From the growing threat of COVID-19 in the Americas to calls to save the US’s relationship with the World Health Organisation

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) President Francesco Rocca says the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Americas and its aggravating influence on disasters and other health emergencies in the region is ‘extremely concerning’.

Related: Q&A: Henrietta Fore’s biggest concerns about coronavirus and children

 

Senior US Health Officials told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations the US should continue to work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on pandemic response, pushing back against the Trump Administration’s plan to withdraw from the organisation. Though Officials agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for reforms in the organisation, they argued the US would be better served by staying and leading reform efforts in WHO than by leaving the organisation.

Related: Everyone will be affected by the U.S.’s withdrawal from the WHO

 

Transparency advocates say the global government scramble for medical equipment and medicines in the face of COVID-19 illustrates the broader need for reform of global procurement practices.

Related: Opinion: How to tackle corruption in health procurement

 

The UN says Syria needs USD $10 billion in aid if it is to avoid falling into an even deeper crisis in the face of the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout from more than nine years of war.

 

With the UK’s official development assistance budgets set to decline as the UK economy shrinks, the Department for International Development (DFID) has started asking partners to make cuts of up to 30% or more on various programs. While the cuts were expected due to the economic impact of COVID-19, some in the development community are concerned the cuts are being implemented uniformly across the UK’s entire aid budget rather than being targeted to protect programs supporting the most vulnerable.

Related: Financial crisis deepens for the development sector

 

Aid experts say the British government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development (DFID), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will put the country’s multilateral relationships at risk.

Related: Opinion: The end of UK soft power

 

Tim Boyes-Watson, global director of alliances and advocacy at Humentum, says Boris Johnson’s decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘ignored procedural precedent and smacks of racism’.

Related: Opinion: Why does Boris Johnson think Tanzania gets too much aid?

 

UK international development secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has defended the decision to merge the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), arguing the merger will enable the UK government to better coordinate and implement its development agenda.

Related: Alarm bells ring over aid spending amid lack of clarity on DfID merger

 

The UN has enlisted more than 10,000 digital volunteers working across nine different languages, to correct false information on the COVID-19 in an effort to counter the spread of misinformation on the illness.

Related: Targeting false information on COVID-19: What the funding data shows

 

Government officials, health experts, researchers, and private sector representatives across Africa held a virtual two-day conference this week to discuss the creation of a continent-wide framework on vaccines to try and put African leaders in a position to compete with wealthier countries for access to any potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Related: COVID-19: Countries race to strengthen compulsory licensing legislation

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been developing an online mapping tool to identify client companies involved in the COVID-19 supply chain to help stakeholders find companies involved in the product supply chain and intervene where there are bottlenecks to meet disrupting the flow of supplies.

Related: Unilever products donated to COVID-19 response at retail value

 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that former Irish president Mary Robinson will lead a panel to investigate allegations of corruption made against AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina.

Related: Call to block key Bolsonaro ally from World Bank job

 

The CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, has unveiled its new climate strategy which will end support for most polluting fossil fuel projects, including the production of oil and coal, and channel almost a third of its spending towards climate finance, though the strategy includes an exception for investments in gas power plants in countries that can prove the project is aligned with a wider climate transition plan.

Related: Revealed: development banks funding industrial livestock farms around the world

 

A new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. The new centre will ‘examine and work to enhance the impact of strategic philanthropy both within and from some of the world’s fastest-growing regions, including Africa, developing Asia, and the Middle East.’

Related: A deeper look at the new DFC Impact Quotient system

 

Dorothy Peprah, a global health security adviser with over 15 years of experience working for humanitarian and development organizations on infectious disease prevention and control, outlines steps development organisations and NGOs should take to combat racism and discrimination in the sector.

Related: Opinion: Building a movement in the aid sector against racism and Islamophobia