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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Anneliese Dodds appointed UK Minister of State in charge of international development

July 7, 2024 | UK, Gender Equality | Share this update

On July 8, 2024, UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, in a surprise move, appointed Anneliese Dodds FCDO Minister of State, with a brief to oversee International Development.

Dodds was also appointed Minister for Women and Equalities in the Department of Education. The shadow International Development Minister, Lisa Nandy, also in a surprise move, was appointed Minister for Culture, Media, and Sports. The former shadow Labour MP covering the Culture and Media post failed to win their seat in the national election.

Press release - UK Government

Canada announces US$501 million for global agriculture, climate, gender equality at G7 Summit

June 14, 2024 | Canada, UK, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On June 14, 2024, the second day of the G7 Summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced nearly CAD687 million (US$501 million) to strengthen sustainable agricultural, climate resiliency, and foster gender equality in low- and middle-income countries.

Within the funding was CAD200 million (US$146 million) to IFAD, including:

  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) to reduce poverty and food insecurity while strengthening climate resilience, with a focus on poor, vulnerable, and rural communities; and
  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) as a repayable contribution to IFAD’s Private Sector Financing Programme to support investments in the agricultural sector in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

Canada also announced new funding for the Indo-Pacific region, which is home to the largest number of climate-vulnerable people in the world. Funding included:

  • CAD360 million (US$262 million) in repayable contributions to the ADB to establish the Canadian Climate and Nature Fund for the Private Sector in Asia to mobilize private capital toward inclusive climate change mitigation and adaptation projects; and
  • CAD7 million (US$5 million) through the IDRC to build on Canada’s existing partnership with the UK to expand the IDRC’s AI for Development program for responsible AI innovation and capacity building in the Indo-Pacific.

Lastly, Canada announced new funding to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ people, including:

  • CAD100 million (US$73 million) in the International Finance Corporation’s Facility for Gender Equality, Resilience, Opportunity, and Inclusion Worldwide, which is expected to mobilize an estimated CAD470 million (US$342 million) in private capital for investments that empower women and promote gender inclusion; and
  • CAD20 million (US$15 million) to TradeMark Africa and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation to help eliminate the gender-based barriers that prevent women from fully participating in opportunities afforded by the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Press release - Prime Minister of CanadaPress release - International Development Research Centre

UK political parties release election manifestos, outline commitment to international development

June 11, 2024 | UK, Nutritious Food Systems, Gender Equality, Agricultural R&D, Family Planning, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On June 11 and 13, 2024, the UK Conservative and Labour parties released their election manifestos, containing limited references to international development, ahead of the national election on July 4, 2024.

International development did not feature prominently in either manifesto, instead being overshadowed by domestic affairs.

The manifestos showed both stark differences and intriguing similarities on the subject of international development. Both parties committing to maintain the merger of the FCO and former DFID into the FCDO. Labour committed to strengthening the development function within the FCDO. Both parties also committed to a return to providing 0.7% ODA/GNI, but only when the fiscal circumstances allow.

The Conservative Party’s manifesto committed the party to:

  • Ensuring all ODA spending is allocated in line with a strict national interest test, notably without a definition of the test;
  • Working with partners to deliver the UN SDGs and tackling poverty;
  • Maintaining a focus on fragile states;
  • Ensuring that MDBs deliver more funds to partners in need and work to deliver debt relief;
  • Expanding international campaigns on girls’ education, women’s rights and reproductive health and standing up to those persecuted for their faith;
  • Scaling-up high-impact, cost-effective global health interventions, including MNCH services, nutrition, and AMR while continuing support for Gavi and the Global Fund; and
  • Maintaining climate leadership while retaining the current government’s international climate finance commitments.

The Labour Party focused on modernizing UK development assistance and committed to:

  • Rebuilding Britain’s reputation in international development to ensure leadership;
  • Taking a new approach to partnerships with the 'global South' based on mutual interest and genuine respect;
  • Ensuring UK ODA is focused on a new mission to eliminating poverty and promoting sustainable lifestyles;
  • Renewing expertise and focus on key areas, including supporting economic transformation, tackling unsustainable debt, empowering women and girls, supporting conflict prevention, and unlocking climate finance;
  • Driving climate leadership, both domestically and abroad, and creating a new Clean Power Alliance to lead on climate action; and
  • Improving the accountability and transparency of ODA spending by working closely with the ICAI to ensure the highest standards are applied to UK ODA spending regarding ODA effectiveness, transparency, and scrutiny.
Report - Conservative Party

G7 finance ministers call on donors to coordinate efforts, increase investments

May 25, 2024 | UK, France, Canada, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, EUI, Global Health, Climate, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 23-25, 2024, the G7 Ministers of Finance met at a summit in Stresa, Italy, where the ministers voiced support for contributions to the IDA, WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund in the resulting communiqué.

The G7 ministers supported efforts towards a successful 21st replenishment of the IDA by the end of 2024 through an ambitious policy and financing package. Notably, they did not give a concrete signal that the critical US$100 billion threshold requested by the World Bank will be crossed, nor any indication of the US$120 billion expected by African leaders.

The ministers reaffirmed their dedication to strengthening the governance and finance of the global health architecture and voiced support for refinancing processes of several GHIs, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Global Fund, and expressed support for the Pandemic Fund. The communiqué called on the donor community to coordinate efforts and increase investments in global health in line with their capacities to ensure sustainable funding and maximize the impact of available resources.

Following the summit, the C7 pointed out the G7's lack of ambition and financial commitment to international development, including climate adaptation. International civil society organizations criticized the lack of any reference to allocating SDRs to global solidarity.

G7 Ministers of FinanceC7 statement

UK triples humanitarian assistance to Gaza to US$120 million, continues to face access issues

May 24, 2024 | UK, Nutrition, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On May 24, 2024, ICAI released an informative note on the UK's humanitarian response to Gaza, which showed that the UK has tripled the planned amount of assistance to the region since the outbreak of the crisis in October 2023.

The note did not make evaluative judgments on the UK’s performance. It complemented a report published by the IDC on March 1, 2024, on the UK’s humanitarian response to the situation in Gaza.

The note reported that over 35,000 people in Gaza have lost their lives as a result of Israel's military campaign retaliating against a violent attack against its citizens. 1.7 million people are currently displaced in Gaza, with 1 million facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

The note shows that between 2022 and 2023, the UK was due to spend GBP26 million (US$30 million) in ODA to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with a further GBP27 million (US$32 million) to be allocated for FY2023/24. The humanitarian assistance included funding to UNRWA.

In response to the crisis, the UK announced an additional GBP70 million (US$84 million) in assistance, tripling planned funding for the territories in FY2023/24 to more than GBP100 million (US$120 million). The UK Ministry of Defense has supported the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian territories.

In November 2023, the UK revised its humanitarian strategy, initially focusing on diplomacy, advocacy, and flexible funding. Priorities included obtaining multiple humanitarian pauses and increasing humanitarian land access to Gaza. Two additional revisions followed the first.

Most of the support provided by the UK was flexible funding for partners with a long-existing presence within Gaza. In-kind donations to support shelter, core relief items, and logistical support were prioritized, as well as appropriate logistical support. UK humanitarian assistance focused on health support, food and nutrition, shelter, WASH, and support to address GBV and ensure child protection.

The note indicated significant difficulties in getting assistance to those who need it due to restricted access to Gaza. It also showed that the UK has presently put its funding to UNRWA on hold due to allegations, since disputed, that some of its staff were involved in the October attack.

The note finally indicated several potential future lines of inquiry that could be conducted by the ICAI, the UK IDC, or other investigative bodies. The lines included:

  • What are the circumstances in which the UK would publicly state its assessment of whether Israel has violated international humanitarian law, and what would be the consequences of such an assessment;
  • Given the critical role of UNRWA, what are the UK’s plans for further funding;
  • What is the UK’s strategy for restoring adequate food and essential goods supplies to Gaza and ensuring sustainable humanitarian access;
  • Should the UK continue to support the development of a maritime corridor;
  • What preparations is the UK making to respond to the long-term harm suffered by the population of Gaza; and
  • What planning is FCDO undertaking, with international partners, for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza.
Report - ICAI

UK announces US$54 million for higher education program

May 20, 2024 | UK, Education, Gender Equality | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, UK Deputy Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced that the UK will provide GBP45 million (US$54 million) to support higher education for women and girls at the Education World Forum.

The program is slated to benefit 1 million young people. Funding will be channeled with partners across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The program will focus on removing the barriers preventing them from accessing higher education, including tackling GBV.

The initiative builds on the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform program that began in 2016.

Press release - UK government

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

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, 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

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 commits to doubling ODA for Sudan in 2024/25 to US$106 million

March 28, 2024 | UK, Gender Equality, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, WASH & Sanitation, Global Health, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On March 28, 2024, UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell committed to increasing humanitarian ODA to Sudan to GBP89 million (US$106 million) in 2024/25 in the face of growing humanitarian need in the region.

The commitment was made by Mitchell while on a trip to Chad, where he acknowledged the growing number of refugees from Sudan arriving in the country.

Some of the funding is slated to go to UNICEF for emergency and life-saving food assistance and nutrition, water and hygiene services for 500,000 children and to support survivors of gender-based violence. The funding will also support the WFP to provide assorted food commodities, including cereals, pulses, oils, and salt for thousands of people.

Press release - UK Government

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