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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Germany tops up financial support for IRC, UNICEF, but freezes UNRWA funding to Gaza

January 27, 2024 | Germany | Share this update

On January, 27, 2024, the BMZ and the AA announced a US$7 million top-up of financial support of the IRC and UNICEF operating in the Palestinian territories.

The BMZ and the AA announced in a shared press statement that further assistance of the UNRWA is halted until the accusations regarding the members of staff of the UNRWA are resolved. The ministries underlined, however, the importance of humanitarian assistance, which they noted as grounds for the top-up.

Press release - German Ministry of Development Cooperation (in German)

Germany resumes development cooperation in Palestinian territories

December 13, 2023 | Germany | Share this update

On December, 13, 2023, the BMZ announced that it will resume development cooperation with the Palestine territories and release previously frozen funding.

This follows a decision, taken in the aftermath of Hamas attacks in Israel on October, 7, 2023, to suspend and re-examine ODA to the Palestine territories.

The BMZ undertook an evaluation and informed the Bundestag's Committee for Development Cooperation about the results of the re-examination of ODA, which have shown that funding to Palestine is not misused.

During a visit to Israel and Palestine on December, 19, 2023, BMZ Minister Svenja Schulze re-emphasized Germany's commitment to a long-term solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and the role of German development policies in building the foundation for the future of the region.

Press release - BMZ (in German)Press release - BMZ (in German)

EU pledges US$76 million to initiative supporting deforestation-free value chains

December 6, 2023 | France, Germany, EUI, Netherlands, Climate | Share this update

On December 6, 2023, during COP28, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, as well as representatives from Germany, the Netherlands, and France, launched the Team Europe Initiative on Deforestation-free Value Chains and pledged an initial EUR70 million (US$76 million) to the initiative.

The initiative aims to tackle global deforestation and reinforce the pledges set forth in the Glasgow Leader's Declaration on Forests and Land Use from COP26, with the goal of stopping and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030. It is also aligned with the EU's Global Gateway strategy, which aims to transition partner countries to sustainable, deforestation-free, and legal value chains.

The initiative was developed to support inclusive partnerships between the EU and partner countries, facilitate sustainable trade, and address deforestation. Through the initiative, the EU is slated to offer technical assistance and capacity-building assistance to partner countries on key issues, including traceability, geo-localization, and land-use mapping. The initiative is also planned to serve as a centralized platform to bolster coordination between public and private stakeholders in both the EU and partner countries.

A Team Europe Hub will be established under the Sustainable Agriculture for Forest Ecosystems program to host information and coordinate further actions.

Press release - European Commission

Germany adopts climate foreign policy strategy

December 6, 2023 | Germany, Climate | Share this update

On December, 6, 2023, the German government adopted its first-ever strategy on climate foreign policy, which was presented during COP28.

The whole-of-government strategy defined climate priorities, synthesized financial commitments, and set an action plan to drive the implementation of the Paris Agreement in cooperation with European partners.

The strategy reiterated Germany's existing climate finance target of EUR6 billion (US$6.5 billion) annually by 2025. It emphasized states disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, notably countries in Africa and SIDS. Key partners countries included Brazil, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa, Vietnam, India, and China.

The strategy outlined six priorities:

  • Drastically reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to accelerate the global energy transition;
  • Making the German economy competitive and fit for the future while ensuring climate justice;
  • Bolstering solidarity with the most vulnerable by preserving natural resources and protecting health;
  • Protecting, restoring, and promoting the sustainable use of ecosystems;
  • Strengthening resilience, peace, and security; and
  • Making international financial flows consistent with a 1.5 °C-compatible pathway and climate-resilient development.
Press release - BMZGovernment document - AA (in German)

Canada pledges US$25 million to Special Climate Change Fund

December 4, 2023 | Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Climate | Share this update

On December 4, 2023, Canada announced a pledge of CAD34 million (US$25 million) for the Special Climate Change Fund, hosted by the GEF.

The announcement was part of a joint statement released by Canada and the governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK during COP28. Canada’s pledge to the fund will support in accelerating climate change adaptation in SIDS and catalyzing technology transfer, innovation, and private sector engagement for adaptation.

Press release - The Global Environment Facility

Netherlands commits US$16 million to Loss and Damage Fund at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Netherlands, EUI, Germany, US, Japan, UK, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Rutte announced a commitment of EUR15 million (US$16 million) to help establish the Loss and Damage Fund.

The EUI pledged US$125 million, Germany and the UAE each pledged US$100 million, the UK pledged GBP60 million (US$78 million), the US pledged US$18 million, and Japan pledged US$10 million. The total funds surpass the US$400 million needed to initiate the establishment and operation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

Dutch NGO ActionAid Netherlands responded by commenting that while the pledge is a fair initial contribution to the fund, it is far from a "fair share" for the Netherlands when based on the country’s emissions levels.

Twitter - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Dutch)Twitter - ActionAid Netherlands (in Dutch)

Team Europe pledges US$21.8 billion for clean energy at COP28

December 2, 2023 | Sweden, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, EUI, Climate | Share this update

On December 2, 2023, the EU institutions, the EIB, the EBRD, and the Member States that comprise Team Europe pledged EUR20 billion (US$21.8 billion) for clean energy partnerships with African partners.

The funding announcement listeed EUR3.4 billion (US$3.7 billion) in grants and covered the period from 2021-2027. The project, AEGEI, aims to produce over 50 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.

12 EU Member States contributed to the funding. No language regarding specific partner countries was included in the announcement.

Press release - EU Commission

Germany commits US$100 million to Loss and Damage Fund, pushes to advance implementation

November 30, 2023 | Germany, Climate | Share this update

On November 30, 2023, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze welcomed COP28's launch of the Loss and Damage Fund and committed US$100 million to the fund.

Countries in attendance agreed to a compromise proposal developed by Germany and other nations to launch the fund. Schulze and the UAE both announced commitments of US$100 million to the fund, securing the minimum funding needed to operationalize the fund, and called on others to follow suit.

Germany and the V20 have pushed for rapid implementation of the fund's objectives, including proposed principles based on experiences from the Global Shield against Climate Risks. The key principles mentioned by Schulze included strengthening country ownership, supporting holistic policies, and investing in solutions to limit climate damages.

Press release - BMZ (in German)

Ruling on debt brake shakes future of German funding, ODA

November 27, 2023 | Germany | Share this update

On November 15, 2023, the German constitutional court declared the repurposing of EUR60 billion (US$65 billion) in COVID-19 emergency loans for climate and industrial transformation a breach of the German debt brake.

The landmark ruling has wide implications for the future of German budgets, the government's long-term ability to act, and likely ODA spending. Generally, the ruling prohibited the government from circumventing the debt brake by drawing on special funds under the emergency clause and repurposing said emergency loans in the future.

In response, the German government passed a supplementary 2023 budget on November 27, 2023. This implied an effective suspension of the debt brake. The Bundestag is expected to confirm a state of emergency to justify the suspension in December 2023.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has postponed negotiations of the 2024 budget, and the coalition parties remain divided in negotiations. The ruling will likely severely restrict the ability of the German government to function in the long term, particularly if the debt brake is not reformed.

Implications for ODA remain uncertain. With the government facing a severe shortfall of funding in 2024, experts view disproportionate cuts of ODA aa increasingly likely. FPD politicians surrounding Finance Minister Christian Lindner called for stringent austerity measures in response to the ruling, which are more likely to impact ODA compared to domestic party political priorities.

News article - Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)News article - Tagesschau (in German)News article - Verfassungsblog (in German)

Germany provides additional support for refugees in Mauritania and Jordan

November 10, 2023 | Germany, WASH & Sanitation | Share this update

On November 10, 2023, the BMZ announced that it will allocate an additional EUR62 million (US$66 million) to Mauritania to support the costs of receiving and integrating refugees from Mali, following a bilateral agreement with Jordan tackling refugee costs on November 6, 2023.

Germany and Mauritania agreed on a set of measures to help receive and integrate refugees, including employment creation, professional training, and renewable energy. German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze travelled to Nouakchott to strengthen cooperation with Mauritania. Following a wave of violence in neighboring Mali, Mauritania received more than 100,000 refugees and has made efforts to rapidly integrate refugees into its social security systems.

Previously, Schulze committed to supporting refugees in Jordan with a pledge of EUR41 million (US$44 million), in addition to a EUR125 million (US$134 million) loan for water security, which is critical in the region. Almost half of the population in Jordan has migratory ties. Schulze acknowledged Jordan's role as a mediator maintaining peace in the region.

The agreements were concluded against a backdrop of increasingly heated debates in Germany on migration and proposals for tighter asylum regulations. Schulze noted that development cooperation institutions are tasked with combating the root causes for migration.

News article - Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)Press release - BMZ (in German)Press release - BMZ (in German)

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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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