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EIB and IDB agree to co-finance climate resilience projects in Latin America, Caribbean

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a new agreement to accelerate co-financing climate-resilient projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The agreement was signed by EIB President Werner Hoyer and IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. The collaboration will seek to increase alignment between the two institutions and ensure the greatest development impact.

Press release - EIB

UK government criticized for slow disbursement of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, cuts ODA for additional partners

The Chair of the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, wrote to the UK Foreign Secretary to complain about the slow disbursement of UK humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Champion noted that more than 12 million people in Ukraine are in need of humanitarian support, and an additional 4 million have fled the country as refugees.

The UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, confirmed that only £60 million (US$81 million) of the £220 million (US$295 million) in promised humanitarian assistance has been delivered to Ukraine. Truss also admitted that the funding had been taken from other existing development assistance programs, and will result in cuts to other partner countries.

Truss stated that the UK government is working hard to try to speed up the disbursement of its funding.  

The UK government has promised £400 million (US$537 million) in total to Ukraine and has provided a guarantee for the World Bank to provide a US$1 billion loan to the country.

News article – the Independent

Germany contributes US$11 million to World Food Programme in Lebanon

During her visit to Lebanon, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, announced that Germany will provide €10 million (US$11 million) to the World Food Programme for its support of Lebanon.

Lebanon is among the countries that are most affected by the disruption of wheat supplies from Ukraine and Russia as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine. The World Food Programme is the most important partner to ensure food security and support the build-up of food resilience in Lebanon, said Schulze. The additional €10 million (US$11 million) provided by Germany to the World Food Programme will be channeled to measures that support sustainable food resources and infrastructure and provide relevant training in Lebanon, as well as to national poverty targeting programs. 

The additional contributions to the World Food Programme are dependent upon the ongoing budget discussions in the German Parliament, according to Schulze. The budget is expected to be adopted in early June of 2022.

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

News article – Deutsche Welle (in German)

Canada announces US$31 million to support essential health services for women, children in low-income countries

On April 22, 2022, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced CA$40 million (US$31 million) in additional funding to the Global Financing Facility’s (GFF) “Reclaim the Gains” campaign to support critical health services in low-income countries. 

The funds will help lower-income countries improve health systems, reverse the impact of COVID-19, and create long-term improvements for the health of women, adolescents, and children. Canada is a founding partner of the GFF and a co-chair of the campaign, and this funding announcement brings Canada’s total contribution to CA$190 million (US$149 million). 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

German development minister calls for global food security alliance

During the World Bank’s Spring Meeting from April 18 - 24, 2022, the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, proposed a new alliance for global food security to prevent a global food crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia are two of the most important wheat exporters and suppliers to the World Food Programme. Following the outbreak of the war, food prices increased sharply and wheat supply plummeted, signaling a looming famine, especially for export-dependent countries in Africa and Asia. According to Schulze, the new alliance should ensure rapid coordination of efforts from government donors, international organizations, the private sector, and foundations, and provide short-term crisis support for the most- affected countries, as well as build up resilient production capacities in these countries over the long term.

Schulze presented her proposal to the group of G7 and advocated for more international support during the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Germany holds the G7 presidency this year. Many World Bank Governors, as well as World Bank President David Malpass, the Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, and the Indonesian Minister of Finance and representative of the G20 Presidency, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, supported the suggested initiative and announced their engagement.

Chancellor Olaf Schulz announced that Germany will contribute an additional €430 million (US$474 million) to support global food security during the current crisis.

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

News article – Euroactive

Global health labor market in jeopardy; predicted shortage of 18 million health workers in low-income countries by 2030

In a follow-up to G7 discussions, French think tank Santé Mondiale 2030 published a report entitled: 'Human Resources for Health in a Globalized World', which highlights the need for human resources to build resilient health systems.

Agnès Soucat, from the French Development Agency (AFD), Louis Pizarro from UNITAID, and former head of the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Michel Kazatchkine, highlighted the need for the G7 to focus on human resources for health to support universal health coverage (UHC) and reach the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Currently, supply and demand in the health labor market are unbalanced, resulting in challenges to expanding the labor supply and financing and regulating the health labor market. 

According to the authors, the COVID-19 health crisis made the weaknesses of global health systems more visible, demonstrating the extent to which the world is unprepared to face a global pandemic.

The report emphasized that the demand for health workers is rapidly growing; some projections predict a shortage of 18 million health workers in low- and middle-income countries by 2030. The report recommended developing a global human resource for health agenda that is "over and beyond development aid" within the G7 framework, which would providde financial and non-financial incentives to train new health workers, increase development assistance for frontline services, and develop new "North-South" partnerships for health worker training.

Report - Human Resources for Health in a Globalized World

Business leaders urge Japan's Kishida to strengthen global health initiatives

A volunteer group of business leaders supporting global health initiatives in Japan met with Prime Minister Kishida and presented a proposal entitled, “Global Health as a New Growth Industry for Japan”. The proposal called on the government to double its health-related ODA commitments and to include global health as a pillar of the “new capitalism” plan.

The group of business leaders made the following specific requests:

  • Double Japan’s health-related ODA by 2025 compared to 2020 (excluding COVID-19 expenditures);
  • Establish a cooperative framework in which companies would be consulted on the country’s global health strategy;
  • Take on a greater leadership role in promoting a framework for international cooperation that would lead to discussions on related policies, deregulation, and regulatory harmonization;
  • Establish a cross-ministry organization to support the international procurement of Japanese products, especially in low- and middle-income countries;
  • Promote a global standard such as the Impact Weighted Accounts Framework so that investors can better evaluate companies that aim to solve global issues;
  • Cooperate with the private sector to establish a system for professional development in global health;

The requests come in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has highlighted the importance of global health. While Japan has been a major donor in the global health arena, the group suggests that it could increase its support and work with private corporations to strengthen healthcare systems.

News article – PR Times (in Japanese)

Dutch development minister provides updated information on financial reserves for emergency assistance

In response to a request from parliament, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher provided an updated overview of financial reserves for emergency assistance. The Netherlands increased its emergency assistance budget to €465 million (US$501 million) in 2022 in response to the Ukrainian crisis.

The Dutch donation of basic goods to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is covered by the acute crisis reserve ODA. The acute crisis reserve ODA totals €3.5 million (US$3.8 million), of which €3 million (US$3 million) remains unspent. Non-ODA acute reserve, which totals €1 million (US$1 million), remains unused.

Press Release - Dutch Parliament (in Dutch)

UK development watchdog praises UK’s leadership on WASH, but finds steep decline in funding despite rising need

The UK’s development watchdog, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI), has released an information note exploring the UK’s approach to supporting the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector in low- and middle-income countries. The factual note – which is not an evaluation or assessment – highlights the UK government’s high level of ambition and success in supporting WASH in partner countries with its programs reaching 62 million people between 2015 and 2020.

It also notes the UK’s changing approach to WASH programming, which has seen the UK move away from supporting basic facilities in rural communities - on the basis that it was not sustainable - to focus more on supporting national systems and raising service standards. The new approach also involves leveraging other sources of finance, including encouraging communities to pay for services.

The note highlights that it is too early to determine the impact of the new approach, but does note that its rollout has been hampered by a steep decline in the volume of the UK’s bilateral ODA allocated to WASH - which fell by two-thirds between 2018 and 2021. The UK provided £206 million (US$ 276 million) in 2018, which fell to an estimated £70 million (US$94 million) in 2021.

In particular, UK research funding on WASH has been severely impacted. The note highlights that the fall in funding continued during the COVID-19 pandemic even though the UK recognized that WASH was a critical sector in its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The note concluded by proposing that reviving UK leadership on WASH and exploring how WASH objectives are integrated into the FCDO’s health, education, gender, and climate change programming will be important for UK development.  

Report – ICAI

Spanish development leadership prioritizes gender equality in policy-making

On April 21, 2022, Spain’s State Secretary for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, outlined gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment as a cross-cutting priority sector for Spanish development policy.

During her intervention at Plan International’s event, ‘The impact of humanitarian crisis on girls and adolescents’, held in Madrid, Spain, Cancela stated that Spain’s development policy seeks to advance real and effective gender equality worldwide. In turn, she underlined the importance of strengthening interventions to protect girls in humanitarian contexts and provided specific examples in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

In February 2021, the Spanish government released the ‘Guidelines for a Feminist Foreign Policy’ to incentivize development cooperation programs aimed at fostering gender equality. To date, however, there is not any specific roadmap detailing how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) plans to implement this strategy, and Spain has not made any relevant financial announcement for women.

The Spanish development NGO, Oxfam Intermón, released the report, ‘Beyond Words: For A Feminist And Transformative Feminist Cooperation’, in February of 2022 with specific recommendations for the Spanish government to increase ODA to gender-related programs.  

Press release – MAEC (in Spanish)

Beyond Words – Oxfam Intermón (in Spanish)

Recent government survey reveals widespread public support for Japanese health diplomacy, development cooperation in Africa

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan conducted a public opinion survey on the country’s diplomacy. The results demonstrated broad public support for global health diplomacy and development on the African continent.

Nearly 90% of respondents stated that they think it is necessary for Japan to provide international assistance in response to global health issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic. On the topic of the upcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), respondents identified ‘cooperation to end poverty’, ‘contributions to peace and stability’, and ‘strengthening cooperation within the international community’ as the three most important focal points for Japan.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan

Norway to focus on food security, food prices, inclusive food systems, following 2022 Spring Meetings

Between April 20 - 22, 2022, Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim participated in the 2022 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). Key topics discussed were climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global effects of the war in Ukraine. 

Minister Tvinnereim aimed to focus on food security and how to build sustainable and inclusive food systems. The World Bank's efforts on health, climate, pandemic preparedness, and solutions to handle debt in low-income countries were also discussed. 

Tvinnereim spoke at meetings focusing on how to finance food security and inclusive food systems, as well as an event marking three years of contributions to the Global Financing Facility (GFF). GFF is the main channel of Norwegian funding, which targets maternal, reproductive, child, and adolescent health and nutrition. 

In a press release from the Ministry, Tvinnereim underlined that the World Bank is one of Norway`s most important partners in reducing poverty, building food security, and meeting other global challenges. In 2021, Norwegian funding through the World Bank Group was estimated at around US$504 million (NOK4.6 billion). US$118 (NOK1.1 billion) of the total amount was directed towards IDA, the International Development Association. 

More information on the IMF and World Bank's 2022 Spring Meetings can be found in this Donor Tracker Commentary

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (only in Norwegian)

White House set May 12 for second virtual COVID-19 global summit

The White House has announced that May 12, 2022, will be the date for the second virtual global COVID-19 summit to be hosted by the US, Germany, Belize, Senegal, and Indonesia.

This second gathering of global leaders will focus on ways to address the global efforts needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic and prepare for future threats to global health. The aims of the summit were set forth in a joint statement issued by the cohosts.

For the US, the call for new commitments and solutions comes as extra money for COVID-19, both domestic and global, has stalled in Congress. It is not clear that a new package, even if it is approved by Congress, will contain any funding for the global response. A leading Democratic Senator, Chris Coons, who had been one of the lead negotiators for the COVID-19 supplemental funding package that reached an impasse, called the need for global aid vaccine money "critical" to US national security.  

News report - Devex

Joint statement - White House

News report - The New York Times

South Korea should improve agricultural ODA strategy, according to think tank

South Korea’s international agricultural ODA projects need to be improved, according to the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI); KREI critiqued South Korea's policy and strategy for agricultural ODA, saying that it is overgeneralized and does not provide adequate detail.

The KREI critiqued the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in South Korea, claiming that it has not presented key target areas for agricultural ODA and has not come up with improvement measures for a strategy. While the South Korean agricultural ODA budget is increasing, it lacks a detailed strategy. South Korea needs to create a coexisting ecosystem that contributes to South Korea’s national interest along with the development of agricultural and rural areas in recipient countries, according to the Institute.

News article – Naeil (in Korean)

EU should counter Russia’s ‘food diplomacy’, says op-ed

The EU should respond to Russia’s ‘food diplomacy’ according to an opinion piece by Benjamin Fox, an editor at EURACTIV, an independent media network focused on EU affairs.

Moscow is attempting to position the global food crisis as a consequence of Western sanctions against Russia as opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fox argues that the EU should learn from its slow uptake of vaccine diplomacy during the COVID-19 pandemic and immediately support countries in Africa during the global food crisis.

Op-ed - EURACTIV

UN refugee chief urges Canada to maintain development spending to non-European countries amid Ukraine invasion

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, warns that the Ukraine crisis could overshadow the plight of refugees in other parts of the world, and urges Canada to extend the generosity toward Ukrainians to other refugees too.

In particular, Grandi urges the Canadian government against diverting resources from international development assistance toward defense spending. Grandi praised Canada’s efforts so far, but said that funding for development assistance can be an easy target for reducing public budgets and that there is a risk that other conflict zones are currently being overshadowed in terms of political attention.

Canada spends much more on defense than development assistance, however, both are promised to increase according to the government's 2022 budget that was released last week. The federal government pledged an additional CA$8 billion (US$6.3 billion) in defense spending. Development assistance spending, which reached a record high of CA$7.6 billion (US$6 billion) in 2020-21, was projected to reach just over CA$8 billion (US$6.3 billion) in 2022-23.

Op-ed - CBC

Japan set to implement Comprehensive Agriculture Master Plan in South Sudan

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is implementing a long-term agricultural plan in South Sudan after launching the project in 2012.

The plan, formally known as the Comprehensive Agricultural Development Master Plan (CAMP) Implementation Support Project, addresses food insecurity and focuses on five key areas: crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries, and institutional development. Japan contributed over US$22 million in official development assistance (ODA) to South Sudan in 2020, and more than 30 JICA experts have been working on the ground to plan and implement the project.

JICA will work with local producers and government officials to improve food security and value-added crop cultivation. The project is expected to also contribute to stability in the country.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Australia’s ODA/GNI ratio could fall below 0.17% by 2025, says new report

A report by the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University suggests that Australia runs the risk of having an official development assistance (ODA) / gross national income (GNI) ratio less that of the US in the near future.

The report assumed that future development assistance reductions announced in the 2022 budget would be implemented. In this case, Australia's development assistance would decline to a record low level of 0.17% ODA/GNI by 2025 - 2026.

Australia's ODA/GNI ratio had already declined relative to other members of its close strategic group - comprising Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. 

Report – Development Policy Centre

Op-ed criticizes Canada’s lack of action to address human rights violations in Ethiopia

An op-ed from Open Canada criticized Canada for continuing to pursue business interests in Ethiopia while failing to address the human rights violations in the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. 

Canada has issued statements expressing concerns over reports of violations in Ethiopia but has refrained from directly rebuking or penalizing these violations. The civil war and associated famine have caused approximately one-half million deaths in northern Ethiopia, and the conflict has been characterized by ethnic cleansing, weaponized rape, and the murder of around 50,000-100,000 unarmed civilians. 

Canada voted in favor of an EU-tabled UN Human Rights Council resolution ordering an independent probe of abuses in Ethiopia’s civil war. Meanwhile, Canada has continued to pursue commercial interests in the region ravaged by human rights atrocities by investing in rights to gold mines. Global Affairs Canada invested in enhancing Ethiopia’s mining sector, with a six-year CA$15 million (US$12 million) program launched in partnership with Ethiopia's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

Dr. Getachew Assefa from the University of Calgary hosted a panel discussion on Ethiopian current affairs where he stated that Canada’s lukewarm stance on Tigray was “un-Canadian,” and questioned Canada’s commitment to “feminist foreign policy” since it has failed to act despite the tens of thousands of women in Tigray being subjected to weaponized rape.

Op-ed - Open Canada

Norway provides largest ODA level yet in 2021, at US$4.5 billion

According to the latest figures from the OECD, Norwegian funding for international development increased in 2021. The main reason is increased support for low-income countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Norway is one of few donor countries reaching the goal of contributing 0.7 % of GNI to ODA. In addition to Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Luxembourg reached the target in 2021. The total amount of Norwegian development funding reached US$4.5 billion (NOK40.1 billion) in 2021. In Norwegian Krone, this is the highest level of funding to ever come from Norway. In comparison, Norway gave US$4.4 billion (NOK39.5 billion) in development funding in 2020. 

Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, is proud of Norway for providing more development funding than ever before. She argues that the pandemic has made it more important to provide this high-level funding. She states that the government going forward will look at how future development budgets can address challenges, such as climate change and poverty. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
News article – Bistandsaktuelt (Only in Norwegian)