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.

New Canadian budget cuts international assistance by US$945 million

March 28, 2023 | Canada, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On March 28, 2023, Canada unveiled its new federal budget, which cut international assistance spending by CA$1.3 billion (US$945 million), or 15% compared to the previous year.

The budget also included no new investments for international assistance programs.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly promised to increase Canada’s international development assistance every year, including in the Minister of International Development’s most recent mandate letter. The newly released budget repeats this commitment, while simultaneously breaking that promise.

A coalition of more than 90 Canadian civil society organizations expressed disappointment in the budget, warning that cutting international assistance funding undermines Canada’s standing in a period of multiple global crises. They also questioned Canada's ability to deliver on its commitments under the FIAP without renewed investment.

Press release - Cooperation CanadaNews article - Globe and Mail

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Germany hosts World AIDS conference, reasserts 2030 goals

July 22, 2024 | Germany, Global Health | Share this update

On July 22, 2024, the World AIDS Conference, hosted in Munich, kicked off with a call to reinforce the fight against HIV/AIDS and protect vulnerable groups from discrimination.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated the goal to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. He announced that Germany will join the UNAIDS Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination. Scholz further noted that Germany is contributing EUR1.3 billion to the Global Fund from 2023 to 2025 and stressed that Germany will continue its support for the Global Fund, as well as for UNAIDS and WHO.

Germany has introduced significant cuts to development in its 2025 draft budget. The German contribution to the Global Fund for its upcoming replenishment and funding cycle remains uncertain.

Press release - SZ article (in German)

South Korean companies pursue global health projects

July 21, 2024 | South Korea, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On July 21, 2024, an article following the efforts of South Korean bio-companies to proactively pursuing projects to promote global health was published, emphasizing contributions to vaccine capabilities and technology sharing.

SK Bioscience is implementing a ‘glocalization’ project to contribute to solving the vaccine imbalance problem triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and expand into overseas markets. The project aims to transfer vaccine research and production capabilities to overseas governments and partners to build production infrastructure that meets the needs of each region.

Lunit, a South Korean medical AI-based company, is promoting a project to supply AI image analysis such as chest X-rays and mammograms to Africa in cooperation with KOICA and other international organizations. Lunit spokespeople have stated the hope that the technology will be a win-win strategy for entering new markets and improving health care in developing countries. Seegene, a molecular diagnostic company, has also promoted a similar technology-sharing program.

These initiatives are a result of South Korea’s bio industry’s pursuit of profits and ESG strategies. There is a global need for bio-innovative technologies to be used for public purposes, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global health experts have recommended that government ministries should cooperate with the domestic bioengineering industry to become more active in the global health sphere.

News article - Yna (in Korean)

UK Foreign Minister confirms resumption of UK funding to UNRWA

July 19, 2024 | UK | Share this update

On July 19, 2024, UK Foreign Minister, David Lammy, announced that the UK will resume its funding to UNWRA.

The decision was taken after the Foreign Minister confirmed to parliamentarians that he had received reassurances about the neutrality of the organization, following the UN review, published in April 2024, into Israel's allegations that there were links between UNWRA’s staff and terror groups.

The UK was one of 16 donors to stop donating to the organization in January 2024. Other donors have resumed funding, the US not among them.

News article - BBC

US provides additional humanitarian assistance to Chad, Sudan

July 18, 2024 | US, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On July 18, 2024, the US announced additional humanitarian assistance to both Chad and Sudan to help alleviate urgent humanitarian needs, totaling US$203 million for the people of Sudan and US$69 million for the people of Chad.

The assistance in Chad is intended to help address the needs of crisis-affection populations that are facing severe food insecurity, in part because of the conflict in Sudan and the refugee crisis it has caused. In Sudan, populations are facing historic levels of food insecurity, including famine.

In both cases, the humanitarian assistance will include food, nutrition, health care, WASH services, shelter, and cash. The assistance funding comes through both the US State Department and USAID.

Press release - USAIDPress release - USAID

New UK government announces US$108 million to tackle drivers of illegal immigration

July 18, 2024 | UK, Education, Climate | Share this update

On July 18, 2024, UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, during the European Political Community Summit, announced that the UK would work with the 'Global South' to tackle illegal migration, committing GBP84 million (US$108 million) over the next three years to address the drivers of illegal migration in Africa and the Middle East.

The funding is slated to work to improve education and employment opportunities as well as help to build resilience to global shocks like conflict and climate change, which are two of the leading causes of irregular migration.

Funding which will come from the UK’s ODA budget includes:

  • GBP13 million (US$15 million) to expand Migration for Development programs in North and East Africa;
  • GBP21 million (US$25 million) in support for key host and transit countries, including Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Chad provided via multilateral channels;
  • GBP26 million (US$31 million) for the Middle East and the wider region to support Syrian refugees; and
  • GBP24 million (US$29 million) in direct funding to support communities in Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia.
Press release - UK government

German Development Minister attends G20, criticizes cuts to BMZ budget

July 18, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On July 22, 2024, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze attended the meeting of the G20 development ministers in Brazil, reiterated criticism of cuts to the BMZ budget, and advocated for a tax on the super-rich.

The draft budget for 2025 foresees cuts of the BMZ budget from EUR11.2 billion (US$12.2 billion) to EUR10.3 billion (US$11.2 billion). During her six-day stay in Brazil, Schulze focused on global inequality and forest protection and emphasized that the BMZ cuts will limit Germany's ability to respond to crises and risk further cementing global inequity. She also supported Brazil's proposal for a tax on billionaires.

Other voices from the coalition parties, as well as from CSOs like the ONE Campaign, have already called for the renegotiation of parts of the 2025 budget proposal, including the budget for humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. They countered recent criticism of development assistance, highlighting recent successes of development cooperation and its importance for geopolitical objectives and Germany's international positions.

Press release - BMZ press release (in German)News article - FAZ article (in German)Press release - Table Media (in German)

Ursula von der Leyen endorsed as European Commission President

July 18, 2024 | EUI, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On July 18, 2024, the European Parliament endorsed Ursula von der Leyen for a second term as President of the European Commission through a secret ballot, where she received 401 votes, 41 votes above the 361 votes needed to get a qualified majority.

Von der Leyen received 289 votes against, 15 abstentions, and 7 votes were invalid. The secret ballot suggests von der Leyen managed to garner support from a coalition of pro-European, democratic groups across the center-left and right. Experts noted that this could indicate that a centrist coalition is possible, though future policy decisions will need to be built on a case-by-case basis amidst ongoing polarization.

During the debate that preceded the vote, von der Leyen outlined her political priorities for the next five years. The main proposals related to EU global engagement included appointing a Commissioner for Enlargement and one for the Mediterranean, developing a new economic foreign policy through the Global Gateway, and focusing on strategic partnerships, particularly with Africa ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in 2025.

Von der Leyen emphasized the need for the EU to remain a leader in international climate negotiations and proposed new initiatives, such as a European Climate Adaptation Plan and a Clean Industrial Deal. Her agenda included a focus on security and defense, with plans to create a European Defense Union, appoint a new Commissioner for Defense, as well as developing a new European Migration and Asylum strategy and a Pact for the Mediterranean. Von der Leyen's focus on health has decreased since the pandemic, with a focus mainly on a Critical Medicines Act, an action plan for hospital cybersecurity, and a strategy to support medical countermeasures through HERA.

The focus of the EU's new seven-year budget will be on simplicity, flexibility, speed, and strategic priorities. It will streamline funding allocation, moving away from a program-based budget to a policy-based one. External action financing is expected to further align with EU interests. Von der Leyen also highlighted support for the introduction of new EU resources.

Von der Leyen's proposals reflected the current geopolitical landscape and internal EU dynamics, focusing on strengthening the Union’s resilience and strategic interests. Her agenda also proposed a significant increase in research and innovation spending, the establishment of new roles, such as a Commissioner for Equality and a Commissioner for Intergenerational Fairness, the set-up of a new European Competitiveness Fund, and policies addressing housing, youth, and agriculture.

Press release - European ParliamentConference statement - European CommissionGovernment document - European Commission

ACFID concerned by falling Australian ODA transparency

July 17, 2024 | Australia | Share this update

On July 17, 2024, the ACFID reported that Australia had fallen to 48th out of 50 countries in the 2024 International Aid Transparency Index.

ACFID Chief of Policy and Advocacy Jocelyn Condon indicated that Australia was just ahead of China in terms of transparency on humanitarian assistance and development spending.

Condon acknowledged that the Australian government had committed to improve ODA transparency in its new international development policy released in 2023. She noted that more needed to be done on transparency, which in turn would improve the coordination and effectiveness of humanitarian and development assistance.

The decline in Australia’s ODA transparency performance was echoed through the biennial transparency audits conducted by the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University. Spokesperson for the Development Policy Centre Cameron Hill noted that Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy has made transparency one of the five defining issues for the current Labor government's approach to Australian ODA.

News article - MedianetDevelopment Policy Centre, ANU

German government agrees on draft budget for 2025; ODA funding envelopes signficantly cut

July 17, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On July 17, 2024, the German coalition government approved the draft budget for the 2025 federal budget, with ODA-relevant ministries facing EUR19.8 billion (US$21.5 billion) in cuts in 2025.

The budget of the BMZ was reduced by EUR937 million (US$1 billion) and the budget of the AA by EUR836 million (US$907 million).

The coalition reached a political agreement on July 3, 2024, after months of intense negotiations. While Finance Minister Christian Lindner ( FDP) insisted on adhering to the constitutional debt brake, ministers of the SPD and Greens fought to avoid cuts to their budgets. The final budget compromise adheres to the debt brake, while avoiding drastic cuts.

The total budget amounts to EUR480.6 billion (US$521.2 billion). The overall German budget was cut by 2% compared to the 2024 budget, below the previously estimated budget shortfall. Ministries affected by the cuts include the BMZ, AA, and BMWK. Additional cuts were achieved through largely technical solutions. A 'global expenditure reduction' of EUR17 billion (US$18.4 billion) still needs to be addressed.

The budget is set to be approved by Parliament in November 2024. Intense debates are expected, as budget allocations for topics such as defense and development cooperation are considered insufficient by many parliamentarians.

Press release - Draft Budget (in German)

EU Commission approves initial US$4.5 billion payment to Ukraine Facility

July 17, 2024 | EUI | Share this update

On July 17, 2024, the European Commission approved a payment of nearly EUR4.2 billion (US$4.5 billion) to Ukraine under the EU's Ukraine Facility, aimed at supporting the country's macro-financial stability and public administration functions.

This disbursement, pending Council approval, will bring the total EU funding to Ukraine to EUR12 billion (US$12.8 billion) since the Facility's inception in March 2024. The payment reflects Ukraine's compliance with pre-set conditions designed to ensure consistent financial assistance.

This financial support is part of a broader EU commitment to provide up to EUR50 billion (US$53.5 billion) in grants and loans through 2027, ensuring Ukraine's stability and progress amidst adversity.

Press release - European Commission






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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