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With US$29 million on offer, Spain launches annual call for proposals from development NGOs

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) launched its annual call for proposals for development NGOs implementing projects in partner countries. The funding line, which this year amounts to €25 million (US$29 million) and represents a US$3 million increase from 2019, will be mostly addressed to development projects focusing on vulnerable populations in priority partner countries affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

According to AECID, Spain’s priority partner countries are Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, the Philipines, the Saharawi People, Senegal, and Tunisia.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

Canada's IDRC launches call for proposals on opportunities for women in East Africa

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have put forth a call for "research proposals on Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) – East Africa."

Research is needed on unpaid care work and gender segregation of the labor market in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. IDRC is seeking to understand the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions and policies in reducing "gender economic gaps" in order to scale the impact of successful programming.  

Successful proposals will include "locally grounded in-depth evaluative and action research to provide evidence, practical tools, and guidance to inform policies and actions." 

Call for proposals- IDRC 

Trump administration releases plans and funding for women's empowerment program

The Trump administration unveiled agency plans and new funding to support its Women's Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) program.

Ten agencies, including the Departments of State and Treasury and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), submitted their commitments for pillar three of W-GDP, which focuses on removing legal, regulatory, and cultural barriers to women. The administration also announced US$122 million in funding for this effort. The overall goal of W-GDP is to reach 50 million women by 2025. 

News article - Devex

US State Department claims expansion of global gag rule has had little effect on health care; most research shows otherwise

The US State Department issued a report claiming that the effect of the Trump administration's Mexico City policy -- also referred to as the global gag rule -- had not affected most grants.

The rule, officially named 'Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,' prohibits foreign NGOs who receive US global health assistance from providing any abortion services, including referrals and counseling. The Trump rule, which expanded restrictions on the previous Reagan-era law, is estimated to affect more than 1,300 global health projects worth approximately US$12 billion in US assistance.  

The State Department's review claimed that only 8 out of 1,340 awardees opted out of the policy. Critics of the policy were quick to point out that while the number of grantees that opted out was small, they are very consequential providers, representing hundreds of millions of health care services. The report also acknowledged that the policy has resulted in "a gap or disruptions to delivery", additional costs, and delays in implementation. Sub-Saharan Africa was the region most affected. 

Advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights also expressed concern about the policy's effect on other health care services, such as HIV/AIDs, nutrition, and malaria. A representative from the Guttmacher Institute called the policy a US foreign assistance weapon "to attack sexual and reproductive health and rights. While numerous studies have documented the policy’s harms, there is no evidence — none — that the global gag rule has had any positive impacts.”

News report - CNN

News report - Devex

EU to fund 23 research projects on COVID-19 response with US$147 million

The European Commission has selected 23 new research projects to support with €128 million (US$147 million) in funding as a part of its €1.4 billion (US$1.6 billion) pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, which it helped launch.

The research projects are aimed at studying several key aspects of the crisis including:

  • Analyzing measures for strengthening industrial capacity for manufacturing and deploying COVID19-related products;
  • Understanding the behavioral and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic; and
  • Developing methods for enhancing collaboration of existing EU and international cohorts.

Participating research teams span over 40 countries, including 16 non-EU countries. 

Press release - European Commission

Pacific Islands face threat of major instability and hunger, says Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General

Dame Meg Taylor, head of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, has warned that Pacific regional economies face a prolonged challenge that would aggravate existing nutrition, healthcare, and state fragility issues. Taylor was speaking prior to a virtual meeting of Forum economic ministers.

The ANU Development Policy Centre reported that per capita income in the Pacific has barely risen since 1980 and that poor health systems and unemployment levels have made the region particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Of the 20 top assistance-dependent countries in the world, one is Timor Leste and another nine are located in the South Pacific. The Centre has therefore established a Pacific COVID Economic Database to enable monitoring of economic policy across the Pacific countries.

News article - The Guardian Australia

Development Policy Centre Blog - Australian National University

Japan provides US$6 million for COVID-19 response in Ecuador

Japan announced that it will provide ¥700 million (US$6 million) for health and medical equipment to strengthen Ecuador’s response to COVID-19.

As the virus has spread throughout Guayas Province, the Japanese government has identified an urgent need to increase response capability, including the provision of medical equipment and the strengthening of its health care system.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

France and UN convene donor summit, mobilize US$297 million for Lebabnon recovery efforts

After explosions devastated Beirut on August 4, 2020, fifteen government leaders took part in a virtual resource mobilization conference to support the early recovery and humanitarian assistance in Lebanon. The pledging conference was organized by France and the United Nations.

The conference mobilized pledges worth US$297 million, according to the office of the French President, Emmanuel Macron. France pledged €30 million (US$35 million) and the EU Commission €63 million (US$74 million).

Officials estimate the explosion may have caused up to $15.0 billion of damage.

News article - BBC

European Commission commits US$73 million in emergency funding for Lebanon

The European Commission has pledged to provide €63 million (US$73 million) in emergency humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in response to the explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 and its impact on the Lebanese people.

In a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen committed €30 million (US$34 million) in financial support, in addition to teams of trained specialists in search-and-rescue and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection, as well as other support. During an international pledging conference for Lebanon held August 9, the European Commission pledged a further €33 million (US$38 million) in to address the immediate needs of those impacted by the explosion. 

Press release - European Commission
Read-out - European Commission
News article - Euractiv

Germany pledges US$23 million in emergency assistance to Lebanon

At the August 9, 2020 virtual pledging conference to raise money for Lebanon's recovery efforts, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced a German contribution of €20 million (US$23 million) in emergency funding to support Lebanon in the aftermath of the August 4 explosion in Beirut.

Half of the funding will come from the Federal Foreign Office budget, while another €10 million (US$11 million) will be provided by the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  This pledge comes on top of the already announced €2 million in funding for relief supplies to be delivered by the German Red Cross.

The virtual event was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and mobilized pledges worth US$297 million to help address the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster.

Press release – Federal Foreign Office

News article – Politico

UK commits US$25 million in humanitarian support to Lebanon

The UK Secretary for State for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, committed £20 million (US$25 million) in UK humanitarian assistance to Lebanon following the devastating explosion in Beirut onAugust 4, 2020, which has compounded the county’s existing fragilities. The commitment was made at a virtual pledging summit convened on August 9 by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.  

The UK has already made £5 million (US$6 million) available to relief efforts, with £3 million (US$4 million) provided to the British Red Cross for the emergency relief effort following the explosion.

The UK has provided £743 million (£942 million) in support to Lebanon, since the 2011 outbreak of the Syria crisis.

Press release - UK government

Norway will support Lebanon in aftermath of Beirut explosions with additional funding of US$5 million

Norway will support Lebanon with an additional NOK45 million (US$5 million) in the aftermath of the explosions on August 4, 2020. Increasing its financial contribution to meet the new humanitarian needs in Lebanon, Norway's total contribution to Lebanon amounts to NOK70 million (US$8 million). 

In recent years, Norway has given significant funding to Lebanon and for 2020, funding was planned at around NOK470 million (US$51 million). The contribution is targeted at the need for continued political and economic reform in Lebanon, including the fight against corruption but will now also include medical assistance for those injured in the explosion, as well as food and shelter for the many who have lost their homes.

Norway will also provide 40 tons of medical equipment and is in the process of entering an agreement with the World Food Program to provide NOK40 million (US$4 million) to ensure the necessary food support to the people affected. The government has also raised the possibility of using the flexible funds through established partnerships with Norwegian voluntary organizations, such as the Norwegian Church Aid and Save the Children. 

Press release – The Norwegian Government

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to Lebanon following Beirut explosion

In the wake of the devestating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020, Canada has announced support for the humanitarian response to the disaster.

Canda committed to providing CAD5 million (US$4 million) in humanitarian assistance. A portion of the funding (CAD2 million or US$1 million) will be channeled through humanitarian organizations working in Lebanon to support the provision of emergency medical services, food, and shelter.  

Canada has also started the 'Lebanon Matching Fund' through which the government will match all donations made by Canadians to the Humanitarian Coalition between August 4 and 24, 2020, up to a maximum of CAD2 million (US$1 million).

Press release - Global Affairs Canada (funding announcement)

Press release - Global Affairs Canada (Matching Fund)

Sweden provides US$500,000 in support to Lebanon

In response to the devastation from the explosion in Beirut, the Swedish International Development cooperation Agency (Sida) has provided a grant of almost SEK 5 million (US$500,000) to the Red Cross in support of victims through mobile health teams, ambulances, and shelters.

"It is important that we act quickly now. The situation is extremely difficult and the needs are enormous for the care of the large number of injured people," said Göran Holmqvist, Director of the Department for Asia, Middle East and Humanitarian Assistance. "Sida is in contact with several of our humanitarian partners who are on site and we are prepared to provide more support to the work of helping victims in different ways."

The disbursement was made within 24 hours following the Lebanese request for support.

Press release – Sida (in Swedish)

US DFC steps back from controversial domestic COVID-19 investment

The United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced that it was pausing on a controversial decision to provide a US$765 million loan to Eastman Kodak for the production of pharmaceuticals related to COVID-19.

The loan was being provided as part of a new authority granted by President Trump to allow the DFC to utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA) to improve domestic health supplies. Providing the DFC with DPA authority has raised a number of concerns as to why a new agency focused solely on foreign investments should have any domestic role, especially when it is still trying to fully open its doors.

The specific investment in Kodak -- which is historically a photographic entity -- also raised issues about the choice of this company for this purpose.  Following the announcement of the loan, allegations of senior Kodak employees improperly trading stock surfaced in Congress, with investigations opening in the US House and the Security and Exchange Commission. The DFC has put an indefinite hold on the loan pending resolution of the allegations. 

News article - Politico

With deep partisan divisions and end of fiscal year looming, US congressional negotiations stall on COVID-19 relief

US congressional efforts to pass a supplemental COVID-19 relief bill, which potentially includes funding for the global pandemic response, have stalled. The House is now in recess until mid-September and reaching a compromise with the Senate appears increasingly unlikely. In addition, the fiscal year (FY) ends at the end of September at which time the US government faces the possibility of a shutdown. This leaves the real possibility that there will be no additional funding for the global pandemic response until FY2021 at the earliest.

As it now stands, the House supplemental COVID-19 response was entirely domestic and the Senate bill contained US$4 billion for international measures, a number that disappointed many stakeholders. The House FY2021 funding bill for US foreign assistance does contain an additional US$10 billion for global health pandemic relief, but the Senate has still not acted on its appropriation so it appears likely that there will be a continuing resolution in place until after the November election.

So far, Congress has only approved US$2.3 billion for the global response, an amount that development experts say is woefully inadequate.

News article - Devex   

South Korea provides US$1 million for relief following exploson in Lebanon

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will contribute US$1 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in light of the recent massive explosion that took place in Beirut on August 4, 2020.

Through a MOFA press release, South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his condolences to the victims of the devastating blast. MOFA also underscored South Korea's ongoing assistance to Lebanon which has included a major focus on support for Syrian refugees.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Donor Tracker to host webinar on climate finance and role of ODA

Join the Donor Tracker this Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), for a webinar addressing the pressing need for international climate finance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In 2015, the latest in a series of global climate change agreements was signed in Paris. The Paris Agreement includes a pledge made by donor countries to mobilize US$100 billion a year by 2020 for climate action in LMICs. This upcoming Donor Tracker webinar will examine the role that ODA can and should play in funding for climate action, including the US$100 billion target. It will include an overview of trends in ODA-related climate funding and policies by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) donors.

This webinar, and our recently published report on climate finance and ODA, complements the recent addition of ‘Climate’ as a sector of analysis across the Donor Tracker Donor Profiles. Climate was added this year in recognition of the importance of climate action to the future of global development efforts.

Registration - Zoom

US DFC aims to mobilize US$6.0 billion for gender initiatives

The United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced a new goal to mobilize US$6.0 billion over the next three years for its 2X Women's Initiative. The initiative, first introduced by DFC's predecessor, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has mobilized US$3.0 billion since 2018. The new focus is motivated in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionate effect on women.

The DFC is expected to work on just a few issues, including closing the gender digital divide, as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene. Geographically, the new focus will cover all emerging markets, including countries like Pakistan, where it has been more difficult to work.

The DFC made other announcements of new work including new investments in nutrition and loans to support small and medium enterprises in Honduras. 

News article - Devex  

South Korea provides US$10 million through WFP in support of North Korean women and children

The South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) announced that it will provide US$10 million in humanitarian assistance to the World Food Programme's (WFP)’s project for North Korean women and children.

The agreement is the first North Korean assistance plan approved since new Unification Minister Lee In-young took office in late July of 2020. The plan was originally requested by WFP and set to be approved in June but was sidelined due to a downturn in inter-Korean relations.

News article The Korea Times

Press release – Ministry of Unification (in Korean)