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Norway top global public good ODA spender, new report shows

A report published by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) shows that one-fifth of Norway's official development assistance (ODA) goes towards funding global public goods, making Norway the top spender internationally in financing global public goods with ODA.  

Norway's focus on climate and the environment, including major rainforest programs in South America, Indonesia, and Central Africa, are large portions of Norway's ODA. Between 2015-2020, climate and environment accounted for 72% of total development assistance for global public goods. 

The report is intended to make both the public and decision-makers aware of the trend and indicate implications for the future of ODA. The report only looked at ODA that is earmarked for various purposes, not multilateral support. NORAD has followed the methodology and definition of global public goods developed by Development Initiatives. 

Article – Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

South Korea commits US$9 million in climate-centered ODA

South Korea's Ministry of Environment (MOE) will participate in the Fourth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, where it will announce South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) contributions to international organizations on climate.

South Korea will establish and provide US$5 million to the Green New Deal Fund Trust Fund of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and contribute US$4 million to the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G). South Korea hosted the 2021 P4G Summit in May.

Press release – Ministry of Environment (in Korean)

New UNICEF global innovation hub in Sweden announced

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently agreed to establish its new headquarters for innovation in Stockholm, Sweden.

In cooperation with Swedish businesses, academia, and civil society organizations, the center, which will employ approximately 100 people, is expected to contribute to innovative solutions promoting children’s rights and wellbeing. The center will collaborate with smaller UNICEF thematic innovation hubs in regional offices.

UNICEF is expected to benefit from Sweden’s position as an innovative development partner as well as the country’s reputable private sector innovation ecosystem.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

Canadian Foreign Minister highlights development assistance shortcomings at UNGA, calls on partners for action

In an address to the 76th United Nations General Assembly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau, emphasized the urgent need to work together to combat the world’s most pressing challenges, which include: increasing climate finance, addressing inequalities, and supporting refugees and humanitarian efforts. 

Garneau highlighted Canada’s recent commitment to double its climate finance contribution to CA$5.3 billion (US$4.2 billion) over the next five years. However, Garneau also noted that more must be done and that governments should act together to foster climate action. 

Additionally, Garneau argued that Canada and its global partners must scale up production and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Garneau called for global solidarity in advancing vaccine access and in addressing rising debt levels and liquidity challenges facing LMICs. 

Concerning refugee and humanitarian crises, Garneau announced that Canada will double its commitment to supporting refugees; he specifically committed to welcoming 40,000 Afghan refugees, an increase from Canada's previous commitment of 20,000. However, Garneau also argued that humanitarian efforts by Canada and its partners should not overshadow assistance in combating the root causes of crises.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

News article - New York Times

Biden to nominate African CDC head to run PEPFAR

US President, Joe Biden, announced his intent to nominate the current head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, to lead the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The nomination will require confirmation by the US Senate. 

PEPFAR is the US program to address HIV/AIDS globally, which receives around US$7.0 billion annually. Since its inception in 2003, the US has invested over US$85 billion to fight HIV/AIDS with the program.

Dr. Nkengasong has decades of experience working with HIV/AIDS, including collaborating with the US Centers for Disease Control in Africa; his nomination was widely praised among experts. 

News report - Devex 

Germany pledges additional US$59 million to Education Cannot Wait

During the United Nations General Assembly Week (UNGA), German development minister, Gerd Müller, announced Germany's commitment of an additional €50 million (US$59 million) to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) for 2022 to support its multi-year resilience programs.

With this new funding, Germany’s contributions to ECW amount to US$137 million, making Germany the second-largest donor to ECW.

Press release – Education Cannot Wait

Social Democrats (SDP) win German federal election; center-left coalition probable

The Social Democrats (SPD) won the federal election in Germany on September 26, 2021, with 25.7% of the vote; at least three parties will need to come together to form a governing coalition. 

The conservative bloc - consisting of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and resigning Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and their Bavarian counterpart, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - received its worst results since World War II with 24.1% of the vote. The Greens party (Alliance 90/The Greens) increased its voting percentage by almost 6% and won 14.8% of the votes.

Coalition talks are in progress; the Social Democrats will most likely attempt a coalition with the Greens party and the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), which won 11.5% of the votes. This coalition formation is colloquially referred to as the "traffic light" coalition in reference to the respective parties' colors of red, green, and yellow. 

Negotiations are expected to take weeks or months as the parties try to find common ground and stitch together a governing coalition.

Germany's future chancellorship remains in question until coalition negotiations are finalized, with the SPD’s candidate, Olaf Scholz, and the CDU’s candidate, Armin Laschet, in the running. 

News article – Deutsche Welle

News article – The Guardian

Australian PM may not attend COP26 climate talks

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is reported to have said that he might not take part in the UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November 2021. More than 100 world leaders are expected to attend, and the summit occurs one day after a G20 meeting in Rome.

A final decision has not been made regarding Australian attendance at the climate talks, but options include sending Foreign Minister, Maurice Payne. The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, could also attend. Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, urged the Prime Minister to attend the climate change conference.

A commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 remains controversial within Australian parties. Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, faces critique from National party members for ambitious emissions reductions, due to the potential effects on rural producers and coal mining areas. 

However, Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, indicated that Australia needs to back global climate emissions targets in its own interest. In a speech to major employers, Frydenberg warned that access to markets and capital could be hindered as other countries adjust to climate change.

Media report - Canberra Times

Media report - SBS

Norway enters US$56 million agreement with Global Crop Diversity Fund to ensure food security

Norway is entering a ten-year agreement with the Global Crop Diversity Trust to improve food security and to secure increased chances of viable crops for vulnerable small farmers despite more extreme weather occurrences.  

At the UN Food Systems Summit, Norway promoted a new initiative on seed safety. It is important that small farmers choose which seeds to sow, which are subsequently input into the seed system. The seed system is important for both farmers' rights and food security.  

Norway supports the Biodiversity for Opportunities, Livelihoods, and Development (BOLD) program as part of its agricultural development strategy. One of BOLD's core aims is to improve the genetic characteristics of seeds so they can withstand more extreme weather to increase food safety.

The agreement consists of approximately NOK500 million (US$56 million) over ten years. As a part of the program, 15 national gene banks in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) will receive assistance to support biological diversity and, thus, ensure regional food security. Furthermore, seeds will be preserved in Svalbard's global seed vault. 

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian) 

Spain to present new development cooperation bill

On September 27, 2021, Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela, announced at the opening session of a parliamentary event on international cooperation held in Madrid, that the cabinet will present a new development law proposal. 

According to Cancela, the government's proposal addresses the report published a few months ago by the Congress of Deputies’ Development Committee, which contained insights and recommendations from development experts and NGO representatives.  

News article – elDiario.es (in Spanish)

Japan issues US$181 million in bonds for women’s empowerment

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched its first gender bonds to promote women’s empowerment and education. The bonds are valued at ¥20 billion (US$181 million) and were issued in two tranches, 10 years and 20 years of maturity.

The COVID-19 crisis has seen women spending more time at home, resulting in increased domestic violence. In addition, the pandemic has deprived women of educational or employment opportunities. JICA’s gender bonds will help address the global challenges faced by women and contribute to the achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Five - Gender Equality. 

News article – Kyodo News

UK reports on achievements of 2011-2021 international climate finance investments; commits US$15.6 billion for next five years

The UK's recently released Corporate Report, '2021 UK Climate Finance Results' provides an overview of achievements from the UK's portfolio of International Climate Finance (ICF) investments between April 2011 and March 2021. According to the report, during this period the UK provided £9.6 billion (US$12.9 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) focused on helping low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) to:

  • Adapt to the current and future effects of climate change; 
  • Follow low-carbon economic growth; 
  • Assist with sustainable management of natural resources; 
  • Improve access to clean energy; and, 
  • Reduce deforestation.

The report estimates that the UK's ICF programs have:

  • Provided direct support to 88 million people to help them with the impacts of climate change; 
  • Improved 41 million individuals’ access to clean energy; 
  • Helped to reduce or avoid 180 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions; and, 
  • Mobilized £5.2 billion (US$7.2 billion) in public and £3.3 billion (US$4.6 billion) in private finance for climate change purposes in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs).

The UK has committed to increasing its ICF to £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between April 2021 and March 2026 — a doubling compared to its previous five-year commitment. 

Report - 2021 International Climate Finance Results

France doubles COVID-19 vaccine commitment; redirects 20% of Special Drawing Rights to African Continent

In a pre-recorded video message made public during the Global Citizen live concert held simultaneously in Paris, Lagos, New York City, and other cities, French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced:

  1. France will double its COVID-19 vaccine sharing pledge, providing an additional 60 million doses to COVAX, the World Health Organization's (WHO) vaccine initiative, for a total of 120 million doses by the end of Q2, 2022; and
  2. France will redirect 20% of its Special Drawing Rights from the IMF to the African continent - a move France recommends G20 countries replicate - which will help mobilize US$100.0 billion. 

Tweet - French President Video message 

Impact report - Global Citizen

EU Commission commits US$165 million to CGIAR and US$29 million to ECW at Global Citizen Live

The European Commission announced new commitments of €140 million (US$165 million) to CGIAR, a global partnership on agriculture and food security research and development (R&D), and €25 million (US$29 million) to the UN Education Cannot Wait (ECW) global education fund at the Global Citizen Live concert on September 25, 2021.

CGIAR brings together organizations around the globe that conduct R&D to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve health and nutrition, and foster the sustainable management of natural resources. 

The EU is a founding supporter of ECW, a global fund to finance education during humanitarian crises for crisis-affected children. The Commission has committed nearly €53 million (US$62 million) in total to ECW since its inception in 2016.

Press release - European Commission

Impact report - Global Citizen

FCDO’s annual report reveals striking ODA cuts to UK bilateral country programs

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and, Development Office's (FCDO) newly published '2020-2021 Annual Report and Accounts' reveals some of the impacts of the UK's cuts to official development assistance (ODA) in fiscal year (FY) 2021/22. 

The report indicates decreases in ODA allocations to the FCDO central programs. Expenditures of the global health central program departments will fall 27% to US$1.2 billion (GBP£916 million). ODA spending on education, gender, and equality will also fall by more than half to £124 million (US$167 million).

The report also reveals that the FCDO plans to spend £1.8 billion (US$2.4 billion) in direct country bilateral ODA in FY2021/22. This entails a concerning 45% cut compared to FY2020/21, mainly driven by reductions in funding to the poorest countries.

While some partners on the Asian continent will receive large cuts, analysis by Devex shows some evidence of an Indo-Pacific tilt: 

  • £32 million (US$43 million) will be allocated to the FCDO’s newly established South East Asia & Pacific Department; 
  • ODA to Indonesia will increase by 22% to £14 million (US$18.8 million); 
  • India’s ODA will also increase by 33% to £55 million (US$74 million); however, 
  • ODA to Bangladesh will fall by 62%; and
  • Pakistan, historically the largest recipient of UK bilateral ODA, will see a funding cut of 40%, from £160 million (US$215 million) to £97 million (US$130 million).

The Devex analysis also shows that fragile states and countries on the African continent are scheduled to receive large cuts.

  • Lebanon’s ODA is set to fall by 85%, from £85 million (US$114 million) to £13 million (US$18 million);
  • ODA to Somalia is set to fall by 41%, from £121 million (US$163 million) to £71 million (US$94 million); 
  • ODA to Nigeria is set to fall from £209 million (US$281 million) to £95 million (US$128 million); 
  • Ethiopia's ODA is set to fall from £240 million (US$322 million) to £107 million (US$144 million); and
  • ODA to Kenya, a primary UK development and security partner, is falling by 39%, from £67 million (US$90 million) to £41 million (US$55 million).

News article - Devex

Report - FCDO 2020-2021 Annual Report and Accounts

Global Citizen to host 24-hour worldwide concert to prompt pledges toward SDGs

On September 25, Global Citizen will broadcast a 24-hour global event on TV and multiple social networks, which will feature artists, celebrities, and world leaders focusing on defending the planet and defeating poverty.

Global Citizen Live aims to support a "Recovery Plan for the World," targeting five key sectors: COVID-19 global response, hunger, education, climate change, and equity. The event will provide a platform for decision-makers to make new pledges, which contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The event will feature performances from different cities around the globe including Lagos, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Sydney. Artists such as Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Måneskin, DJ Snake, H.E.R., Lizzo, Christine and the Queens, Angélique Kidjo, Charlie Puth, and Fatma Said will participate.

Website - Global Citizen

Japan announces commitment to energy access and SDGs at UN Energy Dialogue

At the United Nation’s High-Level Dialogue on Energy, Japan’s State Minister, Eiichiro Washio, announced Japan’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDG’s) energy-related targets.

In particular, Washio highlighted Japan’s commitment to increase energy access worldwide and discussed the importance of energy access in promoting human security and economic development.

Japan also announced that it will continue to facilitate international cooperation to improve global energy access in agreement with the "Energy Compact," which summarizes voluntary commitments made by member countries in accordance with the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) and the SDGs.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Canada must improve corporate accountability on human rights and environmental protections, critics say

The green energy transition is key for Canadian mining, according to the Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, and the Mining Association of Canada’s president and CEO, Pierre Gratton. However, Canada's corporate accountability standards concerning human rights and environmental protections are relatively weak and threaten to undermine Canada’s international development policies. 

The gendered impacts of global resource extraction by Canadian companies are alarming. Gender-based violence and Canada’s extractive sector are intertwined, according to sources like the 'Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.' Women in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) generally experience the most direct consequences of corporate misconduct. Lack of corporate accountability in this sector undermines Canadian international development policies, such as the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

The National Observer argues that if Canada intends to lead the green transition globally, the government must address the lack of legally binding corporate accountability measures, which have had devastating consequences within and beyond Canadian borders. Furthermore, the National Observer calls on Canada to stand by its international assistance policies and take action to protect international human rights from corporate misconduct. 

Op-ed - National Observer

Canadian UN ambassador calls on Canada to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses equitably

Bob Rae, Canada’s envoy to the UN, called on Canada to share more of its COVID-19 vaccine surplus with low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). He stated that while Canada has recently been focused on internal affairs due to the federal election, it is imperative for Canada to address the COVID-19 crisis internationally due to the dependence of the country's economy on international trade (half of Canada’s GDP) and the introduction of new virus variants.

In Canada, 75.8% of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 69.8% of the population is fully vaccinated. Global vaccine distribution and equity remain significant problems. 

Documents published by COVAX, the Pan American Health Organization, and some individual country websites indicate that Canada has donated almost three million doses of vaccine to 10 LMICs, but Canada has only publicly confirmed a donation of 82,000 doses to Trinidad and Tobago.

Canada needs approximately 11 million doses to fully vaccinate all remaining Canadians over age 12 and has more than 18 million doses in supply, enough to vaccinate the entire population. Canada, therefore, has a substantial vaccine surplus that could be contributed to the global vaccine effort.

Op-ed - National Observer

Australia to provide 40 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses following UNGA

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced that Australia will donate 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and procure an additional 20 million doses, for low-income countries. The PM made the pledge at the United States President’s Global Summit to End COVID-19 in Washington, DC.

The 40 million aforementioned doses will be added to an initial commitment of 20 million to provide a total of 60 million vaccines for the Asia-Pacific region between September and the end of 2022.

Advocates welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement but called for even more Australian support for COVID-19 crisis assistance for low-income countries. The chairman of Micah Australia, Tim Costello, urged the government to provide a contribution based on Australia's fair economic burden share, which would be equivalent to providing A$250 million (US$182 million) for the World Health Organization's (WHO) COVID-19 vaccine initiative, COVAX. He also urged the government to provide A$50 million to address vaccine hesitancy.

Australia is reported to have a large stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccine doses available for global distribution. Around 5.8 million doses are currently on shelves and an 32 million doses remain unproduced under a government contract with CSL, a vaccine producer in Australia.

Press release - Prime Minister of Australia

Media report - The Mandarin

Media report - The New Daily