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US releases COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework

In support of both the commitments made at the G7+ and in US President Joe Biden's National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness released in January 2021, the White House released its US COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework. The Framework sets forth five objectives that will support the overarching goal to end the pandemic, mitigate its negative impacts, and strengthen pandemic preparedness.

 The five objectives for the US response are:

  • Accelerate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations; 
  • Strengthen health systems in order to reduce the severe effects of COVID-19 and to better prepare for future threats;
  • Address the acute needs that COVID-19 has caused, including reducing household economic shocks and building resilience;
  • Provide economic and other support to critical systems that COVID-19 has put under stress; and
  • Bolster international health security architecture for a better response to pandemic threats.

The US effort will be a whole-of-government response and will include partnerships with both international organizations, other governments, private and non-profit sectors, and frontline communities. 

Press release - The White House

US House Appropriations Committee approves US foreign assistance bill for fiscal year 2022

The US House Appropriations Committee approved a US$62.2 billion bill to fund the State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill, which was passed on a party-line vote. With the approval of the agriculture appropriations bill, which provided funding for international food assistance and other small amounts in additional assistance, the total amount for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 International Affairs budget provided by House appropriators is US$64.1 billion. This represents a US$6.7 billion (12%) increase over FY 2021 levels.

The House committees' approved levels were just slightly above what US President Joe Biden had requested in his budget. Global health funding increased by 16%. The largest increase was for global health security, but other increases were made for tuberculosis, bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, and international family planning. The bill also removed long-standing restrictions to family planning programs and permanently repealed the Mexico City Policy, also known as the 'global gag rule'.

Humanitarian assistance increased by 9% to US$8.5 billion. Climate funding, including funding for the Green Climate Fund, was set at over US$3.0 billion, which was higher than Biden's budget request.

News article - USGLC

At Generation Equality Forum, Sweden commits to championing comprehensive abortion care, Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements

At the Paris-held Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, in addition to previously committing US$206 million for ending gender-based violence (US$44 million), financing women's rights organizations (US$60 million), and supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)—including comprehensive abortion care (US$102 million)—Sweden pledged to support the implementation of the Common Agenda for Comprehensive Abortion Care, established in April 2021 with the following priorities:

  • Intersectional and inclusive movements from the local to the international;
  • Responsive funding;
  • Person-centered quality abortion care;
  • More and greater coordination across and beyond the movement, supporting risk, creativity, advocacy, and accountability;
  • Action addressing the opposition to abortion and SRHR; and
  • Improved access to comprehensive abortion care in humanitarian settings.

Sweden, along with the other new signatories, also committed to creating platforms for continued dialogue and collaboration, including at least one more Global Safe Abortion Dialogue in the coming five years, and platforms to increase resources and support existing funding mechanisms, programs, and funds that provide direct, flexible, progressive, and sustainable funding to feminist organizations, movements, and activists, including those that are often hard to reach and/or who have been historically marginalized.

This increase of resources will be done through a collective funding commitment for the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) will participate in the Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements and continue to contribute to joint learning and advocacy for improved methods to support feminist movements and youth-led organizations with flexible funding. 

Sweden, as an organizer of the Stockholm Gender Equality Forum in 2018 and a supporting entity of the Tunis Forum 2019, has been actively engaged in the work leading up to the GEF. Sida has provided funding to UN Women for their work relating to Beijing +25 and GEF to ensure an inclusive process with participation from civil society at the center. In addition to being one of the co-leads for the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights together with, among others, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, Germany, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and PayPal, Sweden is also an Action Coalition Commitment Maker for the Action Coalitions on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender-Based Violence, and Feminist Movements and Leadership, as well as the Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA Compact).

Work in the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights has revolved around four sub-areas: home and care work, a level playing field, access to resources such as land, ownership and financial services, and the macroeconomic perspective and gender budgeting.

Sweden's priorities have included "economic and social reforms such as individual taxation, childcare, care for the elderly, the labor market, and various welfare reforms," said Ulrika Grandin, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "We have also put extra pressure on the feminist trade policy, which we think is well reflected in the action plan."

Sweden has a long-standing status as a global leader for gender equality. In 2014, Sweden became the first country in the world to adopt a feminist foreign policy, allowing it to use all its foreign policy tools (including development cooperation) to address gender equality globally.

News article – Omvärlden (in Swedish)

South Korea’s grant assistance agency partners with UN agencies to support COVID-19 response for children in Indonesia

South Korea's Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it will partner with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improve children’s health in Indonesia during COVID-19 and will provide US$2 million for project implementation.

KOICA appointed eight countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America (including Indonesia, Vietnam, Colombia, and Ethiopia) as the target countries of its COVID-19 response support program. Indonesia is a key partner of South Korea’s New Southern Policy and is a priority partner country for South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) for 2021-2025.

Press release – KOICA (in Korean)

Japan provides US$8 million for COVID-19 response in Palestine

Japan provided ¥879 million (US$8 million) for the COVID-19 response in Palestine.

The funds will be used to ensure rapid and fair access to COVID-19 vaccinations and for COVID-19 vaccine cold chain equipment, which is used to keep the vaccines at the temperature they need to be.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Netherlands starts donations of COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX, Cape Verde, Indonesia

The Dutch government announced that, from the week of July 6, 2021, and onwards, it will start supplying COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX (the global vaccine initiative) and send vaccines to Cape Verde, with donations to Indonesia following later.

Following a large shipment of over one million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the Netherlands, the Dutch government will send the first supply of 500,000 vaccines from the Netherlands to COVAX. This announcement followed the adoption by parliament of a motion to set up a concrete proposal for phased donation policy to COVAX.

The Dutch government is also committed to donating COVID-19 vaccines bilaterally to Cape Verde and Indonesia. In the week of July 6, 2021, 150,000 COVID-19 vaccines will be sent to Cape Verde following a request of the Cape Verdean government to the Netherlands to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later in 2021, the Netherlands will send at least 3 million COVID-19 vaccines to Indonesia. This commitment was made during a conversation between the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigrid Kaag, and the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi.

Press release – Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

News article – NU.nl (in Dutch)

At Generation Equality Forum, Canada pledges US$146 million to address global inequality in care work, commits to Global Alliances for gender equality

At the Paris-held Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, Canada committed CA$180 million (US$146 million) to address root causes of gender inequality around the world, including unpaid and paid care work in low- and middle-income countries, and affirmed its commitment to two Global Alliances for gender equality. These commitments came in addition to Canada’s contribution of CA$300 million (US$243 million) to the Equality Fund made at the GEF Mexico City kickoff event on March 31, 2021. 

As part of this CA$180 million (US$146 million) in funding, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be contributing CA$80 million (US$65 million) for women and girls through GEF Action Coalitions. This includes Canada’s role in co-creating the Global Alliance for Sustainable Feminist Movements, which is being co-developed by Canada, the Netherlands, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Global Fund for Women, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development and the 'Count Me In! Consortium', the Equality Fund, and Prospera. The Alliance will focus on improving financial and political support for women’s rights and feminist organizations. Canada also announced that it will join the Global Alliance for Care, which was created by Mexico's National Institute for Women and UN Women and will address the burden of care that hinders women’s economic participation and opportunities. 

A further CA$100 million (US$81 million) will be committed in new funding for stand-alone international assistance directed to inequality in unpaid and paid care work, geared to help increase women’s ability to participate in economic, educational, and public life. This funding marked the first-ever targeted global investment in the care economy by a donor government.

Canada’s new commitments at the GEF are consistent with its feminist policy on an international scale, represented through Canada’s 2017 Feminist International Assistance Policy. During the Forum, Trudeau also highlighted action taken at home towards gender equality, including Canada’s historic CA$30.0 billion (US$24.2 billion) commitment in the 2021 federal budget to build a nationwide early learning and child care system, which will help to remove barriers to women’s full participation in Canada’s workforce and economy. Through Budget 2021, Canada also made several investments to advance gender equality, including over CA$600 million (US$486 million) to advance a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, and CA$2.2 billion (US$1.8 billion) to implement a National Action Plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. 

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Op-ed - Cooperation Canada

At Generation Equality Forum, US commits US$175 million to support programs against gender-based violence, increases funding toward women's economic empowerment and SRHR

At the Paris-held Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, the US made a number of policy and resource commitments, reflecting both domestic and international priorities. The commitments made were in support of US President Joe Biden's gender equality and equity agenda and centered on three areas: preventing gender-based violence, women's economic empowerment, and protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Biden's fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget included a request for US$1.2 billion for gender programming globally.

Some of the key international commitments included:

  • Updating the 2016 US strategy to combat gender-based violence and committing US$175 million to support programs against gender-based violence, as well as seeking additional resources for the DREAMS services;
  • Mobilizing US$12.0 billion through 2025 in investments by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in businesses that advance gender equity in emerging markets through the 2X Women's Initiative. The DFC pledged to establish a technical assistance program to help advance companies' efforts toward gender equity. Biden's budget also requested US$200 million for the Gender Equity and Equality Fund in FY 2022 to address issues that disproportionately affect women and girls, and Biden committed US$33 million for gender issues in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador); and 
  • Working to increase comprehensive reproductive health services for family planning, including rescinding the Mexico City Policy (also known as the 'global gag rule') and working with UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, to improve and expand such services. Biden has also proposed to increase funding to the UN Population Fund by 72% over FY 2021 levels.

US Vice President Kamala Harris served as one of the opening speakers for the GEF. In her remarks, she stressed the imperative for gender equality in order to strengthen democracy both at home and abroad.  

Press release - The White House

Transcript - The White House

Generation Equality Forum for gender equality kicks off in Paris

Between June 30-July 2, 2021, Paris will host the final segment of the Generation Equality Forum, an international gathering co-hosted by France and Mexico and backed by UN Women, mobilizing governments, international organizations, foundations, companies, civil society organizations, and youth movements to tackle gender inequality.

The Forum this year is taking place 26 years after the Beijing Conference on women and it is organized around the following six Action Coalitions, or partnerships based on thematic focuses:

  1. Gender-based violence;
  2. Economic justice and rights;
  3. Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR);
  4. Feminist action for climate justice;
  5. Technology and innovation for gender equality; and
  6. Feminist movements and leadership.

In addition, a 'Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action' will work to drive action and resources toward these themes.

Each Action Coalition will adopt a targeted set of concrete actions for 2021-2026 to have positive impacts on gender equality and girls’ and women’s human rights, including through financial commitments.

The results of these Action Coalitions will be summarized through a 'Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality', including commitments made by Action Coalition leaders and Commitment Makers.

Registration is open until the end of the Forum.

Program agenda - Generation Equality Forum

At Generation Equality Forum, Germany pledges US$166 million to women’s economic empowerment

At the Paris-held Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the UN Women-convened summit to accelerate gender equality investment, Germany increased its pledges to women's economic empowerment initiatives by €140 million (US$166 million). In total, Germany has pledged €240 million (US$285 million) to this area over the course of the GEF.

Germany was a leader of the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights together with Mexico, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UN Capital Development Fund, the Gates Foundation, and PayPal. Germany also joined the Global Alliance for Care, which was created by Mexico's National Institute for Women and UN Women and will address the burden of care that hinders women’s economic participation and opportunities. 

€25 million (US$30 million) of the German contributions at GEF will go to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which supports female entrepreneurs in building up their businesses through projects in more than 60 countries and was launched under the German G20 presidency in 2017.

Germany has been consistently scaling up its efforts in gender equality and the topic has become a cross-cutting principle for Germany’s development cooperation. Recently, Germany contributed €100 million (US$117 million) to the Global Partnership for Education for the financing mechanism, Girl’s Education Accelerator, which aims to help girls in low-income countries return to school after pandemic-related school closures.

Press release – Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative

Press release – Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (in German)

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

German development minister calls on G20 to increase efforts against hunger crisis

On the second day of the meeting of G20 foreign and development ministers in Italy on June 30, 2021, discussions focused on the topic of humanitarian assistance. German development minister Gerd Müller drew attention to the funding gap that the World Food Programme (WFP) faces in carrying out its work against global hunger.

Emphasizing Germany as the second-largest donor for WFP, Müller urged other G20 countries to contribute to closing this gap.

Müller warned that the number of undernourished people has been rising again in the last few years, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, the climate emergency, and several conflicts. The G20’s joint efforts are more than ever essential to eradicate hunger in the world by 2030, he said.

Press release – Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

News article – Evangelisch.de (in German)

Japan provides US$48 million for COVID-19 response and port renovation in Senegal, strengthening food security in Mali

Japan provided ¥4.9 billion (US$48 million) collectively for the renovation of Dakar's Pier Three and COVID-19 response in Senegal.

The pier in Senegal's capital city's port mainly handles cargo destined for Senegal's neighboring country of Mali. Japan will provide ¥4.4 billion (US$42 million) to renovate the pier, aiming to contribute to the food security in Mali.

Japan also provided ¥514 million (US$6 million) to improve the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Senegal.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan hosts Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021

Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit on December 7-8, 2021. The discussion will be centered around five themes: “(1) Health: Making nutrition integral to Universal Health Coverage, (2) Food: Building food systems that promote safe, healthy diets and nutrition, (3) Resilience: Addressing malnutrition effectively in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, (4) Accountability: Promoting data-driven accountability, and (5) Financing: Securing new investments to tackle malnutrition.”

At the Summit, stakeholders from governments, international organizations, businesses, and civil society will discuss topics related to nutrition and how to address challenges in this area.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

More than 200 civil society organizations call on EU not to block international negotiations on COVID-19 intellectual property waiver

More than 200 civil society organizations (CSOs) globally have signed an open letter to the EU calling on it to engage in text-based negotiations for a waiver on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 medical products.

The European Commission and most EU member states have expressed opposition to a temporary TRIPS waiver to increase global access to COVID-19 vaccines and other medical products. The Commission presented an alternative proposal to increase COVID-19 vaccine access, but CSOs say the proposal does not go far enough. The European Parliament, however, has called for the EU to engage in text-based negotiations, and national parliaments in Spain, France, and Italy have also expressed support for a waiver. 

Open letter - Health Action International

Canada to require 100% zero-emission car sales by 2035, accelerating previous target

On June 29, 2021, Canada announced that it is setting a mandatory target for all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks sales to be zero emissions by 2035 to support Canada’s climate crisis mitigation efforts. 

This announcement marks an acceleration of Canada’s previous target of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040. To ensure the success of this ambitious new climate and infrastructure target, the Government of Canada will support a combination of investments and regulations to help the transition, including working with partners to develop interim 2025 and 2030 targets. 

These new targets are coupled with existing measures to support the zero-emissions vehicle transition, such as investments in zero-emissions charging infrastructure. 

Press release - Transport Canada

Norwegian support for vaccination and other measures against COVID-19 in Syria

Norway remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria, which has become worse during the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, Norway will give the World Health Organization (WHO) NOK20 million (US$2 million) to help Syria with vaccinations and other measures against COVID-19.

The WHO works with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Syrian authorities to distribute COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative. 

Norway is one of the countries contributing the most humanitarian assistance to Syria and neighboring countries. It is estimated that Norway has donated more than NOK15.0 billion (US$1.8 billion) to Syria throughout the last ten years. This is the largest humanitarian effort that Norway has ever made. Norway will also donate at least NOK1.6 billion (US$193 million) this year.     

As a member of the UN Security Council, Norway, together with Ireland, has taken a special responsibility for humanitarian issues related to the crisis in Syria. Ine Eriksen Søreide, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, has underlined that Norway will continue to work on ensuring safe and unhindered access for representatives from the UN and humanitarian organizations in Syria.  

Press release – The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs   

Spain provides Bolivia with essential medical supplies to fight COVID-19

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the Spanish Ministry of Health announced Spain will donate essential medical supplies to the government of Bolivia to help address the COVID-19 crisis in the Andean country.

Spain’s AECID will coordinate a humanitarian operation consisting of antigen tests, antibiotics, and other medicines amounting to €1 million (US$1 million). The Bolivian government will be in charge of disbursing the health supplies to its population. Bolivia is among Spain's priority partner countries.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

With COP26 approaching, Italy to nominate Special Envoy for Climate

At the International Affairs Ministers G20 meeting, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio announced that Italy will nominate a Special Envoy for Climate.

The twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in November 2021 in Glasgow, UK, but Italy will host the pre-COP in Milan from September 30 to October 2, 2021.

Press release – Adnkronos

New Norwegian strategy underlines importance of freedom of expression in development policy

The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, has presented a new strategy for freedom of expression in Norwegian foreign and development policy. The aim of the strategy is to emphasize the importance of ensuring freedom of expression and a free, diverse, and independent media, which is a significant priority in Norway's international work, said Søreide.

The strategy described how Norway will work to promote freedom of expression at all levels, including in the UN, regional organizations, civil society, and while meeting authorities from other countries.  

Søreide stated that freedom of expression is a fundamental right in an open and democratic society. It gives everyone the opportunity to express their own opinions and partake in society on equal terms, which is essential to guarantee other human rights too.

The new strategy underlines that the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists will continue to be an important priority for Norway in foreign policy. In many countries, including in Europe, journalists and the media are under considerable pressure. Threats and attacks have increased due to communication and information-sharing taking place on digital platforms. Female journalists and women working in media are especially exposed to digital violence. Søreide argued that these violent attacks are attacks on people’s freedom of expression and are undermining the equality of the media.

Press release – The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

G20 foreign affairs and development ministers sign declaration on food security, call for partners to join Italy's Food Coalition

The G20 foreign affairs and development ministers met in Matera, Italy on June 29, 2021, to discuss the fight against COVID-19, speeding up the recovery of the global economy, the global climate change emergency, and food shortages in countries in Africa. The meeting culminated in the 'Matera Declaration on food security, nutrition and food systems. A call to action in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond'.

The signatories of this Matera declaration "agree to deliver on food security priorities by enhancing efforts in ensuring safe and adequate nutrition for all, ending all forms of malnutrition, preserving agrobiodiversity, as well as relying on science, innovation, advanced business practices and responsible behaviour complementing traditional knowledge, local food culture and best practices to achieve" the targets of the second sustainable development goal (SDG 2), 'Zero Hunger'.

The meeting renewed calls for partners to join the Food Coalition launched by Italy in partnership with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Food Coalition is a multistakeholder platform that aims to reduce the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security.

Development Ministers Meeting Communiqué - G20

Press release - FAO