The Luxembourg Development Cooperation remains a reliable partner for multilateral organisations, which it supports through contributions to core resources, thematic contributions and support for programmes and projects concentrated mainly in its partner countries. In parallel with this financial support, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation is also active in substantive ways by supporting specific initiatives, policies and technical exchanges with its multilateral partners. For example, Luxembourg is actively contributing to ongoing efforts to reform the international development system, in terms of both policies and programmes.
Luxembourg’s continued commitment to multilateralism and the achievement of Agenda 2030 was recalled during the presentation of Luxembourg’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2022 as well as during the annual consultations with UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which also took place during this trip to New York. Luxembourg took the opportunity to reinforce its long-standing commitment to the rights and autonomy of women and girls worldwide by signing a strategic partnership agreement with UN Women for 2023-2025 with a budget of EUR 8 million. With the same aim of strengthening partnerships with multilateral partners, Luxembourg has signed a new four-year strategic partnership agreement with the International Labour Organization (2022-2025). The agreement provides for annual contributions to the regular budget supplementary account of a total amount of EUR 4 million, and a thematic commitment to social protection of EUR 4 million.
Beyond the current climate of uncertainty, the political and economic upheavals caused by the Ukrainian conflict are continuing to hamper the implementation of the SDGs by exacerbating existing problems, including food insecurity and extreme poverty, which had already been made worse by climate change and environmental degradation. Targeting the most vulnerable in particular, multilateral cooperation has promoted universal access to high-quality food and has strengthened its partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) through support to school feeding in Nicaragua, with a budget of EUR 2 million, and its support to the school feeding programme in fragile and conflict-affected areas in Niger, with a budget of EUR 5 million. At the Development cooperation conference held on 15 and 16 December 2022, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) participated in a round table on food security that explored possible ways to combat food insecurity more effectively.
In 2022, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine had a particularly serious impact on the lives and education of children living in rebel areas or near the front in the east of the country. Luxembourg therefore made a contribution of EUR 250 000 to UNICEF to support its programme in the field of education and protection in Ukraine. This 15-month project aims to improve children’s access to education and protection in conflict zones in eastern Ukraine.
In the knowledge that there were still very considerable needs for funds and for vaccines against COVID-19 in 2022, Luxembourg strengthened its support for combating the pandemic. It increased its financial support to COVAX, the vaccine working axis, led by Gavi, with a financial contribution of EUR 1 million to its market commitment instrument at the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit in April 2022. The COVAX mechanism includes the COVAX Facility, as well as the COVAX advance market commitment financing instrument. This is enabling 92 low- and middle-income economies to be supplied with donor-funded doses of vaccine. As in 2021, Luxembourg donated COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism as part of Team Europe. 350 400 doses of vaccine were delivered to Egypt, Niger and Sudan. At the end of December 2022, Luxembourg also made available 103 680 doses of Pfizer vaccine, which will be delivered via the
COVAX mechanism to a beneficiary country in 2023.
The year 2022 saw the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“the Global Fund”), whose resource mobilisation conference was co-organised in September 2022 by the United States in New York. In order to stem the epidemics of these three diseases by 2030, the Global Fund advocated an increase in financial contributions from its donors by 30% compared to the sixth Replenishment. Luxembourg was able to respond to this request for support. During the visit by Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands to Luxembourg on 31 May 2022, Franz Fayot announced a pledge of EUR 11.7 million. In order to compensate for the lack of financial resources mobilised by the Global Fund at the conference in September 2022, Luxembourg decided to increase its financial contribution to EUR 3 million, bringing its total financial contribution for the 2023-2025 period to EUR 14.7 million. It should also be noted that Luxembourg committed to being an alternate member within its “Point 7” constituency in 2021, before assuming the role of full member in the summer of 2023.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a long-standing partner of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation, has found that the fight against HIV/AIDS is going backwards rather than forwards, due in part to inequalities in access to health care and criminal laws on HIV. On the occasion of the global Zero Discrimination Day, Franz Fayot spoke at an event named “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower”. Following the event, Luxembourg was the first Member State of the European Union to join the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination. This platform, hosted by UNAIDS, aims to achieve the 10-10-10 targets of the UNAIDS Global Strategy which call for the elimination of societal and legal barriers, including stigma and discrimination against key populations and people living with HIV. Luxembourg’s membership of the Global Partnership helps support Mr Angel’s commitment as a spokesperson for the promotion of the UNAIDS objectives as part of his new mandate of “UNAIDS Red Ribbon Leader for the 10-10-10 Social Enabler Targets”.
During his first visit to Luxembourg, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), met Ministers Franz Fayot and Paulette Lenert for a joint discussion on 3 October 2022. They debated many global health topics, including institutional reform of the WHO and the need to improve global health architecture, such as the negotiation of a treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and the revision of the international health regulations through targeted amendments.
The WHO plays a key role in ensuring universal health coverage, enabling equitable and affordable access to high-quality care for all, which is one of Luxembourg’s priorities. According to the 2021 global monitoring report on universal health coverage, about half the world’s population still does not have access to essential health services. Luxembourg has renewed its support for the Universal Health Coverage Partnership for a fourth phase from 2022 to 2024, with a contribution of EUR 8.8 million, and has announced its financial support to the UHC2030 platform, contributing EUR 300 000. UHC2030 develops global advocacy to promote the strengthening of health systems and to achieve universal health coverage.
The eradication of poliomyelitis has also been a priority for the Luxembourg Development Cooperation for many years, especially with new cases of infection being seen in 2022. In 2022, Luxembourg, represented by its permanent representative in Geneva, co-hosted the Polio Partners Group (PPG) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), and increased its financial contribution by EUR 200 000, and then by EUR 300 000 at the resources mobilisation conference organised as part of the World Health Summit in Berlin in October 2022.
Luxembourg renewed its financial support for the project to train French-speaking health researchers in sub-Saharan Africa in the special programme focused on research and training on tropical diseases from 2022 to 2024, with a budget of EUR 1 236 301.
The Luxembourg Development Cooperation renewed its support for the sixth phase of the “Microbiology for Development” project led by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH). It aims to contribute to capacity-building in infectious disease research laboratories and to the scientific training of infectious disease researchers in developing countries.
Finally, to contribute to efforts to prepare for and respond to pandemics, Luxembourg has concluded a partnership agreement with CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) for the 2022-2026 period. CEPI is investing in the development of vaccines to prevent future epidemics and pandemics, and aims, among other things, to prepare the world to respond to the next “disease X” by developing a new vaccine in less than 100 days.
In parallel with subjects relating to global health, multilateral cooperation is engaged in the field of innovation, particularly in the area of space activities. In December 2022, Franz Fayot participated online in the technical assistance mission for African States organised as part of the “Space Law for New Space Actors” project implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and funded by Luxembourg. In his pre-recorded opening speech, the minister highlighted how important it was for the principle of leaving no one behind to apply to the space sector too, and the opportunities for addressing major global challenges with the help of space technologies and applications. The event was mainly an opportunity to follow up on the first technical assistance mission for African States organised online in December 2020 and to discuss the principles of international space law.
In early April 2022, Minister Fayot travelled to Vienna for a working meeting with Gerd Müller, the new Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The meeting focused on the priorities of Mr Müller’s mandate and the possibilities for strengthening the partnership between Luxembourg and UNIDO.
As the Palestinian refugee question is a priority for the Luxembourg Development Cooperation, particularly in these uncertain times, Luxembourg remains a reliable partner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which it continues to support through its health programme and its general budget. During a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in September 2022, Franz Fayot had the opportunity to visit the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, where he gained an overview of the work of UNRWA, whose services include education, health care, relief work and social services.
Finally, the promotion and defence of human rights is a cross-cutting priority for the Luxembourg Development Cooperation. In view of the continuing worrying situation regarding human rights and good governance in Myanmar, Luxembourg has granted an additional contribution of EUR 750 000 to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Myanmar. Luxembourg has also contributed EUR 750 000 to OHCHR activities in Rwanda to integrate human rights into sustainable development work and combating poverty and inequality, and to strengthen the rule of law and accountability for human rights violations in Rwanda.
SUPPORTING THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE LIVES AND STATUS OF WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD
In 2022, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation continued its support for the rights of women and girls, in line with our feminist foreign policy and gender strategy, through the following activities in the field of multilateral cooperation:
- Signing of the first strategic partnership agreement with UN Women: this new agreement was signed during the minister’s visit to New York in July 2022. It formalises a long-standing collaboration between the two partners. Luxembourg and UN Women share a common vision of the world, a world in which all forms of discrimination and violence against women are eliminated, where women are empowered and the goal of gender equality is achieved. In this context, UN Women, through its normative role in developing normative instruments/frameworks, ensures that many international instruments, such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, are implemented.
- New inclusive and innovative finance programmes for women’s rights and gender equality. With a view to deepening its collaboration with UN Women, Luxembourg is committed to supporting the development of the UN agency’s sustainable finance programme for a period of three years. In this context, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and UN Women to advance their cooperation in the area of gender obligations. The minister participated in the launch in May 2022. Finally, Luxembourg is contributing to the UN Women project entitled “Enabling an inclusive financial ecosystem that contributes to the reduction of gender gaps in access to markets and capital in the Northern Triangle of Central America”, which is directly in line with the Luxembourg Development Cooperation’s regional strategy.
- Innovate to accelerate equal opportunities for women and girls: as part of the high-level political forum, the minister participated in a UNFPA event that Luxembourg co-sponsored with the Finnish government. The theme of the event was “Equal opportunities for women and girls through innovation”, and it committed to increasing support for women and girls in terms of project development and funding. The discussion brought together Member States, industry experts, academics and entrepreneurs to discuss innovative ways to finally achieve equal opportunities for women and girls. The discussions highlighted, once again, how important it is for different fields and sectors to come together to exchange views and facilitate collaboration between the public and private sector.
- Contributions to end female genital mutilation (FGM): FGM practices are a violation of human rights and have harmful effects on the health of women, girls and newborns. Since 2010, Luxembourg has supported the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM. For phase IV of the programme, Luxembourg has significantly increased its contribution to EUR 2 million for 2022-2025. In December 2022, Luxembourg also hosted the Donors Working Group on FGM, which explored innovative finance as a way of speeding up progress towards the elimination of FGM. At the same time, Luxembourg made a commitment in New York to adopt progressive language for all gender-related themes and against female genital mutilation. In this context, Luxembourg co-sponsored a biannual resolution on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation at the General Assembly’s third committee.