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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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

UK provides US$102 million to tackle antimicrobial resistance

May 16, 2024 | UK, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On May 16, 2024, the UK government announced an additional GBP85 million (US$102 million) to tackle AMR, focusing on supporting initiatives in Africa and the Caribbean.

The pledge was made at the Royal Society’s international event calling for action on AMR. The event was attended by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt and His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.

The funding built on the UK's recently updated AMR strategy and previous commitments. It is slated to provide the following:

  • GBP50 million (US$60 million) to support the supply of essential antimicrobial drugs in Africa, building on the ongoing work of the UK Global AMR Innovation Fund;
  • Up to GBP25 million (US$30 million) to support Caribbean countries and territories in strengthening surveillance systems for AMR to identify and tackle outbreaks before they develop. The funding will support regional partners such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organization and explore the potential to support the delivery of AMR centers in the Caribbean in alignment with the UK's Fleming Initiative;
  • GBP10 million (US$12 million) to support the creation of a new international scientific panel to coordinate global action on tackling AMR. The panel will be modelled on the success of other international scientific panels like the IPCC; and
  • GBP2 million (US$2 million) to create a specific team in the UK's MHRA to support the creation of novel new antimicrobials and diagnostics. The team will focus on building a joint understanding of antimicrobial resistance across global regulators, particularly in LMICs.

The projects build on ongoing international and domestic work to prevent the spread of AMR. This includes the recently announced national action plan and a partnership through the Fleming Fund, backed by GBP210 million (US$251 million), with countries across Asia and Africa to tackle AMR and reduce the threat posed to the UK.

Press release - UK government

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

C7 releases international civil society communiqué around seven key issues

May 15, 2024 | Italy, Germany, EUI, Japan, Canada, US, France, UK, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, WASH & Sanitation, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 14-15, 2024, the C7 summit was held at the UN FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, organized by the Italian Civil Society Coalition that led, coordinated, and moderated the C7 2024 process.

Approximately 400 global representatives took part in the event, as well as international decision-makers, including FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, Italian G7 sherpa Ambassador Elisabetta Belloni, Cardinal, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and Pope’s envoy for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict Matteo Maria Zuppi, and Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign Marina Ponti.

The official C7 communiqué that listed the international civil society recommendation to the G7’s Leaders around seven key issues was released at the event, which included:

  • Economic justice and transformation;
  • Climate, energy transformation, and environmental justice;
  • Global health;
  • Principled humanitarian assistance;
  • Peace, common security, and nuclear disarmament;
  • Human mobility and migration; and
  • Food justice and food systems transformation.
C7 communiqué

US joins others to support African-led agricultural growth

May 10, 2024 | Ireland, Canada, US, Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, EUI, Agriculture | Share this update

On May 10, 2024, USAID joined the AU Commissioner and 14 other partners in a statement of support for the African Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan at an AU-led soil health summit.

The US also announced US$40 million for the Space in Place approach, which is meant to support farmers with geospatial data and knowledge to ensure the best use of fertilizer for more nutritious foods.

Others joining the statement included the ADB, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, France, the World Bank, France, Canada, the EU, Germany, the Netherlands, the Rockefeller Foundation, Germany, and the UK. Commitments included improved investment policies, more access to fertilizers, enhancing soil inputs and interventions, and building capacity for soil health and fertilizer management.

Press release - USAID

UK emphasizes security, importance of supporting multilateral organizations

May 9, 2024 | UK, Climate, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, UK Foreign Minister David Cameron spoke on UK foreign policy at the National Cyber Security Unit, where he highlighted that UK foreign policy is linked with ensuring the domestic prosperity and security and the UK's place in the world, noting that the UK is both large enough to make a significant impact but small enough to act nimbly and quickly when needed.

Cameron noted that the top priority for the UK is ensuring both British and global security, reiterating the UK government’s commitment to spend 2.5% of GDP on defense by 2030 and committing 5% of the spending to defense R&D.

Cameron went on to note that a close second priority was standing up for British values of freedom, human dignity and human rights and supporting the multilateral system that upholds these values. He highlighted how much more funding the UK provides to tackling malaria via the Global Fund than Iran, and how much more the UK spends than Russia on funding the UN Central Emergency Fund for humanitarian disasters. Cameron also emphasized the UK's generosity as a donor to the GCF to support oceans and biodiversity.

Cameron expressed pride in the UK’s recent International White Paper and its drive to support the UN SDGs, reform MDBs, and enhance cooperation with the private sector.

Speech - UK government

UK publishes new 5-year plan to tackle AMR

May 8, 2024 | UK, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On May 8, 2024, the UK released its new 5-year national plan, covering the period of 2024-2029, for tackling AMR in animals and humans.

The new strategy set out nine key goals under four key - themes:

  • Reducing the need for antimicrobials, including through surveillance to prevent infections from arising;
  • Optimizing the use of antimicrobials;
  • Investing in the development of new vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics; and
  • Being a good global partner through international leadership forums like the G7 and G20 as well as supporting low- and middle-income countries to respond to the threat of AMR through research, good supply chains and access to antibiotics via investments in the Fleming Fund, GAMRIF and the UKRI cross-councils initiative.
Report - UK Government

UK to step up response to ODA funding fraud

May 2, 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 2, 2024, the UK government responded to the ICAI, the UK’s aid watchdog, recommendations for tackling fraud in UK ODA funding.

The FCDO thanked ICAI for reviewing the UK's approach to combating fraud in ODA funding released earlier in 2024. The FCDO partially accepted ICAI’s first recommendation to take a more robust and proactive approach to anticipating fraud. The FCDO noted that it was actively exploring the cost-effectiveness of creating an FCDO Fraud Intelligence Unit and was expanding its Fraud Liaison Officers’ Network to strengthen oversight.

The FCDO also partially accepted the second recommendation to strengthen its fraud in its top 20 ODA recipient countries, noting that it will reinforce the mandatory annual assurance assessment across control and risk areas and expand its Fraud Liaison Officer's network.

The FCDO fully accepted the final two recommendations, which called for new fraud management guidance to be written for capital investments and to increase the Head of Mission’s oversight and accountability for fraud risks relating to centrally managed and other government programs.

Report - UK government

UK calls for further action to ensure comprehensive SRHR

April 29, 2024 | UK, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning | Share this update

On April 29, 2024, UK Deputy Foreign Minister Andrew Mitchell highlighted the fundamental importance of comprehensive SRHR at the UN’s 57th session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Mitchell noted the encouraging progress in improving SRHR since the turn of the century, with a 20% fall in unintended pregnancies and a doubling of the number of women using contraceptives. However, he emphasized that tough challenges still lie ahead, with maternal mortality and rights stagnating and female genital mutilation cases increasing.

Mitchell called on the international community to ensure that the forthcoming UN Summit of the Future, taking place September 2024 in New York, focuses on the issue of SRHR as a top priority. Mitchell also announced US$8 million for a new maternal and newborn health and rights program as the start of a much larger pledge the UK intends to make in 2024 and called on other countries to join the UK in the endeavor.

Press release - UK government

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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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