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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

Dutch development minister announces additional US$11 million to GFF, reiterates commitment to WHO, Gavi, Global Fund

On May 4, 2020, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, answered questions from Dutch Parliamentary representatives regarding COVID-19 and poverty in low-income countries. Kaag informed parliament of the new contribution of  €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Financing Facility (GFF),noting that it is part of the €100 million million) package earlier announced.

This funding is intended to support low- and lower-middle-income countries to ensure continuation of essential health and nutrition services during the COVID-19 crisis and for the direct COVID-19 response, including the purchasing of protective equipment and hiring of additional health personnel.

Lastly, Kaag reviewed other pledged allocations of the Netherlands towards the international response, and reconfirmed Dutch support for other multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organisation; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

EU Development ministers discuss key issues in Tallin

EU ministers responsible for development met informally under the rubric of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss digitalization, relations with advanced developing countries, crisis prevention, and the European External Investment Plan, designed to promote investment in EU partner countries in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region. NGO representatives present at the meeting reportedly raised concerns about repurposing development assistance for European security and migration management through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.  

Website and livestream - EU2017

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

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) 

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

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

G-FINDER to launch neglected disease report ahead of World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

Policy Cures Research will launch the G-FINDER Neglected Disease Report on January 27, 2022, which will review investments and commitments made during FY2020 to fight poverty-related diseases. 

Individuals can join the launch of the G-FINDER report at 13:00pm GMT on January 27, 2022. 

The report will be released just before World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, which will take place on January 30, 2022. 

Event registration - Policy Cures Research

G-FINDER Data Portal - Policy Cures Research

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

EU's Coronavirus Global Response conference raises total US$8.2 billion

The Coronavirus Global Response international pledging conference on May 4, 2020 — which was hosted by the European Commission together with Germany, UK, France, Japan, Italy, and Canada — raised €7.4 billion (US$8.2 billion) in pledges for the global cooperation effort to respond to COVID-19. Notably, the United States declined to participate.

The EU and its member states raised €4.0 billion (US$4.4 billion) of the total amount pledged by world leaders and foundations. The European Commission committed a total of €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in grants alongside €400 million (US$442 million) in guarantees on loans, with €100 million (US$110 million) going to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and €158 million (US$174 million) going to the WHO. However, this €1.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) pledge largely re-packages the funding the Commission has previously committed since the fundraising effort counted money already spent or allocated since January.
 
Of the total raised, at least US$1.4 billion was specifically earmarked for CEPI, at least US$267 million for the therapeutics accelerator, and an additional US$1.1 billion was specifically earmarked as other research and development efforts for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. A total of US$1.3 billion of new funding was pledged for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for its 2020 replenishment.
 
In a strong symbolic show of unity, world leaders expressed the importance of global cooperation and solidarity to address the COVID-19 crisis, citing the need to make sure any future vaccine is equitably accessible to all.
 
In addition to Europe, world leaders from around the globe participated, including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, and the President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and African Union Chairperson. China participated at the ministerial level. High-level representatives from industry, the World Bank, WHO, Gavi, UNITAID, and others also participated.
 
The governance arrangements for managing the money raised is still largely to be determined, but the funds will go to three partnerships for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, to be co-convened by the following global health organizations, respectively: CEPI (jointly with Gavi), the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (jointly with UNITAID) and FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, jointly with the Global Fund).

Press release - European Commission
 
Opening remarks by President von der Leyen - European Commission
 
Opening remarks by President Charles Michel - European Council
 
Q&A: The Coronavirus Global Response - European Commission
 
Coronavirus Global Response webpage - European Commission

News article - Politico

Spain unveils water and sanitation facility in Honduras

Spain’s ambassador to Honduras, Miguel Alberto Suárez, inaugurated a wastewater treatment plant in Honduras’ Sorosca region. The initiative aims to provide safe drinking water to 45,000 people in Santa Rosa de Copán. With €10 million in financing from the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation (FCAS) and a €300,000 municipal budget, the project aims also to provide a city-wide wastewater connection system to be completed by March 2018. 

Press release - AECID (in Spanish)

Report notes lack of Norwegian policy coherence for development

Norway's development agency, Norad, has released a report titled 'Evaluation of Norwegian Efforts to Ensure Policy Coherence for Development'. The report, conducted by Fafo Research Foundation in collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo recommends 1) establishing a new forum with a range of experts to open and initiate debates related to policy coherence, 2) that the forum annually reviews Norwegian policy goals against global development goals, and 3) that embassies systematically report to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on any issues that arise. 

Report - Norad

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

CONCORD reports that increases in EU development cooperation are being offset by in-donor costs

CONCORD, the European network representing more than 2,000 NGOs and relief organizations around Europe, has released its 2017 AidWatch Report. The report finds that a substantial increase of 27% in development spending is being offset by “inflated aid” reporting for in-donor costs and debt relief. It also notes that 23 of 28 EU member states increased their assistance budgets; that “development” spending for migrants, refugees, and securitization increased by 43%; and that spending on least-developed countries decreased.

According to the report, it could take European donors another 30 years to meet the 0.7/GNI target at current spending rates. 

Publication - CONCORD Europe

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)

Foreign ministers pledge to fight for women’s rights at first all-female summit

Female foreign ministers meeting in Canada for the Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (WFMM), the first summit of its kind, vowed to bring a "women's perspective" to foreign policy. Co-hosted by Canada and the European Union, the event took place in Montreal from September 21-22, 2018. Foreign ministers from Canada, Italy,  Norway, Sweden, and 13 other countries attended, sharing knowledge on how women in foreign policy can be champions for gender equality and women's rights. 

News article - France24

US administrator announces new development impact bond for India

During closing remarks of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in India from November 28-30, 2017, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced the creation of the 'Utkrisht Impact Bond' to fund maternal and newborn health in the Indian state of Rajasthan.  The UBS Optimus Foundation, a grant-making foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children worldwide, is providing the initial working capital of US$3.5 million. Up to US$8 million will be provided by USAID and Merck for Mothers, a 10-year US$500 million initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, if certain health targets are met. 

News article - Devex

Norway promotes Global Financing Facility ahead of November conference to mobilize resources

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Development Nikolai Astrup have written a joint opinion piece on how Norway has worked this year to involve even more countries in their efforts to achieve equality for women through better health, nutrition, and control over own lives through the Global Financing Facility (GFF). On November 5-6, 2018 Norway is hosting a conference for GFF in Oslo, together with Burkina Faso, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The conference aims to mobilize contributions that will be able to prevent the deaths of millions of women, children, and youth in 50 countries. 

Solberg and Astrup emphasize that the GFF model is not only about development assistance. The countries themselves must invest, so GFF financing becomes a catalyst for mobilizing national and private investments. GFF has, for instance, helped Cameroon increase its health budget from eight percent of the national budget in 2017 to 20 percent by 2020. 

Opinion piece - Dagbladet (Norwegian)

European institutions gearing up for a busy autumn

In the coming months, the European Commission will prepare its 2018 workplans and begin drafting a proposal for the next seven-year EU Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). The Commission will reportedly present a first draft proposal in May 2018.

Meanwhile, the Council of the EU and its working groups will be looking at development post-Cotonou; migration and development; a mid-term review of development assistance programming; preparations for the Africa-EU summit; and EU global strategy, among other things. The European Parliament will take action on the proposed EU 2018 budget and vote on a Commission paper on the future of EU finances in October 2018.

Website - European Council