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.
May 30, 2023 | Netherlands, Climate, Global Health, Nutrition, Gender Equality, Education | Share this update
On May 30, 2023, the Netherlands published its first continent-wide, ten-year Africa Strategy (2023-2032).
The strategy outlined short-, mid-, and longterm actions to promote the 54 countries’ equal economic development, reduced poverty, improved human rights, and limited irregular migration.
The strategy displayed the Netherlands’ ambition to strengthen and deepen its strategic relationship and partnership with African countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally through the EU. The strategy prioritized equitable and reciprocal cooperation based on mutual interests. Key themes included:
The Strategy positioned the EU as Africa’s most important trade partner and investor, and a major provider of development and humanitarian assistance. Accordingly, the strategy framed other countries’ expanding influence in Africa, such as China, Russia, and the Gulf States, as a key geopolitical and economic challenge. The strategy likewise attempted to position the Netherlands and EU as attractive partners for African countries to facilitate collaboration on key cross-border issues including migration, trade, energy transition, security, and food security.
Specifically, the Netherlands focused on good trade agreements and energy transition, presenting a model of cooperation in which African countries process raw materials before exporting them to the EU. The strategy touted the plan as a way to create jobs in Africa and to make the value chains of raw materials more sustainable.
The strategy also emphasized the importance of peace and security for African countries and their citizens as a means of preventing (cross-border) violent extremism. The Netherlands shared its aim to design effective, sustainable migration cooperation with African partners within the international and European legal frameworks. Additionally, the Netherlands shared goals to leverage this cooperation to increased food security, improved health and climate resilience, and invest in higher and vocational education.
While CSOs responded favorably to the strategy, they also expressed apprehension regarding its increased reliance on Dutch businesses. Similarly, several organizations questioned the Netherlands’ ability to realize its ambitions after the recently announced cuts of EUR3.4 billion (US$3.6 billion) to the Dutch development budget of over the following four years.
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September 19, 2023 | UK, Education, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update
On September 19, 2023, UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly called for a more inclusive international financial system and announced a series of new UK financial guarantees to unlock further funding from MDBs at the 78th UN General Assembly.
The guarantees included:
The UK also announced GBP17 million (US$20 million) to improve tax systems in developing countries to help ensure countries have more sustainable public finances and to close tax loopholes. The UK estimated that this could raise an additional US$260 billion in financing.
Finally, the UK also announced that it will join and provide additional disaster risk financing support for the Caribbean, a region particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. The Foreign Secretary is slated to announce that the UK will join CCRIF SPC to establish an affordable insurance scheme to increase the resilience of vital WASH services and provide additional support for the Caribbean.
September 18, 2023 | EUI, Climate, Education | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen announced the formation of a forum for European private entities to support the Commission's Global Gateway initiative.
Launched at a sideline event of the SDG Summit, the initiative was intended to bolster private engagement and partnerships in EU development initiatives. Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and Urpilainen predicted that the group will increase the impact of development partnerships across sectors, particularly education, digitization, and renewable energies.
Members were appointed to serve three-year terms, and comprised a mix of small- to large enterprises and trade groups.
September 18, 2023 | | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antonio Tajani met with the Foreign Ministers of Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia to underline the importance of ensuring stability in the Balkans and promoting joint efforts to address irregular migration, combat human trafficking, and dismantle criminal organizations.
Tajani suggested convening biannual ministerial-format meetings to facilitate regular discussions on matters of common interest. He also pledged to further advance European regional integration and establish a working group known as "Friends of the Western Balkans."
Tajani also engaged with counterparts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia to discuss socioeconomic challenges and migration issues in the Horn of Africa, as well as potential regional collaborations. He emphasized Italy's interest in strengthening economic cooperation with the region. Initial trade data from 2023 indicate a 23% growth in trade compared to 2022, which totaled EUR300 million (US$320 million).
Tajani will attend the UN General Assembly from September 17-22 in New York, USA. He noted that Africa and the Western Balkans are the highest priority of the Italian agenda. He also underscored the significant attention that the 2024 Italian Presidency of the G7 will devote to the African continent, particularly the Horn of Africa.
September 18, 2023 | Germany | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Development Minister Svenja Schulze, and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke highlighted Germany's 12 key contributions towards achieving the SDGs at the SDG Summit in New York, USA.
Schulze highlighted German priorities, including World Bank reform, debt restructuring, and gender equality. Lemke noted that Germany continues to embrace an ambitious implementation approach to the 2030 Agenda and stressed Germany's environmental contributions and work towards strengthening ecosystem resilience.
Germany's 12 key contributions cover issues across the 17 SDGs, including funding for vaccine production in partner countries and commitments to the Pandemic Fund, a commitment to ensuring 93% of funding benefits gender equality, and increased biodiversity funding commitments. Lemke is set to announce a commitment of the BMUV to the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund.
September 18, 2023 | UK, US | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly and the US co-convened an AI event in the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly and launched a new GBP1 million (US$1 million) AI for Development program.
Cleverly noted that AI provides an immense opportunity for R&D and will be vital to accelerating drug discovery and predicting food insecurity. He called for national governments to come together in a global approach to AI and highlighted the forthcoming UK-hosted AI summit in November 2023.
Cleverly also launched a new AI for Development program in partnership with Canada’s International Development Research Centre, which is slated to help LICs build local AI skills and boost innovation to end poverty, improve education and support food security.
The UK announced a GBP1 million (US$1 million) investment in the Complex Risk Analytics Fund. The fund will work with the UN and international partners to harness the power of AI to predict and prevent conflicts and humanitarian crises.
September 18, 2023 | EUI, Gender Equality | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen approved the Advocacy, Coalition Building and Transformative Feminist Action to End Violence against Women on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly.
Valued at EUR22 million (US$24 million), the initiative is intended to increase the impact of investments to end GBV by bolstering front-line gender equality organizations.
The program aimed to increase the interconnectivity of development organizations working in the gender equality and women's empowerment spaces and support the formation of accessible and effective multi-stakeholder partnerships.
The program was designed to be launched with partners in LAC and Africa.
September 18, 2023 | Norway, US, Agriculture | Share this update
On September 18, 2023, Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim and USAID Administrator Samantha Power launched Financing for Agricultural SMEs in Africa, a new multi-donor fund designed to unlock financing for agricultural SMEs on the African continent.
The fund was announced at an event with Power, Tvinnerim, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Kenyan President William Ruto, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, US International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan, and Acumen CEO Jacqueline Novogratz.
Tvinnereim stated that Norway will provide an initial commitment of US$35 million through the Norad. The US will contribute with a matching commitment through USAID.
Norway and the US aim to reach a total of US$200 million through additional donor contributions, potentially catalyzing millions more in commercial financing by reducing investment risk.
The fund was suggested to have the capacity to support 500 agricultural SMEs and 1.5 million smallholder farmers, benefiting approximately 7.5 million people. The fund will also support approximately 60,000 private sector jobs.
The fund is the first mechanism with the aim of mobilizing private capital on a large scale exclusively for the agricultural sector in Africa. Ruto gave the fund a warm welcome and underlined that investments in agriculture in Africa were the most effective way to reduce poverty.
Tvinnereim noted that the fund will reduce risk for private investors and trigger more private capital. She described the fund as an important step towards self-sufficiency and reduced import dependence for African partner countries.
September 15, 2023 | Netherlands, Gender Equality | Share this update
On September 15, 2023, Dutch NGO Plan International published a report titled "Goals Off Target: Accelerating the SDGs with girls and young women", which found that 85% of SDG gender equality indicators fell behind schedule for the 2030 SDG deadline.
The report was based on a sample of 26 countries. It highlighted the effects of ongoing conflict, conservative politics, and climate change in reversing progress on SDG #5.
The report found that:
The report called on the development community to make more determined and practical efforts to challenge harmful societal norms at all levels of society. It also noted that greater investments in women-led collective action and a clearer focus on local implementation could magnify the grassroots impact of the SDGs.
The report was published in anticipation of the UNGA SDG Summit, which is slated to take place on September 18 and 19 in New York, USA.
September 15, 2023 | Japan, Agriculture | Share this update
Throughout the month of September 2023, the Japanese government made a series of commitments totaling JPY2 billion (US$14 million) to promote food security in seven countries.
The funds were allocated as follows:
Japan reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the ongoing food crisis exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
September 15, 2023 | Canada, Nutrition, Global Health | Share this update
On September 15, 2023, Canadian Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen announced CAD5 million (US$4 million) in humanitarian assistance for populations who have been impacted and displaced by the September 11 flooding in Libya.
The funding from Canada is slated to assist humanitarian partners deliver immediate life-saving assistance, including emergency health and WASH services, as well as shelter and non-food items.
This funding adds to the US$10 million allocated to this crisis through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, to which Canada is a key donor.
US$ 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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