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French Budget Process: Prime Minister Valls sends general budget orientations to each Ministry for 2017.

In the fourth week of May 2016, Prime Minister Manuel Valls sent budget guidelines ('lettres de cadrage') to each Ministry, giving them general orientations of France's budget policy for 2017. According to Finance Minister Michel Sapin, France's deficit won't exceed 3% of France's GDP, in line with EU budget requirements. To reach this target, all ministries will have to cut their expenses, except in the areas of education, justice, and security.

Germany continues support to Family Planning 2020 initiative

Germany announced FP2020 commitment until 2019 of at least €514 million (including RMNCAH-relevant contributions to the Global Fund and support to UNFPA/IPPF). The announcement was made by State Secretary Silberhorn during his meeting with Melinda Gates on May 19th 2016.

Key players of international solidarity gather at the 6th edition of the Forum of Solidarity in Paris

From May 19th to May 21st, a group of French CSOs led by ASAH and HUMANIS organizes the 'Solidarity Forum' ('Forum des Solidarités'). Open to the public, the event gathers all stakeholders within development and humanitarian fields, including major NGOs, government officials, representatives of local authorities and of the private sector. Conferences, workshops and debates take place around all different aspects of development cooperation.

The Italian MAECI holds the first-ever Italy-Africa ministerial conference

On May 18th, 2016, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAECI) hosts the first-ever Africa-Italy Ministerial Conference. Minister Gentiloni, Prime Minister Renzi and President Mattarella will attend the conference, as well as Ministers from African countries and representatives of the African Union and of international organizations. Debate will be held  around economic sustainability, socio-environmental sustainability, migration, and peace and security. From 2016 onwards, the MAECI will organize the conference every two years.

Italian PM Renzi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gentiloni reaffirm their commitment to strengthen cooperation with the African continent at the first-ever Italy-Africa Conference

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen partnership and cooperation with African countries, including in the areas of economic development, sustainability, migration, and peace and security. The first ever Italy-Africa Conference, on May 18th, 2016, led to a joint press release of Minister Gentiloni and the Peace and Security Commissioner of the African Union, in which both sides committed to cooperate further on peace and security issues in Africa. From 2016 onwards, the conference is planned to take place every two years.

The European Commission appoints Stefano Manservisi as director of DEVCO

Stefano Manservisi is the new Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO). With over 30 years of experience in the Commission prior to this job, including six years as Director-General of the Department for Development and Relations with Africa, Caribbean, Pacific countries and four years leading the department for Migration and Home Affairs, Mr Manservisi brings a wealth of expertise to his new role.

The European Commission hosts event 'Innovative Ways for Sustainable Nutrition, Food Security and Inclusive Agricultural Growth'

Development policy leaders and experts will discuss four areas of food security:
* Resilience to global food crises – the example of El Niño in 2016
* Addressing the governance and accountability gap in nutrition
* Innovation and Research for Development
* Innovative financing in agriculture.

The European Commission publishes a 'Global analysis of food and nutrition security situation in food crisis hotspots'

The report provides a global overview of the food insecurity situation as a result of different crises and natural disasters around the world.

The European Commission publishes the first Progress Report on the Commission's Action Plan on Nutrition 2014- 2016

The report presents the progress and results of the assistance of, and advocacy by, the European Commission and EU delegations in partner countries. It also presents changes in the context of those countries, most notably regarding stunting amongst children aged below 5 years.

Aviesan launches the 'Francophone network on Neglected Tropical Diseases'

The National Alliance for Life and Health Science (Aviesan) launches the 'Francophone Network for Neglected Tropical Disease'. The creation of this network comes to fulfill the need for more structure and coordination amongst French research institutes in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. The mapping of all institutional actors of the network will be one of the first tasks of the group.

EU and Gates Foundation award grants addressing maternal and child health

The EU, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and MSD for Mothers awarded €1 million to the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in France for its new method of analyzing and tracing maternal deaths; €1 million to CHAI MNH Nigeria for its district-level integrated program to ensure timely referral and care of at-risk deliveries; and €500,000 to the WOMAN Trial of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for its first-line treatment for post-delivery bleeding, the leading cause of maternal mortality around the world.

Website - EU

UK creates new Health Security Agency and outlines vision for future of clinical research delivery

The UK government has announced the creation of a new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) which will formally open on April 1, 2021. The new agency will plan for, prevent, and respond to external health threats and plans to lead on providing intellectual, scientific, and operational leadership at the national and global stage.

The new agency, previously called the National Institute for Health Protection, will be led by Dr. Jenny Harries, who previously served on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation. The agency will be chaired by Ian Peters, who is currently the Chair of Barts Health NHS Trust and former Chief Executive of British Gas.

The UK government has also published its new vision on the future of UK clinical research. The vision aims to make the UK a world leader in designing and delivering clinical research and will focus on creating a patient-centered, pro-innovation, and digitally-enabled environment. The vision also sets out to reduce the time required for contracting and approving clinical trials, build digital platforms to deliver clinical research, and make research more diverse and more relevant to the whole UK.

Press release - UK government

Policy vision - UK government

Latest US COVID-19 supplemental funding bills contains no international assistance

The US House of Representatives passed an additional US$3 trillion supplemental appropriations bill to respond to COVID-19. In a shock to development stakeholders, however, the "Heroes Act" contains zero funds for the global response.

The bill, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate, provided for an interagency review of global health security and urged the appointment of a US coordinator for global health security, but failed to include any funding. According to a Democratic House staffer, US foreign assistance will be taken up in the regular appropriations process, although that process has been greatly delayed by the pandemic. 

Opinion column - The Washington Post

October 17, 2018: Dutch foreign ministry and UNFPA co-host event on demographic trends

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, in cooperation with Rutgers University and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), host an interactive meeting entitled 'Demographic trends in a multipolar world'. The meeting coincides with the launch of the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2018 with the same name. The event aims at presenting and discussing the most recent trends in population dynamics, including the causes and consequences of population growth and links with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Presenters include Reijna Buijs, Director General for International Cooperation at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Arthur Erken, Director of UNFPA’s Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships. 

Location: Den Haag, the Netherlands

Newsletter - Share-Net 

November 15, 2018: Save the Children hosts conference on the future of development assistance

Save the Children hosts a conference on the future of development assistance in a challenging global context. The conference aims to discuss when and how development assistance works best, and whether governments are committed to a knowledge and evidence-based approaches to development assistance. The conference features presentations from development professionals, showcasing best practices and key components of successful development assistance. Speakers include Norwegian Minister for International Development Nikolai Astrup.

Location: Oslo, Norway 

Event page - Facebook

October 25, 2018: Norwegian think tank hosts conference on inequality and development

Agenda, a Norwegian think tank, hosts a half-day conference on Norway’s efforts on inequality and development. The conference aims at discussing what drives inequality internationally and how to counteract growing inequalities in our partner countries. Speakers include the Norwegian Minister of International Development, professors from Norwegian universities, and representatives from political parties. 

Location: Oslo, Norway 

Facebook event (in Norwegian) 

UK Department for International Development releases impressive results report on eve of closure

Just ahead of its closure this week, the UK Department of International Development (DFID) has released a new report highlighting the results of its work over the last five years (2015-2020). Its accomplishments include:

  • Delivering humanitarian assistance to nearly 34 million people;
  • Reaching 62.6 million people with programs for clean water and better sanitation;
  • Vaccinating 74.3 million children;
  • Providing 25.3 million women and girls with modern family planning; and
  • Supporting 15.6 million children to gain schooling.

DFID will be merged into the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is set to open on September 2, 2020.

Report  - DFID Results Estimates 2015-2020

News article - Devex

Germany ceases bilateral health and education funding; multilaterals to take over

On February 12, 2020, German Development Minister Gerd Müller officially informed the Committee on Development in the Bundestag (AWZ) about the Ministry of Development Cooperation's (BMZ’s) plans to cease bilateral cooperation within global health and education.

This decision is part of an internal strategic review within the Ministry to narrow down its priority themes and to align Germany’s funding with other western partners and multilateral organizations. As a result, the BMZ plans to reduce the number of countries Germany will engage with bilaterally from 50 to 42 and to channel its global health and education funding only multilaterally, opening these sectors to capital investments and contributions from the private sector.

While a stronger prioritization within the German development cooperation was welcomed by experts, opposition members within the Development Committee (from the Left and the Greens) expressed worry that this decision would shift Germany’s bilateral focus to more strategically aligned countries, disadvantaging the lowest-income countries. The Left's Helin Evrim Sommer called this move a “radical disruption” to Germany’s current approach to development cooperation which until now has placed a strong emphasis on the needs of the people in partner countries. Uwe Kekeritz of the Greens specifically criticized the BMZ's plans to expand its strategic focus on migration control and border security to Africa. 

News article - Evangelisch.de

Focus on large funds and the World Bank

The Minister of Development, Nikolai Astrup, indicates that the share of development assistance allocated to global funds and multilateral channels is likely to further increase as it is more effective and costs less. Astrup allocated further funding to the World Bank during the World Bank's Spring Meeting, which means that Norway will allocate US$ 94 million from 2020 - 2025. 

News article - Bistandsaktuelt

South Korea shifts ODA budget further toward COVID-19 response

The South Korean government announced its second supplementary budget to finance the domestic emergency relief fund addressing COVID-19. Amounting to KRW7.6 trillion (US$6.2 billion), the supplementary budget also called for adjustments in other sectors including official development assistance (ODA). The supplementary budget includes reductions to the 2020 ODA budget of KRW276.7 billion (US$227 million), primarily from concessional loans and overseas volunteer programs that were suspended due to COVID-19 lockdown in partner countries. Details of the cuts are as follows:

  • Cuts to concessional loans: KRW200 billion (US$164 million);
  • Cuts to bilateral ODA projects: KRW14 billion (US$12 million);
  • Cuts to overseas volunteer programs: KRW36 billion (US$30 million);
  • Cuts to global fellowship programs: KRW11 billion (US$9 million); and
  • Cuts to administrative support for the Green Climate Fund: (KRW6.5 billion (US$5 million).

Of the US$227 million in cuts to the ODA budget, the supplementary budget cut US$50 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). In response to the cut, MOFA stated that it will increase humanitarian assistance to partner countries affected by COVID-19.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), which is in charge of concessional loans, also faced a budget cut of KRW200 billion (US$164 million). In response, MOEF has announced the following measures to support partner countries:

  • Provision of US$400 million in ODA to strengthen COVID-19 healthcare systems in partner countries;
  • Suspension of repayment on US$110 million worth of loans extended to 26 partner countries;
  • Doubling of the amount of ODA to South Korea's 'New South' and 'New North' policies to US$7 billion for the next three years, with an increased focus on global health cooperation; and
  • Support for economic cooperation with Russia and Uzbekistan.

In addition to these measures, South Korea will also set up a task force with 12 ministries and five governmental organizations to support global efforts to fight COVID-19.

News article – Yonhap news (in Korean)

Press release - South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance

Press release - South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance