From the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic to the European Commission’s new blueprint for its the EU-Africa relationship

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the decision to call the outbreak a pandemic does not mean WHO is changing its advice about what countries should do.

Related: COVID-19 forces international aid groups to limit travel, rethink operations


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Mastercard Impact Fund have announced they will commit USD $125 million in seed funding ‘to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments’. Gates and Wellcome will provide USD $50 million each, with Mastercard providing an additional USD $25 million. The Gates Foundation’s USD $50 million is part of its up to USD $100 million commitment to the COVID-19 response announced last month.

Related: UK government to fund coronavirus rapid diagnostic test


As world leaders race to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, climate activists are growing concerned the fight against the climate crisis could be derailed as travel restrictions disrupt vital climate talks and officials and policymakers seek to prioritise efforts to mitigate the economic impacts of the outbreak over other concerns.

Related: Coronavirus Could Slow Efforts to Cut Airlines’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The US Congress has approved a USD $8.3 billion emergency spending package to fund efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The package includes $1.25 billion in funding to support international efforts to contain and respond to the virus.

Related: ADB to Provide $200 Million to Support Strained Supply Chains in Fight Against COVID-19


Experts warn international sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Syria are hindering those countries COVID-19 responses, limiting their ability to purchase test kits, medicines, equipment, and other necessary items for outbreak response.

Related: PAHO to deploy extra COVID-19 support to weaker regional health systems


News of a confirmed case of Covid-19 on Lesbos has sparked fears of the potential impact of an outbreak of the disease at the Moria refugee camp. Conditions in the camp are dire, with severe overcrowding, poor hygiene, and little medical care, and tensions on the island have been escalating in recent weeks with locals attacking doctors and journalists forcing several NGOs to reduce or close their services.

Related: Vulnerable prisoners ‘exploited’ to make coronavirus masks and hand gel


UN secretary general António Guterres says the world is ‘way off track’ in dealing with the climate emergency and time is fast running out following the publication of the annual World Meteorological Organization (WMO) led assessment of the global climate.

Related: World Bank accused over ExxonMobil plans to tap Guyana oil rush


WaterAid’s Water and Climate Summit saw the launch of a new high-level expert group setup to develop proposals to unlock more climate finance for improved water services in low- and middle-income countries, ahead of the COP26 climate talks.

Related: EIB Group launches stakeholder engagement process on Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025


The European Commission has released its vision for EU-Africa relations, setting out five areas of partnership to be “jointly defined” at a summit between the African Union and EU in Brussels in October: green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility.

Related: 5 questions about the EU’s new blueprint for Africa


The UK Parliament’s International Development Committee is launching a new ‘Effectiveness of UK Aid’ inquiry to investigate the impact of U.K. aid and the Department for International Development (DFID).

Related: Conflicting partner demands a challenge for Australia’s new development policy


The World Bank’s board of directors has approved a package of reforms aimed at boosting accountability of its public sector lending following more than two years of negotiations. The package will see the creation of a new World Bank Accountability Mechanism to be headed by an executive secretary — a newly created role — who will be appointed by and report to the board.

Related: World Bank looks to systematize growing role in fragile states


Forbes profiles four black women playing leading roles in global philanthropy.

Related: How To Get More Black Women In Philanthropy Leadership


The president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, has urged the EU to come up with a political solution to the Greece-Turkey border contention immediately, calling the conditions refugees and migrants are being subjected to ‘undignified’.


176 organisations from 83 countries have signed a letter to UN secretary general António Guterres in protest at the appointment of Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), as head of the UN food systems summit next year, saying Kalibata’s appointment was ‘a deliberate attempt to silence the farmers of the world’ and signalled the ‘direction the summit would take’.


Devex takes a look at China’s growing philanthropy sector and how it contrasts with the Western approach