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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Canada announces US$30 million in additional assistance to Gaza

January 30, 2024 | Canada, Nutritious Food Systems, Nutrition, Global Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On January 30, 2024, Canada’s Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen announced that Canada is providing an additional CAD40 million (US$30 million) to address urgent needs in Gaza, in the wake of Canada’s suspension of funding to UNRWA.

The funding will support Canada’s partners in administering life-saving assistance including food, water, emergency medical assistance, and protection services. The announcement included the following funding lines:

  • WFP: CAD16 million (US$12 million);
  • UNICEF: CAD6 million (US$4 million);
  • UNFPA: CAD5 million (US$4 million);
  • WHO: CAD3 million (US$2 million);
  • ICRC: CAD3 million (US$2 million);
  • UNOCHA: CAD2 million (US$1 million); and
  • Canadian NGO partners: CAD5 million (US$4 million).

Canada also vowed to work with UNRWA to support the investigation into the allegations of staff’s involvement in the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack, and reaffirmed its call for a humanitarian ceasefire and a two-state solution.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

USAID to expand safe water assistance in Mozambique

January 29, 2024 | US, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On January 29, 2024, USAID announced that, as part of the US' global water strategy, USAID will be expanding assistance to Mozambique to provide WASH services to approximately 325,000 people and 90 schools and clinics.

It is estimated that only 65% of people in Mozambique have access to safe and clean water, and that only 38% have access to basic sanitation services. USAID is slated to work with the government of Mozambique on a variety of investments to strengthen its services and institutions. These efforts are estimated to mobilize up to US$21 million in private sector funding.

Press release - USAID

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)

UK, US freeze UNRWA funding to Gaza

January 27, 2024 | UK, US, Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, WASH & Sanitation, Education | Share this update

On January 27, 2024, it was announced that the UK has joined the US and other nations in freezing its funding for the UNRWA for Palestinians in the Near East in light of allegations that 12 UNRWA staff took part in the October 7, 2023 attack by Hamas on Israel.

The UK government noted that while it remains committed to getting vital humanitarian aid to people in Gaza, it was temporarily pausing future funding while the allegations are reviewed. The UK was the third-largest donor to UNRWA in 2020, but its funding fell sharply in 2021 and 2022. No recorded funding was delivered in 2023.

Assistance workers and Palestinian advocates have stated that freezing funding could have dire impact on humanitarian relief to Gaza.

News article - The Guardian

Canada suspends development and humanitarian funding to UNRWA

January 26, 2024 | Canada, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On January 26, 2024, Canada’s Minister of International Development announced the temporary suspension of Canada’s funding to UNRWA, in response to allegations of the agency’s staff being involved in Hamas’s attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023.

Canada vowed to continue its life-saving assistance, including food, water, sanitation, and medical services, for the people of Gaza through other partners.

The director of UNRWA warned that the organization would not be able to continue operations beyond February if support is not restored. Global affairs experts raised concern that Canada and other donor nations’ decision to pause funding could have grave consequences for Palestinians.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Audit questions Netherlands' WASH achievements

January 18, 2024 | Netherlands, WASH & Sanitation, Gender Equality | Share this update

On January 18, 2024, the Netherlands Court of Audit published a report evaluating the Dutch MFA’s progress towards its WASH goals, which found that unclear priorities, measurement, and accountability have resulted in limited progress.

After the launch of the UN SDGs in 2015, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation committed to providing 30 million people access to clean drinking water and 50 million people to sanitation facilities between 2016 and 2030.

One of the key findings of the report is that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has insufficiently implemented the recommendations made by a previous report done in 2008. Additionally, the researchers noted that the Ministry has not evaluated the policy period between 2004-2015. As a result, this new report finds that mistakes were repeated, limiting the Netherlands’ overall progress towards its WASH goals.

Another key finding is that implementers of Dutch WASH funds do not always consistently measure project reach. The researchers also found that implementers may report positive results that do not actually contribute to the desired outcomes, including sustainably installed toilets and taps. As such, the report found that Dutch achievements in this area were overreported, with recipients of WASH funding at risk of only temporarily gaining access to WASH facilities.

The report’s findings that the Ministry has insufficiently heeded the findings of previous evaluations and audits echo the conclusions of another recent audit of the Ministry’s SRHR efforts, published in December 2023.

News article - Netherlands Court of Audit (in Dutch)Report - Netherlands Court of Audit (in Dutch)Report - MFA Evaluation Service (IOB)

Netherlands pledges additional US$27 million for Palestinians

January 8, 2024 | Netherlands, Global Health, Nutrition, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On January 8, 2024, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Geoffrey van Leeuwen announced a new pledge of EUR25 million (US$27 million) for humanitarian relief to Palestinian citizens affected by the Gaza crisis.

The funds will be used for urgent humanitarian needs, such as food, water, medical care, and fuel for electricity and heating. EUR15 million (US$16 million) is assigned to the Dutch Red Cross for relief by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Society in Gaza. The remaining EUR10 million (US$11 million) will go towards the UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

This pledge is in addition to the EUR25 million (US$27 million) pledged on December 20, 2024, bringing total Dutch assistance to Palestine to EUR50 million (US$54 million). The funds will come from the Netherlands' 2024 development budget.

Letter - Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (in Dutch)

Sweden pledges addition US$14 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan

December 5, 2023 | Sweden, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture, Agricultural R&D, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On December 5, 2023, Sweden announced an additional SEK149 million (US$14 million) to address the escalating needs of the civilian population in Sudan amid ongoing armed conflict, which erupted in April and has severely impacted living conditions.

The additional funding brought Sweden's humanitarian assistance to Sudan in 2023 to SEK355 million (US$34 million). The assistance package is channeled through Sida and detailed the following allocations:

  • OCHA and UNICEF: SEK89 million (US$9 million);
  • Mercy Corps: SEK25 million (US$2 million). Mercy Corps is a humanitarian organization focused on food security. The funds are allocated to enhance the production capabilities and self-sufficiency of small-scale farmers, particularly women, and is expected to benefit 10,000 farmers; and
  • UNHCR: SEK35 million (US$3 million) will support the OHCHR in its efforts to monitor and document human rights abuses in Sudan.
Press release - Government of Sweden

US provides additional US$21 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, West Bank

December 5, 2023 | US, Global Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On December 5, 2023, USAID Administrator Samatha Power announced during a visit to Egypt that USAID will provide an additional US$21 million in humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza and the West Bank.

The assistance, which is being delivered during the ongoing conflict, is in addition to the US$100 million announced by US President Joe Biden on October 18, 2023.

The assistance is slated to address shelter, food, and hygiene concerns, as well as support psychosocial and other critical health care. It will also facilitate the creation of a field hospital in Gaza to help provide necessary care at a time when 60% of Gazan hospitals are not open.

Press release - USAID

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

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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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