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Italy allocates US$216 million to support health multilaterals

The latest Law Decree, approved in early August 2022, created a new fund worth nearly US$216 million under the Ministry of Finance to support health multilaterals.

The new fund will support Italy’s participation in the new World Bank-led Financial Intermediary Fund to prevent, prepare, and respond to future pandemics with a US$108 million contribution for 2022. In addition, US$108 million will be allocated in 2022 to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to procure vaccines for low- and middle-income countries through COVAX’s Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Legislation - Italian Government (in Italian)

Japan donates US$105 million for infectious waste management in Southwest Asia

Japan issued a ¥1.4 billion (US$105 million) grant to improve infectious waste management in Southwest Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In recent years, medical waste, including syringes and personal protective equipment, has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic; many countries have been unable to dispose of waste properly. This grant will help facilitate a plan to improve infectious waste disposal in the three countries and enhance medical care at the same time. It is part of a three-pillar Japanese plan, announced in May 2022 at the G7 Summit, which includes vaccine data management, border management, and infectious waste disposal. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese)

JCIE launches Global Health Task Force ahead of 2023 G7 Summit

The Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) recently launched the Hiroshima G7 Global Health Task Force in preparation for the G7 Summit, which will be hosted in Hiroshima in May 2023. 

The task force was launched by JCIE’s Executive Committee on Global Health and Human Security and will be responsible for presenting recommendations to the Japanese government on global health. It will also organize discussions with participants from various backgrounds, including those from non-G7 countries.

The task force will explore three specific topics including:

  • '100 Days Mission and Access & Delivery (100 Days Mission PLUS);'
  • 'Resilient, Equitable, and Sustainable universal health coverage (UHC);' and
  • 'Global Health Architecture Development.'

Press release – Japan Center for International Exchange

Australia issues first national biosecurity strategy, increases foot and mouth disease support in Indonesia

Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt announced an additional A$10 million (US$7 million) in assistance to Indonesia for foot and mouth disease, which will provide technical assistance and 1 million vaccine doses. The Australian government already announced a A$5 million (US$4 million) package for Indonesia in July 2022, bringing total contributions for foot and mouth disease response in the country up to A$16 million (US$11 million). Australia also allocated A$9 million in Australian domestic and border measures against foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle.  

Robyn Alders at the Australian National University Development Policy Centre emphasized declining Australian government support for international agricultural research and development from 2013 onward. Many bilateral agricultural programs were ended or reduced, as part of wider reductions in Australia’s development assistance budget. This included a reduction of 40% in overall development assistance allocated to Southeast Asia in 2020. 

Alders noted that supporting agricultural biosecurity services in regional countries was far more cost-effective than dealing with a major disease outbreak domestically.

Australia recently issued a new biosecurity strategy that emphasizes partnerships at international, national, and local levels. 

One component of the strategy was to assist in developing global biosecurity standards, conditions, and rules. The strategy also included recommendations for capacity-building to enhance harmonization, information sharing on pests and diseases, and skills exchanges.

News article - The Australian

News article - The Conversation

Strategy - Biosecurity Australia

KOICA appoints Seok-Hwa Hong as new director

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) appointed Seok-Hwa Hong as its new director on August 8, 2022.

Hong has vast experience, serving as an ambassador in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. With his abundant local networks to promote relations with South Korea, much support was given to Latin American countries while he was ambassador. Under his leadership, KOICA will strive to become a central development cooperation agency and a go-to for UN efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). KOICA will continue to pursue the implementation of peaceful, just, and inclusive global values.

Press release – KOICA (in Korean)

News article – Mbn (in Korean)

Public support for Australian ODA increases, says survey

An annual survey by the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre showed that support for ODA has grown significantly since 2018. A separate annual poll by the Lowy Institute confirmed this growth in support amongst Australians,

Only 24% of Australians surveyed said that Australia contributed too much to ODA.

77% of voters for the government party, the Australian Labor Party, believed that ODA is 'about right' or 'not enough.' Australian ODA accounted for less than 1% of federal government spending in 2021, and recent polls indicate growing public support for ODA despite domestic economic challenges.

Report - Development Policy Centre

Report - Lowy Institute

Sweden launches new global gender equality strategy with US$130 million for 2022-2026

Sweden has pledged to continue strengthening its feminist foreign policy through a new gender equality strategy for 2022-2026, amounting to SEK1.3 billion (US$130 million), an increase of SEK300 million (US$29 million) from the previous strategy period (2018-2022).

The new strategy, which will be implemented by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), aims to strengthen efforts to promote global gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls. The strategy highlights the importance of countering discrimination and gender norms as well as all forms of gender-related violence. The government has tasked Sida with promoting women's rights organizations and feminist movements' opportunities to conduct activities.

Press Release – Sida (in Swedish)

Australia to provide 20% of IMF SDRs to development trusts

International Development and Pacific Affairs Minister Pat Conroy indicated that Australia will direct 20% of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR) assets to vulnerable countries. Australia's SDR allocation was valued at approximately A$2.2 billion (US1.7 billion). 

Australia's contribution would go to the Resilience and Sustainability Trust and Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust. In October 2021, G20 countries committed to redirecting US$100 billion to countries in need of SDR entitlements.

Australia and other G20 donors agreed to allocate a proportion of their SDRs to assist low- and middle- income countries in July 2022.

Conroy said Australia would lend an additional 19% of its SDRs to provide reserve resources for the funds. In total, this move will encompass approximately A$4.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) in support.

News article - Global Citizen

Report - Development Policy Centre

PEPFAR head wants to expand approach to address multiple pandemics

The new head of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), John Nkengasong, outlined his vision for how best to handle PEPFAR's mission in an age of multiple pandemics. Speaking before the International AIDS Conference, Nkengasong emphasized how PEPFAR's platform -- which is specifically designed to address HIV/AIDS -- should be used to address other pandemics, including the intensifying monkeypox outbreak.  

Nkengasong also underscored the need for a regional approach that uses all available platforms and resources that were originally established to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. PEPFAR was created almost 20 years ago and has provided more than US$100 billion in surveillance, laboratories, supply chains, workforce development, and information systems. While PEPFAR will remain focused on addressing HIV/AIDS, Nkengasong wants to use its existing infrastructure to help with surveillance of other emerging health crises, underscoring that such threats affect PEPFAR's ability to meet its HIV/AIDS goals.  

News report - Devex 

Draft budget for 2023 outlines BMZ budget cuts

On August 5, 2022, the German Cabinet released the final draft of the 2023 federal budget and the mid-term financial planning up to 2026 and handed it to the parliament. The first parliamentary reading will be held between September 5-9, 2022.

The federal budget for 2023 foresees total spending worth €445.2 billion (US$470.4 billion), which marks a 10% decrease compared to the 2022 budget. This is largely driven by the governing coalition’s reintroduction of the debt brake in 2023, which was paused over the last three years to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences. 

The German government plans to invest €22.4 billion (US$23.7 billion) in ODA in 2023 and plans to spend 0.7% of its GNI on ODA, according to the budget draft. However, the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ’s) budget is set to decrease from €12.4 billion (US$13.1 billion) in 2022 to €11.1 billion (US$11.7 billion) in 2023. Spending for multilateral development cooperation, especially the budget line ‘Contributions to the United Nations, its specialized agencies and other international bodies and non-governmental organizations’ is being cut by nearly half from €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2022 to €507 million (US$536 million) in 2023.

According to the mid-term financial planning, the BMZ’s budget in 2026 is to decrease further to €10.4 billion (US$11.0 billion).

Press release – German Parliament (in German)

Press release – German Parliament (in German)

Federal Budget Draft 2023 (in German)

US Congressional bill aims to increase MCC's reach to address rising poverty

Legislation is working its way through the United State Congress to expand the eligibility of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to allow the agency to better address poverty. Currently, MCC can only work in 81 low-income countries; the new legislation would raise that number to 125, allowing it to address rising poverty in middle-income countries.

The current eligibility requirements require strict adherence to a number of issues, including income and governance, that are evaluated through the agency's scorecard.  If successful, countries enter into five-year compacts that allow for longer-term development. MCC has worked in most of the 81 countries that meet the eligibility requirements and is now looking to expand into countries where income levels are higher but poverty is rising. 

The proposed legislation passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a similar measure is under discussion in the US Senate.

News report - Devex

Democracy, inclusivity should be at heart of EU development assistance, says think tank

The EU’s new development instrument, the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) - Global Europe, should put democracy at the center of its programming by being more inclusive and participatory, argues Carnegie Europe. Decision-making about development funding should not be imposed on EU partner countries.

The think tank suggests that policy dialogue should be conducted not just at the executive level but should also include more democratic actors, such as parliaments, trade unions, and political parties, particularly around budget support, one of the EU’s main financing modalities.

Carnegie Europe also argues for fostering increased women’s political participation, particularly for gender strategies. 

White Paper - Carnegie Europe

South Korea creates K-Bio Vaccine Fund with US$383 million to strengthen vaccine production, innovation

South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced plans to create the 'K-Bio Vaccine Fund' to promote investment in new medicine and vaccines.

The 'K-Bio Vaccine Fund' will be created with KRW500 billion (US$383 million) to develop innovative medicine for domestic pharmaceutical companies, enhance competitiveness in the vaccine industry, and support them to enter the global pharmaceutical and bio markets. The MOHW plans to expand this fund to KRW1 trillion (US$765 million) in the future and hopes the fund revitalizes the bio-health industry and creates innovative development of new medicine in South Korea.

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Medifonews (in Korean)

Japan signs US$14 million grant agreement with Afghanistan for agricultural productivity

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a ¥1.9 billion (US$14 million) grant agreement with Afghanistan to support agricultural productivity and the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods. The grant is part of the 'Project for the Enhancement of Food Production Capacity in Afghanistan.'

The 2021 drought led to severe food shortages in Afghanistan and the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has exasperated the food crisis. About half of all farmers in the country are facing a decrease in harvestable crops and three million farm animals could also be lost.

The project aims will carry out initiatives in 11 provinces in Afghanistan including:

  • Rehabilitation of 326 small-scale irrigation facilities;
  • Distribution of seed packages to 18,000 agriculture farmers;
  • Distribution of livestock-protection packages including feed and vaccinations to 10,000 livestock farmers;
  • Provision of home-gardening kits to 20,500 households; and
  • Training related to the above activities.

Press release – JICA

UK could count US$403 million in leftover COVID-19 vaccine donations as ODA

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit organization, has estimated that up to £300 million (US$403 million) of UK ODA that could have been used to support humanitarian disasters will be cut due to the government’s decision to count donations of leftover COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle- income countries as ODA. The UK has donated approximately 85 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since June 2021 – short of the 100 million it pledged to deliver at the G7. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) international rules for counting vaccine donations as ODA – the UK's donations so far could account for £275 million (US$369 million) - £300 million (US$403 million) of the UK’s ODA budget.

NGOs and opposition parties in the UK have criticized the UK government’s decision to count its leftover vaccines as ODA, noting that the move will result in less funding for humanitarian and development programs. The ONE Campaign, an international development NGO, estimates that this funding would have been enough to reverse the £131 million (US$ 176 million) in cuts to the UN’s main reproductive health program, which the UN says would prevent 250,000 maternal and child deaths, and could also help to restore nearly all of the UK’s £200 million (US$268 million) in funding cuts for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects.

News article - The Telegraph

Italy allocates US$40 million to stabilize migration flows triggered by food security crisis

Italy allocated US$40 million to stabilize migration flows triggered by the food security crisis in the North African, Sahel, and West African regions. 

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a package of interventions worth US$40 million under its 'Migration Fund' to address increasing migration flows triggered by the global food security crisis, which has significantly affected those in the North African, Sahel, and West African regions.

These initiatives will be carried out in strategically important countries for Italy’s migration policy, such as Libya, Niger, and countries in the Sahel; they will serve to counter human trafficking and human rights violations in those areas. The interventions will also be coupled with other projects, which will be rolled out in West African countries such as Nigeria and the Ivory Coast to strengthen local capacities to handle migration flows.

News article - Onu Italia

FAO launches US$40 million project to address grain shortages in Ukraine

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a new CA$52 million (US$40 million) Canada-funded project to address grain storage shortages in Ukraine and sustain global food supplies.

The immediate impact of the project will be an expansion and immediate availability of storage capacities - an additional 2.4 million tonnes of grain storage between 2022-2023 - at this critical harvest time for Ukrainian producers of grain and oil seeds, while the longer-term impact will be in sustaining global food supplies. This project will strengthen food security and protect livelihoods in Ukraine, while also ensuring other grain import-dependent countries retain access to adequate grain supplies at a fair cost.

14% of food storage facilities in Ukraine, a major global crop-producing country, have been damaged or destroyed by the Russian invasion, and an additional 10% are located in Russian-occupied territories. 

Press release - FAO

Press release - FAO

Italy strengthens UNICEF support in Djibouti

Italy allocated US$1 million to support UNICEF’s activities in Djibouti. The donation will be funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and will be carried out in the next 24 months to prevent violence against children and facilitate access to basic services for the most vulnerable households.

Italy will also support UNICEF and the government in Djibouti to decentralize its judiciary system and provide stronger protection for other fragile groups within the population such as migrants, internally displaced persons, and child victims of various forms of exploitation. 

News article - Italian Agency for Development Cooperation

Australian NGOs call for US$105 million increase in ODA for humanitarian crises

The Help Fight Famine Alliance asked the Australian government to increase ODA by A$150 million (US$105 million) before the revised national budget for 2022/23 is delivered on October 25, 2022.

The urgent package would assist humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and the 'Horn of Africa'. The Alliance said the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and severe weather have created a situation that could kill more people than COVID-19 through hunger.

The Alliance is comprised of 23 Australian development NGOs, including the Australian Council for International Development, Save the Children, and Micah.

News article - News.com

Canada announces funding for LGBTQ+ projects in LICs

At the Vancouver Pride Festival on July 31, 2022, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced CA$9 million (US$7 million) for three projects supporting marginalized LGBTQ+ communities in low-income countries (LICs) around the world. 

This funding will be allocated through three organizations: APCOM Foundation, Cuso International, and the World Bank Group. The projects are intended to improve services and operations of local LGBTQ+ organizations in Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, and Thailand), to create more inclusive and gender-responsive work and community environments for LGBTQ+ youth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to expand country-level research on sexual and gender minorities in LICs.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada