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South Korea pledges US$7 million to UN agencies to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality in Egypt

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it will provide US$4 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and US$3 million to UN Women by 2024 to help Egypt achieve the fifth UN sustainable development goal (SDG 5) on gender equality.

KOICA will support efforts to prevent gender-based violence, the UNFPA's gender equality response project, and UN Women's women’s economic empowerment project.

Egypt was newly selected as a priority partner country for South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) for 2021-2025.

News article – Money S (in Korean)

New polling data reveals UK public support for UK government spending on international development assistance has risen sharply this year

The Development Engagement Lab, a research organization based at the University College London and the University of Birmingham, found a significant increase in public support across the political spectrum for the UK government giving development assistance to lower-income countries.

The Development Engagement Lab has been tracking public opinion on development assistance for several years. Past polling data from the Lab showed that up until 2019, the number of respondents who said the government should increase or maintain its assistance spending had been relatively stable at mid to low 40% range, but from September 2019 to January 2021, the number fell from 46% to 43%. New polling data since January 2021, however, has seen the number rise to 53%, and this has come from respondents with both left- and right-leaning political tendencies.

This finding, while only from one opinion poll, is in stark contrast to a YouGov poll carried out November 2020 when the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced cuts to the UK development assistance budget. That YouGov poll found that two-thirds of respondents supported the government’s decision to reduce the amount it spends on assistance.

Analysts note many factors behind the rise in support for international development spending since January 2021. These include an increased awareness of the negative impact of the UK government’s development assistance cuts on people’s lives and livelihoods around the world due to media coverage, the rising opposition to the cuts by prominent Conservative party members, and (potentially) a growing realization of global connectivity among UK citizens as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the need to help others for mutual self-interest.

News article – BBC news

Spain to support transformative digitalization in Africa

On June 28, 2021, the Spanish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Ibero-America, Cristina Gallach, hosted a strategic meeting between leadership representatives from ‘Smart Africa’, a public-private partnership aimed at fostering digitalization in the African continent, civil society organizations, and the government of Spain.

Gallach underlined transformative digitalization as the cornerstone of Spain’s efforts to support sustainable development, inclusive education, women's empowerment, universal health care, and the fight against the climate crisis in Africa. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation's (MAUC) priorities in Africa were earmarked in the 'Foco África 2023' operative plan, which was approved by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ cabinet in March 2021.

Press release – MAUC (in Spanish)

Former UK Chancellor of Exchequer, Sajid Javid, is appointed new UK Minister of Health

The UK government announced that Sajid Javid will be the UK’s new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Javid was formerly the UK Chancellor of Exchequer in early 2020 before resigning after disagreements with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the appropriate path for the UK economy.

Javid replaces Matt Hancock, who resigned as Secretary of State for Health on June 27, 2021, following revelations that he had breached the government’s COVID-19 social distancing rules.

Press release – UK Government

Australia to donate surplus AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to regional countries

The Australian government is reportedly planning to donate unused AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Australia to neighboring countries. Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, pledged at the recent Cornwall G7 meeting that Australia would contribute 20 million vaccine doses to low-income countries. 

The use of AstraZeneca in Australia has now been recommended only for Australia's population over 60 years of age, due to blood clotting rates experienced in the past month. Instead, Australia will be supplied with increasing amounts of the imported Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from September 2021. Demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine has, therefore, dropped considerably.

However, the Australian government signed a contract in 2020 with Melbourne-based biotechnology company, CSL, to produce 50 million doses of AstraZeneca.

The World Health Organization has recommended that Pacific Island countries continue the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

News article - The Guardian Australia

German development ministry contributes US$119 million to sustainable energy transformation in African countries

During the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) annual meeting, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development announced that as part of its international climate financing, it would provide US$119 million (€100 million) for AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa. The Fund aims to promote private investments in renewable energy sources in African countries and thereby support access to sustainable and modern energy services.

Germany is the biggest European shareholder of AfDB and is thus considered an important partner for facilitating the sustainable development of the African continent. The Parliamentary State Secretary Maria Flachsbarth emphasized AfDB’s key role in financing the African energy transformation, in the fight against the climate crisis, and in the creation of new jobs in the renewable energy sector. 

Press release – German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)

Japan provides U$9 million to strengthen COVID-19 vaccine cold chain in India

Japan announced that it will provide US$9 million to strengthen the COVID-19 vaccine cold chain, including cold-storage facilities and transportation, as part of 'Last Mile Support', through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in India.

These funds aim to complement the COVAX Facility's efforts in ensuring rapid and fair access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Canada provides additional medical supplies to fight COVID-19 in Pakistan and Nepal

On June 24, 2021, Canadian Ministers including the  Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, announced that Canada would be sending ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to Pakistan and Nepal to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The support includes 162 ventilators and related equipment to Pakistan, as well as 27 ventilators and over 16,000 units of PPE to Nepal. This support is in addition to previous funds allocated to the Nepalese Red Cross, as well as 600 oxygen concentrators and supplies to Nepal, and 1000 oxygen concentrators and supplies to Pakistan. These additional supplies are being donated by Canada to help respond to the urgent needs arising from the latest wave of the pandemic in Nepal and Pakistan.

Press release – Global Affairs Canada

European Parliament adopts report urging EU member states to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights

The European Parliament voted in a recent plenary session to adopt a report calling for EU member states to ensure universal access for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). 

The report recognizes the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women’s health and rights and urges member states to ensure access to safe and legal abortion as well as high-quality contraceptive methods and family counseling. The report emphasizes the need for comprehensive sexuality education for primary and secondary school children to help reduce sexual violence and harassment. Members of the European Parliament also endorsed exemptions for value-added tax (VAT) on menstrual products. 

Press release - European Parliament

Australian parliamentary subcommittee recommends assistance to Myanmar should only be provided through NGOs

Dave Sharma, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Trade subcommittee of Australia’s parliament, announced the subcommittee had made eight recommendations on Australia’s response to the military coup which took place in Myanmar in February 2021.

One recommendation was that the continuation of Australia’s development assistance to Myanmar should target civil society and humanitarian requirements, and it should be redirected from government agencies to be delivered through non-governmental organizations.

The parliamentary subcommittee also recommended that the Australian government develop a medium- to long-term plan for its humanitarian assistance to Myanmar

Press release - Medianet

Dutch parliament discusses climate financing, health infrastructure, women’s and children’s rights

Following the publication of the Dutch government’s annual report for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of 2020, the Dutch parliament held a debate about Dutch development cooperation policy.

Points discussed during the debate included the increase of official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) while providing climate financing, preserving the international health infrastructure developed during COVID-19, and promoting the rights of women and children.

During the debate, members of parliament (MPs) also submitted motions which will be brought to a vote on June 29, 2021. MP Tom Van der Lee of the Green Party (GroenLinks) submitted a motion calling on the government to further the Netherlands' green investments concerning climate mitigation and adaptation, and MP Anne Kuik submitted a motion asking the minister to come up with a proposal on how the Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) can be extended.

Press release – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Full debate recording – Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Norway announces new agreement to increase food security and climate resilience in Niger

Dag-Inge Ulstein, the Norwegian Minister of International Development, announced in a press release that Norway has signed an agreement of NOK100 million (US$12 million) to strengthen food security in Niger, a partner country to Norway in the Sahel, an African region which is known for especially contending with conflicts, poverty, climate change, and population growth.  

The new agreement follows Norway's new strategy for the Sahel region, which focuses on supporting civil society and continuing previous work on improving governance in the Sahel countries.  

The Norwegian funding to Niger will go to a collaborative project together with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and CARE Norway. The project will run for five years and ensure that over 280,000 people in communities with low resilience to the climate crisis are offered better and healthier food. The project will also help create jobs in Niger.   

With the support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NMBU, CARE Norway, and the National Agricultural Research Institute of Niger (INRAN) will work together on solutions regarding how the agriculture sector in Niger can ensure sufficient nutritious food. The aim is to support farmers in adapting their food production to climate change, as well as increase the revenue from small-scale agriculture. It is estimated that 40,000 households will be reached by 2026. Another important aspect of the project is to ensure entrepreneurship training for women and the younger generations in Niger.  

Press release – The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Norway provides 452,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX

Norway has announced that it will provide over 450,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative, to Nicaragua, Uganda, and Haiti. The Norwegian donation is a part of the 'Team Europe' plan for sharing COVID-19 vaccines.  

Like other EU countries, Norway is currently vaccinating the majority of its population, and its society is reopening. At the same time, many lower-income countries in the world are experiencing a completely different situation, with little access to vaccines and a third wave of COVID-19 cases.

Since vaccines have been available, the World Health Organization has been urging higher-income nations to do their part and share vaccines with countries that have little to no access to vaccines, in order to help end the pandemic for all. 

Norway has also donated 182,900 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Kosovo through the EU.

Press release – The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

US begins COVID-19 vaccine distribution to Latin America, Africa, and Asia

The US has released details regarding where 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that it plans to donate will go. Of these doses, about 14 million will go to Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 million to Asia, and about 10 million to Africa. The remaining 25% of the vaccines will go to "regional priorities". 

The 55 million doses will go primarily for distribution through COVAX, the global vaccine initiative.  

This follows the US' previous announcement that it would distribute a total of 80 million doses, with the priorities shared for the first 25 million doses earlier this month. This supply is in addition to the 500 million doses that the US pledged to give leading up to the G7 earlier in June 2021.

The White House described the logistical challenge of distributing the vaccines as "Herculean" but said it was determined to get the vaccines on the ground as quickly as possible. 

News article - Reuters

Canada announces US$21 million in humanitarian assistance for Nigeria

On June 23, 2021, the High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, announced CA$27 million (US$21 million) in new humanitarian assistance for Nigeria.

The contribution will help fight food insecurity and provide critical health and protection services in northeast Nigeria, with a focus on women and girls who are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing conflict in the region.

Twitter - High Commission of Canada to Nigeria

News article - The Guardian Nigeria

South Korea’s grant assistance agency to support COVID-19 vaccinations in Vietnam

South Korea's Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced that it will support COVID-19 vaccinations in Vietnam, in partnership with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of Vietnam, and it will implement a vaccination response system and promote capacity building of health and medical personnel with the contribution of almost US$3 million.

News article – Herald Economy (in Korean)

With G7 nations, Japan sets goal to raise US$15 billion deliver financial services to women

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) set a goal to raise US$15.0 billion to deliver finical services to women as part of the 'G7 2X Challenge: Financing for Women' (2X Challenge).

The 2X Challenge was founded by development finance institutions of the G7 nations for women’s economic empowerment. The COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation for women in emerging economies, and research shows that US$1.00 trillion could be lost from global growth if female workers hit hard by the pandemic do not return to the workforce. Therefore, with G7 nations, Japan and development finance institutions announced the goal of raising an additional US$15.0 billion by the end of 2022.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan launches US$192 million in non-guaranteed domestic bonds

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched ¥20.0 billion (US$192 million) in non-guaranteed domestic bonds in two tranches: ¥10.0 billion (US$96 million) with a 10-year maturity and ¥10.0 billion (US$96 million) with a 20-year maturity.

These bonds were qualified by the Japan Research Institute and were dubbed as 'Social Bonds' by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA). These bonds are expected to contribute to the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

EU member states commit to strengthening EU approach to development

EU member states representatives in the Council of the EU released several sets of Council conclusions on enhancing the European financial architecture for development, affirming the EU’s commitment to human development (including through the global COVID-19 response), establishing tailored partnerships with middle-income partner countries, and "building back better" after COVID-19 through implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. 

Conclusions included: 

  • To enhance the European financial architecture for development, the whole European financial ecosystem, especially the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, should strengthen cooperation with European development banks in a 'Team Europe' approach and combine resources for better results on the ground.
  • The Council affirmed its support for human development through official development assistance (ODA). The EU should continue to ensure universal, equitable access to essential medicines, vaccines, and health technology, notably through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and its vaccines pillar, COVAX. The Council calls on the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to take "concrete financial actions" to reach the EU's spending target of 20% of ODA for human development.
  • The Council affirmed the EU's commitment to establishing tailored partnerships with middle-income countries (MICs) in line with the European Consensus on Development, the EU’s development strategy. The EU should do more to support MICs’ sustainable and inclusive recovery, but also to support lowest-income countries in becoming lower-middle-income countries to transition to newer, more sustainable forms of development financing and cooperation.
  • The COVID-19 crisis is threatening global progress on the SDGs, so the EU should help partner countries to “build back better and greener” by taking concrete actions to implement the SDGs.

Conclusions on European financial architecture for development - Council of the EU

Conclusions on human development - Council of the EU

Conclusions on middle-income countries - Council of the EU

Conclusions on SDGs - Council of the EU 

Sweden releases report on official development assistance for global health in 2020

On June 22, 2021, the Swedish government released its annual report on Sweden’s official development assistance (ODA) for global health in 2020, summarizing statistics from Sweden's Government Offices and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) on ODA for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Sweden's ODA for global health reached its highest level ever in 2020, amounting to SEK 6.2 billion (US$743 million), of which 58% was channeled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the remaining 42% through Sida. Primarily, the support has been allocated toward combatting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in sustainable health care systems, and support for protecting SRHR.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)