Anxious to pre-empt criticism about high administrative costs, France, Norway and the UK are slashing the salary level in a new health financing initiative, the Geneva-based Millennium Foundation. Staff at the new foundation could earn up to USD 40,000 a year less than comparable UN staff based in Geneva.
Scandinavian donors are including climate aid to developing countries in their traditional aid budgets. They say the issue of additionality is not relevant for donors with aid levels far above the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNI.
Sweden is undertaking what Development Minister Carlsson describes as “the most penetrating changes in Swedish aid since its beginning". She manages the Nordic region's biggest aid portfolio, but has no time for the "fixation" on the 1% target.
Danish Development Minister Ulla Tørnæs has no regrets about politicising aid, in spite of heavy domestic criticism. “If I had not politicised aid, I would not have lived up to the task," she says in an interview.
In an unusual move, Finland is putting its weight behind a new fund established by the Asian Development Bank, the Future Carbon Fund. The Finns will finance 10 per cent of the new fund and, along with Sweden, hope to strengthen Nordic influence.
“The misrule of Robert Mugabe must come to an end and respect for human rights be reinstated in Zimbabwe," the Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden declared in a December 19 joint statement.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has frozen SEK 80 million in budget support to Rwanda following a UN report accusing Kigali of involvement in the on-going conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
An historic declaration on the recognition of homosexual rights split the UN General Assembly this month. The EU and some other countries supported it, while African and Muslim countries launched a counter-declaration in opposition.