Policy Updates

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USAID to invest US$100 million in climate-smart agriculture

December 3, 2023 | Agriculture, Gender Equality, Agricultural R&D, Climate | Share this update

On December 3, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, USAID announced a number of additional investments in a range of agricultural-climate investments to promote food security through the US' flagship program Feed the Future.

The largest announcement was an additional US$100 million for CGIAR through 2026 to support innovations in climate-smart agricultural efforts. The pledge brought total US commitments to CGIAR to US$215 million.

USAID stated that it will prioritize efforts to address climate-related agricultural issues, including innovations for smallholder farmers, a focus on climate-resilient crops, improving irrigation and water management systems, addressing gender inequalities, and reducing food waste and emissions.

Press release - USAID

South Korea hosts fifth International Conference on Action with Women and Peace

November 30, 2023 | South Korea, Gender Equality | Share this update

On November 30, 2023, the South Korean MOFA hosted the 5th International Conference on Action with Women and Peace under the theme of the promoting women, peace, and security agenda at the UN Security Council.

The conference was convened as part of the Women, Peace and Security Initiative, launched by the MOFA in 2018. The initiative has aimed to contribute to international discourse on women, peace, and security.

Over 40 speakers and more than 300 total participants, including representatives from key countries, international organizations, and civil society, engaged in in-depth discussions on ways to advance women, peace, and security within the framework of the UN Security Council and conflict areas.

South Korean Foreign Minister Jin Park announced in his opening remarks that South Korea plans to contribute to this agenda as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2024 and 2025. This conference served as an opportunity for the South Korean government to express its commitment to the women, peace, and security agenda and bring awareness to the topic.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)News article - Seoulpn (in Korean)

EU provides US$156 million for Afghanistan

November 30, 2023 | EUI, WASH & Sanitation, Gender Equality, Education | Share this update

On November 30, 2023, European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen announced EUR143 million (US$156 million) in support for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

Prioritizing displaced and vulnerable populations, the package included assistance for education, WASH, health, and gender equality, including WEE. Under the heading of basic services, the assistance also included psychological care, educational incentives such as free school meals, and efforts to shore up local economies.

Press release - European Commission

Canada’s IDRC announces US$13 million clean energy initiative

November 30, 2023 | Canada, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update

On November 30, 2023, Canada’s IDRC announced CAD18 million (US$13 million) for its new Clean Energy for Development: A Call for Action initiative in 27 countries.

The initiative has the stated intention to fill knowledge and capacity gaps in the clean energy field in LICs. Twelve research teams will investigate how small businesses can drive and benefit from energy transitions while enhancing economic prospects for women and youth. Research teams associated with the initiative are slated to work directly with implementers, investors, and funders of low-carbon energy projects.

Press release - IDRC

Japan provides US$5 million grant to address GBV in South Sudan

November 28, 2023 | Japan, Gender Equality | Share this update

On November 28, 2023, Japan approved a JPY732 million (US$5 million) grant for a UNDP initiative addressing GBV in South Sudan.

The initiative is slated to establish community centers to enhance preparedness and response to GBV. The project addresses the severe impact of GBV in South Sudan, particularly against women and girls, which has been exacerbated by tribal conflicts and a lack of comprehensive support services.

The plan focuses on the Central, Eastern, and Western Equatoria states with the stated goal of creating a safe environment for GBV victims and vulnerable women. Key components included economic empowerment, social reintegration, judicial services, psychological care, technical training, and the development of community centers. The initiative is intended to empower GBV victims, promote social reintegration, and foster economic independence, which contribute to the improvement of inclusive social services in South Sudan.

Japan’s commitment aligns with the women, peace, and security action plan addressing sexual violence in conflict zones. This initiative reflects Japan’s efforts, as expressed during TICAD8 in August 2022, emphasizing the importance of strengthening the capacity of judicial authorities to respond to GBV and sexual violence in conflict zones.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Japan addresses climate change, digital governance, women-led development at G20

November 22, 2023 | Japan, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update

On November 22, 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participated in the G20 Leaders' Video Conference in India, and discussed crucial global issues including multilateral reforms, climate change, digital governance, and women-led development.

Kishida acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and welcomed the African Union as a permanent G20 member. He highlighted the complexity of global crises, emphasizing Russia's aggression against Ukraine as a threat to sustainable development.

Addressing multilateral system reforms, Kishida stressed the need to strengthen the UN, including Security Council reform. He proposed enhancing the functions of multilateral development banks to support developing countries facing global challenges. Kishida also called for increased efforts to limit temperature rise, urging all parties to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and ambitious emission reduction targets.

In the digital sphere, Kishida emphasized the importance of international governance for AI, introducing Japan's efforts through the Hiroshima AI Process. He expressed Japan's commitment to promoting safe and secure AI globally.

Kishida also underscored the need to close the gender gap and enhance women's participation across all sectors. He outlined Japan's commitment to shedding light on "human dignity" under Brazil's upcoming G20 Presidency, pledging continued contributions to global cooperation in addressing diverse challenges.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Australia commits to support reproductive rights and health in Pacific

November 22, 2023 | Australia, Family Planning, Gender Equality | Share this update

On November 22, 2023, Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy announced AUD37 million (US$24 million) to enable a second phase of UNFPA's Transformative Agenda for Women, Youths, and Adolescents program.

The funding is slated to cooperate with nine Pacific governments over five years to improve regional SRHR services. Australia has previously funded existing programs to assist UNFPA suppliers and International Planned Parenthood Federation activities.

Press release - Minister for International Development and the Pacific

Canada’s IDRC announces US$7 million SDG partnership in Africa

November 20, 2023 | Canada, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On November 20, 2023, Canada’s IDRC announced a new CAD$9 millon (US$7 million) partnership, officially titled LEEPS, with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH to advance equitable and gender-transformative policies and solutions for the SDGs.

The initiative is slated to target diverse issues, including reproductive health and the transition to low-carbon economies in low- and middle- income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Press release - IDRC

UK launches new White Paper on International Development

November 20, 2023 | UK, Education, Gender Equality, Agricultural R&D, Nutritious Food Systems, WASH & Sanitation, Climate | Share this update

On November 20, 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched a new White Paper on International Development, the first since 2009, which set out a progressive, whole-of-government approach to accelerate the delivery of the SDGs over the next seven years.

The White Paper provided a return to focusing UK development on the goal of eradicating poverty, which experts noted was largely neglected by previous strategies. It presented two further key goals: tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. The paper called for a new approach to partnerships based on country ownership, accountability, and transparency.

Though experts noted that the paper seemed to signal that the UK has recommitted to international development, it did not make new major financial commitments. The focus of the paper was on mobilizing resources beyond ODA for development, including the City of London’s private finance and expertise, stretching multilateral finance, and tackling trade, tax and illicit flows, as well as outlining policy priorities.

A return to delivering 0.7% ODA/GNI when fiscally feasible was mentioned briefly in the paper. Neither the Foreign Secretary nor the Minister for Development mentioned 0.7% ODA/GNI as a goal in their respective prefaces.

Six key themes from the paper included:

  • Mobilizing international finance (public and private) for climate and development with a focus that includes the City of London, pension funds, and investors;
  • Reforming the international system, with a strong focus on debt relief, trade, tax, and illicit flows, areas where the UK has in the past had strong expertise;
  • Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss and enabling sustainable economic growth;
  • Ensuring opportunities for all, including gender and broader equality and rights, global health, education, water, and social protection;
  • Tackling conflict, disasters, and food insecurity through preparedness and resilience. The only new financial commitment in the document reserved GBP1 billion (US$1.2 billion) in the budget for humanitarian spending each year, in line with current spending, and established a GBP150 million (US$179 million) disaster fund; and
  • Harnessing innovation and technology. R&D remains core to the UK offer on development, with a resurgence in interest in digital transformation and a strong interest in harnessing AI for development.

One of the most significant commitments was the aim to spend 50% of UK bilateral ODA in LDCs, prioritizing ODA resources to LICs. In 2021, the UK only provided 19.1% of resources to LDCs and has never exceeded 33% since 2013. A commitment to 50% is seen by experts as a monumental change in bilateral allocations. The White Paper also committed the BII to invest half of its resources in so-called poor and fragile states by 2030.

The 2024 UK election sets a narrow timeframe for the current Conservative government to implement the goals laid out by the paper. The progressive and broad framing, however, indicated to experts that the paper may not necessarily be jettisoned by a potential Labor government.

Development NGOs in the UK have been broadly welcoming of the document, but have criticized the government for ODA cuts and called for a return to 0.7% ODA/GNI.

Report - UK government Press release - ONE

Australia provides US$8 million to fight and eliminate cervical cancer

November 17, 2023 | Australia, Global Health, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On November 17, 2023, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong pledged AUD13 million (US$8 million) to improve access to cervical cancer treatments, vaccination, and screening expertise under Australia’s Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative, focused primarily on Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

In low- and middle-income countries, women and girls face rates of cervical cancer up to 13 times greater than those experienced in Australia. Certain demographics, such as women living with HIV, have a chance of dying from cervical cancer up to six times greater than average.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney also announced the Australian government’s national strategy for the elimination of cervical cancer in Australia. The strategy was developed in conjunction with the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer.

The strategy includes 70% coverage of five-year cervical cancer screening of those aged 25 to 74. It also aimed to provide HPV vaccination to 90% of boys so that all children are safe from HPV.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs






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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