 2017. CCIC proposes several areas where the new budget could make substantial contributions to Canada's international development work, and improve global cooperation. These include: increasing Canadian development assistance over ten years; strengthened transparency; a focus on the poorest and most marginalized, especially women and girls in accordance with the current direction of Canada’s development policy; improved and appropriate humanitarian response; and strengthened commitments to climate finance.
Following her announcement to establish an international fund for access to family planning services and education around the world, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, has confirmed an initial contribution from the Netherlands of €10 million to launch the initiative. The fund will bear the name ‘She decides – Global Fundraising Initiative’, and will be managed by Rutgers Foundation, an international sexual health and rights organization. Individual donors, governments, funds, organizations and corporations can support the initiative financially. The Dutch Cabinet will devote additional attention to this topic, for instance through the UN's Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Population and Development. The fund was first established in anticipation of a return to the Mexico City Policy of the US, which restricts family planning assistance from the US to organizations that provide abortion-related services.
Philippe Jahshan, president of the largest NGO umbrella organization in France, Coordination SUD, wrote a statement published in the newspaper La Croix, calling for French presidential candidates to take on global challenges and engage for more international solidarity and development assistance. He highlights that French ODA, amounting to less than 0.4% of its gross national income, falls well below the United Nations' 0.7% target.
The French Development Agency (AFD) hosts a conference around the ‘4 per 1,000 initiative: Carbon sequestration in soils for food security and climate’. France launched the initiative during the COP 21 in Paris, December 2015, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders in the public and private sectors (e.g., governments, companies, NGOs, research facilities, trade organizations) under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda to encourage transition towards a more productive, resilient agriculture. The initiative is two-fold, aiming to support the fight against climate change and increase food security. Further details on the initiative can be found here. Speakers include experts in climate issues and in agriculture.
The European Commission will launch a public consultation on possible activities to include in its new “One Health” Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The new Action Plan builds on the Commission’s last AMR Action Plan 2011-2016 and is to be adopted by the summer of 2017. The consultation process aims to provide a platform for both public administrators and citizens to share their ideas on how the Action Plan can best support EU countries in the fight against AMR. It will specifically focus on: the common goal of preserving the efficacy of antimicrobials; strengthening infection control; and stimulating innovation into new treatments. The consultation will run until April 28, 2017.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on January 27, 2017 that it will provide a ¥300 million (US$2.5 million) grant to Eritrea as a part of its TICAD VI commitment. This grant project will support the government of Eritrea to address the long-standing food shortage in the country.
In response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate a halt on financing non-governmental organizations that support abortion services, the Canadian government is considering investing in the Dutch-led 'She Decides - Global Fundraising Initiative", and international fund to finance access to family planning services, including abortion and sex education. A spokesman for Canada’s international development minister said that they are considering helping support ‘sexual and reproductive rights, including abortion’; however, no amount has been specified. In the coming weeks, Canada will release its international assistance strategy, which is expected to focus on the world's poorest and most vulnerable, including women and girls.
On January 26, Minister of Finance Yoo Il-ho presided over a ministerial meeting, which discussed the management plan of South Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), whose overarching goal is to strengthen economic cooperation with developing countries. EDCF activity will focus on increased investments in IT and large-scale transportation infrastructure, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, strengthened engagement with the private sector and multilateral development banks, and support for new markets and high-potential businesses.
Italy launches the official website of its G7 presidency on the occasion of the first G7 Sherpa meeting, which takes place in Rome on January 26 and 27, 2016.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC) has announced a €700,000 contribution to the World Food Program (WFP). This new funding aims to support health and nutrition activities focused on pregnant women and nursing mothers in Syria. According to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Spain disbursed up to €7 million to the Syrian crisis in 2016, fulfilling the commitment made by Spain at the London conference in February in 2016.
The Swedish Government has adopted a new strategy for humanitarian assistance channeled via its development agency, Sida, for the 2017-2020 period. This includes an increased budget for humanitarian aid for 2017 compared to 2016, from SEK2.96 billion (US$352 million) to SEK3.18 billion (US$377 million). Of this, SEK2.1 billion is allocated to ongoing humanitarian crises and just under one billion is left as a reserve to cover unforeseen needs. Sida's work will focus mainly on seven geographies: Syria, Yemen, the Sahel, South Sudan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Sweden's total humanitarian budget amounts to SEK5.8 billion (US$688 million). The remaining funds are distributed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to UN humanitarian agencies, such as UNHCR and UNICEF.
In response to US President Trump’s decision to withdraw funding to organizations assisting with or advocating for abortion around the world, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, has taken a first step towards establishing an international fund that would offer women in developing countries access to information, contraception, and abortion services. She has argued that banning abortions does not lead to fewer, but rather to unsafe practices and increased maternal mortality. Because the development cooperation budget is already allocated for 2017, Minister Ploumen is unable to say anything about a financial contribution at this time. She is currently contacting ministers, governments, funds, and organizations as part of an organizational and fundraising drive. During a meeting of the House of Representatives’ development cooperation commission on sustainable and inclusive development on January 25, 2017, Minister Ploumen committed to informing Parliament about the role of the Netherlands in this new initiative ‘as soon as possible’.