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Main highlights of 2014

13 January

New billion kroner deal on climate investments

The pension funds, PensionDanmark, PKA, Pædagogernes Pensionskasse (PBU) and Dansk Vækstkapital together with IFU – the Investment Fund for Developing Countries – sign an agreement to inject a total of DKK 1.2 billion into the Danish Climate Investment Fund. The Climate Investment Fund is expected to stimulate investments of DKK 8-9 billion in developing countries and emerging economies. The Climate Investment Fund aims to ensure the investors a competitive return, to generate green growth in developing countries and to contribute to achieving the goal set at the COP15 Conference in Copenhagen in 2009 of mobilising USD 100 billion annually from 2020 for climate investments in developing countries.

Green Tech solar panels for power supply in Masai Mara, Kenya, being cleaned.
Photo: Mikkel Østergaard / Danida

3 February

Denmark gets a Minister for Trade AND Development Cooperation

A brand new team of ministers take over at Asiatisk Plads after the Socialist People’s Party left the Government. Mogens Jensen (S) replaces Rasmus Helveg Petersen (R) as Minister for Development Cooperation, but he also takes over the post of Minister for Trade, replacing Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF). This is the first time the two ministerial posts have been merged, increasing the focus on integrating trade and development. The ministerial reshuffle also sees Martin Lidegaard (R) appointed the new Minister for Foreign Affairs after the resignation of Holger K. Nielsen (SF).

21 February

Denmark supports UN efforts in the Central African Republic

In the wake of the civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presents a six-point plan for the international community’s efforts in the country where it is estimated that the entire population of 4.6 million is affected by the situation. Almost 700,000 people have been internally displaced and around 288,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. Schools and health clinics have been closed or burned down, whilst the most basic needs, such as clean water and sanitation, are lacking. Denmark has taken the lead to support the six-point plan with DKK 10 million in addition to the DKK 36 million that Denmark has contributed in humanitarian support to CAR. Danish support to CAR in 2014 reaches DKK 60 million.

26 February

Danes support development cooperation, but…

Epinion’s annual survey of the Danish population’s attitude to and awareness of Denmark’s activities in developing countries shows continued strong support for Danish development cooperation. Almost two-thirds of Danes declare themselves supporters of development assistance. This support, however, has declined from 69 per cent to 65 per cent over the past year.

8 April

Danish development assistance still ranked among the highest

It is now official: the annual accounts published by OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) show that Denmark continues to be one of only five countries in the world that meet the UN target of allocating 0.7 per cent of GNI to development assistance. Denmark has consistently met this target since 1978. In 2013, Danish development assistance constituted 0.85 per cent of the total Danish economy. The UK has joined as a new member of the 0.7 per cent club, which also includes Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg.

9 April

Strong praise for Operation Day’s Work (Operation Dagsværk)

Since its launch in 1985, Operation Day’s Work has regularly attracted criticism. However, a new and independent evaluation is full of praise for the initiative: With its nationwide focus on youth education programmes, Operation Day’s Work is a unique information campaign that both informs and involves young people. The evaluation concludes that the campaign has found a good balance between voluntary work and professionalism, and makes an effective contribution to generating debate among young people about international development issues. The evaluation recommends that Operation Day’s Work be continued with minor adjustments.

30 April

South Sudan: From development assistance to disaster relief

The conflict in South Sudan has evolved so dramatically that Denmark re-directs DKK 35 million from the development programme to emergency aid and DKK 10 million to a regional-led mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire between the main parties in the conflict. Almost five million South Sudanese are in urgent need of help, and more than 1.2 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to the civil war and ethnic persecution. Lessons learned from Danish efforts in other fragile states have led Denmark, however, to maintain parts of the long-term development cooperation in South Sudan.

11 May

The African continent looses millions in illicit financial flows

Private companies are cheating Africa’s poorest nations of millions of dollars according to the American think-tank, Global Financial Integrity, in a Danida-financed study. Five Danish priority countries - Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda – are also badly affected and have lost not less than DKK 350 billion since 2002 as a result of shady trade transactions. The study estimates that the trade-related illegal financial flows in and out of the countries over a 10-year period totalled between 6.6 per cent and 9.4 per cent of the five countries’ GNP. The study has been financed by Denmark as part of Danish efforts to draw attention to the challenges posed by illegal financial flows and their impact on Danish priority countries in Africa.

16 May

Syria efforts become a one-year programme

After more than three years of conflict in Syria, there is a need for not just humanitarian assistance, but also for actual stabilisation and development initiatives. Therefore, Minister for Foreign Affairs Martin Lidegaard and Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen present a one-year Syria programme for 2014 and a strategic framework for Syrian assistance for 2014 and 2015. The programme aims to support the moderate forces and activities that can help promote a political solution to the conflict. Denmark also initiates implementation of the large-scale Regional Development and Protection Programme, which is a multi-donor platform that seeks to enhance protection of refugees and improve the living conditions of refugees and vulnerable host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. These efforts supplement the considerable Danish humanitarian contributions to the Syrian crisis, which will total more than DKK 300 million in 2014.

20 May

Danish million investment in African farmers

At a meeting in Aarhus attended by representatives of the Danish agricultural and food industry, Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen announces that the Danish Climate Investment Fund, which was launched in January 2014, is to be followed up by the creation of an agricultural investment fund along the same model. The new fund will be injected with DKK 89 million financed by Danish development assistance. It is expected that IFU, which will also administer the new fund, will provide DKK 200 million, whilst private investors in the form of pension funds will provide a total of DKK 500-600 million. The agricultural investment fund is to be ready to start investing in projects at the beginning of 2016.

Woman working in the field during the Danish Children’s Christmas Calendar visit to a Danida project in Zambia.
Photo: Jeppe Gudmundsen-Holmgreen / Danida

23 July

Experienced Dane appointed new leader of UN mission in South Sudan

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announces the appointment of the experienced Danish diplomat, Ellen Margrethe Løj, as UN Special Envoy to South Sudan. Ellen Margrethe Løj has formerly held a similar post in Liberia and will lead a UN mission comprising up to 12,500 military personnel, 1,323 civilian police personnel, as well as civilian experts. South Sudan gained independence in 2011, but has since plunged into violent conflict and ethnic persecution. Since the middle of December 2013, more than 1.5 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes, with around 400,000 fleeing to neighbouring countries. Almost five million are dependent on acute emergency aid.

1 August

New Danish embassies open in emerging economies

It is the first working day of the new Danish ambassadors in the four emerging economies - Nigeria, the Philippines, Colombia and Myanmar – where Denmark is opening embassies as part of the largest reform and modernisation of the Danish Foreign Service in recent times. The openings will be followed by visits to Nigeria, Colombia and Myanmar by Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen later in 2014, whilst the Philippines must wait until January 2015 for the Minister’s visit and the official embassy opening.

18 August

Denmark to host the world’s largest conference on women’s health and rights

The Minister of Trade and Development Cooperation and Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess announce that Denmark is to host the global conference on women’s health and rights, Women Deliver 2016, at an event at Christiansborg. 5,000 delegates from up to 140 countries are expected to attend Women Deliver 2016, which will focus on the efforts to help the 800 women who die each day of complications during pregnancy or birth – often because they are too young, are poor and lack access to healthcare services and information. The choice of Denmark as host country signals recognition of longstanding Danish efforts to secure the right of women and girls to decide and exercise control over their own body.

Head of AIDS/HIV Centre, Aona Koné, stands in front of shelves containing patient journals of former and current patients at the centre. The AIDS/HIV centre receives funding from Denmark to test, inform and medicate persons infected with AIDS/HIV.
Photo: Thorsten Overgaard / Danida

26 August

Greater synergy encouraged between development assistance and corporate Danish involvement in developing countries

The Danish Government presents its Finance Bill for 2015, in which development assistance is maintained at 0.83 per cent of Denmark’s GNP. That means a nominal increase of DKK 620 million for Danish development cooperation compared with 2014. The Finance Bill focuses on three areas: sustainable growth and decent jobs; help for people in need and promotion of the UN Millennium Goals; and increased information and involvement of the Danish population in Denmark’s development cooperation.

4 September

Minister wants to build alliances with companies regarding social responsibility

For years, the presentation of the Government’s development policy priorities for the following year has been held in Copenhagen at the conference centre, Eigtveds Pakhus. This year, however, the priorities will be presented at the premises of the Silkeborg-based company, Mascot International, which manufactures work wear with production facilities in both Vietnam and Laos. The reason for the change of venue is to emphasise the Government’s goal of creating decent jobs in emerging economies and developing countries. Therefore, the efforts to secure decent working conditions and corporate social responsibility are to be strengthened, and funds are to be earmarked for promoting synergy between development assistance and the involvement of Danish companies in emerging economies and developing countries.

Kenya Dry Foods collaborates with the Danish firm Ekko Fisk in Esbjerg. Production of dried fish is used in dog and cat food. The small fish are caught in Victoria Lake and then dried and transported to Mombasa. From there, the dried fish are shipped to Esbjerg, where they are sold in Europe as pet food. Kenya Dry Foods has 40 female employees who sort and steam the fish at 90 degrees and then pack them into crates.
Foto: Mikkel Østergaard / Danida

21 September

New government finally formed in Afghanistan

More than five months after the Afghan population went to the polls in April, a new political leadership has been established. After the first round of elections in April, a new round was necessary in June between two presidential candidates who secured the most votes. Ashraf Ghani won the second round, whilst his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, alleged voting fraud. After tough and protracted negotiations, the two candidates announced a national coalition government with Ashraf Ghani as President and Abdullah Abdullah as Minister President. This is the first time in Afghanistan’s history that presidents have been changed through a democratic election. Denmark welcomes the creation of a new coalition government in the country, which is the largest recipient of Danish development assistance receiving DKK 436 million in disbursements in 2014.

23 September

Another climate change summit

When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2013 announced an additional climate change summit, it was met with considerable scepticism. Do we really need another one, the sceptics asked. However, the “UN Climate Summit” on 23 September in New York was a success, particularly because it attracted not only political leaders, but also many top business leaders. Denmark was represented by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Climate as well as representatives from Novo Nordisk and PensionDanmark. The threats posed – and the opportunities presented – by climate change are now firmly on the private sector’s agenda.

15 October

Dane at the head of the world’s largest green NGO

The world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), announces that the Dane, Inger Andersen, is to be the next Director General. Inger Andersen comes from a position as Vice President of the World Bank, and earlier in her career she has worked with environment and natural resource management. IUCN was established in 1948 as a global network of environmental organisations. Today, it has 1,200 member organisations and approx. 1,000 employees spread between 45 offices throughout the world. Over 11,000 scientists and experts working for IUCN ensure a very high standard of scientific research. Its most well-known scientific product is the Red List of Threatened Species. As the only voluntary global environmental organisation, IUCN has permanent observer status at the UN. The annual Danish contribution to IUCN is DKK 25 million.

19 October

Top leaders gather in Copenhagen to create new green solutions

Political leaders from all over the world, representatives of the world’s leading global companies, investors, cities, international organisations and civil society will attend when the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) convenes at its annual summit in Copenhagen in October. 3GF’s core idea is to create new partnerships between public authorities, civil society and the major international organisations with the aim of creating new, specific solutions for green transition at global level. 3GF was established by the Danish Government in 2011 in collaboration with Korea and Mexico. China, Kenya, Qatar and Ethiopia have since joined the collaboration.

Karen Blixen Camp, owned and run by the Albatros Rejser travel agency and located in Masai Mara. The camp has various initiatives such as Green Tech solar panels for power supply and a nursery, where trees are grown from seedlings and later planted near the camp.
Photo: Mikkel Østergaard / Danida

10 November

Critical evaluation leads to restructuring of Danida business instruments

The previous business support instrument, Business to Business (B2B), has leveraged the ability of Danish firms to engage in commercial activities in developing countries and emerging economies and is a relevant instrument for transferring Danish technology to developing countries. However, the B2B programme has generally not had a significant impact on job creation and sustainable growth and development in developing countries. This is the conclusion of an evaluation of the B2B programme for the period 2006-2011. The evaluation also questions whether the programme complies with EU state aid rules. The evaluation led Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen to suspend the B2B programme’s successor, Danida Business Partnerships and Business Project Development, and at the same time initiate the development of new and more up-to-date instruments as part of a new strategic framework for innovative partnerships.

10 November

Agreement between the Danish Government, the Socialist People’s Party and the Red-Green Alliance on development assistance in 2015

The Danish Government, the Socialist People’s Party and the Red-Green Alliance enter into an agreement to restructure the development assistance as part of the Finance Act for 2015 due to extraordinary expenditures related to the reception of refugees. A total of DKK 1 billion is allocated to development assistance in 2014 and 2015, which means that the total development assistance will increase to DKK 17.7 billion in 2015, corresponding to an ODA percentage of 0.87. The rise of DKK 2.5 billion in the expenditures for reception of refugees in Denmark that can be calculated as development assistance therefore means a reprioritisation of a total of DKK 1.5 billion from the development assistance implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the development assistance used to help newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in Denmark. “I’m extremely pleased that we have succeeded in reaching a good agreement with the Socialist People’s Party and the Red-Green Alliance. It means that a large number of development projects that would otherwise need to be postponed or halted can nevertheless now be implemented next year”, states Mogens Jensen after the agreement is published.

19 November

Denmark hosts international summit on Somalia

Denmark is hosting a two-day international ministers’ meeting on Somalia in Copenhagen. Besides Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and other leading politicians from Somalia, the summit is attended by government ministers from throughout the world. Somalia is one of 21 priority countries for Danish development cooperation, but the country has suffered from decades of war and conflict. In 2014, the humanitarian situation worsens, and more than one million people are in urgent need of emergency food aid, and as a response Denmark provides Somalia with DKK 133 million in humanitarian assistance. The summit was well-attended despite the increasing political unrest in the country. On the summit, Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen stated that: “In recent years, Denmark has donated approx. DKK 200 million annually to development and stabilisation efforts. This support covers activities at the sharp end of the scale, such as support to the African Union’s military mission, AMISOM, and military maritime surveillance of waters, together with softer measures, such as building up a judicial system, international efforts to create a legal framework to combat piracy, promotion of growth and employment in Somalia as well as good governance. Right now, we are in the process of putting the final touches to the strategy for the Danish engagement in and around Somalia in the years 2015-2017. How we deliver the assistance, and who we support specifically, can be adjusted depending on whether Somalia’s political leadership is able to deliver the results that we expect and demand. But the support is necessary to ensure a stable and secure future for the Somali population.” The summit communiqué can be read here.

27 November

Unique development cooperation with Bhutan ends

At a ceremony in Thimpu, the Danish development cooperation with Bhutan is officially brought to an end. At the same time, however, a new Danish honorary consulate is opened to ensure continuation of the Bhutanese-Danish partnership. During the 30 years of Danish development cooperation, Bhutan has gone from being a relatively isolated country characterised by widespread poverty, weak infrastructure and an autocratic system of governance to becoming a constitutional democracy, where the population have wide access to education and healthcare, where poverty has been significantly reduced, and where environmental protection is a key priority. Since the mid-1980s, Denmark has supported Bhutan’s development with approx. DKK 1.7 billion, and was for several years Bhutan’s second-largest donor, surpassed only by India.

12 December

New humanitarian standards for emergency aid adopted in Copenhagen

Approx. 150 humanitarian actors meet in Copenhagen to adopt new guidelines in order to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance to save more lives. Over the past year the Core Humanitarian Standard has been defined with support from Denmark and in close dialogue between numerous humanitarian organisations and international networks as well as a number of donors, including the EU and the UN.

World Food Programme (WFP) project in Jocotan, Guatemala, where food aid from Denmark is distributed.
Photo: Jørgen Schytte / Danida

16 December

Highly successful dialogue meeting on business instruments

No fewer than 175 representatives from companies, organisations, educational institutions and consultancy firms participate in the first of a number of open dialogue meetings on Danida’s new business instruments. The dialogue meeting marks the beginning of the development of innovative partnerships and new business instruments that Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen announced in November when he suspended the Danish Business Partnerships and Business Project Development facilities.

23 December

Denmark once more the world’s best country at tackling poverty

For the third consecutive year, Denmark is ranked number one on the list drawn up by the American think-tank, Center for Global Development, on the richest countries’ overall efforts to help the world’s poorest countries. A total of 29 countries have been assessed on seven parameters: trade, finance, migration, environment, security, technology and aid.

Nangwesi refugee camp in Zambia’s western province. Dealing out foodstuffs, such as flour, to refugees from Angola.
Photo: Thomas Marott / Danida