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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USAID to provide additional US$176 million for West African humanitarian relief

May 28, 2024 | US, Nutrition, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On May 28, 2024, USAID announced an additional US$176 million to communities in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin areas of West Africa in response to increased humanitarian needs brought about by declining security conditions.

The emergency relief will include food, nutrition, safe water, health care, and assistance to the most vulnerable populations. The assistance will be implemented through the UNFP, UNICEF, and OCHA, and will go to people in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Nigeria.

The US is the largest donor to the region. Representatives noted the serious humanitarian crises and called on other donors to help meet the funding shortfall.

Press release - USAID

Canada announces US$40 million in assistance to Syrian civilians

May 27, 2024 | Canada, Gender Equality, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health, Family Planning, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On May 27, 2024, Canadian Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussed announced more than CAD55 million (US$40 million) to address urgent civilian needs in Syria amid the ongoing conflict.

The new funding will address urgent civilian needs in Syria and the region, including providing food, WASH services, protection services including the prevention and response to GBV, and health services including the provision of access to SRH healthcare. Development assistance funding will also be allocated through existing projects in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon that benefit Syrian refugees and strengthen these countries’ ability to support displaced Syrians.

More than 13 years into the Syrian crisis, over 16 million people, or 70% of the population, urgently require assistance, and nearly 7 million Syrian refugees remain sheltered in neighboring countries. The new funding brings Canada’s total commitment to over CAD147 million (US$108 million) in international assistance funding to Syria and neighboring countries in 2024.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

USAID pledges US$593 million in humanitarian assistance to Syrian communities

May 27, 2024 | US, Nutrition, Global Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On May 27, 2024, as part of the European conference on Syria, the US pledged US$593 million in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria, amounting to almost 15% of the total appeal for funding for this year.

According to USAID, 90% of the Syrian population live below the poverty line, and 70%, of half of which are children, will need humanitarian assistance. The conditions were brought about by the ongoing conflict and a 2023 earthquake. The assistance is slated to include food, water, shelter, health care, and protection for vulnerable people.

This US has provided a total of US$17.8 billion for the Syrian response since the beginning of the conflict.

Press release - USAIDNews article - AP

UK triples humanitarian assistance to Gaza to US$120 million, continues to face access issues

May 24, 2024 | UK, Nutrition, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On May 24, 2024, ICAI released an informative note on the UK's humanitarian response to Gaza, which showed that the UK has tripled the planned amount of assistance to the region since the outbreak of the crisis in October 2023.

The note did not make evaluative judgments on the UK’s performance. It complemented a report published by the IDC on March 1, 2024, on the UK’s humanitarian response to the situation in Gaza.

The note reported that over 35,000 people in Gaza have lost their lives as a result of Israel's military campaign retaliating against a violent attack against its citizens. 1.7 million people are currently displaced in Gaza, with 1 million facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

The note shows that between 2022 and 2023, the UK was due to spend GBP26 million (US$30 million) in ODA to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with a further GBP27 million (US$32 million) to be allocated for FY2023/24. The humanitarian assistance included funding to UNRWA.

In response to the crisis, the UK announced an additional GBP70 million (US$84 million) in assistance, tripling planned funding for the territories in FY2023/24 to more than GBP100 million (US$120 million). The UK Ministry of Defense has supported the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian territories.

In November 2023, the UK revised its humanitarian strategy, initially focusing on diplomacy, advocacy, and flexible funding. Priorities included obtaining multiple humanitarian pauses and increasing humanitarian land access to Gaza. Two additional revisions followed the first.

Most of the support provided by the UK was flexible funding for partners with a long-existing presence within Gaza. In-kind donations to support shelter, core relief items, and logistical support were prioritized, as well as appropriate logistical support. UK humanitarian assistance focused on health support, food and nutrition, shelter, WASH, and support to address GBV and ensure child protection.

The note indicated significant difficulties in getting assistance to those who need it due to restricted access to Gaza. It also showed that the UK has presently put its funding to UNRWA on hold due to allegations, since disputed, that some of its staff were involved in the October attack.

The note finally indicated several potential future lines of inquiry that could be conducted by the ICAI, the UK IDC, or other investigative bodies. The lines included:

  • What are the circumstances in which the UK would publicly state its assessment of whether Israel has violated international humanitarian law, and what would be the consequences of such an assessment;
  • Given the critical role of UNRWA, what are the UK’s plans for further funding;
  • What is the UK’s strategy for restoring adequate food and essential goods supplies to Gaza and ensuring sustainable humanitarian access;
  • Should the UK continue to support the development of a maritime corridor;
  • What preparations is the UK making to respond to the long-term harm suffered by the population of Gaza; and
  • What planning is FCDO undertaking, with international partners, for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza.
Report - ICAI

France to host One Water Summit

May 21, 2024 | France, WASH & Sanitation, Climate | Share this update

On May 21, 2024, at the occasion of the World Water Forum, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would be hosting the One Water Summit on September 23, 2024, in the margins of UNGA79.

The summit will be organized in close collaboration with Kazakhstan, the President of the World Bank, the UN, and many other partners. The objectives will be to build a major international alliance on water, bringing together governments, local authorities, industry, the private sector, associations, and NGOs to invest in the new water economy.

The summit aims to contribute to the ongoing UN discussions and process to enhance global water governance, accelerate action on UN SDG #6 on water and sanitation, and act as an incubator for solutions, in preparation for the next UN Water Conference in 2026. The French presidency also stated that it will place the issue of water at the heart of the agenda of the 4P, launched June 2023 in France, with the aim of reconciling the agendas of combating poverty and protecting the environment.

Press release - French Presidency (in French)

US starts delivery of humanitarian assistance through temporary pier in Gaza

May 17, 2024 | US, UK, EUI, Nutrition, Nutritious Food Systems, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, it was announced that the US has begun to deliver needed humanitarian assistance through a temporary pier into Gaza, which it characterized as a supplemental channel for emergency assistance and not a substitute for land deliveries.

This effort is being led by USAID and the US Department of Defense, and involves Cyprus, Israel, the UN, the UAE, the UK, and the EU. The conflict conditions in Gaza have engendered a dire need for food, shelter, medicine, and other emergency assistance.

The decision to set up the humanitarian maritime corridor was motivated in part by the slow delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Assistance delivered by truck has been reduced to approximately 100 trucks a day since the beginning of the conflict, approximately one-sixth of full operation. USAID's initial contributions through the pier will be hundreds of metric tons a day, including nutrient rich food for the most vulnerable children and adults. Other assistance includes shelter, water, and hygiene kits.

Press release - USAID

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$48 million to support needs of Palestinians

May 16, 2024 | Canada, Education, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On May 16, 2024, Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen announced CAD65 million (US$48 million) in funding to address urgent civilian needs in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict, including food, medical assistance, and other essential services.

The funding includes CAD25 million (US$18 million) to UNRWA, previously announced in June 2023, as well as an additional CAD40 million (US$29 million) in new funding distributed to UNWRA and other trusted partners, including the CRC. The funding will support the distribution of food, water, emergency medical assistance, protection services, and other critical assistance.

Hussen also announced that Canada has delivered a payment of CAD25 million (US$18 million) to UNRWA as part of its previously announced existing multi-year commitment with the agency to help meet the education, health, and safety assistance needs of Palestinian refugees in the region.

Canada reiterated its condemnation of Hamas and their attack on October 7, 2023, as well as Canada’s demand for the immediate release of hostages, the urgent need for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza, and its commitment to a two-state solution.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

New Dutch governmental coalition unveils historic US$6.4 billion cut to development cooperation

May 16, 2024 | Netherlands, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Climate | Share this update

On May 16, 2024, the four Dutch coalition negotiating parties– PVV, VVD, NSC, and BBB - agreed to an outline agreement titled Hope, Courage, and Pride, stating that the new Dutch government will cut two-thirds of the current development budget over 2025-2027, or EUR5.9 billion (US$6.4 billion) over the period.

The outline focuses on ten key areas, primarily concerning improving Dutch citizens' livelihoods and social well-being and restricting asylum seekers and migration. The outline states that the Netherlands will contribute to food security and water management in other countries to improve stability, as well as support the regional hosting of asylum seekers to prevent further migration to the Netherlands.

The cuts are slated to start with EUR350 million (US$380 million) in 2025, increasing to EUR550 million (US$598 million) in 2026, and reaching EUR2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion) annually from 2027.

Opposition GroenLinks MP Danielle Hirsch contrasted the cuts with the statement's assertion that the Netherlands is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Eleven development organizations in the Netherlands released a statement expressing their disapproval and concerns about these unprecedented cuts. Partos asserted that these cuts will damage the Netherlands’ international standing and interests. It calls on the coalition to avoid these cuts and continue investing in international cooperation.

Informants van Zwol and Dijkgraaf completed their task with the outline agreement. and recommended appointing van Zwol as the next formator. Van Zwol expects to appoint ministers and state secretaries within four to five weeks to form the new cabinet and flesh out the outline agreement.

Government document - Dutch coalition outline agreement (in Dutch)Government document - Budgetary annex to the coalition outline agreement (in Dutch)Report - Informants' Dijkgraaf and van Zwol's report (in Dutch)Danielle Hirsch (GroenLinks) (in Dutch)News article - ND (in Dutch)Partos (in Dutch)

UK to increase humanitarian ODA to Yemen by 58% for 2024, 2025

May 15, 2024 | UK, Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On May 15, 2024, UK Foreign Minister David Cameron met with Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak and announced that the UK would increase its humanitarian assistance to Yemen by 58% from 2024 to 2025, for a total of GBP139 million (US$166 million), to alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis.

The funding will mainly be delivered through critical partners like WFP and UNICEF and is aimed at supporting primary healthcare, including child vaccinations and vital nutrition interventions.

Over half the population of Yemen is dependent on humanitarian assistance. Since 2015, the UK has provided more than GBP1 billion (US$1.2 billion) in assistance to Yemen.

Press release - UK government

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