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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Australia announces new funding for major health challenges in Papua New Guinea, global vector control

February 19, 2024 | Australia, Global Health | Share this update

On February 19, 2024, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong announced Australia would increase its support for health programs in Papua New Guinea to address malaria, HIV and antimicrobial resistance.

Australia is also slated to support health research and training through the Institute of Medical Research in Papua New Guinea.

No specific figure was given for the support. The funds are to be drawn from the AUD620 million (US$410 million) Partnerships for Healthy Region initiative.

Wong also announced Australia would provide further funding for the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, which aims to develop new products to prevent dengue and malaria globally.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

HIV/AIDS advocates raise concerns about being sidelined by PEPFAR

February 16, 2024 | US, Global Health | Share this update

On February 16, 2024, HIV/AIDS advocates, during a town hall with PEPFAR Head Dr. John Nkengasong, raised concerns that changes to PEPFAR COPs diminish the active role that civil society has historically played in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

COPs, which have been known for its intense planning processes on implementation of country activities, provide advocates with the opportunity to voice support for certain vulnerable populations. Growing threats of criminalization and stigma against these populations have particularly concerned advocates about changes to the plans.

PEPFAR changed COPs timelines from an annual to a two-year cycle in an effort to streamline the planning process during a midpoint review in early February 2024. While advocates agreed that the new planning cycle is a positive step, they expressed that they felt shut out from planning meetings as well as concerned that data was not provided in a timely way.

News article - Devex

South Korea, UNFPA discuss strategic collaboration

February 16, 2024 | South Korea, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On February 15, 2024, South Korea and UNFPA held their first-ever policy meeting to address issues related to the global population and humanitarian assistance.

Regular financial contributions to UNFPA have been made by the Ministry of Health and Welfare since 1997, however, the UNFPA budget was transferred to MOFA since 2024.

Director General for Development Cooperation at the MOFA Do-yeon Won and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes at UNFPA Diene Keita led the meeting.

Won expressed the government’s strong vision to contribute to solving global problems as a global pivotal state with the expansion of the ODA budget. In particular, South Korea plans to strengthen humanitarian assistance and close cooperation with UNFPA.

Won and Keita shared strategies and policies of each to deepen mutual understanding and discuss future priorities for cooperation including the prevention of sexual violence in conflict situations as a part of the HDP Nexus. The meeting reflected the willingness of both sides to strategically and systematically develop cooperation between South Korea and UNFPA.

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

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)

UK announces US$119 million to Ethiopia to end preventable deaths

February 9, 2024 | UK, Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Global health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On February 6, 2024, the UK government announced GBP100 million (US$119 million) to a new fund to end preventable deaths in Ethiopia, targeted at children, pregnant women, and post-natal women.

The fund aims to help more than 3 million people and will focus on supporting people in the Tigray region.

The fund was announced after UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell returned from a 2-day visit to Ethiopia to witness the ongoing regional humanitarian crisis. Mitchell called for other development cooperation providers to step up and financially support the crisis.

Press release - UK government

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)

Canada announces US$21 million in support for climate adaptation, disaster resilience, health services in the Philippines

February 9, 2024 | Canada, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On February 9, 2024, Canada announced CAD28 million (US$21 million) in development programming for the Philippines, focused on climate adaptation, resilience to natural disasters, and improving health care as part of its International Development Week.

The announcement outlined:

  • CAD8 million (US$6 million) to Forest Foundation Philippines to support vulnerable communities in mitigating the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss;
  • CAD13 million (US$10 million) to Alinea International to enhance climate resilience in six vulnerable provinces in the Philippines, with a focus on gender-responsive approaches; and
  • CAD7 million (US$5 million) to Plan International Canada to support health promotion campaigns and increased health-care services in remote communities.
Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Canada announces US$19 million in funding for International Youth Internship Program

February 6, 2024 | Canada, Education, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On February 6, 2024, as part of Canada’s International Development Week, Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen announced CAD25 million (US$19 million) in funding for the International Youth Internship Program.

The program allows youth living in Canada to partake in professional development experiences abroad in the field of international development. The funding will go to six program partners, who will select over 800 eligible youth to complete internships in more than 40 LICs.

Areas of work include climate adaptation, gender equality, SRHR, disability support, mental health support, education, restoration of peace and security, and more.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Australia provides US$23 million for bioengineered cornea manufacturing facility

February 6, 2024 | Australia, Global health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On February 6, 2024, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler announced AUD35 million (US$23 million) for the University of Sydney to establish a facility to manufacture, store, and ship bioengineered corneas across the world.

Butler announced that the next-generation technology aspires to make artificial corneas available to everybody.

There is a chronic shortage of corneas in low- and middle-income countries due to a lack of tissue banks, including many countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. Worldwide, only 1 donor cornea is currently available for every 70 patients seeking a transplant.

The initiative was announced as part of a research collaboration between five institutes. Funding for this initiative is to be provided by Australia’s Medical Research Future Fund.

Press release - Minister for Health and Aged CareNews article - Mirage

CDC opens regional office in Japan

February 5, 2024 | Japan, US, Global Health | Share this update

On February 5, 2024, the US CDC unveiled its new regional office for the East Asia and Pacific in Tokyo, Japan, which it described as a strategic move to enhance global health security.

This office, part of an expanding network of CDC regional offices worldwide, aims to improve the US' capacity to quickly address public health emergencies by fostering cooperation with Japan and other nations within the region. The initiative reflects Japan's and the CDC's effort to prevent, detect, and respond more effectively to health threats, leveraging partnerships and advanced technologies for threat detection and response.

The Tokyo office's establishment is particularly significant in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which underscored the vital importance of international collaboration, transparency, and reliance on scientific expertise to manage health crises. The CDC's approach through this office includes building stronger collaborations in the East Asia and Pacific region, enhancing the ability to rapidly identify and respond to public health threats, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and information among countries.

Dr. Michelle McConnell has been appointed to lead the CDC's efforts in the region. Her role will involve developing a comprehensive health security strategy, overseeing activities related to global health security, and ensuring effective collaboration with various stakeholders to advance health science and response capabilities.

This initiative is part of the CDC's broader strategy to establish a more robust global presence for tackling health security challenges. By setting up regional offices, including in Tokyo and an office in Panama in late 2024, the CDC aims to strengthen global and regional networks for a rapid and coordinated response to emerging health threats. The network is part of the global acknowledgment that disease knows no borders and highlighted the necessity for a unified international response to protect public health worldwide.

News article - The Japan TimesPress release - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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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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