Policy Updates

Displaying 1 - 20 of 5905

France and UN convene donor summit, mobilize US$297 million for Lebabnon recovery efforts

After explosions devastated Beirut on August 4, 2020, fifteen government leaders took part in a virtual resource mobilization conference to support the early recovery and humanitarian assistance in Lebanon. The pledging conference was organized by France and the United Nations.

The conference mobilized pledges worth US$297 million, according to the office of the French President, Emmanuel Macron. France pledged €30 million (US$35 million) and the EU Commission €63 million (US$74 million).

Officials estimate the explosion may have caused up to $15.0 billion of damage.

News article - BBC

European Commission commits US$73 million in emergency funding for Lebanon

The European Commission has pledged to provide €63 million (US$73 million) in emergency humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in response to the explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 and its impact on the Lebanese people.

In a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen committed €30 million (US$34 million) in financial support, in addition to teams of trained specialists in search-and-rescue and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection, as well as other support. During an international pledging conference for Lebanon held August 9, the European Commission pledged a further €33 million (US$38 million) in to address the immediate needs of those impacted by the explosion. 

Press release - European Commission
Read-out - European Commission
News article - Euractiv

Germany pledges US$23 million in emergency assistance to Lebanon

At the August 9, 2020 virtual pledging conference to raise money for Lebanon's recovery efforts, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced a German contribution of €20 million (US$23 million) in emergency funding to support Lebanon in the aftermath of the August 4 explosion in Beirut.

Half of the funding will come from the Federal Foreign Office budget, while another €10 million (US$11 million) will be provided by the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  This pledge comes on top of the already announced €2 million in funding for relief supplies to be delivered by the German Red Cross.

The virtual event was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and mobilized pledges worth US$297 million to help address the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster.

Press release – Federal Foreign Office

News article – Politico

Norway will support Lebanon in aftermath of Beirut explosions with additional funding of US$5 million

Norway will support Lebanon with an additional NOK45 million (US$5 million) in the aftermath of the explosions on August 4, 2020. Increasing its financial contribution to meet the new humanitarian needs in Lebanon, Norway's total contribution to Lebanon amounts to NOK70 million (US$8 million). 

In recent years, Norway has given significant funding to Lebanon and for 2020, funding was planned at around NOK470 million (US$51 million). The contribution is targeted at the need for continued political and economic reform in Lebanon, including the fight against corruption but will now also include medical assistance for those injured in the explosion, as well as food and shelter for the many who have lost their homes.

Norway will also provide 40 tons of medical equipment and is in the process of entering an agreement with the World Food Program to provide NOK40 million (US$4 million) to ensure the necessary food support to the people affected. The government has also raised the possibility of using the flexible funds through established partnerships with Norwegian voluntary organizations, such as the Norwegian Church Aid and Save the Children. 

Press release – The Norwegian Government

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to Lebanon following Beirut explosion

In the wake of the devestating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020, Canada has announced support for the humanitarian response to the disaster.

Canda committed to providing CAD5 million (US$4 million) in humanitarian assistance. A portion of the funding (CAD2 million or US$1 million) will be channeled through humanitarian organizations working in Lebanon to support the provision of emergency medical services, food, and shelter.  

Canada has also started the 'Lebanon Matching Fund' through which the government will match all donations made by Canadians to the Humanitarian Coalition between August 4 and 24, 2020, up to a maximum of CAD2 million (US$1 million).

Press release - Global Affairs Canada (funding announcement)

Press release - Global Affairs Canada (Matching Fund)

US DFC steps back from controversial domestic COVID-19 investment

The United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced that it was pausing on a controversial decision to provide a US$765 million loan to Eastman Kodak for the production of pharmaceuticals related to COVID-19.

The loan was being provided as part of a new authority granted by President Trump to allow the DFC to utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA) to improve domestic health supplies. Providing the DFC with DPA authority has raised a number of concerns as to why a new agency focused solely on foreign investments should have any domestic role, especially when it is still trying to fully open its doors.

The specific investment in Kodak -- which is historically a photographic entity -- also raised issues about the choice of this company for this purpose.  Following the announcement of the loan, allegations of senior Kodak employees improperly trading stock surfaced in Congress, with investigations opening in the US House and the Security and Exchange Commission. The DFC has put an indefinite hold on the loan pending resolution of the allegations. 

News article - Politico

South Korea provides US$1 million for relief following exploson in Lebanon

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it will contribute US$1 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in light of the recent massive explosion that took place in Beirut on August 4, 2020.

Through a MOFA press release, South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his condolences to the victims of the devastating blast. MOFA also underscored South Korea's ongoing assistance to Lebanon which has included a major focus on support for Syrian refugees.

Press release – South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Donor Tracker to host webinar on climate finance and role of ODA

Join the Donor Tracker this Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), for a webinar addressing the pressing need for international climate finance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In 2015, the latest in a series of global climate change agreements was signed in Paris. The Paris Agreement includes a pledge made by donor countries to mobilize US$100 billion a year by 2020 for climate action in LMICs. This upcoming Donor Tracker webinar will examine the role that ODA can and should play in funding for climate action, including the US$100 billion target. It will include an overview of trends in ODA-related climate funding and policies by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) donors.

This webinar, and our recently published report on climate finance and ODA, complements the recent addition of ‘Climate’ as a sector of analysis across the Donor Tracker Donor Profiles. Climate was added this year in recognition of the importance of climate action to the future of global development efforts.

Registration - Zoom

US DFC aims to mobilize US$6.0 billion for gender initiatives

The United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced a new goal to mobilize US$6.0 billion over the next three years for its 2X Women's Initiative. The initiative, first introduced by DFC's predecessor, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has mobilized US$3.0 billion since 2018. The new focus is motivated in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionate effect on women.

The DFC is expected to work on just a few issues, including closing the gender digital divide, as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene. Geographically, the new focus will cover all emerging markets, including countries like Pakistan, where it has been more difficult to work.

The DFC made other announcements of new work including new investments in nutrition and loans to support small and medium enterprises in Honduras. 

News article - Devex  

South Korea provides US$10 million through WFP in support of North Korean women and children

The South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU) announced that it will provide US$10 million in humanitarian assistance to the World Food Programme's (WFP)’s project for North Korean women and children.

The agreement is the first North Korean assistance plan approved since new Unification Minister Lee In-young took office in late July of 2020. The plan was originally requested by WFP and set to be approved in June but was sidelined due to a downturn in inter-Korean relations.

News article The Korea Times

Press release – Ministry of Unification (in Korean)



EIB and African Export-Import Bank to provide US$344 million in financing for sub-Saharan Africa’s COVID-19 response

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) are channeling €300 million (US$344 million) to sub-Saharan African countries to support recovery and resilience efforts in their COVID-19 responses.

The package includes a reallocation of €200 million (US$229 million) toward sectors most impacted by the pandemic, as well as an additional €100 million (US$115 million) of new funds. The funds will go toward working capital for businesses to keep jobs and maintain imports. At least a quarter of the funds will be dedicated to climate action, some will help enable cross-border trade of medical supplies and equipment, and some will target businesses owned or managed by women. 
Press release - EIB 

Australia's Prime Minister emphasizes need for widespread access to COVID-19 vaccine

At the Aspen Institute's Aspen Security Forum, Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stressed the importance of ensuring widespread access to any newly developed COVID-19 vaccine. He indicated that his discussions with other world leaders have led him to believe that there is widespread agreement that whoever discovers a vaccine fist, must share the vaccine with the world.

A statement from the Prime Minister's office following a Cabinet meeting on August 7, suggests that Australia is "well progressed" in advance purchase arrangements for vaccines or treatments, in facilitating access to vaccines through multilateral and international arrangements, and in procurement contracts necessary for the distribution and deployment of newly developed vaccines and treatments.

Interview transcript - CBS News

Press release - Prime Minister of Australia

Canada signs global trade and gender arrangement

Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, has signed a new Global Trade and Gender Arrangement with Chile and New Zealand (the other members of the Inclusive Trade Action Group), which aims to promote inclusive and equitable trade and investment.

The signatory countries have committed to work together to promote gender equality within their trade and investment agreements. The group also issued a joint pledge to foster a global economic recovery from COVID-19 that is inclusive of women, Indigenous peoples, and other minority groups.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes study on recent developments, future focus of reproductive health commodities policy

The Directorate Social Development (DSO) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a study report that charts recent trends and developments regarding reproductive health commodities (RHCs) and outlines the DSO's future priority interventions.

The key themes identified by the DSO are supply chain management issues in last-mile distribution, a decrease in donor funding which requires domestic resource mobilization, and the consensus that private sector involvement is necessary to meet the increasing demand for RHCs. The document also covers details pertaining to the focus countries of the Dutch development policy for RHCs (Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger).

Press release - Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

South Korean development agency announces human rights strategy

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), South Korea’s main development agency, announced its strategy to improve human rights in partner countries through its development cooperation programs and projects for 2020-2023.

According to a KOICA press release, the overall goal of the strategy will be to realize a basic principle of South Korea’s international development cooperation framework which is to improve the human rights of women, children, adolescents, and people with disabilities as well as to realize gender equality in partner countries. The strategy identifies 15 priority policy tasks including:

  • Identifying and designing international development cooperation projects that reflect the partner country’s human rights situation;
  • Developing human rights-based project identification and design guideline;
  • Organizing regular meetings with stakeholders to implement human rights-based development cooperation;
  • Establishing a human rights violation management system for public-private partnership projects;
  • Conducting research on human rights in international development cooperation;
  • Conducting research on the data management of KOICA projects targeting vulnerable groups; and
  • Establishing human rights evaluation systems.

Press release – Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)

As COVID-19 cases balloon, Australia continues support to Papua New Guinea

Australia has re-prioritized over US$13 million worth of official development assistance (ODA) to support Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) response to COVID-19. Coronavirus infections in PNG have increased sharply over the past two weeks, with cases concentrated in Port Moresby and now appearing in Lae (PNG’s largest and second-largest urban centers).

Australia has already provided ODA to PNG for the acquisition of protective equipment and COVID-19 testing kits, and to support initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of health facilities. Australia is also backing the PNG police force's efforts to assist with the COVID-19 response. Separately Australia has also provided a US$300 million non-ODA loan intended to buffer PNG's economy from the shocks caused by COVID-19.

Blog - ANU Devpolicy Blog

Press release - PNG Government

Thirty-five countries support Italian-led COVID-19 Food Coalition

Thirty-five countries, including Argentina, Egypt, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and the United States joined the COVID-19 Food Coalition, an initiative launched in June by the Italian government and lead by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

The alliance is a multi-stakeholder platform focusing on mobilizing political, financial, and technical assistance to support the medium- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems and agriculture.

Article - Onuitalia website (English)

Canada stresses importance of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, has announced Canada's commitment to ensuring poorer countries have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, while also prioritizing domestic needs.

Canada has already joined and contributed US$89 million to the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and is currently engaging in discussions on how to further global collaboration in responding to COVID-19.

News article - Politico

European Commission nears deal with pharmaceutical company to reserve 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for European member states

The European Commission wrapped up talks with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK on a potential contract to reserve future COVID-19 vaccine doses for EU member states’ populations.

Once signed, the agreement would allow EU member states to purchase 300 million doses of Sanofi-GSK’s vaccine candidate, provided it is proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. In line with its recently released European Vaccines Strategy, the Commission is also in talks with other vaccine manufacturers to ensure Europeans have rapid access to potentially successful vaccine candidates.
Press release - European Commission

South Korea’s finance ministry to provide US$5 million for digital infrastructure and green growth projects

South Korea's Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) announced that it will provide US$5 million to support digital infrastructure and green growth projects in the context of COVID-19 in six partner countries. Supported partner countries include Vietnam, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Haiti, and Uganda.

The funding will come from the Korea World Bank Group Partnership Facility and the Korea-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Partnership Program. MOEF plans to continue to fund new digital new deal ODA projects that utilize information and communication technology as well as green technology projects.

News article – KBS World