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.

Save the Children pushes for Norwegian divestment from companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing world

March 5, 2018 | Norway, Global Health | Share this update

The Norwegian Secretary-General of Save the Children, Tove Wang, has pushed for the Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund’s withdrawal from investments in companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing countries.

Wang refers to reports published by Save the Children, which show that all the large producers of infant formula are in breach of the World Health Organization’s marketing guidelines from 1981. The Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund has invested heavily in five of the six largest producers of infant formula. This is in stark contrast to one of the three focus areas of the fund, children’s rights.

Op-ed - Dagbladet (in Norwegian)

Dagbladet (in Norwegian) (in Norwegian)

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BMZ addresses record high numbers of internally displaced people worldwide

May 22, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze responded to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, which reported a record 75.9 million internally displaced people worldwide and emphasized the urgent need to support low- and middle-income countries hosting the growing number of internally displaced people.

Schulze highlighted the suffering caused by wars, conflicts, natural disasters, and climate change, noting that internally displaced individuals often remain invisible as they stay within their home countries rather than seeking refuge in other nations. She stressed the heavy burden on low- and middle-income countries that host the majority of internally displaced people, who require essential services such as healthcare, electricity, water, shelter, education, and employment.

The BMZ launched the Special Initiative Refugees and Host Countries in 2014, which has since implemented over 300 projects in 78 countries. The projects aim to provide access to education, healthcare, job markets, and psychosocial support for both displaced persons and local populations, with a particular focus on the needs of women and girls who face heightened risks. Schulze called for continued and increased support for these initiatives to ensure the well-being of displaced persons and the communities that host them.

Press release - BMZ (in German)Report - IDMC

BMZ advocates for ethical resource extraction

May 22, 2024 | Germany, Climate | Share this update

On May 22, 2024, the BMZ At the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains in Paris, the BMZ presented a position paper emphasizing the importance of ethical resource extraction practices and urged responsible resource extraction to prevent human rights abuses and environmental damage during the energy transition.

Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Bärbel Kofler highlighted the ministry's commitment to ensuring that Germany's energy and transportation transition does not contribute to human rights violations or environmental degradation in resource-rich countries. The paper outlined how German development cooperation can help balance interests fairly with resource-producing nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Kofler stressed the prevalence of human rights abuses and environmental harm in mining activities, including child labor and water pollution. She emphasized that Germany and Europe’s energy transition must not come at the expense of communities and ecosystems in supplier countries. The paper advocated for stringent oversight of supply chains, as mandated by Germany's 2023 Supply Chain Act, which requires thorough tracking from mining to end product to uncover and address violations.

The OECD forum, established in 2011, serves as a key platform for international stakeholders from business, politics, and civil society to discuss responsible mineral supply chains. The OECD’s guidelines for due diligence in high-risk areas have become essential references for legislation and industry standards, promoting responsible practices globally.

Press release - BMZ (in German)Report - BMZ

Germany to prioritize sustainable anf fair textile procurement

May 21, 2024 | Germany, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 21, 2024, the BMZ and German Development Minister Svenja Schulze introduced updated guidelines for sustainable textile procurement, aiming to incorporate more rigorous ecological and social criteria.

Germany's new guidelines emphasized ecological and social criteria for public textile purchases, aiming to set a global standard for responsible procurement across various public sectors and aims to enhance responsible purchasing practices. The new standards are meant to ensure that textiles are produced without child labor or environmental damage.

The guidelines, developed by the BMZ in coordination with other ministries, are intended for use by all federal authorities and administrations. The updated guidelines offer practical advice on embedding human rights due diligence in public procurement, mirroring requirements in the private sector under Germany’s Supply Chain Act. The guidelines also introduce stricter ecological requirements, benefiting the predominantly female workforce in the textile industry.

The German government stated that it aims to leverage its significant purchasing power to promote global social and environmental standards by committing to procure at least 50% of all textiles according to these guidelines by 2026.

Press release - BMZ (in German)Report - BMZ (in German)

AECID launches regional program to strengthen sustainable development in Middle East, North Africa

May 21, 2024 | Spain, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation José Manuel Albares presented a new development cooperation program, titled Masar Al’an (‘Masar Now’) at an official event held in Madrid.

The Spanish foreign ministry and AECID seek to strengthen sustainable development in the MENA region. It encompasses an initial budgetary envelope of EUR4 million (US$4 million) in 2024, aimed at strengthening socio-economic opportunities for youth and women, promoting gender equality, protecting biodiversity, and fostering climate change adaptation in sectors such as rural development and fisheries.

AECID will work in collaboration with UN agencies as well as EUI, including the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Institute for the Mediterranean.

Press release - Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)

Australia to host major advocacy event promoting international agricultural researchon in August 2024

May 20, 2024 | Australia, Agriculture, Agricultural R&D, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, the Crawford Fund launched the final program for its annual one-day Parliamentary seminar on agricultural research, titled Food and Nutrition Security: transformative partnerships, local leadership and co-design, to be held in Canberra on August 14, 2024.

Dr. Line Gordon, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and professor of sustainable food systems at Stockholm University, is a keynote speaker at the conference. Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR will also be speaking on transformational outcomes.

The conference is a hybrid event.

Web Page - The Crawford Fund

Australia reports US$400 million in climate finance in FY2022/23, calls for greater G20 inclusivity

May 20, 2024 | Australia, Climate | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, Australia's DFAT reported that Australia provided a total of AUD619 million (US$400 million) as climate finance in FY2022/23, with nearly half provided to the Pacific Islands region and bilateral programs, including Papua New Guinea, about a quarter provided to Southeast and East Asia, and most remaining funding provided through global program contributions and as core funding for multilateral organizations.

62% of the funding was provided for adaptation, with only 22% for mitigation.

In 2023, Australia contributed AUD100 million (US$65 million) to set up a Pacific Resilience Facility and a further $50 million (US$32 million) was committed to the GCF.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs suggested that Australia should now support efforts in the G20 to have the Pacific Islands Forum added to the G20 guest list of permanent invitees. This would add a strong voice on climate issues affecting the Pacific island states, and would also strengthen calls for easier access to green global funds for the most vulnerable countries.

Government document - Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeNews article - Australian Institute of International Affairs

Sweden bolsters humanitarian assistance to Gaza with additional US$11 million

May 17, 2024 | Sweden, Nutrition, Education, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Climate, International development | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, the Swedish Government introduced a significant aid package totaling SEK120 million (approximately US$11 million) directed towards UNICEF, UNFPA, and WFP to help alleviate the pressing needs of the Gazan population.

Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting the severity of the crisis and Sweden's role as one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Gaza. He noted that Sweden is further increasing the humanitarian support with a focus on addressing hunger and protecting women and children, and advocated for greater humanitarian access and the release of hostages.

This latest initiative brings Sweden’s total humanitarian contributions to Gaza to over SEK520 million (US$49 million), reinforcing its role as a major supporter of humanitarian efforts in the region. The most recent funds are slated to be allocated as:

  • UNICEF: SEK20 million (US$2 million) to support children's needs, counter malnutrition, and provide access to clean water and healthcare. Additionally, UNICEF will focus on education, psychosocial support, and financial assistance for families;
  • UNFPA: SEK20 million (US$1.9 million) to maintain SRH services, including maternity and neonatal care. Efforts will also target the prevention of SGBV and support for survivors; and
  • WFP: SEK80 million (US$8 million), with SEK29 million (US$3 million) specifically for Gaza and SEK51 million (US$5 million) as core support. This wil help ensure food and nutritional assistance reaches those facing imminent famine in northern Gaza and improve logistics of assistance delivery.
Press release - Press Release - Government of Sweden

Team Europe provides US$44 million for clean energy in Nepal

May 17, 2024 | Germany, EUI, Climate | Share this update

On May 17, 2024, Team Europe and Nepal announced an EUR65 million (US$70 million) partnership to increase electrical connectivity in rural areas surrounding Kathmandu.

Co-financed with an EUR25 million (US$27 million) loan from the EIB, EUR14 million (US$15 million) from the KfW, and EUR1 million (US$1 million) from the EU, the project will support infrastructure development linking Kathmandu and outlying municipalities.

The project also aims to increase access to electricity from renewable energies, including hydropower from the Trishuli river. In total, the river has to potential to provide up to 650 megawatts with capacity improvements from current projects.

Press release - European Commission

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

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)






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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