Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Ursula von der Leyen endorsed as European Commission President

July 18, 2024 | EUI, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On July 18, 2024, the European Parliament endorsed Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as President of the European Commission through a secret ballot, where she received 401 votes, 41 votes above the 361 votes needed to get a qualified majority.

Von der Leyen received 289 votes against, 15 abstentions, and 7 votes were invalid. The secret ballot suggests von der Leyen managed to garner support from a coalition of pro-European, democratic groups across the center-left and right. Experts noted that this could indicate that a centrist coalition is possible, though future policy decisions will need to be built on a case-by-case basis amidst ongoing polarization.

During the debate that preceded the vote, von der Leyen outlined her political priorities for the next five years. The main proposals related to EU global engagement included appointing a Commissioner for Enlargement and one for the Mediterranean, developing a new economic foreign policy through the Global Gateway, and focusing on strategic partnerships, particularly with Africa ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in 2025.

Von der Leyen emphasized the need for the EU to remain a leader in international climate negotiations and proposed new initiatives, such as a European Climate Adaptation Plan and a Clean Industrial Deal. Her agenda included a focus on security and defense, with plans to create a European Defense Union, appoint a new Commissioner for Defense, as well as developing a new European Migration and Asylum strategy and a Pact for the Mediterranean. Von der Leyen's focus on health has decreased since the pandemic, with a focus mainly on a Critical Medicines Act, an action plan for hospital cybersecurity, and a strategy to support medical countermeasures through HERA.

The focus of the EU's new seven-year budget will be on simplicity, flexibility, speed, and strategic priorities. It will streamline funding allocation, moving away from a program-based budget to a policy-based one. External action financing is expected to further align with EU interests. Von der Leyen also highlighted support for the introduction of new EU resources.

Von der Leyen's proposals reflected the current geopolitical landscape and internal EU dynamics, focusing on strengthening the Union’s resilience and strategic interests. Her agenda also proposed a significant increase in research and innovation spending, the establishment of new roles, such as a Commissioner for Equality and a Commissioner for Intergenerational Fairness, the set-up of a new European Competitiveness Fund, and policies addressing housing, youth, and agriculture.

Press release - European ParliamentConference statement - European CommissionGovernment document - European Commission

US provides additional humanitarian assistance to Chad, Sudan

July 18, 2024 | US, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On July 18, 2024, the US announced additional humanitarian assistance to both Chad and Sudan to help alleviate urgent humanitarian needs, totaling US$203 million for the people of Sudan and US$69 million for the people of Chad.

The assistance in Chad is intended to help address the needs of crisis-affection populations that are facing severe food insecurity, in part because of the conflict in Sudan and the refugee crisis it has caused. In Sudan, populations are facing historic levels of food insecurity, including famine.

In both cases, the humanitarian assistance will include food, nutrition, health care, WASH services, shelter, and cash. The assistance funding comes through both the US State Department and USAID.

Press release - USAIDPress release - USAID

Aid Transparency Index launch focuses on improvements data quality, food security, SDGs

July 16, 2024 | Nutrition, Agriculture | Share this update

On July 16, 2024, Publish What You Fund launched the 2024 Aid Transparency Index at Brookings Institutes and lauded the highest scores ever in the quality of data, including data reported to the IATI.

The biennial index assessed the transparency of 50 of the world's largest donors. The ADB's sovereign portfolio scored the highest, followed by the Inter-American Development Bank and the US' MCC.

The event explored efforts to track and link progress on the SDGs along with the World Bank's work on linking data on funding and food insecurity to make emergency decisions for food and nutrition in crisis. Data-driven decision-making was a key theme.

Publish What You Fund issued a detailed report, along with a focused brief on the assessment of the four US agencies included in the 2024 Index.

Report - Publish What You FundWeb Page - BrookingsBrookings

New Dutch government emphasizes foreign policy priorities

July 3, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, Climate | Share this update

On July 3, 2024, following the swearing-in of the new Dutch cabinet, Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof announced the government declaration in the House of Representatives, highlighting key policy areas and approaches for the cabinet.

Schoof reaffirmed the commitment to the EU and NATO as the cornerstone of the Netherlands’ security and prosperity. He pledged continued support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion and committed to enshrining the NATO standard of 2% of GDP defense spending into law.

Schoof emphasized reducing dependence on external sources and enhancing national resilience through strategic autonomy in energy, food security, and raw materials. He committed to honoring all existing international treaties and minimizing additional national measures, especially in nature and climate policies, to maintain competitiveness.

Schoof also mentioned proactive engagement with the EU to address national concerns and seek exceptions where agreements disproportionately impact the Netherlands, particularly in migration and agriculture.

Government document - Government Declaration, cabinet Schoof (in Dutch)News article - Dutch government (in Dutch)

USAID announces US$66 million to Zambia to strengthen food security

June 27, 2024 | US, Agriculture, Climate | Share this update

On June 27, 2024, USAID announced US$66 million to Zambia, which is designated by the US as a Feed the Future accelerator county, to mitigate worsening drought conditions, strengthen food security efforts, and build local resilience.

Zambia's crop loss has reached between 60-95% due to drought conditions, increasing food prices by 83%. USAID is providing emergency assistance to address the urgent nutritional crisis, as well as help farmers in Zambia strengthen longer-term resilience.

The US and Zambia are working together to help implement the Feed the Future program, including through implementation of the Feed the Future Accelerator effort.

Press release - USAID

US announces US$1.5 billion to strengthen Ukraine's energy, humanitarian needs, civil society

June 15, 2024 | US, Agriculture, Global Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On June 15, 2024, during a peace summit in Ukraine with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US Vice President Kamala Harris announced a new US$1.5 billion package of support to the people of Ukraine through energy, humanitarian assistance, and civil society.

The assistance will come through both USAID and the State Department and includes US$500 million in new assistance for the energy sector. US$324 million in previously announced energy funding will be used to address emergency assistance aimed to repair damaged infrastructure, as well as to expand and protect other infrastructure.

US$379 million in humanitarian assistance will provide food, health, shelter, and WASH services to the people of Ukraine. The final part of the package will assist with civilian security assistance to help law enforcement and border guards operate on the front lines.

Press release - USAID

Canada announces US$501 million for global agriculture, climate, gender equality at G7 Summit

June 14, 2024 | Canada, UK, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 14, 2024, the second day of the G7 Summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced nearly CAD687 million (US$501 million) to strengthen sustainable agricultural, climate resiliency, and foster gender equality in low- and middle-income countries.

Within the funding was CAD200 million (US$146 million) to IFAD, including:

  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) to reduce poverty and food insecurity while strengthening climate resilience, with a focus on poor, vulnerable, and rural communities; and
  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) as a repayable contribution to IFAD’s Private Sector Financing Programme to support investments in the agricultural sector in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

Canada also announced new funding for the Indo-Pacific region, which is home to the largest number of climate-vulnerable people in the world. Funding included:

  • CAD360 million (US$262 million) in repayable contributions to the ADB to establish the Canadian Climate and Nature Fund for the Private Sector in Asia to mobilize private capital toward inclusive climate change mitigation and adaptation projects; and
  • CAD7 million (US$5 million) through the IDRC to build on Canada’s existing partnership with the UK to expand the IDRC’s AI for Development program for responsible AI innovation and capacity building in the Indo-Pacific.

Lastly, Canada announced new funding to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ people, including:

  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) in the International Finance Corporation’s Facility for Gender Equality, Resilience, Opportunity, and Inclusion Worldwide, which is expected to mobilize an estimated CAD470 million (US$342 million) in private capital for investments that empower women and promote gender inclusion; and
  • CAD20 million (US$15 million) to TradeMark Africa and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation to help eliminate the gender-based barriers that prevent women from fully participating in opportunities afforded by the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Press release - Prime Minister of CanadaPress release - International Development Research Centre

US to provide additional US$315 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan

June 14, 2024 | US, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On June 14, 2024, USAID and the US State Department announced an additional US$315 million for emergency assistance to the people of Sudan in response to the ongoing regional crisis.

The war, having lasted for over a year, has caused extreme hunger for nearly 5 million people. Overall, about 25 million people in Sudan are in need of immediate assistance, which has internally displaced about 10 million people and has cause food insecurity in Sudan's border countries. The new funding is slated to help address acute malnutrition and hunger-related deaths.

The assistance will provide food, nutrition services, WASH services, and health care, especially focused on children. Other lifesaving assistance will be provided to refugees both in Sudan and in neighboring countries.

Press release - USAID

Netherlands announce new cabinet, three new ministries

June 13, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, Climate, Global Health, Gender Equality, Education | Share this update

On June 13, 2024, the Netherlands announced the distribution of its cabinet posts, including the creation of three new ministries: Asylum and Migration, Housing and Spatial Planning, and Climate and Green Growth.

The Dutch government also renamed the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Nature. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation will become the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance. These changes are meant to mirror the new government’s priorities.

The PVV was allocated five ministers, the VVD and NSC four, and the BBB two. Designated Prime Minister Dick Schoof does not represent any party.

Ministerial appointments with relevance to development included:

  • Minister of Climate and Green Growth: Sophie Hermans ( VVD);
  • Minister of Finance: Eelco Heinen ( VVD);
  • Minister of Economic Affairs: Dirk Beljaarts ( PVV);
  • Minister of Agriculture: Femke Wiersma ( BBB);
  • Minister of Education: Eppo Bruins ( NSC, CU);
  • Minister of Asylum and Migration: Marjolein Faber ( PVV);
  • Minister of Health: Fleur Agema ( PVV);
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Caspar Veldkamp ( NSC); and
  • Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance: Reinette Klever ( PVV).

The PVV’s Ministers for Foreign Trade and Development Assistance Reinette Klever and Asylum and Migration Marjolein Faber sparked controversy due to past statements regarding omvolking, or the ‘replacement theory’. Faber and Klever distanced themselves from past use of the term but reiterated concerns about demographic change.

Candidate ministers and secretaries will present themselves in public hearings to the House of Representatives. The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in on July 2, 2024.

News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - NOS (in Dutch)News article - Parool (in Dutch)News article - House of Representatives (in Dutch)

Norway commits five-year funding to CSOs for food security in Africa

June 13, 2024 | Norway, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 13, 2024, Norway announced a commitment of NOK1 billion (US$94 million) to support CSOs working to enhance food security in six African countries.

The funding aims to bolster local food production, preserve local seeds, and increase yields for smallholder farmers, particularly in regions vulnerable to food insecurity. Norway’s initiative emphasizes gender equality, aiming to reduce the food insecurity gap and enhance economic opportunities for women farmers.

Norad received 200 concept notes, from which 12 organizations were invited to submit full proposals. The proposals were assessed by experts and five were awarded support for five years. The selected organizations work in Niger, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. The projects were listed as:

  • The Royal Norwegian Society for Development in collaboration with NORCAP: Focus on rice production in Tanzania and cashew farming in Mozambique, received NOK200 million (US$19 million);
  • Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada: Integration of agriculture and aquaculture in Malawi, received NOK170 million (US$16 million);
  • PELUM Uganda: Development and conservation of local seed varieties in Uganda, Malawi, and Niger, received NOK175 million (US$17 million);
  • SNV: Increase production of various crops and enhance farmer income in Tanzania, received NOK200 million (US$19 million); and
  • Stichting IDH: Collaboration with the private sector to boost smallholder production and local food processing in Tanzania and Ethiopia, received NOK255 million (US$24 million).
Press release - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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