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.

Canada, UK announce US$51 million AI partnership in Africa

November 2, 2023 | UK, Canada, Education, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On November 2, 2023, Canada’s International Development Research Centre announced at the UK AI Safety Summit in London that it is partnering with the UK FCDO to launch a new phase of the AI for Development program, with an initial focus on Africa.

The new CAD70 million (US$51 million) partnership is intended to leverage the capacity of AI to reduce inequalities, strengthen health, education, and food systems, as well as adapt to climate change.

News article - International Development Research Centre

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Eva Granados appointed as Spanish State Secretary for International Cooperation

December 5, 2023 | Spain | Share this update

On December 5, 2023, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation José Manuel Albares, appointed Eva Granados as the new State Secretary for International Cooperation.

Granados, born in 1975, is a politician and member of the governing PSOE. She holds degrees in political science and public administration.

News article - El Periódico (in Spanish)

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

Norway commits US$9 million for LIC climate adaptation

December 4, 2023 | Norway, Agricultural R&D, Climate | Share this update

On December 4, 2023, Norway announced that it will commit NOK100 million (US$9 million) to the LDC Fund to strengthen the capacity of LDCs to meet climate challenges.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the four focus areas of the fund's strategy align well with the five pillars of the Norwegian climate adaptation strategy. Norwegian Minister for International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim emphasized the importance of early warning systems, climate services, nature-based solutions, and climate-resilient food production and infrastructure.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

UK announces US$119 million for adaptation, US$575 million to support private sector green funding

December 3, 2023 | UK, Climate | Share this update

On December 3, 4, and 5, 2023, the UK government made an array of financing announcements at COP28, including GBP100 million (US$119 million) to climate adaptation in vulnerable countries and GBP480 million (US$575 million) in investments to leverage private sector funding for adaptation and resilience.

The UK’s GBP100 million (US$119 million) announcement to climate-vulnerable countries included:

  • Approximately GBP20 million (US$24 million) in funding for disaster risk financing and early warning systems;
  • GBP36 million (US$43 million) for clean energy and green growth projects in the Middle East and North Africa to support long-term climate stability;
  • Up to GBP18 million (US$22 million) for an innovative new program to adapt and strengthen health systems, which would be the first climate and health program to be announced by a G7 member; and
  • GBP20 million (US$24 million) for a new research program to guide the UK’s future work on climate-resilient health systems.

The GBP480 million (US$575 million) investments to green private financing included:

  • GBP391 million (US$468 million) to the Private Infrastructure Development Group to build a pipeline of low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure projects for private sector investment;
  • GBP44 million (US$53 million) from BII for new projects involving clean energy transition and climate resilience in Africa and South Asia; and
  • A potential GBP32 million (US$38 million) investment via MOBILIST in the Green Guarantee Company, which offers specialist guarantees for climate adaptation and mitigation projects in LICs.

The UK also announced its first African Climate Resilient Debt Clause for Senegal, allowing Senegal to pause debt repayments in the wake of a climate disaster to promote speedy recovery.

The UK further endorsed the new Global Climate Finance Framework at COP28, calling for reform of international financial institutions to ensure improved equity, efficacy, and greater resources.

Finally, the UK confirmed the launch of Climate Investment Funds Capital Market Mechanism in 2024. The mechanism was originally announced in 2021 under the UK’s COP26 Presidency. The launch of the mechanism comes after in-depth work on its specific financing mechanism design. The bonds are hoped to generate up to US$750 million per year in new climate finance and US$7.5 billion over the next decade.

Press release - UK government Press release - UK government

Norwegian government and Socialist Left Party finalize 2024 budget, fall short of 1% ODA/GNI

December 3, 2023 | Norway, Agriculture | Share this update

On December 3, 2023, the Norwegian government and the opposition SV announced an agreement on Norway's 2024 state budget, which fell NOK2.1 billion (US$196 million) short of achieving the government's goal of 1% ODA/GNI to international development.

Negotiations on the 2024 state budget have been ongoing since November 13, 2023.

The agreement included an allocation of an additional NOK1 billion (US$93 million) to climate and forestry investments. This was the only change in the budget for international development.

Leader of the SV Kirsti Bergstø underlined that she believes it to be the governing party’s responsibility to achieve 1% ODA/GNI. Bergstø had previously announced that SV would not save 1% ODA/GNI at all costs during the budget negotiations. The SV argued that the government had previously stated the intention to commit 1% ODA/GNI to the UN SDGs, and that it was not the SV's duty to enforce the pledge.

Several public figures criticized the fact that the SV did not prioritize the 1% ODA/GNI target in negotiations.

Secretary-General of Norwegian Church Aid, which initially reported the funding shortfall, Dagfinn Høybråten described the agreement as deeply disappointing and incomprehensible. He underlined multiple extraordinary and intersecting global crises, including widespread war and conflict, a global food crisis, and a climate crisis requiring immediate action. Høybråten noted that Norway has enormous additional income from oil sales, putting it in a unique financial state to undertake development action. He asserted that in light of this, Norway should give significantly more 1% of GNI to international development rather than reducing its ambitions.

Secretary-General of Save the Children Birgitte Lange shared a similar disappointment. She argued that global extreme poverty is increasing and threatening increasing numbers of children. Lange also expressed disappointment that the SV did not use its negotiating power to push for more funding to international development.

Deputy leader of the Liberal Party Sveinung Rotevatn, which is a traditional ally of the SV in prioritizing international development, expressed his approval that the government and the SV committed to strengthening funding to welfare services in Norway. He noted, however, that he believes that Norway, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, should be able to allocate 1% of GNI to development.

News article - Panorama (in Norwegian)News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)

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

Joint taskforce on international taxation launched at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Spain, France, EUI | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, France, Kenya, Spain, and the African Union Commission, with the European Commission as an observer, jointly launched a new taskforce on international taxation.

The taskforce is the result of discussions initiated at the June 2023 Paris Summit for a New Financing Pact and the September 2023 African Climate Summit, held in Nairobi.

The taskforce was announced with the goal to identify innovative finance mechanisms and mobilize new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources for development, climate change and the protection of biodiversity. It is intended to ensure that all economic sectors, particularly those with a low tax burden, contribute a fair share to climate financing according to respective greenhouse gas emission levels.

The taskforce is planned to analyze various taxation options, such as a global carbon tax regime, a carbon tax on the fossil fuel trade, shipping, and aviation, as well as a global Financial Transaction Tax.

The members of the coalition mobilized around the taskforce stated their openness to cooperation with other countries and CSOs. The taskforce will be supported by the European Climate Foundation.

The next steps for the taskforce were listed as:

  • The appointment of experts and the creation of a detailed working plan in early 2024;
  • The presentation of the taskforce's mandate and initial assessments at COP29 in late 2024; and
  • The formulation of concrete proposals, to be adopted by relevant institutions at COP30 in 2025.
Twitter - French Presidency (in French)Twitter - Focus 2030

Netherlands commits US$16 million to Loss and Damage Fund at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Netherlands, EUI, Germany, US, Japan, UK, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Rutte announced a commitment of EUR15 million (US$16 million) to help establish the Loss and Damage Fund.

The EUI pledged US$125 million, Germany and the UAE each pledged US$100 million, the UK pledged GBP60 million (US$78 million), the US pledged US$18 million, and Japan pledged US$10 million. The total funds surpass the US$400 million needed to initiate the establishment and operation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

Dutch NGO ActionAid Netherlands responded by commenting that while the pledge is a fair initial contribution to the fund, it is far from a "fair share" for the Netherlands when based on the country’s emissions levels.

Twitter - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)Twitter - ActionAid Netherlands (in Dutch)

Team Europe pledges US$21.8 billion for clean energy at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Sweden, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, EUI, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, the EU institutions, the EIB, the EBRD, and the Member States that comprise Team Europe pledged EUR20 billion (US$21.8 billion) for clean energy partnerships with African partners.

The funding announcement listeed EUR3.4 billion (US$3.7 billion) in grants and covered the period from 2021-2027. The project, AEGEI, aims to produce over 50 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

12 EU Member States contributed to the funding. No language regarding specific partner countries was included in the announcement.

Press release - EU Commission

Italy signs memorandum to support CO2 reduction and adaptation in Ethiopia

December 2, 2023 | Italy, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, at COP28, Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding underlining future climate cooperation between Italy and Ethiopia, which committed approximately EUR7 million (US$8 million) from Italy's Ministry of Environment and Energy Security to projects for CO2 reduction and climate adaptation.

The signing occurred during a meeting between Italian Minister of Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Pichetto-Fratin and Ethiopian Minister of Planning and Development Fitsum Assefa.

Press release - Ministry of Environment and Energy Security (in Italian)

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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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