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USAID announces US$30 million for gender equality, women's empowerment in Afghanistan

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a US$30 million commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment in Afghanistan. The resources will be implemented through UN Women.

The funding will go to a number of areas including increases in social protection services, support for civil society organizations that are run by women for improved women's rights, and resources to improve women's economic empowerment through better access to and training for women. The new US support comes as the Taliban increasingly restricts the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. 

Press release - USAID

Youth committee advises Netherlands to prioritise education, labor market

Six months after its inception, the Youth Advisory Committee met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands to share experiences and ideas for foreign policy. The committee recommended that the Netherlands combat global unemployment among young people by adapting education systems and strengthening entrepreneurship.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Youth Council set up the committee to involve young people in the ministry’s decision-making, for instance around youth participation, media literacy, and employment. The committee comprises ten people below 30 from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and the Netherlands. Members share their insights and pose critical questions about the Ministry’s development policy when needed.

The committee met with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Director-General for International Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden. The committee highlighted the issue of unemployment among young people in their countries, with many graduates lacking skills needed for the labor market. Using examples from their own countries, members of the committee pointed out potential opportunities in digital content and social media for work and entrepreneurship, as well as education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The committee also encouraged Dutch embassies globally to set up local youth advisory committees to gain better local insight from young people.

The Youth Advisory Committee is an 18-month pilot project. The committee previously advised on the new Dutch development strategy.

Blog – Dutch Government (in Dutch)

Website – Youth Advisory Committee

Japan continues food assistance funding with US$11 million

Japan is continuing to fund food assistance, as it promised at the G7 leader's summit in June 2022, with an additional ¥1.5 billion (US$11 million) contribution; the additional funding was divided between five countries:

  • ¥400 million (US$3 million) to South Sudan through the World Food Programme (WFP);
  • ¥350 million (US$3 million) to Togo;
  • ¥300 million (US$2 million) to Mozambique through the WFP;
  • ¥250 million (US$2 million) to Lesotho through the WFP; and
  • ¥200 million (US$2 million) to Sierra Leone through the WFP.

Earlier this year, Japan committed to providing US$200 million to countries affected by the ongoing food crisis that has been exasperated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Funds will be used to strengthen food security and assist with the response to concurrent issues.

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

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

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

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

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

High-income countries acquire monkeypox vaccines, despite most deaths occurring in countries in Africa

While the US and Europe have secured several monkeypox (hMPXV) virus vaccines, Africa has not received any doses despite the vast majority of deaths related to the disease having occurred on the continent. 

Although 16 million doses of the one approved monkeypox vaccine are available globally, higher-income countries have already snatched most up. The US owns the majority of the vaccine supply, the EU has secured 160,000, and the United Kingdom has secured 130,000. 104 people have died from monkeypox this year in African countries, compared to a handful of deaths elsewhere. 

This reflects the early dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic around access to vaccines. Activists reiterate that the current global health architecture is not working and actually fuels health inequality.

News article - Politico

UK Health Security Agency prioritizes global pandemic preparedness in 2022-2023

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which was set up in 2021, has three core priorities for 2022-2023, one of which involves supporting global health security. Under this priority, the UKHSA has committed to:

  • Supporting the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to strengthen international health regulation capacities in at least five key areas and co-chairing GHSA’s Zoonotic Diseases Action Package with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (defra). The GHSA is a network of 70 countries, international and non-government organizations, and private sector companies working to secure global health security;
  • Supporting and, where needed, leading the UK’s cross-government One Health co-ordination to support the delivery of the UK’s G7 and G20 priorities;
  • Improving global disease surveillance and pandemic preparedness;
  • Leading the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Epidemiology and Surveillance and contributing to preparation for the UN High-level Meeting on AMR;
  • Strengthening global clinical trials eco-system;
  • Leading on the UK’s commitment to deliver vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics within 100 days of future pandemic threat identification (‘100 days mission’);'
  • Contributing to the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 initiative and working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to assess proposals by WHO and other international organizations on health emergencies reform; 
  • Providing expert advice to WHO on the new 'Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens' (SAGO);
  • Providing strategic input and supoprt to develop and implement global programs to strengthen surveillance and improvement and strengthen UK international partnerships on global health security; 
  • Helping to deliver the ODA-funded International Health Regulation Strengthening Project and expand its scope to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN);
  • Supporting the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team – an ODA-funded initiative that supports global health emergencies by providing UK experts and technical assistance; and
  • Forming an agreement with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. 

Letter – UKHSA

Canada announces US$94 million loan, US$20 million grant assistance to Jordan

On August 10, 2022, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced a concessional loan of up to CA$120 million (US$94 million) to support Jordan’s education sector provide access to safe, equitable education, particularly for youth and vulnerable groups, including girls and refugees.

Sajjan also announced CA$25 million (US$20 million) in funding for development programs in Jordan. The funding will be allocated to five projects that support innovative financing, improve women’s access to the labor market, support children and refugees’ access to high-quality education, improve solid waste management, and support sustainable and inclusive growth among Jordan’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada 

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)

Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development calls on political parties to address sustainable transition

The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), funded in 2016 to promote debate and raise awareness of sustainable development in Italy, has presented a list of 10 priorities to the major political parties who will run in the next early elections in September 2022. Among them, ASviS has called on all parties to include these priorities in their political programs to achieve the UN Agenda 2030 targets. Among them, the Alliance has asked to:

  1. Ensure that public investments are used to achieve the SDGs, in line with the 'National Strategy on Sustainable Development,' as well as the 'National Recovery and Resilience Plan;' 
  2. Create a public research center able to assess future needs and draw scenarios to reduce vulnerabilities to external shocks;
  3. Consolidate reforms and ensure more transparent analyses assessing the impacts of national and local policies on sustainability targets;
  4. Reform parliamentary committees with the aim of creating horizontal working groups on sustainable development in both parliament chambers;
  5. Strengthen local strategies for sustainable development; 
  6. Prioritize a fair and just ecological transition with the aim to achieve a 55% reduction in greenhouses gas (GHG) emissions by 2030;
  7. Reduce inequalities by tackling the gender divide, youth unemployment, and the 'North-South divide;'
  8. Reform the welfare system to tackle poverty, improve education and ensure that everyone has access to public services;
  9. Integrate the 'One Health' approach in all domestic policies, boosting the country's capacity to tackle current and future health crises, as well as the world's capacity to monitor, prevent, and eradicate emerging epidemics; and 
  10. Support multilateralism by reaching the 0.7% ODA/GNI target.

Report - Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (in Italian)

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

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)

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)

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

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

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)