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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Germany to prioritize sustainable anf fair textile procurement

May 21, 2024 | Germany, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 21, 2024, the BMZ and German Development Minister Svenja Schulze introduced updated guidelines for sustainable textile procurement, aiming to incorporate more rigorous ecological and social criteria.

Germany's new guidelines emphasized ecological and social criteria for public textile purchases, aiming to set a global standard for responsible procurement across various public sectors and aims to enhance responsible purchasing practices. The new standards are meant to ensure that textiles are produced without child labor or environmental damage.

The guidelines, developed by the BMZ in coordination with other ministries, are intended for use by all federal authorities and administrations. The updated guidelines offer practical advice on embedding human rights due diligence in public procurement, mirroring requirements in the private sector under Germany’s Supply Chain Act. The guidelines also introduce stricter ecological requirements, benefiting the predominantly female workforce in the textile industry.

The German government stated that it aims to leverage its significant purchasing power to promote global social and environmental standards by committing to procure at least 50% of all textiles according to these guidelines by 2026.

Press release - BMZ (in German)Report - BMZ (in German)

AECID launches regional program to strengthen sustainable development in Middle East, North Africa

May 21, 2024 | Spain, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation José Manuel Albares presented a new development cooperation program, titled Masar Al’an (‘Masar Now’) at an official event held in Madrid.

The Spanish foreign ministry and AECID seek to strengthen sustainable development in the MENA region. It encompasses an initial budgetary envelope of EUR4 million (US$4 million) in 2024, aimed at strengthening socio-economic opportunities for youth and women, promoting gender equality, protecting biodiversity, and fostering climate change adaptation in sectors such as rural development and fisheries.

AECID will work in collaboration with UN agencies as well as EUI, including the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Institute for the Mediterranean.

Press release - Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)

Sweden bolsters humanitarian assistance to Gaza with additional US$11 million

May 17, 2024 | Sweden, Nutrition, Education, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Climate, International development | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, the Swedish Government introduced a significant aid package totaling SEK120 million (approximately US$11 million) directed towards UNICEF, UNFPA, and WFP to help alleviate the pressing needs of the Gazan population.

Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting the severity of the crisis and Sweden's role as one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Gaza. He noted that Sweden is further increasing the humanitarian support with a focus on addressing hunger and protecting women and children, and advocated for greater humanitarian access and the release of hostages.

This latest initiative brings Sweden’s total humanitarian contributions to Gaza to over SEK520 million (US$49 million), reinforcing its role as a major supporter of humanitarian efforts in the region. The most recent funds are slated to be allocated as:

  • UNICEF: SEK20 million (US$2 million) to support children's needs, counter malnutrition, and provide access to clean water and healthcare. Additionally, UNICEF will focus on education, psychosocial support, and financial assistance for families;
  • UNFPA: SEK20 million (US$1.9 million) to maintain SRH services, including maternity and neonatal care. Efforts will also target the prevention of SGBV and support for survivors; and
  • WFP: SEK80 million (US$8 million), with SEK29 million (US$3 million) specifically for Gaza and SEK51 million (US$5 million) as core support. This wil help ensure food and nutritional assistance reaches those facing imminent famine in northern Gaza and improve logistics of assistance delivery.
Press release - Press Release - Government of Sweden

Christian Aid calls for UK government to take action to tackle debt crisis in Africa

May 16, 2024 | UK, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Agricultural R&D, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, WASH & Sanitation, International development, Climate, Global Health R&D, Global Health, Security policy | Share this update

On May 16, 2024, international NGO Christian Aid released a new report, titled Between Life and Debt, that outlined the devastating debt crisis engulfing Africa and calling on the UK government to address the crisis through legal intervention.

The report, which draws on testimonies from Christian Aid partners in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia, revealed that:

  • Total external debt service by all African countries was US$85 billion in 2023 and US$104 billion in 2024;
  • In 2023, African countries spent over 50 times more on external debt than they received in aid from the UK (and 50% more than total assistance to the region);
  • 25 African countries spend more on debt than education; and
  • 32 African countries spend more on debt than healthcare.

The report asserted that the debt problem is largely due to Western private lenders, who have lent to Africa at extremely high interest rates, far higher than other sovereign lenders like China. Total external debt service by all African countries to private creditors was US$39 billion in 2023 and US$47 billion in 2024, and that private creditors charge the highest interest rates of 6.2%.

Christian Aid argued that the UK government has the unique power to help remedy the crisis, given that most private creditors, due to colonial history, are governed by British law. The organization called on the UK to step up and take action to change UK law to compel private creditors to cancel debts and stop the crisis.

Report - Christian Aid News article - BOND

Canada announces US$143 million to education, SRHR, climate, peace, security in Ethiopia, Tanzania

May 16, 2024 | Canada, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Family Planning, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 16, 2014, Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen concluded a trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania, where he announced nearly CAD195 million (US$143 million) to several development projects focused on education, SRHR, climate, peace, and security.

The funding included:

  • CAD65 million (US$48 million) to UNFPA to implement the Protecting the Dignity and Rights of Women and Girls project in Ethiopia, which will support family planning services and prevention and response to SGBV;
  • CAD30 million (US$22 million) to the International Finance Facility for Education to implement a new financing mechanism for global education, which will support lower-middle income countries to fund quality education;
  • CAD25 million (US$18 million) to ACELI Africa to implement the Agri - SME Catalytic Financing Mechanism, helping high-impact agricultural SMEs and promoting economic growth and food security;
  • CAD21 million (US$15 million) to CARE Canada for the Her Resilience, Our Planet project, which promotes climate-resilient agriculture and supports the empowerment of women to address climate change;
  • CAD20 million (US$15 million) to the [[AU] to help implement its 2063 agenda and strategic plan to advance sustainable and inclusive development;
  • CAD15 million (US$11 million) to UNICEF’s Improving Adolescent SRHR in Tanzania initiative, to enhance access to gender-responsive SRHR information and services for adolescents; and,
  • CAD14 million (US$10 million) to the UNDP’s demobilization and reintegration project in Ethiopia.
Press release - Global Affairs Canada

C7 releases international civil society communiqué around seven key issues

May 15, 2024 | Italy, Germany, EUI, Japan, Canada, US, France, UK, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, WASH & Sanitation, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 14-15, 2024, the C7 summit was held at the UN FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, organized by the Italian Civil Society Coalition that led, coordinated, and moderated the C7 2024 process.

Approximately 400 global representatives took part in the event, as well as international decision-makers, including FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, Italian G7 sherpa Ambassador Elisabetta Belloni, Cardinal, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and Pope’s envoy for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict Matteo Maria Zuppi, and Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign Marina Ponti.

The official C7 communiqué that listed the international civil society recommendation to the G7’s Leaders around seven key issues was released at the event, which included:

  • Economic justice and transformation;
  • Climate, energy transformation, and environmental justice;
  • Global health;
  • Principled humanitarian assistance;
  • Peace, common security, and nuclear disarmament;
  • Human mobility and migration; and
  • Food justice and food systems transformation.
C7 communiqué

Australian FY2024/25 ODA budget rises slightly to US$3.2 billion

May 14, 2024 | Australia, Gender Equality, International development, Climate | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the annual Australian budget, which showed the ODA budget rising slightly to AUD5 billion (US$3.2 billion) for FY2024/25.

0.19% ODA/GNI was expected in 2024. Notably, Australia included the grant element of concessional infrastructure loans in the overall ODA figures for the first time.

Within the ODA program, expenditure on the Pacific was expected to rise to almost 40% of the total ODA budget.

AUD144 million (US$93 million) was estimated to be spent on climate and the environment. A new Climate Resilient Communities Fund in the Pacific is slated to receive AUD100 million (US$65 million) over 3 years. Environment spending included AUD200 million (US$129 million) for a Pacific Resilience Facility over 4 years. An Indonesia Environment Partnership will receive AUD200 million (US$129 million) over 4 years.

The gender equality, inclusion, and disability sectors are estimated to receive AUD102 million (US$66 million), including for implementation of expected new strategies for gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights, and disabilities. This also included funds for an Indo-Pacific Gender Equality Fund and a Southeast Asia-based GBV prevention program.

Press release - DFAT

Norwegian Prime Minister to co-host clean cooking summit

May 14, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of the ADB Group, and the executive director of the International Energy Agency co-hosted the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa.

The aim of the summit was to emphasize 2024 as a turning point for progress on ensuring clean cooking access for all.

Støre noted that nearly four in five Africans cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves, using wood, charcoal, animal dung, and other polluting fuels that have severe impacts on health, gender equality, and the environment. Women and children are especially affected. Støre announced that Norway will support the financing of clean cooking with more than NOK500 million (US$46 million).

Press release - Norwegian government (in Norwegian)

Canadian international development organizations call for governmental reponse to Haiti crisis

May 10, 2024 | Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Nutritious Food Systems, Gender Equality, Global Health | Share this update

On May 10, 2024, more than 40 Canadian international cooperation organizations issued an open letter to the Canadian government to call for a response to the cross-cutting crisis in Haiti, foster greater coherence in Canada’s foreign policy, and better demonstrate Canada’s feminist approach to promoting peace and security.

The letter, addressed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other top ministers and backed by representatives from Haitian civil society, presented recommendations for a resolute and lasting contribution to resolving the crisis in Haiti. Haiti’s ongoing political crisis has fostered an environment of violence, SGBV, food insecurity, and socio-economic insecurity.

The signatory organizations called on the Canadian government to champion Haiti’s cause by:

  • Support the political transition process: Canada should recognize and support the recently sworn-in Transitional Presidential Council so that it can effectively implement the “Political Accord for a Peaceful and Orderly Transition” to restore constitutional normalcy and legal order. Canada should also insist on broad political representation of all segments of society, particularly women and youth;
  • Stand against arms trafficking: Canada should encourage international responses and engage in advocacy with the US to stop arms trafficking to Haiti by providing the security forces with logistical and financial support to help restore public security; and
  • Improve development and humanitarian assistance: Canada must reconsider the current project-based approach to development and humanitarian funding, which often fails to reach the most vulnerable people and most affected areas. Canada should work with CSOs to implement the triple nexus approach, combining interventions structured in the humanitarian, development, and peace fields as well as increase and diversify its funding to reach more affected sectors, including agriculture, health, protection of civilians, WASH, shelter, education, economic support, and more.
Cooperation Canada

Norad presents 2023 ODA statistics, shows 18% overall increase

May 7, 2024 | Norway, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, International development, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On May 7, 2024, Norad presented the statistics on Norwegian development assistance in 2023, showing that Norwegian ODA reached a record high of NOK58.6 billion (US$5.4 billion), an increase of 18% or NOK9 billion (US$832 million) compared to 2022.

ODA increased in all regions, significantly affected by the one-time additional allocation of NOK5 billion (US$462 million) to LICs particularly affected by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

By region, the largest increase in ODA was to Europe. In total, European countries received NOK9.1 billion (US$842 million) in funding. Of the total European allocation, the largest share of funding went to Ukraine and Moldova. The funding to Ukraine in 2023 stood at NOK7.9 billion (US$730 million).

Development assistance to the African continent increased by NOK2.5 billion (US$321 million), reaching a total of NOK10.2 billion (US$943 million). Africa remains the region receiving the most development assistance from Norway. The increase in funding to Africa is explained by long-term assistance to agriculture, fisheries, food security and emergency relief.

Development assistance to the Middle East increased by over NOK1 billion (US$92 million), reaching NOK3.8 billion (US$351 million) in 2023. The increase was almost exclusively in emergency assistance. Palestine was the second-largest recipient of Norwegian development assistance in 2023, receiving NOK1.2 billion (US$111 million). The majority of the funding was given as humanitarian assistance and emergency relief.

By partner, multilateral organizations were the largest partner group for Norwegian ODA, followed by CSOs and the public sector. Multilaterals received NOK31.7 billion (US$2.9 billion) in 2023, an increase of NOK6.3 billion (US$582 billion) from 2022. CSOs received NOK13.2 billion (US$1.2 billion) in 2023, compared to NOK10.3 billion (US$952 million) in 2022.

The World Bank Group was the largest partner with NOK7.4 billion (US$684 million) in 2023, of which slightly over one-fifth was core support. The WFP was the second-largest recipient with NOK2.4 billion (US$222 million), approximately half of which was earmarked for emergency relief. Overall, multilateral organizations were the dominant partner group for Norwegian health assistance, with over 80% being channeled through multilateral partners in 2023.

By sector, emergency relief and multisectoral support saw the largest growth from 2022 to 2023, while there was a decrease in refugee expenses and earmarked assistance for education.

ODA to agriculture, fisheries, and food security significantly increased from NOK3.9 billion (US$360 million) in 2022 to NOK6.4 billion (US$592 million) in 2023. Most of the increase of NOK2.5 billion (US$231 million) was funded by the one-time funding package for LICs particularly affected by Russia's war against Ukraine.

Total Norwegian ODA to health stood at NOK6.5 billion (US$601 million) in 2023, up from NOK6.3 billion (US$582 million) in 2022. This is significantly lower than in 2020 and 2021, when development assistance globally was influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between 2014 and 2023, health assistance slightly increased when measured in 2024 prices, from NOK4.7 billion (US$434 million) in 2014. The largest partners in health assistance in 2023 were Gavi at NOK1.5 billion (US$138 million), UNFPA at NOK1.1 billion (US$101 million) and the WHO at NOK687 million (US$63.5 million). Of the earmarked health ODA, totaling NOK3.5 billion (US$323 million) in 2023, 58% went to programs targeting LICs not geographically earmarked. Africa received the most of the geographically earmarked health support, with around NOK600 million (US$55.5 million).

In 2023, NOK1.7 billion (US$157 million) went to SRHR, down from NOK1.8 billion (US$166 million) in 2022. Multilateral organizations, an important partner group in Norwegian SRHR efforts, received 51% of the earmarked support in addition to the calculated core support, totaling 81% of SRHR support. UNFPA was the largest individual partner and received nearly half of total SRHR support.

News article - Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (in Norwegian)

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