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UN members gather in New York for 2019 High Level Political Forum

Representatives of UN member states have gathered in New York for the seventy-fourth High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), an eight-day UN summit on sustainable development. The theme of this year's meeting has been announced as  'Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality'; as such, the focus of all events and speakers will be upon methods for and progress towards eradicating inequalities amongst and within member states and vulnerable populations therein.

The HLPF serves as an in-depth, critical review of the global progress made on the 2030 Agenda, and on specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The set of goals set to be reviewed this year are the following:

  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries;
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
  • Goal 16Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Reviews are conducted voluntarily by member states, who share their national and sub-national progress towards the SDGs with attendees. The review-sharing process provides a platform to analyze achievements and examine growth areas through partnerships with attending organizations and stakeholders. 47 countries have volunteered to give reviews this year.

United Nations - High Level Political Forum website

UK think-tank calls for government to provide US$25 billion to UN Climate Fund by 2030

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a UK based policy think-tank, has released a new report calling on the UK to scale up its contributions to the UN Climate Fund three-fold to amount to £20 billion (US$25 billion) by 2030.

The report calls for a new model of international co-operation in an era of environmental breakdown and calls on the UK government to dramatically increases its funding to the UN Climate Fund, in order to pay its fair share, in light of its historical carbon emissions record. The UK government currently provides £1.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) to the UN Climate Fund over a four-year period up until 2023.

News article - The Guardian

Report: Our Responsibility - IPPR

Canadian civil society disappointed with Budget 2019

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), an umbrella organization representing Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations, has voiced its disappointment with the new Budget 2019 put forward by the federal government. According to the CCIC, the budget does not contribute additional resources to achieve the targets of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. CCIC plans to launch an e-petition calling for a significant increase in official development assistance and asks all political parties to make development an election issue.

News release- Canadian Council for International Cooperation

September 10, 2018: Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation hosts event on tax reform and sustainable development

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) hosts an event titled 'How can tax reforms create sustainable development?', centered on comprehensive reform of tax systems being carried out by the G20 countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). More than 150 countries are now involved in the reform, but critics says that reforms do not go far enough, claiming that only rich countries will benefit from the changes. Speakers include representatives from Norad, the OECD, think tanks, and academia. 

Location: Oslo, Norway 

Event website (in Norwegian) 

UK foreign secretary visits Africa to make case for new UK partnership

The UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has visited Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya in a whirlwind tour to make the case for new UK partnerships across Africa on development assistance, trade, and security.

In Kenya, Hunt listened to entrepreneurs pitching for new business ideas as part of a UK development assistance-funded program to help entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. In Ethiopia, he spoke at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Addis Ababa and announced £16 million (US$20 million) in UK assistance to help Ethiopia run transparent, free, and fair elections.

In Nigeria, he attended inaugural meeting of the UK/Nigeria Economic Development Forum and in Ghana he approved a £26 million agreement (US$33 million) with British business Aqua Africa to reduce water poverty in the country. While in Senegal, the UK will fund a new £4 million (US$5 million) English-language program in French- and Portuguese-speaking countries across Africa.

Press release - UK government

German development ministry receives €500 million to meet its €4 billion international climate protection commitment

In 2020, Germany will meet its commitment to spend €4 billion (US$4.5 billion) on international climate protection for the first time. The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), whose budget formerly fell short of the €4 billion commitment, has now been authorized to utilize funds from the National Climate Fund worth €500 million (US$564 million) to reach the spending target. BMZ provides the majority of Germany’s financing for international climate protection (84% in 2017).

Development Minister Gerd Müller plans to focus on climate protection initiatives in Africa, specifically on greater support for start-ups who set up projects in the area of renewable energies, as well as the expansion of eco-energy for African villages. Müller is advocating for increasing funds for international climate protection in the coming EU budget, for instance through a separate EU climate fund for a technology transfer and global energy transmission.

Press release – BMZ (in German)                                                                             

Background on German financing for international climate protection – BMZ (in German)

Norway reduces contributions to anti-deforestation initiatives in Brazil

Norway has sharply reduced its contribution towards rainforest protection in the Brazilian Amazon as a result of increased deforestation in the country in 2016. Norway's average contribution to Brazil to fight deforestation was US$115 million between 2009 to 2016; this year, it will give only US$43.5 million.

However, according to the Norwegian government, Brazil's provisional deforestation rates from October 2017 appear to be lower than in 2016. If these numbers are confirmed, Norway's contribution will be increased for next year. 

Website - Government of Norway (in Norwegian)

November 23, 2017: Partos holds event on improving efficiency in development projects

The Partos Efficiency Lab, an initiative of Partos, the Dutch development NGO umbrella organization, organizes an event on assessing and improving efficiency in development organizations’ projects. The event examines the trajectory of projects from start to finish, and discusses various methods that can help to improve efficiency. A wide range of cases, from Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) to higher education, is examined.

Location: The Hague, The Netherlands

Website - Partos

Canada increases support for domestic and international women’s rights organizations

Canada will increase funding and resources towards women’s rights organizations and movements, elevating its support for gender equality at home and abroad.

The Canadian government will work with the Equality Fund to bring the granting, philanthropic and investment worlds together to form a single innovative platform in order to mobilize unprecedented resources for women’s rights organizations and movements in developing countries. The Equality Fund will shift how investment decisions are made for gender equality outcomes by providing resources directly to women’s rights organizations and by making investments that support gender equality.

So far the Equality Fund has raised CAD$100 million (US$77 million) to supplement the CAD$300 million (US$231 million) already pledged toward the cause by the Canadian government.

Press release- Global Affairs Canada

November 8, 2018: Seminar on the role of research in SDGs held in Oslo

Norwegian Association for Development Research (NFU) and the VID Specialized University host a seminar titled: ‘The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Critical Role of Development Research’. The seminar combines panels and workshops, and the Norwegian Minister of Development, Nikolai Astrup, is confirmed as a speaker. The seminar highlights topics such as food, inequality, and religion, in reference to the SGDs and the need for research. 

Location: Oslo, Norway 

Event website - VID 

May 28, 2018: German NGO umbrella organization hosts civil society exchange on implementation of Agenda 2030

German NGO umbrella organization VENRO and the Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (Forum for Environment and Development) host a joint event that aims to serve as an exchange platform for civil society organizations (CSOs) working toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030). The CSO exchange takes place under the headline 'New government – Old politics: when will the implementation of the Agenda 2030 in Germany move forward?' The event also aims to offer room for discussing opportunities for joint publicity and campaign activities.

Location: Berlin, Germany

Event website - Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung (in German)

Swedish government issues correction to media: development assistance for COVID-19 will come from current budget, not additional funds

Despite what has been reported in Swedish media, the Swedish government has not provided any additional funding to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in low-income countries. The funds invested to this point are derived from previous allocations to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

It was reported that the Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson, had committed an additional SEK 140 million (US$15 million) of official development assistance (ODA) to combat COVID-19, which turned out to be incorrect.

The information was not corrected until more than a month later, until Yasmine Posio, the Left Party's development policy spokesperson, approached Minister Eriksson's staff, who in turn contacted Sveriges Radio and a correction to the online article was made.

News article – Omvärlden (in Swedish)

Impact evaluation highlights sustainability of MCC/Plan USA education project

To commemorate the International Day of the Girl, the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) hosted an event to highlight a recent 10-year impact evaluation of Plan International USA’s 'Burkinabe Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed' (BRIGHT), a girls’ education program in Burkina Faso. The independent evaluation showed that the government and local communities have successfully sustained the results of the program years after its conclusion, with notable improvements in school attendance and performance. 

Publication - Plan International USA

UK proposes ‘Brexit’ approach for R&D cooperation

The UK has outlined its preferences for a research agreement with the EU post-Brexit  in ‘Collaboration on science and innovation: A Future Partnership Paper’. The paper lays out the UK’s case for continuing a strong research partnership with EU Member States. It seems to suggest that the UK and EU should negotiate detailed terms for an enhanced ‘associate country status’  in the context of the next EU Research Framework Program (FP9). The UK benefits significantly from EU research funding: from 2007-2013, the UK contributed about €5.4 billion to EU research and development in 2007-2013, while it received €8.8 billion.

Publication - Government of the UK