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.
March 9, 2023 | US, Agriculture, Climate, Global Health, Gender Equality | Share this update
On March 9, 2023, US President Joe Biden released his FY2024 "skinny" budget, which proposed an 11% increase in US foreign assistance for a total amount of US$70.5 billion.
A more detailed budget is expected during the week of March 13, 2023. As the starting point of the annual appropriations process, experts expect Biden's budget will be met with stiff opposition by Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives.
Development advocates applauded the budget but also recognized the long road ahead, especially given the House Republican's proported plan to seek a 45% cut in foreign assistance.
Biden's priorities included funding to compete with China, climate and infrastructure, and modest increases in global health and humanitarian funding.
Funds to bolster competition with China included a new US$2 billion infrastructure fund, a new US$2 billion fund to invest in the Indo-Pacific region, and other funding to the State Department and USAID to strengthen partnerships in that region. The budget also included a US$2 billion increase for the US DFC to allow for more equity investments.
Climate finance also featured in Biden's budget. Proposed increases included a US$3 billion initiative to help countries adapt and manage impacts of climate change by 2030, US$1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, and US$1.2 billion in loans to the World Bank's Clean Technology Fund.
The budget also requested US$10.5 billion in humanitarian funding as well as over US$1 billion for food security and agricutural programs. Global health and security received a US$370 million increase for a total of US$10.5 billion, including US$1.2 billion for health security and US$2 billion for the Global Fund. Funding for PEPFAR, which faces a crucial reauthorization test in 2023, was slightly reduced to US$6.7 billion.
The budget also proposed US$3 billion for gender equity and equality programs.
Finally, the proposal included a US$8 billion request to fund the State Department and USAID, including funding for more staffing, new missions, reforms, and improved expertise and diversity.
Observers shared the expectation that the appropriations process will be long and complex, given the need to negotiate between a Republican-led House and a Democratic Senate. US foreign assistance, which has historically had strong bipartisan support, faces an uncertain future. Appropriations for FY2024 are supposed to be finalized by September 30, 2023, but most expect negotiations to extend past the deadline.
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February 20, 2024 | | Share this update
On February 14, 2024, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström presented the Government’s Statement of Foreign Policy in Sweden's Parliament, outlining the country's foreign policy priorities for the year.
The listed priorities included:
February 19, 2024 | Australia, Global Health | Share this update
On February 19, 2024, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong announced Australia would increase its support for health programs in Papua New Guinea to address malaria, HIV and antimicrobial resistance.
Australia is also slated to support health research and training through the Institute of Medical Research in Papua New Guinea.
No specific figure was given for the support. The funds are to be drawn from the AUD620 million (US$410 million) Partnerships for Healthy Region initiative.
Wong also announced Australia would provide further funding for the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, which aims to develop new products to prevent dengue and malaria globally.
February 19, 2024 | EUI | Share this update
On February 19, 2024, CONCORD Europe, the network of European CSOs focused on development, released an article highlighting the decline in the quality of the EU's ODA after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing the 2022 AidWatch Report, CONCORD underscored the EU's counting of vaccine doses as ODA, in addition to rising spending on IDRCs, as key challenges to meeting the 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio.
The organization also argued that EU assistance was not reaching those most in need, noting that only three of 45 so-called 'LDCs' were in the top 10 recipients of EU ODA. Furthermore, CONCORD's calculations indicated that only 0.12% of EU ODA went to the group as a whole.
The organization called for increased ODA volumes and quality to meet global needs, even in excess of the 0.7% goal.
February 18, 2024 | UK | Share this update
On February 18, 2024, UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell and Qatari Minister for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater launched a US$50 million co-funding initiative to tackle humanitarian and development crises.
The funding will include assistance to Gaza. The initial funding for the initiative comes from the 2023 strategic development MoU signed by the UK at the 5th UN Conference on LDCs in Qatar.
The two ministers also agreed to hold a development dialogue in the UK in May 2024 to drive further development commitments.
The UK and Qatar have previously worked together on development projects in the Middle East and Africa through the Qatar Fund for Development.
February 18, 2024 | Norway | Share this update
On February 18, 2024, at the annual Munich Security Conference, Norwegian Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram and Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim emphasized how the Norwegian government sees security challenges intertwined with poverty and international development.
The ministers asserted that the defense policy and the international development policy together contribute to safeguarding Norwegian interests and national control. Both of them particularly highlighted food security as an example of the intersection between security and development assistance.
They noted that the war in Ukraine showed concretely how the security policy can directly affect food security and food prices in large parts of the world. The ministers noted that Russia has used food as a tool in its warfare by attacking Ukraine's grain exports while strengthening its export of grains and fertilizers to the African continent, which Gram and Tvinnereim described as having both development and security policy consequences. Gram and Tvinnereim underlined that food security must be seen as a geopolitical issue closely connected to the security policy.
February 17, 2024 | Spain, Gender Equality | Share this update
On February 17, 2024, the Spanish MAEUEC announced that Spain and Mexico will chair the United Nations’ Working Group on FFP+ in 2024.
The:abbrFFP+ group was launched in 2021 under the leadership of Spain and Sweden. It aims to foster gender equality at the global level, as well as to advance specific measures for a feminist agenda within the multilateral system.
In 2021, the Spanish government launched its Strategy for Foreign Action 2021-2024 and the Guideline for a Feminist Foreign Policy. Gender equality is among the top priority sectors of Spain’s development cooperation.
February 16, 2024 | South Korea | Share this update
On February 16, 2024, South Korea and UNOCHA held their 7th policy meeting to discuss ways to respond to the humanitarian crisis through development cooperation.
The policy meeting has been regularly held since 2015, based on the memorandum of understanding signed between the MOFA and OCHA in 2013
Director General for Development Cooperation at the MOFA Do-yeon Won and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator at UNOCHA Joyce Msuya led the meeting.
Won expressed that South Korea will increase the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance as a global pivotal state. Msuya praised the South Korean government’s efforts to strengthen humanitarian assistance and noted its partnership with UNOCHA is developing.
The policy meeting came as the South Korean government expands its contributions to the international community by increasing the quantity and quality of South Korean humanitarian assistance responding to complex humanitarian crises.
February 16, 2024 | US, Global Health | Share this update
On February 16, 2024, HIV/AIDS advocates, during a town hall with PEPFAR Head Dr. John Nkengasong, raised concerns that changes to PEPFAR COPs diminish the active role that civil society has historically played in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
COPs, which have been known for its intense planning processes on implementation of country activities, provide advocates with the opportunity to voice support for certain vulnerable populations. Growing threats of criminalization and stigma against these populations have particularly concerned advocates about changes to the plans.
PEPFAR changed COPs timelines from an annual to a two-year cycle in an effort to streamline the planning process during a midpoint review in early February 2024. While advocates agreed that the new planning cycle is a positive step, they expressed that they felt shut out from planning meetings as well as concerned that data was not provided in a timely way.
February 16, 2024 | South Korea, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update
On February 15, 2024, South Korea and UNFPA held their first-ever policy meeting to address issues related to the global population and humanitarian assistance.
Regular financial contributions to UNFPA have been made by the Ministry of Health and Welfare since 1997, however, the UNFPA budget was transferred to MOFA since 2024.
Director General for Development Cooperation at the MOFA Do-yeon Won and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes at UNFPA Diene Keita led the meeting.
Won expressed the government’s strong vision to contribute to solving global problems as a global pivotal state with the expansion of the ODA budget. In particular, South Korea plans to strengthen humanitarian assistance and close cooperation with UNFPA.
Won and Keita shared strategies and policies of each to deepen mutual understanding and discuss future priorities for cooperation including the prevention of sexual violence in conflict situations as a part of the HDP Nexus. The meeting reflected the willingness of both sides to strategically and systematically develop cooperation between South Korea and UNFPA.
February 16, 2024 | Norway, Agriculture, Nutritious Food Systems, Climate, Agricultural R&D | Share this update
On February 15 and 16, 2024, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan visited Norway for an official state visit, where the countries entered three new agreements on climate-adapted food production, soil health and research.
Norway and Tanzania have had a close collaboration for decades, with climate and food security being key focus areas.
Norway and Tanzania signed a cooperation agreement on climate-adapted agriculture and food security. Norway's efforts will support Tanzania's ambitions to produce 10% more food by 2030. In addition, the NIBIO and the TARI entered into a new agreement on soil health. NIBIO and TARI are slated to work together on methods to use less artificial fertilizer. Soil health is an important focus area for increasing food production and enhancing food security for smallholder farmers.
Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim underlined that a close collaboration around research has become increasingly important. She emphasized this as a founding reason for why the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have entered into a new agreement on research collaboration.
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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