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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Norway, Tanzania strengthen collaboration

February 16, 2024 | Norway, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate, Agricultural R&D | Share this update

On February 15 and 16, 2024, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan visited Norway for an official state visit, where the countries entered three new agreements on climate-adapted food production, soil health and research.

Norway and Tanzania have had a close collaboration for decades, with climate and food security being key focus areas.

Norway and Tanzania signed a cooperation agreement on climate-adapted agriculture and food security. Norway's efforts will support Tanzania's ambitions to produce 10% more food by 2030. In addition, the NIBIO and the TARI entered into a new agreement on soil health. NIBIO and TARI are slated to work together on methods to use less artificial fertilizer. Soil health is an important focus area for increasing food production and enhancing food security for smallholder farmers.

Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim underlined that a close collaboration around research has become increasingly important. She emphasized this as a founding reason for why the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have entered into a new agreement on research collaboration.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

Norwegian Church Aid calls for political parties to take greater development responsibility, initiative

February 12, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On February 12, 2024, Norwegian Church Aid launched a report titled The West against the rest, which contained several development suggestions to Norwegian political parties as the parties draw up their programs for the 2025-2029 parliamentary period.

Norwegian Church Aid argued that, compared to most countries, Norway has a unique financial leeway considering its notable additional income from oil and gas sales following the war in Ukraine. As such, Norway has an opportunity and a special responsibility to contribute to worldwide development.

Norwegian Church Aid presented a variety of program proposals with the expressed hope that the political parties will take them into consideration.

The suggestions included:

  • Ensure that, as a general rule, investments in global common goods are financed outside the one percent. The investments should still be earmarked for development assistance for poverty reduction and emergency assistance;
  • Step up climate financing in line with Norway's fair climate responsibility;
  • Work on international regulations making it possible to collect illegal or illegitimate debts;
  • Support a tax convention in the UN;
  • Actively support free media, independent courts, and local civil society;
  • Step up work against GBV in areas of crises and conflict;
  • Invest a larger share of the Norwegian Oil Fund in low-income countries; and
  • Enshrine further measures to ensure that Norwegian weapons are not used in violation of humanitarian law and human rights.

As a response to these suggestions, both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party underlined that Norway must continue to be an international bridge builder. The SV called for more political solidarity.

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide has promised that 1% GNI/ODA will still go to development assistance. The Conservative Party stated that, going forward, it would be imperative to discuss how Norway spends money allocated to international development, and the Norway must be more concerned about the results and effects of development assistance.

News article - Panorama nyheter (in Norwegian)

EIB, Mauritania sign US$22 million loan to support SMEs

February 9, 2024 | EUI, Gender Equality, Agriculture, Climate | Share this update

On February 9, 2024, the EIB and Mauritania finalized an EUR20 million (US$22 million) loan to support SMEs with a focus on empowering women and young people in the labor market.

Accompanied by a visit of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Mauritania, the agreement was facilitated by the EU's partnership with the OACPS. The loan will be managed by Mauritania's BCI., with the following priorities:

  • 50% or more allocated to youth training and employment;
  • 40% to women's economic empowerment; and
  • Increased investments in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, among others.

The agreement also included the possibility of unlocking an additional EUR5 million (US$5 million).

Press release - EIB Global

Spain pledges US$64 million to Mauritania for 2024-2027

February 9, 2024 | Spain, EUI, Agriculture, Nutrition, Global Health | Share this update

On February 9, 2024, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited Mauritania with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to strengthen development cooperation programs and human security in the Sahel region, green energy facilities, and migratory regulations.

Sánchez used the trip to sign the new Partnership Agreement Framework 2024-2027 between Spain and Mauritania. This new agreement, which accounts for an overall ODA budget of EUR60 million (US$64 million) to be disbursed during the upcoming four years, will be focused on the following areas:

  • Fostering rural development;
  • Strengthening public health systems;
  • Improving food security and resilience of rural populations;
  • Contributing to a human rights approach; and
  • Facilitating national strategies implemented at the regional level in the Sahel.

Mauritania is among Spain’s top development partner countries. AECID owns a regional office in its capital, Nouakchott.

Press release - PM's office, la Monloca (in Spanish)Press release - AECID (in Spanish)

Papua New Guinean and Australian Prime Ministers hold dialogue on ODA

February 8, 2024 | Australia, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Education | Share this update

On February 8, 2024, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape visited Australia for the 5th Papua New Guinea – Australia Annual Leaders’ Dialogue to meet with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and discuss, amongst other topics, ODA issues.

Papua New Guinea is the largest recipient of Australian ODA. The two prime ministers discussed Papua New Guinea’s budget repair plans and fiscal situation, with Marape welcoming budget support from Australia to assist with budget shortfalls. Marape also addressed Australia’s parliament during his visit.

They noted the importance of continued support for agriculture to improve supply and quality, especially to provide continued support for women. Marape and Albanese also discussed Australia’s assistance to Papua New Guinea’s national road network and 30-year master plan for port rehabilitation.

The leaders pledged to act in response to Papua New Guinea’s need for more reliable green energy. Australia has provided US$150 million to upgrade and repair major energy assets, including refurbishing the Ramu 1 hydroelectric power station.

Marape also noted Australia’s assistance in completing new solar farms in Bougainville and West Sepik, Papua New Guinea. Separately, small energy projects in Papua New Guinea are being funded by Australia through the Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership. Australian ODA has also been provided to improve education and support health services aimed at tuberculosis and malaria, as well as MNCH.

Press release - Prime Minister of Australia

Italy launches US$6 billion 'Mattei Plan' at Africa-Italy Summit

January 29, 2024 | Italy, Education, Agriculture, Agricultural R&D, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health, Climate, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On January 28 and 29, 2024, Italy hosted the Africa-Italy Summit, chaired by the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, during which 25 African leaders and diplomats joined Italian and EU leaders to launch the pilot programs of Italy's flagship foreign policy initiative, also known as the Mattei Plan for Africa.

Meloni announced EUR5.5 billion (US$6 billion) in credits, grants, and guarantees under the plan. EUR3 billion (US$3.3 billion) will come from the Italian Climate Fund, as announced at COP28, and EUR2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion) will come from the newly created multilateral fund at the African Development Bank.

Rome identified a set of countries in the SSA and North African regions to begin implementing the plan, and noted aims to expand the list. Among the first projects announced were:

  • A large vocational training center on renewable energy in Morocco;
  • Education projects in Tunisia; and
  • Health accessibility in the Ivory Coast.

Other projects are planned in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, and the DRC.

Priority areas of intervention were announced as:

  • Education and training: Interventions will be aimed to promote training teachers, adjusting curricula, launching new vocational and training courses in line with the needs of the labor market, and collaborating with enterprises, particularly involving Italian operators and the Italian SMEs model;
  • Agriculture: Interventions will be aimed at decreasing malnutrition rates, fostering the development of agri-food supply chains, and supporting the development of non-fossil biofuels. The development of family farming, the preservation of forestry, and combating and adapting to climate change through integrated agriculture are considered fundamental;
  • Health: Interventions will be aimed to promote strengthening health systems, improving accessibility and quality of primary MNCH services, strengthening local capacities for the management, training, and employment of health personnel, research, and digitalization, and developing strategies and systems to prevent and contain health threats, particularly pandemics and natural disasters; and
  • Energy: Interventions will be aimed to make Italy an energy hub, acting as a bridge between Europe and Africa. Interventions will feature the climate-energy nexus to strengthen energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies, with initiatives to accelerate energy transition.
  • Water: interventions will involve drilling wells powered by photovoltaic systems, maintenance of pre-existing water points, investments in distribution networks, and awareness-raising activities about using clean, potable water.
Press release - Italy's government (in Italian)

MCC reaches 20-year milestone

January 23, 2024 | US, Education, Agriculture | Share this update

On January 23, 2024, the MCC, an independent foreign assistance agency established in 2004 by former US President George W. Bush, reached a 20-year milestone.

The MCC, which focuses on reducing poverty through economic growth, has led a different approach from other US foreign assistance agencies. It establishes five-year grant agreements, known as compacts, that address constraints to growth through sectoral approaches, including infrastructure, agriculture, education, and governance.

In order to qualify for MCC grants, LICs and LMICs must pass the MCC scorecard, which measures partners against 20 indicators ranging from governance, corruption, human rights, investments in health care and education, and fostering trade. Once partner countries reach eligibility, implementation of the compact is turned over to partner governments to ensure a country-owned approach to the grant.

Since its inception, the MCC has signed 46 compacts with 31 countries for a program total of US$17 billion. It has also signed dozens of 'threshold programs', which can function as MCC precursor programs to help partner countries reach eligibility. The MCC was recently granted authority to pursue regional programs and has pushed for legislation that would expand the number of potential partner countries.

The program's West African investments, which were approved in 2018, have faced setbacks since their inception following intense regional turmoil. US Senate approval of private board members has also been delayed in 2023 and 2024 by a difficult political climate in the US.

News article - ForbesNews article - DevexWeb Page - CGD

UK government to strengthen management of Blue Planet Fund, ensure poverty focus

January 19, 2024 | UK, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate | Share this update

On January 19, 2024, the UK government announced that it has accepted all the recommendations made by the ICAI's review of the Blue Planet Fund, which included GBP500 million (US$599 million) in ODA for a DEFRA-managed fund aimed at protecting the marine environment and reducing poverty in low- and middle-income countries.

The review also recommended:

  • Improving DEFRA management of the fund and appointing more staff to manage the fund;
  • Strengthening cross-government strategic oversight over the fund. The UK government will conduct a rapid review to explore how to strengthen the functions of the JMB, the FCDO and DEFRA body responsible for oversight of the fund;
  • Focusing all programs under the fund are focused on poverty reduction as their primary focus. DEFRA has committed to commissioning a review of the global evidence base on the linkages between poverty, and protecting and restoring the marine environment; and
  • Ensuring greater effort is made to engage partner stakeholders in the programming process. DEFRA is committed to ensuring that partner voices are heard in all future programming.
Press release - UK government

Australia appoints first female Chief Veterinary Officer

January 3, 2024 | Australia, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Global Health | Share this update

On January 3, 2024, Beth Cookson was appointed as Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer following her role as deputy Chief Veterinary Officer with a focus on tropical Australia.

Cookson's work included designing animal health surveillance in northern Australia and undertaking capacity building programs on biosecurity in neighboring low- and middle-income countries.

The Chief Veterinary Officer role has a major focus on antimicrobial resistance. Cookson indicated she would take on her role with a One Health mindset and will be involved with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the FAO on projects combating antimicrobial resistance.

News article - dvm360Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

UK pledges US$80 million to IFAD replenishment

December 27, 2023 | UK, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate | Share this update

On December 27, 2023, the UK government announced that it would commit GBP67 million (US$80 million) to the 2025-2027 replenishment of the IFAD.

IFAD is a UN agency dedicated to supporting those living in extreme poverty in rural areas. Nearly half of the world’s population lives in rural areas, and smallholder farmers produce 70% of the food in low- and middle-income countries.

UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell stated that the funding will boost food security, help alleviate poverty and support the environment. The UK has been a strong supporter of IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program, which enables smallholder farmers to gain access to climate finance to support adaptation efforts and protect biodiversity.

Press release - UK government

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