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Japan ends ODA projects in China after US$31.6 billion over 40 years, focuses on collaboration as equal partners

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) ended all official development assistance (ODA) projects in China after contributing ¥3.6 trillion (US$31.6 billion) over the past 40 years. In 2018, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would be ending its ODA projects in China and would instead focus on cooperating as equal partners.

Since 1979, Japan implemented several projects related to health care, infrastructure development, agriculture, and environmental management and conservation. More recently, JICA focused on Technical Cooperation Projects in the areas of pollution, infectious diseases, and food safety.

News article – The Asahi Shimbun

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

JICA appoints Akihiko Tanaka as new president

Akihiko Tanaka returned to the top post of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on April 1, 2022, taking over as President from Shinichi Kitaoka.

Akihiko is a specialist in international politics and previously held the post of President from 2012 - 2015. He was formerly a professor and Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo. Prior to his appointment as President of JICA, he was President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan.

Upon his appointment, Akihiko reinforced Japan’s commitment to addressing new global challenges, as well as to actively contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Canada announces US$40 million in additional assistance to Afghanistan for nutrition, health services

On March 31, 2022, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development, announced an additional CA$50 million (US$40 million) in funding as part of Canada’s continued response to the urgent needs of people in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

The assistance will be delivered through the UN and other trusted partners and will support food and nutrition services, emergency health care, and clean water and sanitation.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Italy's Joint Development Cooperation Committee approves US$200 million intervention package

Italy's Joint Development Cooperation Committee approved a package of interventions worth approximately €180 million($200 million): €22 million (US$25 million) was allocated for multi- and bi-lateral projects on food security and social, economic, and environmental development in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, and €158 million ($179 million) was allocated for voluntary contributions to International Organizations:

  • €85 million (US$96 million) was allocated to the healthcare sector: €54 million (US$61 million) for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, €24 million (US$27 million) to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and €4 million (US$5 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI);
  • €37 million (US$42 million) was allocated for sustainable development and education: €17 million (US$19 million) to The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (UN DESA), €7 million (US$8 million) to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), €5 million (US$6 million)to the  Global Partnership for Education (GPE), €3 million (US$3 million) to the Mediterranean and Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM/IAMB), and €3million (US$3 million) to the International Development Law Organization (IDLO); and, 
  • €27 million (US$31 million) was allocated to the humanitarian sector and to support gender empowerment: €9 million (US$10 million) to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), €6 million (US$7 million) to the International Red Cross (CICR), €5 million (US$6 million) to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), €3 million (US$3 million) to United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), and €3 (US$3 million) to UN Women.

Press release - Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (in Italian)

Japan’s GHIT Fund announces US$6 million investment for malaria treatments, vaccines

The Tokyo-based Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced a US$6 million investment in three partnerships to develop malaria treatments and vaccines.

  • US$4 million for the development of monoclonal antibodies for malaria prevention;
  • US$604,000 for the development of next-generation multistage/multispecies malaria vaccines; and,
  • US$1 million for the identification of lead compound series with antimalarial activity.

GHIT Fund aims to create international partnerships between leaders in innovation and low-income countries to fight against infectious diseases and poverty. The fund’s portfolio consists of 61 ongoing projects and US$239 million in investments.

Press release – Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

Canada announces US$54 million to support education for displaced youth in lead-up to Together for Learning Summit

On March 30, 2022, Canada’s Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, announced CA$67 million (US$54 million) in development assistance funding to support education for children and youth experiencing forced displacement around the world. The funding came alongside the announcement of Canada’s Together for Learning Summit: Engaging Displaced Youth to Transform Education, which took place virtually on March 30 and 31, 2022. 

The summit intended to amplify the voices of youth who have experienced or continue to experience forced displacement and are passionate about access to education. The youth released a manifesto at the end of the summit with a call to action for governments, the private sector, civil society, and multilateral organizations. 

The CA$67 million (US$54 million) in funding will support youth education in countries including Ethiopia, Somalia, Mali, Cameroon, Niger, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Jordan, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Guyana. It will support 11 projects, including: 

  • CA$14 million (US$11 million) through War Child Canada and Oxfam to enhance education for approximately 132,000 refugees and displaced youth, particularly girls, living in South Sudan and Uganda;
  • CA$13 million (US$10 million) through Plan International Canada to enhance education for nearly 40,000 refugees and internally displaced youth, particularly girls, living in conflict settings in Cameroon and Niger; and, 
  • CA$10 million (US$8 million) through Jordan’s Ministry of Education to improve learning outcomes for youth in Jordan through programs that promote life skills, gender equality, and inclusion. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Press release - Global Affairs Canada 

Temporary pause in Norwegian international development payments lifted after 2 weeks

On March 16, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to stop payments for all Norwegian development assistance funding because the government wanted a better overview of the potential consequences of the crisis in Ukraine; the temporary pause was lifted on March 30, 2022.

The initial decision to put all development funding on hold was criticized by several Norwegian development organizations. Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, criticized the management of Norwegian foreign policy and development assistance. Despite the worsening situation in Ukraine, other communities and countries are still in need of development assistance, Egeland highlighted.

The day after the announcement, March 17, 2022, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, clarified that not all payments were stopped temporarily. Only funding towards the largest multilaterals, such as the World Bank and the UN, were put on hold. 

Last week, on March 30, 2022, Tvinnereim announced that the temporary pause in funding was lifted. As such, payments of all international development money will continue as normal. However, during the last two weeks of March, several payments were planned for distribution.

Even though the decision was criticized by parties in the opposition and by civil society, Minister Tvinnereim argued that the decision was necessary due to the uncertainty associated with the war in Ukraine.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)  

Australia announces 2022-2023 ODA budget, includes US$329 million in temporary COVID-19 measures

Australia’s core ODA budget will be A$4.09 billion (US$2.9 billion) in 2022 - 2023; the budget remains unchanged in real terms from the 2021 - 2022 budget.

An additional A$88 million (US$63 million) has been allocated for increased payments to global health programs, including the recent increased commitment to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). 

Individual country and regional allocations are effectively the same as last year, and humanitarian and emergency spending declined by A$15 million (US$11 million).

In addition, A$460 million (US$329 million) will be provided in temporary and supplementary assistance measures. This funding continues at almost the same level for temporary COVID-19 and related measures that were allocated in 2021 - 2022.

This temporary assistance includes A$98 million (US$70 million) for vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. A$281 million (US$201 million) is allocated to address the social and economic costs of COVID-19 in Timor Leste and the Pacific, and A$61.5 million (US$44 million) is allocated in support to assist Southeast Asia’s recovery.

Forward estimates suggest Australia’s ODA/GNI ratio will fall from 0.21% in 2022 - 2023 to 0.18% in 2025 - 2026.

Australia's 2022 - 2023 financial year commences on July 1, 2022.

News article – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Development NGOs criticize Canada’s development spending commitment, call for greater investment

Cooperation Canada, the development NGO umbrella, recently joined 495 individuals and groups asking for a Canadian investment of CA$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) in new and additional funding for the international assistance envelope to reach CA$9.0 billion (US$7.0 billion) in Budget 2022-23. With the recent release of the third report of the Standing Committee on Finance, Cooperation Canada and its partners are criticizing Canada's government for not including official development assistance (ODA) in the report.

Cooperation Canada noted that Canada has notoriously failed to meet the 0.7% ODA/ gross national income (GNI) target, despite the International Development Minister’s mandate letter including a commitment to annual increases to ODA in line with Canada’s commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

If the Canada wants champion feminism, human rights, and shared recovery from the pandemic, Cooperation Canada urged the government to commit to stable, long-term financing for international development.

Op-ed - Cooperation Canada

Biden releases FY2023 budget, includes US foreign assistance increase

US President Joe Biden released his FY2023 US$5.8 trillion budget proposal, which included a US$7.4 billion increase in US foreign assistance funding over FY2021 levels. FY2022 levels, which were just approved in an omnibus funding package, kept funding levels almost flat.   

The request includes a total of US$60.4 billion for both the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  Almost half of that request would be allocated to USAID programs.

Under the Biden proposal, the largest sectoral increases were for climate change and global health. Biden requested US$11 billion for global climate finance, including US$1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund.

For global health, the budget request included US$2 billion for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- part of a 3-year, US$6 billion package for the Global Fund. The budget also included US$6.5 billion over five years for global health security for both State and USAID.

The budget did not contain the supplemental US$15 billion in COVID-19 funding (both domestic and international) which had been stripped from the omnibus bill; the White House is still in discussions with Congress about that package.

Advocates, who were furious over the spending levels in the just-passed omnibus bill, were more supportive of this budget but viewed it either as a "floor" or inadequate to meet the challenges of the times.

News article - Devex

Press release - USAID

Spanish development leadership visits Mauritania and Senegal, prioritizes cooperation in Sahel region

On March 27, 2022, the Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation Pilar Cancela concluded her first official visit to the Sahel Region. Cancela met with high-level government appointees from Mauritania and Senegal, two of the priority partner countries for Spain’s development policy, and participated in the 9th Water World Forum, held in Dakar from March 21 - 26, 2022, to advance solutions towards water and sanitation worldwide.

Spain’s development leadership also visited development programs supported by Spanish development cooperation in priority areas, which included rural development, food security, climate change, health systems strengthening, maternal, newborn and child health, women’s health, gender equality, and higher education.

Cancela reaffirmed the Sahel region as a priority for Spain's development cooperation. Both the current Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation (2018-2021) and the new development bill, which is expected to be adopted by June 2022, highlight Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal as key partner countries for bilateral cooperation.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (in Spanish)

Female Foreign Ministers call on Taliban to let girls go to school

Liz Truss, the UK Foreign Minister issued a joint statement along with other 18 other female foreign Ministers from around the world, calling on the Taliban to live up to their commitment and allow girls in Afghanistan to go to secondary school.  

The statement which was co-signed by the Foreign Ministers of Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Kosovo, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Tonga, highlighted the Ministers' deep concerns that girls in Afghanistan were denied their right to attend secondary school this spring. The statement urged the Taliban to adhere to international conventions and to stop denying girls their right to education.

Joint Statement – UK government

European Commission adopts roadmap for actions to improve European development financial architecture

The European Commission adopted a new roadmap to improve the European financial architecture for development by ensuring alignment with the EU’s policy objectives, promoting enhanced cooperation, building a more inclusive financial architecture, and ensuring increased visibility via a ‘Team Europe’ approach. 

The roadmap is a follow-up to June 2021 conclusions from the Council of the EU calling on the Commission to present its planned actions toward implementing an improved version of the current institutional setup. It includes a strong emphasis on Team Europe Initiatives, promoting joint proposals under the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), exploring setting up a European Export Credit Facility, cooperating with non-EU actors, and providing strategic communications plans and materials. 

Press release - European Commission

Roadmap - European Commission

Australia’s ODA will likely target Asia-Pacific region, neglect South and West Asia, says think tank

The Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University questioned whether Australia’s official development assistance (ODA) will resume in South and West Asia. 

While Australian government ministers refer to assisting the 'Indo Pacific', the region is poorly defined. In reality, the proportion of ODA in South and West Asia has fallen from 11% to around 6% in 9 years. Major reductions have taken place in assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan in addition to overall cuts to Australia’s ODA.

The Development Studies Centre concluded that Australia's ODA focus will likely continue to target the Asia-Pacific region, primarily East Asia and the Pacific.

Report - Development Studies Centre

Norway could use development assistance budget to finance domestic intake of Ukrainian refugees, says Støre

At a press conference about the war in Ukraine and its consequences for Norway, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre discussed the allocation and use of the Norwegian development assistance budget; Støre did not exclude using the development assistance budget for the domestic financing of Ukrainian refugees. 

The conference followed Denmark's decision to finance Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country with money from the Danish development assistance budget. 

Norway may do the same, and according to Støre, there is agreement within the government that money from the development assistance budget may be spent on Ukrainian refugees. Støre has previously said that Norway would be able to accept up to 100,000 refugees from the war in Ukraine.

However, Støre emphasized that the allocation of money from the development assistance budget will be decided on in the revised state budget and that more details about the financing of Ukrainian refugees will come soon.

News article - Bistandsaktuelt (in Norwegian)

News article - NRK (in Norwegian)

EU-WHO partnership to support AU's effort to increase vaccine production with US$28 million in funding

The European Commission is strengthening its partnership with the WHO and the African Union (AU) to build local vaccine production capacity through a financial contribution of €24.5 million (US$28 million). 

The EU’s contribution, which is part of its €1 billion (US$ billion) Team Europe initiative on manufacturing and access to health products in Africa, includes:

  • regulatory strengthening: €11.5 million (US$13 million); 
  • technology transfer: €12 million (US$13.5 million); and, 
  • demand consolidation and strategic purchasing: €1 million (US$1.1 million).

The WHO is supporting technology transfer for production in Sub-Saharan Africa through an mRNA technology transfer in South Africa. The EU and EU member states have contributed a combined total of €40 million (US$45 million) in support of the hub. The EU and the WHO will also support regulatory strengthening on the African continent at national, regional, and continental levels in addition to helping consolidate production demand and forecast needs. 

Press release - European Commission

Canada announces US$9 million for tuberculosis epidemic

Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, announced that Canada will contribute CA$11 million (US$9 million) to the Stop TB Partnership’s TB REACH initiative.

This assistance will help increase the capacity to detect and treat tuberculosis in vulnerable populations, including a focus on vulnerable women and girls, people living with HIV/AIDS, and socially and economically disadvantaged groups.

Canada has contributed CA$205 million (US$164 million) in support of TB REACH since 2010, which has contributed to the detection and treatment of nearly 3 million people with tuberculosis and has prevented more than 13 million new infections.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

200 NGOs call on UK's Truss to avoid deprioritizing development assistance for long-term crises following FCDO strategy leaks

200 UK NGOs wrote a letter to the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, urging her not to deprioritize health, climate change, and conflict prevention in the UK’s forthcoming international development strategy. The letter, sent by British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND), the UK international development NGO platform, was sent in response to leaks from civil servants at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) that shared Truss had ordered a radical review of the government’s international development strategy following the invasion of Ukraine and was seeking to shift UK priorities. The strategy was due to be released in February 2022 but has been rescheduled for April 2022.

BOND urged Truss to ensure that the UK’s international development strategy is ‘poverty-focused, evidence and rights-based, and accountable to the British public and communities it is meant to serve'. They also urged Truss to continue the UK’s focus on critical issues like global health, climate change, and conflict, noting that it would be short-sighted and would undermine the UK’s strong record of impact in these areas to redirect funding to shorter-term crises exclusively. Finally, the letter calls on Truss to reinstate the UK’s commitment to delivering 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA), noting that this would enable the UK to respond appropriately to the crisis in Ukraine, while also supporting other countries in need.

Letter - BOND

Cuts to German development budget criticized by all parties

According to the budget draft, adopted by the government on March 16, 2022, the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ’s) budget is set to stand at €10.8 billion (US$12.2 billion) in 2022, a drop of €1.6 billion (US$1.8 billion, or 13%) compared to 2021 levels. During a parliamentary debate on the BMZ’s budget, this decrease was criticized by members of both the current government and the opposition.

The Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is part of the government and thus adopted the budget draft, said that the currently planned budget for 2022 will not be sufficient to address the prevailing crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, or the war in Ukraine. Schulze specifically noted that contributions to the World Food Programme, which were halved according to the budget draft, will not be enough to compensate for the war in Ukraine's impact on global food security.

Parliamentarians from the governing parties SPD, The Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), as well as from the opposition, Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and The Left, criticized the significant decrease in the BMZ’s budget as a flawed prioritization by the government in times of increasing demand for global solidarity. They also pointed to the coalition treaty’s agreement for a one-to-one increase in both, spending on defense (which increases according to the budget draft) and spending on development cooperation.

The budget committee will discuss the budget draft and possibly suggest amendments. The second and third reading in parliament, as well as the finalization and approval of the budget, is expected between the end of May and the beginning of June of 2022. Additionally, the Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner (FDP), announced the submission of a supplementary budget within the next two months, since the current budget draft does not yet take into account the costs of the Russian war in Ukraine.

News article – Deutsche Welle (in German)

Press release – German Parliament (in German)

Japan contributes US$42 million to UNDP to advance climate change mitigation, adaptation

Japan contributed US$42 million to the United Nations Development Programme to advance climate change mitigation and adaptation in 23 countries and territories. The move makes Japan the newest and largest donor in the next phase of the UNDP’s Climate Promise initiative.

The UNDP Climate Promise aims to assist countries in establishing and meeting their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by engaging with multi-sector stakeholders. The initiative currently operates in 120 countries, 94 of which have submitted their NDCs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

The funds will be used to support countries across the Asia Pacific, Europe, Central Asia, and African regions to develop clean energy solutions, net-zero strategies, and resilience against the impacts of climate change.  

Press Release – United Nations Development Programme