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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Civil 7 asks G7 to take concrete action for more peaceful future

April 14, 2024 | Italy, UK, France, Canada, Japan, US, Germany, EUI, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On April 14, 2024, the C7 published a statement ahead of the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Capri from April 17-19, 2024, where the group called on the foreign ministers to take concrete action to promote human rights as well as the common interests of humanity and the planet.

The C7 advocated that the G7 ministers reaffirm their commitment to developing long-term peace-building strategies that address persistent structural challenges at the basis of conflicts, ensure food security even in fragile settings, and address a profound transformation of food systems. The group also called upon their governmental counterparts to ensure safe and regular migration channels and commit to protecting migrant rights.

C7 Statement to the G7 Foreign Ministers

US provides additonal US$25 million to Uganda for refugee assistance and US$100,000 million emergency assistance to Sudan

April 14, 2024 | US, Nutrition, Education, Global Health | Share this update

On April 11, 2024, the US announced that it will provide an additional US$25 million in assistance to refugees in the Uganda. The resources from both the Department of State and USAID will go to the UN High Commission on Refugees and the WFP.

The resources will be used to support food, health care, and education, as well as other emergency support to refugees whom have fled South Sudan, the DRC, Somalia, and Sudan. The US noted that Uganda has the highest number of refugees in Africa, having received more than 130,000 refugees in 2023.

The US separately called out a 2024 ruling of the Ugandan court, which had upheld a controversial anti-homosexual law, stating that the US was committed to ensuring that all assistance would be delivered without discrimination.

In advance of the Paris International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and it Neighbors, Power also announced an additional US$100 million in emergency assistance for the 25 million people who have been affected by the civil war in Sudan. Five million people are close to famine and eight million have been displaced. USAID also called out the violence being perpetrated on the people of Sudan by both sides of the armed conflict. The emergency assistance will include food, nutrition, and other services. This brings total US humanitarian assistance for Sudan to over US$1 billion.

Press release - USAIDPress release - USAID

USAID Administrator defends FY2025 budget proposal; states that famine in Gaza is underway

April 12, 2024 | US | Share this update

On April 12, 2024, USAID Administrator Samantha Power testified before both chambers of Congress, making the case for the Biden Adminstration's FY2025 budget for USAID, which comprises US$28.3 billion in accounts that are either fully or partially managed by USAID.

Powers testified that in light of the humanitarian needs across the globe, USAID will need both the US$10 billion in the proposed budget along with the pending supplemental request of US$10 billion. She defended the rest of the budget request, while acknowledging that the proposed cuts in the FY2025 budget will have serious implications for USAID's development allocations.

In the testimony, Power also responded to questions about the conflict in Gaza. She stated that, based on a report from IPC, a famine was underway in Gaza, marking the first time a senior US official identified the food crisis in Gaza as a famine. Power faced protests from spectators in the hearing room.

News article - The New York TimesWeb Page - US Senate Foreign Relations CommitteeWeb Page - US House Committee on AppropriationsNews article - Devex

USAID provides additional US$67 million in humanitarian assistance to Lebanon

April 3, 2024 | US, Nutrition, Agriculture, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health | Share this update

On April 3, 2024, due to deepening humanitarian needs in Lebanon, USAID announced an additional US$67 million in assistance to the people of Lebanon and Syrian refugees in the region.

The resources are slated to provide food, WASH, health care, and psychosocial and humanitarian support.

The ongoing humanitarian crises in the region have been exacerbated by the conflict in Gaza, which has internally displaced 91,000 Lebanese people. Food assistance will be delivered through the WFP. Health services will be provided through International Medical Corps and Relief International.

USAID, which already has provided over US$202 million in food assistance in FYs 2022 and 2023, called upon other donors to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable as demand outpaces resources.

Press release - USAID

US House Foreign Affairs Committee passes localization bill

March 26, 2024 | US | Share this update

On March 26, 2024, in a rare bipartisan vote, the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed legislation to promote locally led development.

Formally titled the Locally Led Development and Humanitarian Response Act, the bill garnered support from Democrats and Republicans and a companion bipartisan bill in the US Senate.

One of the bill's prime sponsors stressed that it was well past time to rethink how USAID delivers assistance by seeking to empower local actors and allow local communities to determine their own future. The bill must still clear the Senate to come into effect, but the sponsors believe the legislation will help USAID's localization efforts, including meeting its target of 25% direct funding to local entities by 2025.

The bill, H.R. 7710, contains a number of provisions to speed up the shift to localization, including providing proposals in languages other than English, an increase in the de minimus indirect cost rate, changing of some procurement rules, and requiring USAID to annually assess its progress on localization.

Press release - US House of Representative Sara JacobsNews article - Devex

Open Canada criticizes government inaction in Sudan conflict

March 25, 2024 | UK, Canada, US, EUI, WASH & Sanitation, Nutritious Food Systems, Global Health | Share this update

On March 25, 2024, amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Open Canada is criticized the government of Canada for its inaction to address the public health and nutrition crisis, as well as the government’s lack of focus on the African continent as a whole.

The humanitarian crisis in Sudan followed the outbreak of war in April 2023, with 8 million people displaced, roughly half the population (approximately 25 million people) in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, a cholera outbreak, and a widespread famine predicted by June 2024.

Open Canada criticized the government for its passivity in the crisis, with neither Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly having spoken publicly about Sudan since shortly after the outbreak of war. While Canada evacuated its Sudanese embassy in April 2023, it did not follow other donor countries in maintaining the presence of a senior official in the region to assist in conflict resolution or support key international humanitarian and development organizations. Open Canada also noted that, unlike the EU, UK, and US, Canada has not imposed sanctions on Sudan.

The group also criticized Canada's apathetic approach to the region more broadly. Canada announced a new Foreign Policy Engagement Plan for Africa in 2022, however, the strategy has since been transitioned into a “framework” with the Canadian government yet to release any details of the plan. Open Canada called on the Canadian government to implement a proper engagement strategy in Africa, particularly amid the growing humanitarian, development, and security crisis in Sudan.

Open Canada

US announces US$170 million for Guatemala

March 25, 2024 | US, Agriculture, Global Health | Share this update

On March 25, 2024, during a visit with the President of Guatemala, US Vice President Kamala Harris announced a package of economic, development, health, and security funding for Guatemala contingent on Congressional notification.

The funding is part of the Biden Administration's Central American Root Causes Strategy, which aims to help Guatemalans build a prosperous and safe country by focusing on the causes of Guatemala's economic, security, and democratic challenges. The assistance supports efforts to combat corruption as well as improving agricultural technologies and health outcomes. It is slated to establish the first youth service corp, as well as supporting locally led development and promoting inclusive growth.

Press release - USAID

US passes FY2024 US foreign assistance bill, announces 6% cut

March 22, 2024 | US, Global Health, WASH & Sanitation, Education | Share this update

On March 22, 2024, the US foreign assistance budget for FY2024, which should have been passed before October 1, 2023, finally cleared the Congress and was signed by US President Joe Biden as part of a six-part appropriations package that required strong Democratic support in the US House to pass.

Foreign assistance funding saw an overall 6% cut to funding across various funding lines.

Humanitarian funding through USAID increased by US$800 million. PEPFAR's funding remained level and also received one-year authorization, which global health advocates had strongly pushed for. Other global health programs saw level funding, and Gavi received a US$10 million increase.

Other development accounts, such as programs for WASH, democracy, and education were cut. Global heath security saw a decrease of US$200 million. The World Bank's IDA allocation was cut by US$50 million. UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency, was reduced to zero.

The boost to humanitarian and refugee support seen in the US in 2023 came at the cost of developmental programs. Advocates criticized that with this, the US is funding the shorter term at the cost of solving longer-term problems. Given acute global needs and crises, development experts expressed concern about the trade-offs that will be necessary with the new development budget cuts.

News article - Devex

Sweden reinforces development cooperation ties with US

March 18, 2024 | Sweden, US, Education, Agriculture, Climate, International development, Global Health, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On 13 March 2024, Sweden announced a new agreement between Sida and the USAID, which is set to advance sustainable development initiatives, prioritizing local initiatives and engaging the private sector closely.

The agreement was officially sealed in Washington DC on 4 March by Sida's Director-General Jakob Granit and USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman.

The agreement, slated to span the next four years, introduces new focus areas including digitalization, cybersecurity, the enhancement of global public goods like food security, climate action, and the improvement of transparency and oversight in development.

Press release - Press Release - Government of Sweden

USAID combines policy and budget offices

March 15, 2024 | US | Share this update

On March 15, 2024, following years of advocacy by the development community and many within the agency, USAID once again combined its policymaking and budget offices into a new office: the PLR, now headed by Michele Sumilas.

The purpose of the merger is to more closely align USAID's budget work with its policy. Previously, with the offices as separate units, budget decisions were made separately from policy ones, at times leading to poor or weak implementation. With the merger, when funding decisions, particularly those necessitating trade-offs, policies can be matched with resources and USAID can take into account program monitoring and effectiveness evaluations.

Former USAID senior staff applauded the move, pointing out that integration of these functions will lead to better outcomes.

News article - Devex

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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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