Frontpage / Magazine / Development Today

Norway expands aid to fight terrorism and fund other global goods

 
Norway’s government almost triples support for security efforts financed from next year’s aid budget and hikes funding for vulnerable states. The government’s proposal for total aid next year amounts to NOK 35.1 billion or 1 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI), a NOK 1.3 billion increase from the current year.  
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World Bank corruption report kicks off Danish police investigation of Consia

 
Danish police have initiated an investigation of the Copenhagen-based consultant Consia Consultants Aps based on a World Bank report which says that the firm committed fraud in Indonesia and Vietnam. 
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EU Commission proposes to let ODA pay for strengthening “military capacity”

 
In a major overhaul of EU development policy, the European Commission is pushing to let development assistance finance the strengthening of military capacity in developing countries under exceptional circumstances. 
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Ulla Tørnæs returns as Danish Development Minister

 
The Liberal politician Ulla Tørnæs returns as Danish Development Minister, part of the cabinet line-up in Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s new three-party government.
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Appointment of Mexican UN climate chief paved Erik Solheim’s way to UNEP

 
UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s announcement of his selection of Patricia Espinosa Cantellano to be the new UN climate executive paved the way for Erik Solheim, the former Norwegian Aid and Environment Minister, to be the Secretary General’s choice as head of the UN environment agency UNEP in Nairobi.
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Finnfund suspends disbursements to Honduran hydropower project

 
The Finnish aid-financed investment fund Finnfund is suspending disbursements to the controversial Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras, 12 days after the murder of Berta Cáceres, a leading opponent of the project.
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Sweden claims credit for keeping security costs out of OECD’s aid reporting

 
A ministerial meeting at the OECD Development Assistance Committee in Paris concludes that strict rules for what security costs can be reported as official aid will be maintained, following tough negotiations among donors.
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Few scraps left for UN after Finland details aid cuts

 
Finland’s UN funding will drop to next to nothing as the harsh consequences of the Nordic donor’s deep aid cuts for next year become clearer. 
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UN envoy Gordon Brown: Major progress in funding education in conflict zones

 
Major breakthroughs have been made for raising funds to provide education for millions of children in conflict zones, starting with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, said UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown at a conference in Oslo this week.
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Court ruling: Sida’s procurement practice is “unpredictable, subjective”

 
In a tender for consultancy services on evaluations, Sida has violated principles of transparency and equal treatment in the Swedish Public Procurement Law, the Administrative Court in Stockholm has ruled.
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Revised aid budget: Sweden provides climate funding in addition to aid

 
The Swedish government proposes to provide financing for the Green Climate Fund using non-aid money in a revised fiscal budget presented this week.
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OECD: aid to poorest countries remained low in 2014

 
Global official development assistance (ODA) remained at an all-time high of USD 135 billion last year with Nordic countries providing almost 12 per cent of the total, the OECD reports. But aid to LDCs continued to decline.
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Sida threatens to close down EcoEnergy sugar project in Tanzania

 
Sida is threatening to close down the sugar and ethanol project of the Swedish company EcoEnergy in Tanzania unless a new strategic investor is in place by the end of next month.
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GAVI raises USD 7.539 billion in new donor funds

 
In spite of tough economic times, the vaccine alliance GAVI managed just to surpass its fund-raising target of USD 7.5 billion for the next five-year period, with substantial increases in contributions from many government donors and the Gates Foundation. (To be updated)
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Norwegian aid minister challenges Angolan President’s daughter

 
Norwegian Development Minister Heikki Holmås has challenged the wealthy daughter of Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos to open her accounting books and prove that “political power has not been misused”. The American magazine Forbes announced this week that Isabel dos Santos is Africa’s first female billionaire. 
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Prosecutor calls for NOK 4m fine for Norconsult

 
At an appeals court in Oslo a prosecutor has called for Norconsult, which faces corruption charges related to a World Bank project in Tanzania, to pay a fine of NOK 4 million. The defense called for acquittal of the firm. 
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Pöyry subsidiary barred from World Bank procurement

 
The World Bank has accused the Finnish company Pöyry Management Consulting Oy of “submitting false invoices and providing improper benefits” to Bank staff.
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Ministry to close SADEV by year end

 
The Swedish Foreign Ministry proposes to close down the aid evaluation agency SADEV by the end of the year, following the publication of two critical reviews that point to serious weaknesses in the agency’s work. Staff at SADEV are “shocked and frustrated” by the sudden announcement, and the ministry’s failure to acknowledge what they see as the agency’s main problem, its management, a union leader said.
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Norway-Brazil forest carbon deal caught in time lag

 
Norway’s innovative and ambitious forest climate agreement with Brazil is caught in a time lag, with political events overtaking the terms of the deal. As Norway announces another NOK 1 billion in aid for past reductions in deforestation, the Brazilian Senate passes a law that opens for massive clearing of the Amazon.
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Christian Friis-Bach is Denmark’s new aid minister

 
Former International Director of DanChurchAid, MP for the Social Liberal Party Christian Friis-Bach has been named Development Minister in the newly-formed Social Democrat-led Danish government.
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Brazil aid makes Norway top Nordic donor

 
For the first time, Norway has become the largest Nordic donor, due to billions of crowns slated for climate aid, mainly in Brazil. Norway is also the world’s top aid performer, measured as a share of the economy, OECD figures released Wednesday show. Sweden is Nr 3 on the list, followed by Denmark.
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Scania avoids US police probe over Iraq kickbacks

 
The alleged payment of kickbacks by the Swedish truck maker Scania to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq took place too long ago for the case to be investigated in the United States, DT has learned. However, the Swedish police probe into Scania and Volvo continues.
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Sida: ‘No’ to SEKAB biofuel in Tanzania

 
Sida will not provide a credit guarantee to the Swedish biofuel company SEKAB for its sugarcane-ethanol project in Tanzania, Development Today has learned.
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OECD applauds Swedish aid reforms, calls for expanded Sadev mandate

 
The OECD hails the Swedish government’s aid policy reforms and its leading role in the donor community in a peer review published a week after Sweden assumed the EU Presidency.
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Auditor General critical of Sida, Swedfund tax haven investments

 
The Swedish Auditor General calls for a review of the engagement of the aid agency Sida and Swedfund in risk capital funds that are located in tax havens.
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SEKAB eyes massive aid-funded equity and guarantees for biofuel investments

 
The Swedish biofuel company SEKAB wants a Sida loan guarantee for its operations in Tanzania. An initial figure of USD 20-25 million (about SEK 200 million) is indicated. SEKAB also wants aid-financed investment funds to provide almost half the equity for its investments over the next 20 years.
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Iceland cuts aid by one-third

 
Iceland will reduce its official development assistance by ISK 1.7 billion, equivalent to one-third of the planned budget for 2009.
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Norwegian untied mixed credit scheme might be closed down

 
The Foreign Ministry is considering closing down the Norwegian untied mixed credit scheme, an idea originally proposed in a report by the consultant Econ Pöyry. Stakeholders strongly object. GIEK says the consultant does not provide a sufficient basis for making changes in the private sector schemes.
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Report: NOK 10b to Norwegian hydro aid. Environment, corruption risk overlooked

 
An evaluation of Norwegian aid to the hydropower sector over a quarter-century concludes that Norway has been a consistent, predictable donor. Tied aid has until recently laid the groundwork for the long-term involvement of Norwegian private and state actors. But environmental concerns have taken a back seat. According to the report, Norwegian environmental guidelines are outdated and implementation of existing rules has been weak.
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Norway resumes budget support to Palestinians

 
Norway is ready to provide budget support unilaterally to the new Palestinian government formed by Fatah and Hamas without any new conditions, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced Thursday.
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OECD: Sweden No. 1, Norway’s aid drops

 
Global aid is falling and support for Africa is basically flat, despite donors’ promises to double aid to Africa by 2010. Sweden is now the world's top donor, while Norwegian aid dropped to 0.89 per cent of GNI, according to figures released by the OECD.
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Nato meet: Holland, Norway put focus on aid agenda in Afghanistan

 
The Netherlands and Norway want to put development and security in Afghanistan high on the agenda when foreign ministers of the defence alliance NATO gather in Oslo this week.
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'Clear separation' of military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan

 
A report commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for “a clear separation" between security and humanitarian mandates in Faryab province where Norwegian forces are located. It warns against the emergence of a “Norwegian province" in Afghanistan.
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US has lost financial dominance in World Bank as new President is selected

 
US financial muscle in the World Bank has shrunk and it is no longer the largest donor in the Bank’s most important tool for channelling money to poor countries, the soft loan arm, IDA. The United Kingdom has bypassed the United States as the top WB donor. Still, after Paul Wolfowitz's forced resignation last week, US President Bush clings to the outdated American prerogative to appoint an American as head of the bank.
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Nordics failed to challenge US monopoly on World Bank top job

 
Robert Zoellick, the US candidate to take over as World Bank President, currently in Oslo, has received Nordic blessing for the job. Support for his candidacy expressed by Denmark and Norway in late May effectively undermined the possibility of promoting alternative candidates.
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Norway breaks Palestinian boycott. Sweden considers new aid window

 
Norway has transferred USD 10 million for salaries to Palestinian officials to a new bank account, which is not affected by current US bank restrictions on the Hamas-led government. Norway is the first Western donor to transfer money into the account. Sweden considers following suit.
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OECD tells Denmark: untie mixed credits

 
The OECD peer review of the Danish aid programme combines praise with a strong message for Denmark to stop the practice of reserving mixed credits for its own companies.
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Bondevik challenges donors to back anti-hunger plan for Horn of Africa

 
Six governments in the Horn of Africa agreed last week on a road map for tackling the root causes of hunger in the drought-stricken region. Frustrated by past funding shortages, UN Special Humanitarian Envoy Kjell Magne Bondevik now challenges donors to put financial weight behind the new plan.
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100 candidates compete for Sida top job

 
Three former ministers, two former state secretaries, two ambassadors and a dozen business leaders are among the 55 people who have applied for the job of Director General of Sida. DT has learned that a parallel non-open search conducted by a recruitment firm has produced another 50 names.
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Norway pushes World Bank to study tax havens

 
Norway is offering to finance a study on tax havens and capital flight. The Norwegian Development Minister Erik Solheim has in a letter to the new World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick asked the Bank to carry out such a study. An answer is expected next week.
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'Reforms overdue'. Sweden slashes number of aid recipients

 
The Swedish government this week launched the most significant change in aid policy in decades, dramatically reducing the number of recipient countries by half and potentially freeing resources of up to SEK 2.2 billion over the next few years. Minister Carlsson says reforms in Swedish aid were long overdue.
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18 new NGOs eye coveted Sida funding

 
Eighteen new NGOs are competing for a share of Sida’s special SEK 1.3 billion budget for multi-year NGO grants - the so-called framework agreements. This budget is currently divided among 14 other Swedish NGOs.
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Göran Hydén: Norway, a ‘last outpost’ where politicians steer aid research

 
Göran Hydén, the Swedish Africa scholar based at the University of Florida, calls Norway a “last outpost" where politicians continue to wield influence over the priorities of development researchers.
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Swedish Auditor General: Sida fails to prevent corruption in NGO aid

 
An investigation by the Swedish National Audit Office of aid channelled through non-governmental organisations finds irregularities in most of the projects reviewed. Sida is harshly criticised for having insufficient internal control systems that allow the misuse of aid funds to continue undetected.
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Socialist Left Minister makes u-turn, boosts World Bank funding

 
When the Red-Green Norwegian government took office two years ago, it promised to increase funding to the UN at the expense of the World Bank. Now it is doing the opposite.
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Anders Nordström to head Sida

 
The Swedish government has appointed the Swede Anders Nordström, currently Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation in Geneva, to be the new Director General of Sida. The government points to Nordström’s experience in “change management" at the UN agency as an important qualification for his new job.  
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Danish PM announces increase in aid level

 
In the new Danish government programme presented last week, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen indicates an increase in the aid budget over the coming years.
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Sida kicks 15 NGOs out of race for funding

 
Of 21 Swedish NGOs that have applied to Sida to become framework organisations - thereby eligible for large, multi-year grants - just six have made it past the first screening round, according to a Sida document obtained by Development Today. Médecins Sans Frontières Sweden and the Swedish Afghanistan Committee are among the 15 that were dropped.
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Nordics losing ground in World Bank

 
The Nordic donor block’s share of World Bank funding over the next three years will drop. But a sharp rise in Finnish funds will soften the fall, Development Today has learned ahead of the final negotiations for IDA 15 in Berlin, December 13-14.
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Zoellick’s authority at stake in final IDA 15 round

 
The authority of the new World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick is at stake as donors meet in Berlin to finalise negotiations about the next three years of funding for the International Development Association (IDA).
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Corruption report: World Bank blacklisted only one firm last year

 
The World Bank sanctioned just one firm, Lahmeyer International GmbH of Germany, last year compared with 133 blacklisted firms three years ago. The Bank’s anti-corruption body urges the leadership to put in place a new sanctions system to make it possible to proceed with cases in the pipeline for such action.
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High stakes for Tanzania as 14 donors put budget support on hold

 
Tanzania may face cuts in international aid following an audit which concluded that the Bank of Tanzania had made irregular payments of USD 113 million to 22 companies.
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Sida to release EISA funds after Angola corruption incident

 
Following a positive audit report, Sida has now decided to release funds to the Africa NGO Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), which was hit by a corruption scandal in its Angola office last year.
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Report proposes further untying. NOREPS firms may be at risk

 
Norway should phase out in-kind donations through the export facility NOREPS over the next five years, according to a new evaluation. This would mean a further untying of Norwegian humanitarian aid, and could jeopardise the position of some Norwegian suppliers’ in the emergency relief market.
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Swedish prosecutor eyes stock listed firms in oil-for-food investigation

 
The Swedish National Anti-Corruption Unit is in the final phase of investigating the involvement of Swedish companies in bribery related to the UN-financed oil-for-food scheme in Iraq. Christer van der Kwast, Chief Public Prosecutor, tells Development Today that efforts are being focused on “some larger companies".
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Report: Sida violates public procurement law

 
Sida’s practice of transferring billions of crowns in aid assignments to other Swedish state agencies violates both Swedish public procurement law and EU procurement directives, a report by AffärsConcept AB concludes. As a general rule, such assignments should be tendered competitively.
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Norway, World Bank to co-host tax haven conference

 
Norway and the World Bank have agreed to arrange a joint conference this fall on illegal capital flight from developing countries. The initiative comes after Norway gave up trying to convince the World Bank to do a study on the role of tax havens in illegal capital flight from developing countries.
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Auditor General: biased audit from Sida

 
The Swedish Auditor General casts doubt on the independence and quality of a forensic investigation of NGO aid commissioned by Sida. Audit Director Gina Funnemark is concerned about the biased presentation of the report reflected in the Swedish media. Magnus Lindell at Sida rejects the criticism.
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Cartoon conflict. Denmark refuses to pledge aid for Sudan

 
The deadlock between Denmark and Sudan took a new turn at the Sudan donor conference in Oslo this week, where Denmark refused to pledge future development assistance for the country. Sudan has urged for a global boycott of Danish goods and is not allowing Danes to enter the country, following a reprint of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in Danish media earlier this year.
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Secrecy surrounds billion-dollar aid deal for drug industry

 
The Nobel Prize winner Médecins Sans Frontières says a USD 1.5 billion aid deal to develop new vaccines for poor countries is much too lucrative for the drug industry. MSF has estimated an earlier version of the scheme to be overpriced by USD 600 million, but has been denied basic facts about the latest proposal. DT has obtained a confidential document about the scheme sent to donors last month, which shows GlaxoSmithKline walking away with almost the whole prize. Donors are expected to settle the deal next week.
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Sida pressures Swedish mapping agency to use open tendering

 
Sida is putting pressure on the National Land Survey (NLS) to apply competitive tendering when procuring consultancy services for Sida-financed projects.
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Norway flashes money weapon to press UNDP on human rights

 
Norway keeps core funding of UNDP at the same level as last year and refuses to pledge multi-year funding of the agency in an effort to push UNDP to give high priority to human rights and good governance in its new strategic plan.
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Norwegians give up battle with World Bank over Karuma hydro dam

 
After working on the Karuma power project in energy-hungry Uganda for more than a decade, the Norwegian developer Norpak folded its cards this month following a protracted conflict with the World Bank. The Ugandan government now takes over Karuma.
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Swedish Land Survey ‘violates public procurement law’

 
The Swedish Competition Authority has delivered an unambiguous ruling on the close cooperation between the mapping agency National Land Survey and the consulting firm Swedesurvey in carrying out Sida-financed projects.
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Budget 2009: Sweden punishes UNDP, launches new untied business scheme

 
The Swedish government has launched a new private sector scheme for untied soft loans and subsidised guarantees in its aid budget for 2009. It also proposes drastic changes in UN funding, where UN Development Program (UNDP) is the loser. Sweden continues to prioritise Africa in its bilateral aid.
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Norway: Record high budget, most fresh funds to be spent in Brazil and at home

 
The Norwegian government increases the aid budget to 1.0 per cent of GNI next year with the lion’s share of the record high growth in the budget to be spent in Norway and Brazil. Africa’s relative share of Norwegian aid is going down, in sharp contrast with the priorities of Swedish and Danish aid.
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Solheim comments: No conflict between aid and CO2 reductions

 
Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim rejects the notion that there is a conflict between aid and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
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Norfund, SN Power commit NOK 5 billion for new hydro company

 
Norfund has agreed with SN Power to commit USD 700 million (NOK 4.9b) in equity for a new hydropower investment company targeting Africa and Central America. The commitment is part of a deal where Norfund sells a 10 per cent stake in SN Power to Statkraft for NOK 1.1 billion.
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Norway may have over-reported aid by NOK 1 billion

 
Norwegian MPs criticise the government for counting almost NOK 1 billion in acquisitions made by the hydropower company SN Power as aid. They say that reporting these capital injections in the Philippines and Peru as aid to the OECD contributes to "bending" the rules.
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'New' Nordic Development Fund: EUR 90m for climate projects

 
Three and a half years ago, Denmark pulled out of the Nordic Development Fund, and the owners decided to close it down. Now, under pressure from Finland, a proposal is on the table to revive NDF as a grant-based fund focusing on climate projects. EUR 90 million is likely to be available and the pipeline is empty.
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Carlsson leads move for closer US-Europe aid cooperation

 
Swedish Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson has quickly established networks in the new US administration ahead of Sweden’s EU Presidency. She has co-chaired a task force on closer cooperation between the United States and Europe in the development field.
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SEKAB seeks Sida support to save Tanzania biofuel project

 
The cash-strapped Swedish biofuel company SEKAB AB has asked for Sida’s help to rescue its controversial biofuel project in Tanzania, Development Today has learned. A figure of SEK 100 million was mentioned by SEKAB.
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Tanzanian study calls for biofuel moratorium

 
A major new study funded by Sida and written by academics from three Tanzanian universities points to the far-reaching impacts of large-scale biofuel plantations in Tanzania. The report warns of land grabbing by foreign investors and water shortages, and calls for a moratorium on biofuel projects until a new legal and policy framework is in place.
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Norfund asks for NOK 1b aid crisis package

 
The Norwegian aid-financed risk capital fund Norfund has requested an extraordinary NOK 1 billion injection of capital to invest in Sub-Saharan Africa to counter a downward trend in foreign investments in the region following the international finance crisis.
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Tanzanian moratorium on new biofuel projects, SEKAB receives approval

 
The Tanzanian government has suspended implementation of all biofuel projects that have yet to receive approval from vital institutions such as the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) and the Tanzania Investment Center.
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SEKAB seeks aid credit guarantee for Tanzania biofuel

 
The Swedish biofuel company SEKAB has been unable to find a new investor for its planned biofuel plantation projects in Tanzania, and has turned to Sida for an aid-financed credit guarantee. Sida says issues like untied procurement and environmental impact need to be considered, and the final decision rests with the Foreign Ministry.
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Secret memo: Ban Ki-moon criticized by Norwegian UN diplomat

 
Norwegian UN Ambassador Mona Juul slams UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s performance in a secret memo to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the daily Aftenposten reveals. Ban is scheduled to visit Oslo later this month.
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Norway bypasses Sweden as the largest Nordic donor

 
In 2010, Norway will become the largest Nordic donor, bypassing Sweden. But there is growing criticism of Minister Erik Solheim, who spends all fresh funds on refugee costs in Norway and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Aid to Africa is cut.
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Norway ranked as top humanitarian donor. Sweden drops to Nr 2

 
Three Nordic governments dominate the top spots in the Humanitarian Response Index for 2009, which measures the generosity, neutrality and timeliness of humanitarian aid funding.
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Norwegian police take Norconsult to court over Tanzania corruption

 
The economic crime unit of the Norwegian police will take the consultancy company Norconsult to court after the firm refused to pay a NOK 4 million fine for its involvement in a corruption case in Tanzania. (Updated)
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Sweden unfreezes Zambia health aid funds

 
Sweden has decided to release SEK 40 million in health aid to Zambia, part of the funds that were frozen in May after revelation of extensive embezzlement in the sector.
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Obama in Oslo: Norway scales up support for Afghan soldiers

 
Norway has committed USD 110 million in additional support to train Afghan security forces and the police, the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced at a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama in Oslo Thursday. Norway and the United States will cooperate on deforestation and global health initiatives.
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Nobel speech: Adherence to standards, strong international institutions

 
In his acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo Thursday, US President Barack Obama called for an adherence to international standards, strong international institutions and he argued for the universality of human rights. Aid is not charity, he said, and he called for the world to fight climate change as a matter of common security.
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Top-level Sida staff hit back at Gunilla Carlsson

 
In an unprecedented letter to Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson, five top-level Sida officials have launched a counter-attack on Carlsson’s heavy criticism of the Swedish aid administration.
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Relief giants overrun Danish NGO in selection of Haiti shelter model

 
A small Danish NGO has been out-manoeuvred in the complex politics of selecting a standard model for shelters to be built for hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake in Haiti.
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UK, US block work on common DAC rules for climate financing

 
As the UN High-Level Task Force on Climate Change Financing meets for the first time in London, hopes for achieving a common definition of “climate additionality” before 2012 are fading fast. Both the United States and the United Kingdom, which chairs the task force, oppose discussion in the OECD/DAC on common rules for measuring climate aid.
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New OECD figures: record-high Swedish aid in 2009

 
Nordic aid as a share of OECD development assistance is expanding. Sweden and Norway gave more aid in real terms last year than G8 countries like Canada and Italy. And Finland is moving up the ranking list of the world’s largest donors.
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Norway commits NOK 1.5b to strengthen health systems

 
The Norwegian government has asked Parliament to commit NOK 1.5 billion over ten years to strengthen health systems in developing countries by supporting the second phase of IFFIm. The news was announced in connection with the revised fiscal budget for 2010.
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Norway signs USD 1 billion forest pact with Indonesia

 
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced Wednesday that Norway will enter into an aid deal with Indonesia worth USD 1 billion aimed at combating deforestation.
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Two top Sida officials leave their posts

 
The two remaining top officials in former Director General Anders Nordström’s management team at Sida are resigning from their positions, Development Today has learned.
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Police say Scania paid USD 5m in kickbacks to Iraqi regime

 
The truck and bus producer Scania CV AB paid at least USD 5 million in kickbacks to the Saddam Husseinregime in connection with the UN Oil for Food Programme, the Swedish Prosecutor told US authorities Friday. The contracts amounted to USD 70 million and the vehicles were exported via Tunisian and Russian companies, according to an extended Swedish criminal investigation.  
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Swedish prosecutor calls for US legal scrutiny of Volvo and Scania

 
Swedish police say the truck producer Scania paid USD 5 million in kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein regime. The Swedish prosecutor wants US authorities to clarify whether they will launch their own investigation. In a parallel enquiry, Swedish police have targeted Volvo officials for similar offenses. The prosecutor says the officials failed to cooperate with the investigation and asks whether this violates Volvo’s deal with US authorities, whereby the company avoided a trial and promised full cooperation with the police.
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Sweden cancels SEK 300m in budget support to Zambia

 
The Swedish government is cancelling budget support to Zambia for 2010 and 2011 due to mounting concerns about corruption in the country. This decision implies a cut in Swedish aid to the Zambian government of more than SEK 300 million over two years.
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Carlsson fires Sida chief

 
In a dramatic move, the Swedish government has sacked Anders Nordström, the Director General of its main aid agency, Sida. The government refers to the lack of financial control at the agency as the main reason for taking action, but the change in leadership follows a long-running power struggle between Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson and top management at Sida.
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TERMS FOR ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO DEVELOPMENT TODAY
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Solheim: Deng Xiaoping deserves peace and development prize

 
Four days after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in absentia to Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, Norway’s Development Minister Erik Solheim says that if the UN had a peace and development prize it should go to Deng Xiaoping.
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Indigenous protests force SN Power to exit Chile dam project

 
The Norwegian hydropower investment company SN Power will likely give up its planned USD 600 million investment in the Trayenko dam project in Chile, following years of protests from Mapuche indigenous communities.
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Denmark unfreezes road aid to Zambia

 
Denmark is ready to release aid to the Zambian roads sector frozen in 2009 due to suspicions of corruption. The Danes hope to spend the remaining DKK 270 million by 2013 when Zambia will be phased out as a recipient country.
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Norwegian expert questions justification for Guyana hydro dam

 
The justification for the Amaila Falls hydropower dam that Guyana plans to build in the Amazon rainforest is unconvincing, says a water resources expert hired by the Inter-American Development Bank to assess the project. Guyana plans to spend most of the USD 60 million Norwegian climate aid funds for 2010-11 on the Amails Falls project.
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Pressure to set new deal before Georgetown trip

 
Norwegian officials are racing against time to set new terms for Norway’s forest climate aid agreement with Guyana worth USD 30 million a year; the deadline is March 31 when Minister Erik Solheim arrives in Georgetown.
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SN Power cuts its losses. Exits Chilean dam

 
After five years of conflict with Mapuche indigenous people, the Norwegian hydropower investment company SN Power has decided to abandon the Trayenko project, a series of four dams to be built in Central Chile.
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Looming financial crisis for UN agencies

 
UN agencies operate increasingly as agents of a handful of donors, carrying out missions based on earmarking financing. Core funding for UN agencies is dropping sharply across the board making them less independent.
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Tanzania corruption: Norconsult acquitted, three staff found guilty

 
A Norwegian court has found three consultants who worked for Norway’s leading engineering firm Norconsult on a World Bank project in Tanzania guilty of corruption. They have been given suspended prison sentences of between two and six months. The company was also on trial, but was acquitted. The court’s ruling took into account the dramatic consequences a guilty conviction would have had for the firm – debarment from public procurement in Norway.
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New rules for Sida NGO funding

 
The aid agency Sida invites Swedish organisations to apply for multi-year funding grants under the new criteria for framework agreements that have just been finalised. International organisations will for the first time be eligible to apply for multi-year agreements for humanitarian activities.
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SEK 1.45b aid package for business development

 
The Swedish government has announced a SEK 1.45 billion aid package for private sector development over the coming three years. The bulk will be channelled through the aid-financed investment fund, Swedfund, with the rest supporting innovative business initiatives.
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OECD rejects Norway’s reporting of Brazil forest aid

 
Norway is in a delicate dispute with the Paris-based watchdog OECD about how to report its controversial rainforest aid to Brazil as Official Development Assistance (ODA). Norway may have over-reported assistance to its largest recipient Brazil by more than NOK 2 billion over the last two years and received too favorable a ranking in the overview of donor performance for 2011, published by the OECD. (Updated)
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Norconsult convicted on corruption charge

 
An appeal court has convicted the leading Norwegian engineering firm Norconsult of being complicit in bribing officials related to a World Bank-funded project in Tanzania. The firm must pay a fine of NOK 4 million. 
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Pöyry’s report on Mekong dam to be investigated

 
The Finnish ministry of Labour and the Economy will investigate charges that a Pöyry company has violated the OECD guidelines on multinational companies on a contract in Laos.
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Erik Solheim to lead OECD donor watchdog

 
Former Norwegian Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim has been appointed Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), according to a press release from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. He takes over from the American Brian Atwood, who steps down at the end of the year.
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OECD calls for more clarity in Finnish aid

 
The OECD peer review of Finnish development assistance commends Finland for its new focus on human rights and for continuity in its aid policy. However, specific targets and goals are not clearly enough defined.
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Four candidates for top job at Global Fund

 
A shortlist of four international candidates for the position of executive director of the Global Fund has been presented to the board.  A final decision on the appointment is expected in mid-November.
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Two Scania employees charged over alleged Iraqi kickbacks

 
A Swedish prosecutor is taking two employees of the Swedish truck producer Scania CV AB to court on charges of violating UN sanctions against the Saddam Hussein regime by paying kickbacks related to the UN Oil for Food Programme.
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Former PEPFAR chief to head the Global Fund

 
Mark Dybul, the American physician who helped create and lead former President George Bush’s giant AIDS initiative PEPFAR, has been named Executive Director of the Global Fund, the board announced Thursday.
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The new Global Fund chief’s big challenge

 
Mark Dybul, the new head of the Global Fund, has one year to generate enthusiasm among donors befor the next replenishment in September 2013.
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Costa Rican scam: three Finns charged for ‘gross embezzlement of aid funds’

 
USD 8 million in bribes were allegedly paid to secure a Finnish company medical equipment contracts in Costa Rica a decade ago. The trial of three Finns starts in January.
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OECD: Over-reporting of Norwegian aid, Brazil is no longer top recipient

 
Norway has over-reported its aid to the Paris-based aid watchdog OECD by billions of crowns since 2010, and must now reduce its aid level for the last three years.  Brazil has been wrongly reported as being Norway’s top aid recipient for this period, and Norwegian aid statistics will have to be revised. (Updated)
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Supreme Court will hear Norconsult corruption verdict

 
The Norwegian Supreme Court has agreed to hear the corruption case against Norway’s leading engineering company Norconsult, Development Today has learned. If acquitted, Norconsult could avoid debarment from public procurement in Norway.
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Sida NGO frame grants. A foot in the door

 
Assessments have been completed of 14 organisations competing for Sida multi-year frame grants - both NGOs that have received frame funds for years and “new” NGOs trying to get a foot in the door. Now it’s up to Sida to decide who’s in and who’s out. Read the conclusions of the consultants’ reports.
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Sweden best-performing Nordic donor

 
Sweden was the best-performing Nordic donor last year, according to the OECD. Combined ODA provided by the Nordic countries amounted to USD 15 billion, second only to the United States.
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Swedish government approves new strategies for Tanzania, Zambia

 
The Foreign Ministry in Stockholm is breathing a sigh of relief as the four-party coalition government approved new country strategies for two key recipients, Tanzania and Zambia, on Thursday. The decision represents a breakthrough for Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson who has come under heavy criticism for severe delays in the process of revamping Swedish aid policy.
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Norway aims for cuts in heavy aid funding for American think tanks

 
Revelations from a secret report showing that a quarter of a billion crowns in Norwegian aid are spent each year on US think tanks have sped up a revamp of guidelines for such support. In future more funds will be directed to research institutes in other parts of the world and foreign think tanks will have to find partners in Norway. 
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Plan Sweden, WWF are winners in Sida NGO funding

 
Sida’s allocation of SEK 1.5 billion in NGO funding for 2013 has been finalised this week. Two of the newest members of the group of 15 Swedish NGOs that receive Sida multi-year grants for development work – Plan and WWF – have seen spectacular increases in funding over the past five years.
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Supreme Court acquits Norconsult, World Bank sanctions still pending

 
The Norwegian Supreme Court has ruled that Norconsult should not be punished for being complicit in corruption related to a World Bank-financed water and sanitation project in Tanzania. (Updated)
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Norfund paid NOK 2 million, ‘forced’ out last of four whistleblowers

 
A former employee of Norfund has launched a fierce attack against the fund’s leadership in a book launched this week. He claims Norfund ignored its obligation to protect him as a whistleblower and that he was forced to leave the aid-financed investment firm, the last of four whistleblowers to do so, triggering a process that led to former Norfund chief Per Emil Lindøe stepping down.  
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Denmark, Norway make u-turn. No state aid to Zimbabwe

 
Reacting to irregularities in last month’s election in Zimbabwe, Denmark and Norway have reversed plans to give aid to state institutions. 
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Gunilla Carlsson steps down as Sweden presents new aid budget

 
The day after Sweden got Hillevi Engström as its new Development Minister, the aid budget for the coming year has been presented. The Swedish Centre-Right government keeps aid at 1 per cent of GNI with primary focus on child mortality, maternal health and Africa.
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Heidi Hautala steps down from aid minister post

 
The Finnish Development Minister Heidi Hautala (Green), who is also responsible for state enterprises, was forced to resign Friday due to her handling of a Greenpeace demonstration against the state-owned firm Arctia Shipping which is carrying out ice breaking to facilitate oil drilling in the arctic, the public broadcaster YLE reports.
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Last-minute aid billions to Brazil allow Stoltenberg to fulfill rainforest pledge

 
Norway has transferred almost NOK 3 billion in aid funds to Brazil after renegotiating a new bilateral agreement on rainforest protection, according to the budget proposition for 2014 presented Monday morning. 
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Norway’s rainforest aid: Auditor General slams management, reporting

 
The management of Norwegian rainforest assistance to Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo has come under heavy criticism from the Auditor General. Problems with the programme have not been reported to the Parliament. The new government has reacted immediately to the findings of the report.
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Blue-blue government boosts domestic refugee spending, cuts rainforest aid

 
The new Conservative-led Norwegian government cuts rainforest funding and boosts aid spent on refugees in Norway in its revised aid budget for next year. 
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Friis Bach resigns following Korea institute scandal

 
The Danish Development Minister Christian Friis Bach (47) has resigned after providing wrong information to Parliament regarding the alleged misuse of Danish aid funds by the Korea-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
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Sida drops Danish Refugee Council, 11 humanitarian NGOs become partners

 
Sida is phasing out humanitarian funding to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) following an assessment that revealed weaknesses in internal management and control systems. The move is part of a long-awaited decision announced last week naming 11 new strategic humanitarian partner organisations.
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Iraq oil for food scam. Prosecutor demands 3 years

 
A prosecutor has called for two officials at Scania to be sentenced to three years in prison for facilitating kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq a decade ago.
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OECD critical of Norway’s unspent rainforest billions

 
The OECD is critical of Norway’s huge unspent climate money and pushes for more cooperation with other donors to make global programmes, like the flagship climate forest initiative, more sustainable. 
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New minister for aid and trade in Denmark

 
The Social Democract Mogens Jensen has been named Minister for Development and Trade by Prime Minister Helle-Thorning Schmidt, replacing Rasmus Helveg Petersen (Social Liberal), who becomes Minister for Climate and Energy.
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World Bank sanctions Norconsult

 
The Sanctions Board at the World Bank has decided to debar Norway’s leading engineering firm Norconsult for six months for involvement in “corrupt practices” related to a water and sanitation project in Tanzania. This is the first time the World Bank debars a Norwegian firm for corruption.
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Denmark, Norway punish Uganda for anti-gay law, halting government aid

 
Both Denmark and Norway took immediate action, halting government-to-government aid programmes after Ugandan PresidentYoweri Museveni signed a law Monday against homosexuality despite strong warnings from donors.   
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Sida gives SEK 120m in ‘bridge financing’ to EcoEnergy in Tanzania

 
The Swedish aid agency Sida announced Friday it will provide a credit guarantee worth SEK 120 million to the Swedish-owned company EcoEnergy which plans to establish a sugar cane plantation and ethanol production facility in Tanzania.
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Nordic risk funds invest EUR 50m in Africa’s largest wind park

 
Three Nordic aid-funded risk capital funds are investing more than EUR 50 million in Africa’s largest wind park, the 300-megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Power Project (LTWP) in Kenya.
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World Bank debars SWECO Environment

 
The World Bank announced Friday that it has debarred the Swedish engineering consultancy firm SWECO Environment AB and its affiliates for three years following the company’s acknowledgement of misconduct related to a water and environment project in the Ukraine. 
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Sweden climbs to sixth largest OECD donor, Norway highest aid level

 
All Nordic donors increased their aid last year and total aid from the region now amounts to almost USD 16 billion. Norway had the highest aid level among Western countries, but was outpaced by the United Arab Emirates, a non-OECD member, which reported aid at 1.25 per cent of GNI. 
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Norway, Denmark announce pledges for South Sudan

 
As the donor conference on South Sudan opened in Oslo, Norway and Denmark announced increases in their humanitarian aid to the world’s youngest nation.
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Norwegian clean energy aid fails the poor

 
The results of Norway’s multi-billion-crown clean energy programme have to only a small extent benefitted poor people in recipient countries, according to a report released Wednesday by the Norwegian Auditor General's office. “Substantial changes are necessary,” says Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss. 
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New report questions Norwegian forest climate aid to Guyana and Tanzania

 
Norway is the world’s largest donor in the field of forest climate assistance and has, since 2007, pledged almost NOK 20 billion to countries, multilateral institutions and civil society organisations for saving tropical forests, according to a new evaluation.
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Denmark keeps aid at 0.83% of GNI

 
Denmark keeps its aid level unchanged, but gives priority to education and women’s health in its budget for 2015. It makes huge new commitments to African countries like Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania and pledges to engage both Danish companies and public agencies more in aid. 
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Norfund expands into gas, new joint venture to scale up solar energy

 
Norway’s aid-funded investor Norfund is preparing to invest billions of crowns in African energy projects in the coming years as it expands business to gas power plants and signs a joint company with the solar energy firm Scatec Solar to multiply investments in the region. 
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Aid and politics: Lobbying Washington does not come cheap

 
Using funds from the aid budget, Norway has paid consultant rates of up to NOK 30,000 (almost USD 5,000) a day in a project that aims to make White House staff and Congress double US funding of global forest aid. Norwegian aid officials were deeply sceptical about using aid funds for these purposes, but they were overruled, documents obtained by Development Today show.
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NGOs, think tanks to compete for USD 100m for securing indigenous land rights

 
Norway has pledged to spend USD 100 million for “work to secure the rights of indigenous peoples and other local communities that live in or from the rainforests”.
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Two new Nordic aid ministers

 
Isabella Lövin, a prize-winning environment journalist turned Green Party politician, has been appointed Development Minister in the newly-announced Swedish government of Stefan Löfven (Social Democrat). In Finland, Pekka Haavisto steps down.
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Budget proposal 2015: Norway focuses aid on fewer countries, cuts UN support

 
In its budget proposal for 2015, Norway's Blue-Blue minority government aims to phase out aid to 32 countries, focusing assistance on 84 countries following several rounds of criticism from the OECD for spreading aid too thinly.
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Swedish Auditor General slams Foreign Ministry’s handling of multilateral aid

 
A long-awaited report by the Swedish Auditor General criticises the Foreign Ministry for lax handling of the SEK 10 billion in aid resources spent annually as core support to UN agencies, the World Bank and global funds.
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Norway doubles Green Climate Fund support to NOK 1.6 billion

 
As the global climate summit gets underway in Lima, the Norwegian government announces Friday that it is doubling its pledge to the UN’s Green Climate Fund from NOK 200 million to NOK 400 million for 2015.
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Aid battle in Paris. Who won and who lost

 
The new rules for aid accounting were agreed upon following unusually tense negotiations in the Paris-based OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which monitors Official Development Assistance (ODA) and regulates the definition of aid.
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Massive aid cuts as Center-Right government seizes power in Finland

 
Most of Finland’s aid partners must prepare for cuts in funding as the incoming Center-Right government pledges to slash aid by EUR 250-300 million annually, while scaling up private sector support. The current Trade Minister Lenita Toivakka will take over the development portfolio.
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High-level commission to review education financing

 
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has launched a new commission to spur global financing of education in a move supported by presidents from three continents and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
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UN wins as Sweden expands aid in tough times

 
The gap among Nordic aid performers grows with Sweden increasing its aid next year, and Denmark and Finland making deep cuts. Swedish aid surges to most recipients like UN agencies and governments. A notable exception is the vaccine alliance GAVI which takes a hit in the 2016 Swedish aid budget.
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Germany challenges Denmark’s ex-Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt over UNHCR top job

 
Germany has endorsed Achim Steiner, head of the UN environment agency UNEP, as its candidate to become the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees, contesting the nomination of former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt. 
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Denmark axes aid. Cuts mainly hit UN agencies, NGOs

 
While Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen basked in the limelight of the UN gathering in New York, his political handymen in Copenhagen prepared an unprecedented reduction in Danish aid, amounting to EUR 770 million.
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Norway expands Syria efforts, cuts aid for NGOs and renewable energy

 
Norway scales up humanitarian aid by NOK 1 billion next year in response to the Syria crisis, but critics say it has the financial muscle to do more. Norwegian NGOs take the biggest cut in the government’s aid budget proposal for 2016.
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Norway makes deep aid cuts to fund refugee costs next year. Targets NGOs, UN

 
Norway cuts NOK 4.2 billion in next year’s aid budget to fund costs related to a sharp increase in the number of refugees coming to Norway. The cuts hit NGOs, UN agencies, renewable energy and climate projects. 
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To Denmark’s disappointment, Grandi of Italy appointed to UNHCR top post

 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed the Italian UN diplomat Filippo Grandi as the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees, dashing the hopes of Denmark’s candidate for the post, former Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt.
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Parliamentary deal hikes Norway's aid to record level. Big winners are NGOs, UN

 
Following intense negotiations in Parliament most of the cuts proposed in the aid budget for 2016 have been rolled back. The main winners are Norwegian NGOs and UN agencies.
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Finland’s Pietikäinen and Norway’s Solheim in hot race for UNEP helm

 
Two former Nordic environment ministers have joined a crowded pack of contenders in a race for the helm of the Nairobi-based UN environment agency, UNEP. The list of applicants is not public, but sources close to the process have confirmed the names of key contenders to Development Today. 
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Finnfund dismayed over assassination of dam protester in Honduras

 
The Finnish aid-financed investor Finnfund expresses shock following news that the Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, who has led a protest movement against a hydropower project the fund has invested in, was murdered in her home on Thursday.
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Study: Mekong dams will cause billions of dollars in damages in Cambodia, Vietnam

 
A new study of hydropower projects on the lower Mekong River by DHI Consulting predicts that dams would “substantially and permanently” alter natural systems that millions of people in Cambodia and Vietnam rely on.
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OECD: record spending of aid funds on domestic refugee costs

 
Sweden spent a larger proportion of its 2015 aid budget on domestic refugee costs – 33.8 per cent - than any other major donor has ever done, OECD aid statistics for 2015 show. (See Table)
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OECD reviews refugee costs reported as aid by Denmark

 
The OECD, which monitors official development assistance (ODA) spent by donors, will contact the Danish government following concerns that funds used for language and job training for asylum seekers in Denmark may have been wrongfully reported as aid, Development Today has learned.
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Tanzanian media reports cancellation of Swedish sugar project in Bagamoyo

 
Citing Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, The Citizen reported recently that the sugar and biofuel project which the Swedish firm Eco Energy Tanzania has for years been trying to realise has been “axed”. But Executive Chairman of the company Per Carstedt says the article is mistaken and his company remains “fully committed to carry out this project.” [Updated]
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Kerry signs forest deal with Norway after White House meeting in May

 
A cooperation agreement between Norway and the United States was signed in Oslo today deepening the two countries’ collaboration on climate forest issues. Washington’s political backing for the Norwegian forest initiative is a breakthrough, but no new US funding for forest initiatives was announced. [Updated]
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Finland expands aid following drastic cuts in 2016

 
The Finnish government proposes to increase aid by EUR 66 million next year to EUR 876 million. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, this will amount to 0.4 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI), up from 0.38 per cent this year.
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Slight boost in Finnish aid next year, but growth is not expected to last

 
The Ministry of Finance proposes to increase Finland’s aid by EUR 66 million next year to EUR 876 million, following the dramatic cuts it announced a year ago. 
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Combating migration key focus of new Danish aid budget

 
The Danish government puts efforts to prevent migration at the centre of its aid budget for next year. In addition, private sector schemes are scaled up. 
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Sharp increase in domestic refugee costs eats into growing Swedish aid budget

 
Sweden’s domestic refugee costs are expected to grow again in next year’s aid budget due to a strong  increase in expenses related to people seeking asylum in the country. Domestic refugee costs eat up almost the entire growth in the budget. 
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Copenhagen to host UN museum

 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has just issued a legal greenlight for a private museum focusing on the United Nations to be based in Copenhagen. The announcement was made in a press release on October 24, UN Day. A key driver of the museum project Jan Mattsson, retired Executive Director of UNOPS, says the approval from Ban is “very significant … it is a milestone.”
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Proposes new funding structure to break rich-country NGOs’ grip on resources

 
Somalian civil society advocate Degan Ali is proposing a new funding structure that addresses the inherent biases in the international humanitarian system where local NGOs do much of the work but receive almost none of the funding. 
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Norway launches two multi-million-dollar funds in Davos

 
Norway has launched two large aid-financed initiatives, one to support deforestation-free agriculture and the other to promote development of vaccines against deadly diseases.
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EcoEnergy halts Tanzania sugar project, accuses state of ‘unlawful’ expropriation

 
The owners of the Bagamoyo sugar and ethanol project in Tanzania have closed down all operations after the government cancelled the company’s land title on short notice. The Swedish aid agency Sida has provided a SEK 54 million guarantee for the project and risks losing the money. 
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Finland launches gender equality prize

 
The first country to grant full political rights to women, Finland, is celebrating its 100 years of independence by launching an International Gender Equality Prize.
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Norway grants NOK 30m to Clinton Foundation as US election feud subsides

 
Over just a few months, Norway has made its second u-turn regarding the funding of a Clinton Foundation energy project and has now given a go-ahead for the funding. The move comes as the foundation and its founders are no longer at the eye of the election storm in the United States. 
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Danish firm Consia debarred for bribing officials in World Bank projects in Asia

 
The Copenhagen-based firm Consia Consultants ApS has been debarred from doing business with the World Bank for 14 years. The Bank’s Sanctions Board has concluded that the company paid bribes related to two projects in Vietnam and Indonesia, while evidence presented by investigators concerning three more projects was found to be insufficient.
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Internal report: scathing criticism of Sida support to Bagamoyo bioenergy project

 
An internal Sida report obtained by Development Today strongly criticises the agency’s decision to grant up to SEK 120 million to keep Bagamoyo EcoEnergy (BEE) afloat in Tanzania. BEE, which now owes Sida SEK 54 million, had little equity of its own, and “no track record” of running large agricultural projects. 
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Sweden’s largest UN initiative in 45 years: the Ocean Conference

 
Sweden is in the lead of a high-profile global initiative to save the world’s oceans.
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Aid is ‘an important tool’ in new Danish foreign affairs and security strategy

 
At the launch of the new Danish foreign affairs and security policy strategy, Development Minister Ulla Tørnæs issued a thinly-veiled warning that Danish aid could be cut in recipient countries that refuse to take back asylum seekers rejected by Denmark.
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Norway’s PM confronted Brazil’s President Temer about Amazon deforestation

 
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg raised concerns about increased destruction of the Amazon during her meeting with Brazilian President Michel Temer Friday, and was given assurances that his government has tightened control measures to combat deforestation. Temer left a joint press conference without taking questions. 
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Finnish aid at a standstill as budget arrives at Parliament floor

 
Today the Finnish Parliament will discuss the aid budget which, due to a standstill in resources, will roll back EUR 21 million in bilateral aid to expand the funding of multilateral agencies. Afghanistan is likely to be the largest country recipient, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the main UN agency recipient.  
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Denmark resumes funding to multilateral agencies like GAVI and GEF

 
The Danish aid level remains flat next year, but a drastic reduction in refugees coming to Denmark and a growing economy mean that funds spent abroad will increase by NOK 2.6 billion. 
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Foreign Minister Børge Brende resigns in mid-October

 
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has announced that he will resign in mid-October to become President of World Economic Forum.
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New budget: SEK 6b increase in Swedish aid to be spent abroad

 
Many recipients of Swedish aid can expect more funding next year as the budget increases and the number of refugees coming to Sweden is at a record low. Aid resources available for efforts abroad will increase by billions of crowns. 
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New institute for promoting communal land rights to be established in Stockholm

 
A new global platform for promoting tenure reform in forest areas, theInternational Land and Forest Tenure Facility, has been launched in Stockholm. Norway has pledged USD 20 million and Sweden is likely to provide funding as well. (UPDATED)
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