Displaying 121 - 140 of 6968

‘Team Europe’ announces US$31.4 billion disbursed in 2020 to support partner countries’ COVID-19 response

On the one-year anniversary of the announcement that ‘Team Europe’ would pledge €20.0 billion (US$24.2 billion) to provide support for EU partner countries’ COVID-19 response, the European Commission announced that Team Europe ultimately disbursed €26.0 billion (US$31.4 billion) in 2020 of what is now a €40.0 billion (US$48.4 billion) response package.

The participants in the Team Europe pledge consisted of the EU, its member states, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The €26.0 billion (US$31.4 billion) represents 65% of the overall pledged amount disbursed so far. 

To date, Team Europe has provided support to more than 130 countries, including: 

  • €3.2 billion (US$3.9 billion) for emergency response to humanitarian needs, which is 90% of the funding that it committed;
  • €3.5 billion (US$4.2 billion) for strengthening health, water, and sanitation systems, which is 41% of the funding committed; and
  • €19.5 billion (US$23.6 billion) for mitigating the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, which is 68% of the funding committed. 

Press release - European Commission

Website - European Commission

UK spent US$19.5 billion on development assistance in 2020; 0.7% of gross national income

The UK government published its provisional official development assistance (ODA) statistics for 2020 on April 8, 2021. The statistics reveal that the UK spent 0.7% of its gross national income on ODA in 2020, which amounted to £14.5 billion (US$19.5 billion).

This represents a £712 million (US$ 956 million) reduction in the ODA budget from 2019 as a result of a contraction in the UK economy due to the COVID-19 crisis.   

Other key headlines include:

  • The UK spent 65.6% of its ODA via its bilateral channel in 2020 and 35.4% via its multilateral channel. This reflects a small increase in the use of the multilateral channel from 2019 when it accounted for 32% of ODA;
  • The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)the combined spending of the former Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that later merged into the current Officewas responsible for the majority of the budget, accounting for 74% of UK ODA in 2020. The rest of the budget was managed by other government departments, the largest of which was the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy;
  • The majority of FCDO ODA continued to go to Africa in 2020 with an increase in the overall share to 55% compared to 54% in 2019. In real terms, the budget, however, saw a cut of £425 million (US$570 million) due to a shrinking overall ODA budget;
  • The humanitarian sector received £1.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) of bilateral ODA in 2020, accounting for 9% of total UK ODA; and
  • £1.4 billion (US$1.9 billion) of bilateral ODA was spent on activities to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of multilateral ODA spent on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic was not made available.

The full final statistics for 2020 will be published in September 2021.

Report - UK government

Sweden develops new strategy for development cooperation with 'sub-Saharan Africa'

On April 8, 2021, the Swedish government commissioned the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) to develop a basis for its new regional development cooperation strategy with Sub-Saharan Africa for 2022-2026.

The strategy will focus on strengthening democracy, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, inclusive economic development, and peacebuilding. Given the large number of refugees on the continent, Sida has also been requested to look into how the strategy can contribute to lasting solutions and protection for migrants, as well as support the climate and environment.

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

Publish What You Fund publishes reports on gender financing in Kenya, Guatemala, and Nepal; webinars to follow

Publish What You Fund (PWYF), a not-for-profit organization that campaigns for transparency on development assistance, has published reports on gender financing in KenyaGuatemala, and Nepal. There will be a webinar on each country: Kenya on April 7, Guatemala on April 14 (with simultaneous English-Spanish interpretation), and Nepal on April 21 (with simultaneous English-Nepali interpretation). 

The research highlights the efforts of international donors and governments to make funding toward gender equality more transparent. PWYF also found that “key gender advocates in Kenya, Guatemala, and Nepal were generally dissatisfied with the quality and/or quantity of the available information”. The reports propose key points for governments, donors, and civil society to help make gender equality efforts more effective.

PWYF published a blog post summarizing the findings (in English, Spanish, and Nepal), and there is also a Spanish version of the Guatemala report and a Nepali version of the Nepal report.

To read the Donor Tracker's reports on development efforts toward increased gender equality—including funding for women’s economic empowerment, efforts to end gender-based violence, and the fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights—click here.

Press release - PWYF

Canada commits US$159 million over seven years to global health innovations

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced a renewed commitment of CA$200 million (US$159 million) over seven years to Grand Challenges Canada to continue promoting innovation in "global health in low- and middle-income countries."

This commitment is particularly important in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Global Affairs Canada, the governmental department that manages development assistance, has been a partner of Grand Challenges Canada, a non-profit organization, since 2010. This partnership aims to "improve the health, human rights and well-being of women, adolescent girls and children" in low-income countries and areas affected by conflict.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

EU announces US$149 million for research to combat new COVID-19 variants

The European Commission has mobilized €123 million (US$149 million) from Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation (R&I) framework program, as emergency funding for research on COVID-19 variants.

This funding builds on the €1.0 billion (US$1.2 billion) that the EU committed to COVID-19 R&I from its previous R&I program, Horizon 2020.

This new Horizon Europe funding will target projects that:

  • Establish large-scale, multinational cohorts, including outside of Europe; 
  • Develop new therapeutic or vaccine candidates; and
  • Speed up data sharing and delivery of research support and expertise.

These projects will help build the EU’s proposed new authority, the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). The calls will open on April 13, 2021, with a submission deadline of May 6, 2021. 

Press release - European Commission

German Development Minister calls on EU to increase funding for ACT-A

In recognition of World Health Day on April 7, 2021, German Development Minister Gerd Müller decried what he referred to as insufficient international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three-quarters of all vaccine doses have so far been administered within the world’s 10 wealthiest countries. In particular, Müller pointed to the persistent US$22.0 billion funding gap for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the international alliance to secure a global and equitable deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Müller called on the EU to help close this gap by increasing its funding for COVID-19 response measures. Private companies profiting from the ongoing pandemic, he said, should be accountable in part for financing COVID-19 response measures through increased tax payments. Müller also called for the lift of export restrictions, a technology transfer to low- and middle-income countries, and global knowledge exchange on R&D as additional measures to accelerate global vaccine production.

Press release - BMZ (in German)

News article - Apothekenumschau (in German)

Dutch government evaluates ICSR policy of Dutch development bank FMO

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, informed the Dutch parliament of an external evaluation report conducted by the Itad consulting firm of the Dutch development bank, FMO (Nederlandse Financierings Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.).

The cabinet letter to the parliament focused on recommendations for the international corporate social responsibility (ICSR) policy of FMO, due to the parliamentary interest in this subject.

In the evaluation, FMO was recommended to be further involved during preliminary investigations, as well as to involve stakeholders more (and at an earlier stage) in investments made.

Press release - Parliament of the Netherlands (in Dutch)

Japan joins UN’s Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on combatting gender-based violence

Japan announced that it will be a member of the UN’s Generation Equality Forum's Action Coalition focused on gender-based violence.

Japan’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uto Takashi, noted that the COVID-19 crisis has had a particular impact on vulnerable people, including women and girls, and the international community needs to turn this crisis into an opportunity to improve gender equality.

Takashi praised the Generation Equality Forum, a UN initiative working toward gender equality, and affirmed Japan’s commitment to eradicating gender-based violence.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

UK Chief Economist at Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office to step down

The UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Chief Economist, Rachel Glennerster, has announced that she will be stepping down this summer to take up a post at the University of Chicago. 

Applications for Chief Economist post will be opened shortly.

Twitter - Rachel Glennerster

European Commission launches public consultation on proposed new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA)

The European Commission launched a six-week public consultation online, which will run until May 12, 2021, on its proposal for a new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

The Commission is also conducting consultations on HERA with member states and stakeholders. Based on all of the input received, the Commission will finalize a legislative proposal in the final quarter of this year. 

The new authority is one of several proposals that make up the Commission’s plans to build a European Health Union. HERA’s focus would be on improving the EU’s preparedness and response to cross-border health emergencies. 

Press release - European Commission

EU Health Commissioner underlines EU support for global health cooperation on World Health Day

In a statement on April 6, 2021, a day before World Health Day, Stella Kyriakides (European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety) emphasized the EU’s continued support for global health cooperation, including by supporting COVAX, the initiative to provide global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as by strengthening health systems in other countries. 

Kyriakides said this support affirms the EU’s commitment to improving health, reducing inequalities, and protecting against global health threats for a fairer, healthier world. 

She also highlighted the new €5.1 billion (US$6.2 billion) EU4Health program, calling it the EU’s “most ambitious health financing program ever”. 

Press release - European Commission

South Korean Finance Minister shares efforts to address climate crisis, joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action

South Korea’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Nam-ki Hong, attended the ministerial-level meeting of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and announced South Korea’s partnership with the Coalition.

Hong highlighted South Korea’s plan to organize the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G) Summit on May 30-31, 2021 under the theme of 'Green Recovery and 2050 Carbon Neutrality', sharing South Korea’s commitment to transition into a low carbon economy and for stronger global cooperation.

Hong also met with Alok Sharma, President of COP26 (the upcoming UN climate conference hosted this year by the UK), and discussed supporting partner countries' climate action. South Korea will cooperate closely with the Green Climate Fund, which has its headquarters in South Korea, as well as expand official development assistance (ODA) addressing the climate crisis ("green ODA") and contribute to mobilizing climate finance.

News article – Newsis (in Korean)

EU contributes equivalent of US$199 million to IMF’s trust to provide debt service relief for vulnerable countries facing catastrophic events, including COVID-19 crisis

The EU contributed SDR 141 million—the equivalent of €170 million or US$199 million in international reserve assets called Special Draw Rights (SDRs) created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—to the IMF's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). The Trust provides grants as debt service relief for countries suffering from catastrophic events, including the COVID-19 crisis.

This disbursement is part of the EU’s broader contribution of SDR 152 million (€183 million or US$215 million) to CCRT. The EU and its member states’ pledges account for more than half of the funding currently committed to the Trust. The CCRT will provide grants to the 29 low-income countries eligible for debt relief that are most vulnerable to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The EU also supports a new allocation of SDRs from the IMF in 2021 that focuses on low-income countries, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech at the 'Meeting of Heads of State and Government on the International Debt Architecture and Liquidity' held on March 29, 2021. 

Press release - European Commission

Transcript - European Commission

South Korea’s major grant assistance agency partners with UNDP to improve firefighting system in Kyrgyzstan

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the key grant assistance agency of South Korea, announced that it will provide US$7 million and work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to improve the firefighting system in Kyrgyzstan until 2022.

The project will include actions such as improving policies and institutions, providing training programs, and supporting the construction of fire stations and the modernization of equipment.

Kyrgyzstan has been newly appointed as South Korea’s priority partner country for 2021-2025, indicating more opportunities for potential partnership between the two governments.

Press release – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

Norwegian humanitarian development assistance budget reaches record high for 2021

The Norwegian government has allocated a record-high budget of NOK6.3 billion (US$741 million) for humanitarian support so far in 2021.

Among other things, the funding is intended for protecting civilians, providing food security, and supporting people fleeing countries affected by crises and conflict. The protection of civilians is one of Norway's main priorities in the UN Security Council, in which Norway leads the working group for children and armed conflict. 

The core support for several multilateral organizations has increased. The amount contributed to the World Food Programme was increased to NOK800 million (US$94 million), and NOK680 million (US$80 million) has been allocated to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Syria, Yemen, and South Sudan together received more than NOK1.0 billion (US$118 million) in total.

The funding is expected to increase throughout the year and will be channeled through the UN, Red Cross, and Norwegian organizations. 

Press release - The Norwegian Government

Japan provides loans for micro-, small, medium-sized enterprises in Egypt

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will fund micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the Private Sector Investment and Finance (PSIF). The loan is co-financed with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

In Egypt, MSMEs account for 25% of gross domestic product and 75% of employment. However, access to financial services for these enterprises is limited, especially for women.

Loans for the MSMEs will be provided through the Egyptian bank, Banque Misr.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

UK Prime Minister reportedly wants to reinstate 0.7% of GNI for ODA commitment in 2022, but Chancellor of Exchequer against move

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly wants to return to spending 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) in 2022, but he is facing opposition by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, who wants to continue to provide 0.5% of ODA in 2022.

The government decided in 2020 to temporarily cut the ODA budget to 0.5% of GNI as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on UK government finances. Johnson is facing increasing pressure to reverse the decision by a wide array of stakeholders and a growing number of members of parliament (MPs) from across all parties. 28 MPs from seven different political parties recently wrote a letter to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister, Dominic Raab, claiming that the government’s recent decision to not allow members of parliament to vote on the reduced target of 0.5% was in breach of the law.

The government had initially noted that it would put the new lower target to a vote, but it recently reversed this decision, arguing that given the temporary nature of the new lower target, the vote was not necessary. However, signatories of the letter cite the findings of the ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, who notes that the International Development Act 2015 does not make provision to change the 0.7% target itself, only to miss it due to exceptional circumstances.

News article - Bloomberg

News article - The Times

Sweden develops new strategy for development cooperation with Zimbabwe for 2022-2026

On April 1, 2021, the Swedish government commissioned the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to develop a foundation for its new development cooperation strategy with Zimbabwe for 2022-2026.

The strategy will focus on strengthening democracy and gender equality as well as reducing poverty through inclusive economic development. The strategy will additionally address issues related to human rights violations, the rule of law, environmental degradation, and the climate crisis.

Sida has also been requested to explore possibilities of expanding efforts in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Press release – Government Offices of Sweden (in Swedish)

Sweden provides support to refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar

In light of the escalating conflict in Myanmar, where about 7,000 refugees have fled attacks by the military regime, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has committed SEK 3 million (US$360,000) in emergency cash grants, primarily for basic kitchen equipment and hygiene kits, to be administered by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

With a large proportion of the refugees being children, part of Sweden’s support has also been allocated toward educating parents and school personnel on how to provide psychosocial support to children and toward school kits, as many schools have been closed.

"The situation has escalated rapidly, and many people have left their homes without even having brought the essentials, which is why it is especially important that we now act quickly to get the most basic things out, such as pots, hygiene kits, and more,” said Sida's Director-General, Carin Jämtin.

In 2020, Sweden's official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar was SEK 309 million (US$37 million), SEK 26 million (US$3 million) of which was humanitarian support. Sida has since suspended some of its ODA for Myanmar, following the military coup in February 2021. Sida nevertheless continues to support activities focusing on strengthening democracy and human rights.

News article – Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (in Swedish)