In mid-December, the Swedish Parliament passed Sweden’s long-awaited Policy for Global Development. The policy originates from a commission established in 1999 by former Development Minister Maj-Inger Klingvall.
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The Danish government has launched a new strategy for environmental aid focusing on China, Indonesia and Malaysia. Its choice of cooperation countries, sectors and technical assistance is closely linked to Danish plans to buy up carbon dioxide quotas. In addition, DKK 400 million will be allocated outside the aid budget for the next four years to make use of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol.
The appointment of Swedish State Secretary for Development Annika Söder to the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) signals a cautious shift in Sweden’s approach to the organisation.
UN agencies and development banks seem hesitant to lower their flags in the field. They also perform poorly with regard to disbursing funds through recipient budgets. But the agencies have become more open and contributed to more poverty oriented health policies in recipient countries.
On February 2, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament will host a public conference on Danish aid policy arranged by the Danish Institute of International Studies. The Committee will visit Sweden to study the new Global Development Policy recently adopted by the Swedish Parliament.
Before the collapse of the EU Summit in Brussels on December 13, Presidents and Prime Ministers of the EU member states welcomed a comprehensive plan to strengthen, widen and formalise the dialogue between the EU and the Arab world.
The Danish government’s Arab Initiative, launched in June, has been renamed. It now aims at strengthening the dialogue with countries from Morocco in the West to Iran in the East, and as Iran is not an Arab country the initiative is to be known as the Danish Wider Middle East Initiative.