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.

Norway centers global health at General Assembly

September 22, 2023 | Norway, Global Health | Share this update

From September 18-19, 2023, during the high-level week of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York, the Norwegian delegation emphasized global health and disease control as a development priority and underlined the importance of cooperation to secure better health for all.

One of the main global health messages from Norway was emphasizing UHC as a cornerstone of robust health systems. Norwegian Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol stated the need to accelerate work on UHC to achieve SDG #3 during the meeting. Norwegian Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim emphasized the need to harmonize health investments following the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that robust UHC forms the foundation of good PPR.

Combating non-communicable diseases was also a health priority for Norway during the General Assembly. Kjerkol noted at a meeting led by the WHO that non-communicable diseases account for a predominantly large share of the global disease burden, disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, and are worsened by climate change.

Tvinnereim also participated at ICPD30, where several countries expressed a concern about SRHR being under increasing pressure. Tvinnereim underlined a need for broad consultations ahead of the ICPD's 30th anniversary to build a vision for the future of the ICPD beyond 2024.

During the high-level meeting on tuberculosis, Kjerkol emphasized that solid and accessible health systems are necessary for access to basic services and the fight against tuberculosis.

News article - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Norwegian)

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German government agrees on draft budget for 2025; ODA funding envelopes signficantly cut

July 17, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On July 17, 2024, the German coalition government approved the draft budget for the 2025 federal budget, with ODA-relevant ministries facing EUR19.8 billion (US$21.5 billion) in cuts in 2025.

The budget of the BMZ was reduced by EUR937 million (US$1 billion) and the budget of the AA by EUR836 million (US$907 million).

The coalition reached a political agreement on July 3, 2024, after months of intense negotiations. While Finance Minister Christian Lindner ( FDP) insisted on adhering to the constitutional debt brake, ministers of the SPD and Greens fought to avoid cuts to their budgets. The final budget compromise adheres to the debt brake, while avoiding drastic cuts.

The total budget amounts to EUR480.6 billion (US$521.2 billion). The overall German budget was cut by 2% compared to the 2024 budget, below the previously estimated budget shortfall. Ministries affected by the cuts include the BMZ, AA, and BMWK. Additional cuts were achieved through largely technical solutions. A 'global expenditure reduction' of EUR17 billion (US$18.4 billion) still needs to be addressed.

The budget is set to be approved by Parliament in November 2024. Intense debates are expected, as budget allocations for topics such as defense and development cooperation are considered insufficient by many parliamentarians.

Press release - Draft Budget (in German)

Roberta Metsola re-elected President of the European Parliament

July 16, 2024 | EUI, Gender Equality | Share this update

On July 16, 2024, Roberta Metsola was re-elected as the President of the European Parliament for a second two and half year mandate.

Metsola garnered 562 votes, well above the qualified majority threshold of 312 votes required. Metsola's opponent, Irene Montero from Spain, representing he Left, won 61 votes. Although her candidacy was largely symbolic, Montero highlighted critical issues such as social rights and combating the far-right's growing influence, advocating for progressive values and social justice.

Born in Malta in 1979, Roberta Metsola has been an MEP since 2013. She was elected First Vice-President in November 2020, and was Parliament’s acting President after President David Sassoli passed away in 2022.

Metsola pledged to maintain strong leadership. She addressed various issues, including enhancing border efforts and implementing humane migration policies. Metsola also stressed the need to boost Europe's industry by reducing bureaucratic red tape and underscored the importance of protecting civil liberties and women's rights across the bloc.

Press release - European Parliament

German government seeks to intensify engagement with West Africa

July 16, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On July 15 and 16, 2024, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock travelled to Senegal and Ivory Coast while Development Minister Svenja Schulze welcomed members of the Sahel Alliance in Berlin.

Following the planned withdrawal of German troops from Niger, the German government has noted its plans to reorient and intensify its engagement in West Africa and the Sahel.

Baerbock criticized previous German policy towards the Sahel and emphasized the need to focus on cooperation with democratic countries, such as Senegal. Accompanied by a trade delegation, she also expressed the desire to strengthen economic cooperation.

Schulze and members of the Sahel Alliance gathered for the alliance's 5th General Assembly in Berlin. Bringing together representatives of 30 countries, the assembly aimed to strengthen employment and prospects in the region through investment and development cooperation.

Press release - BMZ (in German)

US House Foreign Affairs Committee advances BUILD Act reauthorization, MCC bill

July 10, 2024 | US | Share this update

On July 10, 2024, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, largely on a bipartisan basis, advanced a reauthorization of the BUILD Act and modified a bill concerning the MCC.

The reauthorization of the BUILD Act, the legislation that created DFC, passed with bipartisan support, extended DFC for 7 years. The reauthorization included a committee markup with amendments that improved DFC's development mandate, included new leadership for a senior development role, strengthened transparency requirements, increased DFC's risk appetite, introduced changes to investment limits in HICs, and outlined requirements to increase private capital mobilization. The MFAN, a bipartisan coalition of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates, and experts, applauded both the reauthorization and the amendments.

The committee also marked up a bill concerning the MCC and modified some requirements on MCC compact eligibility.

Press release - MFANGovernment document - House Foreign Affairs Committee

Japan contributes US$45 million to UNDP core resources

July 10, 2024 | Japan, Gender Equality | Share this update

On July 10, 2024, Japan announced a contribution of US$45 million to UNDP's core resources for 2024.

Japan's flexible support is vital for UNDP to address global challenges and crises, as outlined in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2022–2025. The funding will contribute to crisis prevention, conflict resolution, peace sustainability, human rights protection, and addressing the root causes of fragility within the context of human security.

Core resources from Japan and other partners are essential for UNDP’s operations, enabling impactful initiatives and programs that promote poverty eradication, gender equality, and the SDGs. These contributions ensure that UNDP can deliver on its mission to create a more equitable and prosperous world, leaving no one behind.

Press release - United Nations Development Programme

ODA support declines in Australia, majority still do not seek ODA cuts

July 10, 2024 | Australia | Share this update

On July 10, 2024, the Australian National University’s annual public opinion survey on ODA revealed that more Australians believe Australia disburses too much ODA than years prior, indicating a decline in public support for ODA expenditures.

Conducted by the university’s Development Policy Centre, the poll indicated that 40% of Australians believe Australia disburses too much ODA, compared to 36% in 2023. A total of 51% of respondents believed that Australia gave either too little or about the correct amount of ODA.

The Development Policy Centre polls Australians annually to track changes in attitude over time. It provided respondents with details of Australian government expenditures on ODA in the context of the poll.

Report - Development Policy Centre

OECD publishes France's development cooperation review, notes ambitious reform efforts

July 9, 2024 | France | Share this update

On July 9, 2024, the OECD published the conclusions and recommendations for France’s development cooperation policies as reviewed by its peers.

The peer review report is published every five years. The review of French development policy took place between September 2023 and May 2024 and was led by Belgium and Japan, accompanied by the OECD Secretariat. The report was jointly managed by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Directorate General of the Treasury, and the AFD.

The report stated that France has embarked on an ambitious reform of its development co-operation in institutional, strategic and financial terms. It noted that in addition to substantially increasing ODA resources and a strengthening its crisis response instruments, France has championed the linkages between green and social agendas as well as the mobilization of the private sector.

The report makes several recommendations, including:

  • Strengthening harmonization between technical assistance and other instruments;
  • Taking greater account of poverty and inequality in Proparco’s portfolio;
  • Increasing ODA to reach the targets of 0.7% of ODA/GNI and 50% financial effort for LDCs;
  • Equipping steering bodies to monitor the overall coherence of development cooperation;
  • Using local development councils to coordinate Team France around policy objectives and common results defined at country level; and
  • Optimizing the integration of social and green agendas for the AFD Group by taking greater account of cross-cutting dimensions of sustainable development, including long-term objectives, and measuring ex-post performance to inform steering.
Report - OECD

Sweden unveils US$85 million strategy to address Syrian crisis

July 9, 2024 | Sweden, Nutrition, Education, Gender Equality, International development, Security policy, Global Health | Share this update

On July 9, 2024, the Swedish government announced a three-year, SEK880 million (US$85 million), strategy to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and its impact on neighboring countries.

The plan, to be implemented by Sida, aims to support Syrians both within their country and those who have sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell emphasized the severity of the crisis under Syria's authoritarian regime and noted that more than half of Syria's civilian population has been displaced.

The strategy focuses on improving livelihood opportunities and access to basic public services for Syrians and refugees. It also emphasizes support for human rights, with particular attention to women's rights and religious freedom.

Sweden's approach includes efforts to hold the Assad regime accountable for its actions against Syrian civilians. Additionally, the plan addressed the crisis's broader implications for Europe, including irregular migration and the threat of violent extremism. The initiative aims to create more sustainable conditions for Syrian refugees and their host communities, while promoting voluntary return to Syria when conditions allow.

The international community continues to grapple with the long-term consequences of the Syrian conflict, now in its 13th year. Sweden's strategy reflects a growing recognition of the need for comprehensive, regional approaches to protracted crises and underscores the ongoing humanitarian challenges in the region as well as the complex interplay between assistance, migration, and security concerns.

Press release - Press Release - Government of Sweden

Australian medical research funding agencies establish community, philanthropic advisory panels

July 8, 2024 | Australia, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On July 8, 2024, it was reported that Australia’s two major domestic funders of health and medical research, the NHMRC and the MRFF, established advisory committees to provide advice on strategies and funding.

The NHMRC and the MRFF collectively provide almost AUD1.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) in medical research funding annually. A small proportion of this funding is for global health issues.

The organizations set up four advisory groups. One of these is an industry, philanthropy, and commercialization committee. This enables philanthropic involvement in guiding medical research on health strategies. A separate committee is to advise on improving preventative health, primary care and public health services and embedding translational research in the health system.

Nominations for the committees, including from philanthropic representatives and community members, close on July 31, 2024.

Web Page - Department of Health and Aged Care

South Korea holds 8th government-civil society policy council on international development cooperation

July 8, 2024 | South Korea | Share this update

On July 8, 2024, the South Korean government and civil society held the 8th Government-Civil Society Policy Council on International Development Cooperation.

In attendance were the Office for Government Policy Coordination, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Finance, KOICA, Export-Import Bank of Korea, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation, Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development Cooperation, Good Neighbors, World Vision Korea, People’s Initiative for Development Alternatives, and Friends of Hope, and Korea Food for the Hungry International. The attendees discussed ways for government-civil society cooperation to strengthen ODA implementation effectiveness.

The South Korean government and CSOs agreed to continue discussing ways to raise public awareness of ODA. The government noted that a recent OECD DAC peer review positively evaluated South Korea’s efforts to expand humanitarian assistance and formalize government-civil society partnerships.

The South Korean government called on civil society to continue to provide advice and contributions to the development of South Korea’s ODA based on its long-standing experience and expertise.

Press release - Office for Government Policy Coordination (in Korean)News article - News1 (in Korean)

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