Saturday, February 22, 2020

New web site for Development Today

 
This the old web site of Development Today journal. Please go to the new web site: www.development-today.com
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Five ‘new’ humanitarian actors vie for lucrative Sida partnership

Thirty humanitarian actors have applied to become eligible for Sida’s SEK 4 billion multi-year funding pot, but only five have made it through the first round of scrutiny: Mercy Corps, Danish Refugee Council, Première Urgence, UNFPA and CARE. The agency is now vetting all the organisations in its portfolio, along with the five potential “new” ones, to determine which will be strategic partners from 2021.
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Finn Church Aid investor makes first direct investment in Africa

After its first year of operation, an investment company owned by Finn Church Aid (FCA) has made its first direct investment in Africa with a EUR 460,000 loan to an egg farm in Uganda. FCA Investments Ltd is a rare hybrid – an investment company run by an NGO – that targets small businesses in fragile, high-risk environments.
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Danish NGO IBIS confronts ‘built-in weaknesses’ in Oxfam’s global system

Three years after merging with Oxfam, the leadership of Oxfam IBIS in Copenhagen is grappling with “built-in weaknesses” in the international NGO confederation. Becoming part of a global brand has meant losing control over how spending takes place in country offices.
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Boosts carbon price to 10 dollars per tonne in Colombia climate forest deal

Norway continues to push ahead with REDD+, offering to pay Colombia NOK 2 billion for reduced deforestation by 2025 and increasing the carbon price from 5 to 10 dollars per tonne, while donor partners Germany and the United Kingdom hold back. Colombia failed to meet forest conservation targets set in the first phase of the agreement.  
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Finnish Development Minister Ville Skinnari on ‘Nordic power’

Finland’s Development Minister Ville Skinnari is a staunch believer in Nordic cooperation within the aid field. “I think the Nordic model is something worth exporting at a global level,” he says in an interview with Development Today.
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Sida to triple multi-year funding for non-Swedish democracy NGOs

Non-Swedish NGOs working om democracy issues can look forward to a substantial increase in long-term funding from the Swedish aid agency Sida. New recipients of multi-year grants will be selected among organisations Sida already knows, and there will be no open call for proposals. In Finland, competition is the general rule.
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OECD praises Sweden’s aid, warns of too many partners and overstretched staff

The OECD calls Sweden an “adept, ambitious and influential” donor, a champion of multilateralism that is generous with the amounts of aid it gives and effective and principled when it comes to humanitarian aid. Sweden does fall short in some areas, however. Swedfund is not integrated into the broader portfolio, Swedish aid is still spread too thinly, and the aid administration is understaffed.
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Helsinki has no plans to use emissions trading income to boost Finnish aid

There is “huge disappointment” in Finland about the decision not to transfer income from emissions trading to the development budget as a way of boosting the aid level. The new government programme contains no concrete timetable for increasing aid to the UN-recommended target of 0.7 per cent of GNI.
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New Finnish government steps up aid, but at a slow pace

Finland’s new centre-left government promises to add EUR 500 million to the development cooperation budget over the coming four years with increases in financing for humanitarian aid, UN agencies and NGOs, and a renewed focus on rights and fighting climate change. The new government will hammer out a new Africa strategy and make the region the focus of Finnish aid.
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OECD to Norway: be more pragmatic when fighting corruption in aid

An OECD review recognises Norway’s multilateral efforts but warns that too many new global health instruments could undermine the UN and contribute to fragmentation. It also calls for a more “pragmatic and proportionate approach” to corruption, especially in fragile states. (To be updated)
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Sida opens SEK 1.9b NGO pie for competition

Sida is opening a funding pot worth SEK 1.9 billion to new Swedish NGOs. For almost a decade 15 organisations have had exclusive access to these multi-year grants. Joining this group can be highly lucrative and can mean hundreds of millions of crowns in stable, long-term financing. Access to this money for “new” organisations  has only been opened a few times over the past 20 years, and each time it has, the competition has been fierce.
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Denmark aims to be a ‘green pioneer,’ but falls short as donor to Green Climate Fund

While Sweden, Norway and Finland have been among the top donors to the Green Climate Fund, Denmark is far behind. In the upcoming replenishment of the fund, Denmark must increase its funding three-fold to cover its minimum fair share, according to an overview by Oxfam.
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Pledges to put Africa first and to stand firm against special interests

Pledges to put Africa first and to stand firm against special interests

Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norway’s freshman Development Minister, wants to reverse a decade-long downward trend by increasing Norwegian aid to Africa. To succeed, he will have to say ‘no’ to other priorities.
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Government talks are litmus test for scaling up of Finnish aid

Finland’s Development Policy Committee, representing all the political parties, calls for an urgent long-term pledge to raise aid to 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI). The first test for the plan will be the on-going talks to form a new Finnish government in the wake of the election.
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Reliance on private capital makes IFU shy away from investments in poorest countries

Due to its heavy reliance on private capital, the Danish aid-financed investment fund (IFU) has shied away from risky investments and prioritised middle-income countries. The first evaluation of IFU in 14 years calls for a stronger focus on poor and fragile states.
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Billions in Swedish aid at stake as political strife clouds new OECD refugee reporting

As Sweden adopts the new OECD rules for reporting domestic refugee costs as official development assistance (ODA), a struggle within the Swedish government has broken out over how to fill gaps in the fiscal budget. Development Minister Peter Eriksson lost the first battle. Billions of crowns in future aid might be at stake as Sweden adopts new reporting rules for aid.
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Indian-made pneumonia vaccine is set to break Big Pharma’s hold on Gavi funds

By the end of the year, a new pneumonia vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India is set to enter the market at a much lower price than Gavi currently pays. Key vaccine actors call this a “game changer” that could reduce prices and save children’s lives.
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Finnish aid loans to IFC-funded climate projects in Nepal and Senegal

Finland is contributing USD 20 million in aid-financed loans to climate projects in Nepal and Senegal as part of a blended finance mechanism managed by the World Bank’s private sector arm, IFC.
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Funding target for Green Climate Fund still up in the air

There is still no clear picture about a realistic funding target for the upcoming replenishment of the Green Climate Fund. The most optimistic scenario from the World Resources Institute of USD 66 billion assumes that all countries, including the United States, follow Norway’s lead. A more sombre assessment suggests it will be hard even to reach the USD 10 billion mark from 2014.
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ODA in 2018: Decade-long decline in aid for Sub-Saharan Africa continues

Donors’ aid to Africa and the world’s poorest countries is falling as part of a decade-long trend, says OECD’s aid watchdog DAC. Development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa fell by 4.4 per cent last year. Humanitarian aid is also shrinking.
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Ambitious plan to grow UN Peacebuilding Fund to USD 500m

The Swedish Foreign Ministry has hosted the first donors’ strategic financing dialogue for the UN Peacebuilding Fund aimed at realising UN Secretary General António Gutteres’ vision of tripling the size of the fund.
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UNEP on a tight leash in wake of travel audit

Months after a critical audit of UN Environment triggered the resignation of Executive Director Erik Solheim, donors are positive about his replacement Inger Andersen, but they continue to use the money weapon to ensure that the agency improves practice.
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Finland breaks new ground with loan for IFAD’s core activities

Finland becomes the first Nordic donor to provide a loan to finance a multilateral agency’s core efforts. A EUR 50 million long-term Finnish loan will fund the UN’s agency for rural and agriculture development IFAD’s efforts to support small-scale farmers increase their yields and adjust to climate change.
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New aid index measuring self-interest of donors gives Nordics mixed score

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has created a new aid index which measures the extent to which donors’ self-interest penetrates disbursement of aid. Three Nordic donors rank among the top ten.
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Nordics await due diligence before deciding on David Malpass as World Bank President

All the five Nordic countries confirm to Development Today that they will not take a position on David Malpass’ candidacy as President of the World Bank until the board has completed its due diligence and interview process. Malpass was nominated by President Donald Trump and is the only candidate for the job.
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Norway rewards Indonesia by leaving out peat burning from carbon accounting

By excluding massive CO2 emissions from peat burning in Indonesia, Norway recently presented a positive carbon tally and granted its first payment to the Southeast Asian forest giant for reduced emissions from deforestation. The NOK 200 million reward coincided with the 10th anniversary of the countries’ climate partnership. If emissions from peatlands had been counted, there might be no basis for payment at all, a scrutiny by Development Today shows.
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US nominee Malpass on track to become new World Bank President

David Malpass, 63, is on track to become the next President of the World Bank. As the deadline for nominations expires, he is the only official candidate for the job. It is now expected that the World Bank board will test his commitment to the Bank’s agenda on poverty, climate and multilateralism in the coming weeks.
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Brazil receives first Green Climate Fund grant for REDD+. Critics warn of ‘paper reductions’ with no real climate benefits

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved a USD 96 million grant for Brazil, a reward for reductions in emissions from deforestation achieved five years ago. NGOs warned of “paper reductions without any real climate benefits.” Germany and the US pushed for conditions to be attached, while Norway was keen to send a positive signal.
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Nordics pressed Trump’s candidate for World Bank Presidency on poverty focus

Nordics pressed Trump’s candidate for World Bank Presidency on poverty focus

The Trump administration’s candidate for President of the World Bank David Malpass met with Nordic-Baltic ministers in Reykjavik this week. He was pressed on issues like climate change, gender and his commitment to multilateralism. For now, Malpass is the only candidate in the race, but so far none of the Nordic countries has expressed their support for him.
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Replenishment delay has cost Green Climate Fund billions of dollars

Following its 22nd board meeting last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) announced it will hold its first replenishment in late October, a year and a half behind schedule. The delay has meant a loss of climate financing amounting to USD 4 billion.
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Iceland’s ex-PM Geir Haarde seizes Nordic-Baltic top position at World Bank

Iceland’s ex-PM Geir Haarde seizes Nordic-Baltic top position at World Bank

The former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, 67, assumes the position of the Nordic-Baltic countries Executive Director at the World Bank this summer, a spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry in Reykjavik confirms to Development Today.
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Humanitarians call for neutral aid and access to mitigate Yemen crisis

Nordic donors pledged USD 67.4 million for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen during a recent donor meeting in Geneva. This amounts to one-tenth of the OECD countries’ Yemen aid. Two Arab allies fighting in the war provided the lion’s share of funds, raising concerns about impartiality of relief aid.
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New Danish UNEP boss must regain donors’ trust after Solheim debacle

New Danish UNEP boss must regain donors’ trust after Solheim debacle

The Dane Inger Andersen has been chosen to restore confidence at UNEP in Nairobi after the former chief Erik Solheim was forced to leave three months ago. An audit revealed that he had travelled excessively and encouraged staff to “wilfully violate” UN rules, “encouraged a culture of impunity ... and weakened the control environment .”
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Tough competition for donor money: Global health agencies under scrutiny for inflating results

In an environment of fierce competition, global health initiatives like the Global Fund are making grand claims regarding the numbers of lives they can save if donors provide enough money. But in the new, more holistic SDG era, with an ambition of universal health coverage, researchers say that such claims are “misleading.” “We have to stop this game of trying to say exactly how many years or months or lives we can buy with one earmarked dollar,” says Gorik Ooms at the London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene to Development Today.
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Finnfund eyes record expansion. Doubts about risks and profit

Finnfund might soon receive its largest-ever injection of capital. It plans to focus on high-risk markets, double its investments and triple its impacts, while at the same time maintaining profit levels. An evaluation report warns that Finnfund will be hard pressed to tick all these boxes at once.
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Mutual distrust between donors and humanitarians, ‘opaque’ decision making on both sides

Humanitarian aid would stretch farther and respond better to those most in need if donors coordinated their allocations in a transparent manner instead of making funding decisions in isolation, but there is little appetite among donors to do so. This is one of the conclusions of a recent study on underfunded humanitarian appeals commissioned by the Swedish aid evaluation office, EBA.
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Norway rewards Indonesia by leaving out peat burning from carbon accounting

By excluding massive CO2 emissions from peat burning in Indonesia, Norway recently presented a positive carbon tally and granted its first payment to the Southeast Asian forest giant for reduced emissions from deforestation. The NOK 200 million reward coincided with the 10th anniversary of the countries’ climate partnership. If emissions from peatlands had been counted, there might be no basis for payment at all, a scrutiny by Development Today shows.
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Finnish Development Minister Ville Skinnari on ‘Nordic power’

Finland’s Development Minister Ville Skinnari is a staunch believer in Nordic cooperation within the aid field. “I think the Nordic model is something worth exporting at a global level,” he says in an interview with Development Today.
Read more >>

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MARKET AND BUSINESS

Report - call for massive increase in investments in climate adaptation

A global commission led by Bill Gates, Ban Ki-moon and 20 countries estimates that investments of USD 1.8 trillion in climate adaptation could generate USD 7.1 trillion in total net benefits over the next ten years. Denmark’s representative on the commission explains why investments in adaptation lag so far behind funding for mitigation measures.

Sweden postpones carbon payment to Uganda tree farm where locals have been evicted

A planned disbursement of SEK 10 million by the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) for emissions reductions produced by the Kachung plantation in Uganda, owned by the Norwegian company Green Resources, has been delayed due to on-going concerns about the project. Development Today has learned that the Swedes were about to give a green light last week but put on the brakes.

Evaluation - Reliance on private capital makes IFU shy away from investments in poorest countries

Due to its heavy reliance on private capital, the Danish aid-financed investment fund (IFU) has shied away from risky investments and prioritised middle-income countries. The first evaluation of IFU in 14 years calls for a stronger focus on poor and fragile states.

Indian-made pneumonia vaccine is set to break Big Pharma’s hold on Gavi funds

By the end of the year, a new pneumonia vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India is set to enter the market at a much lower price than Gavi currently pays. Key vaccine actors call this a “game changer” that could reduce prices and save children’s lives.

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