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France is basing its action on the five priorities defined by the Interministerial International Cooperation and Development Committee (CICID) in February 2018: international stability; education; climate; gender equality and health.

International stability and addressing fragilities

To respond to fragilities and crises, France must adopt a comprehensive approach, combining long-term instruments linked to diplomatic action, peace and development, and short-term instruments, linked to emergency and humanitarian actions.

This action is guided by two strategies adopted in 2018 which strengthen the doctrinal framework for French assistance:

  • the humanitarian strategy and fragilities strategy (2018-2022),
  • the “Prevention, Resilience and Sustainable Peace” strategy (2018-2022).

In terms of resources, the CICID in 2018 decided to increase the total annual (bilateral and multilateral) funding for emergency humanitarian action and post-crisis stabilization to €500 million by 2022. Financing of the AFD’s MINKA fund will be doubled to reach €200 million by 2020, a significant part of which will go to the Sahel, as part of the Sahel Alliance.
In 2018, France donated a total of €585 million of ODA (gross payments) to international stability and the fight against fragilities, including €105 million in bilateral ODA.
In 2019, French bilateral assistance allocated to international stability and the fight against fragilities reached €139 million, up 14% on 2018.

Education

In 2018, the CICID announced a significant re-engaging with this sector for the five-year period. To guide its action, in 2017 France adopted an international strategy for education, vocational training and inclusion in developing countries for 2017-2021.
For basic education, the commitments are based around three areas:

  • promoting access to primary and secondary education,
  • improving the quality of training for the 21st century,
  • improving the governance of education to create efficient systems.

French ODA in the education sector represented €1.2 billion in commitments for 2017, i.e. 13% of total net bilateral ODA commitments. School fees make up half of this amount. The remainder is mainly made up by the AFD and grants.

In 2018, France allocated €1.3 billion (total gross ODA) to the education sector. Most of the financing, €1.1 billion, moved through bilateral channels, €695 million of which was made up of school fees. In 2019, French ODA allocated to education should reach €1.4 billion, an increase of 3.7% on 2018 (provisional data for 2019 ODA).

The fight against climate change

In 2015, the Paris Agreement, which was the first universal agreement on climate, set out a clear framework for French climate policy. France is focusing its aid on:

  • implementing adequate public policies to meet the objectives set down in each NDC;
  • mobilizing public and private financial flows to finance the ecological transition and steer investments towards low-emission development which is resilient to the impacts of climate change, particularly in vulnerable countries;
  • protecting vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change and its irreversible impact.

As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), France has committed to allocate €5 billion in climate financing for 2020. This commitment includes €1.5 billion per year for adaptation to climate change as part of the follow-up to the One Planet Summit in December 2017, with priority for Africa, in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and most vulnerable countries, including in the agricultural sector.
This pledge was achieved in 2018, with €5.08 billion in climate finance, including €1.3 billion for adaptation.
At the CICID in 2018, the government made a commitment that climate co-benefit financing would represent at least 50% of the AFD’s commitments and would be strengthened, with adaptation funding increased to €1.5 billion per year until 2020. In early 2018, as part of its cross-cutting Intervention Framework (CIT) 2017-2022, the AFD outlined four priorities:

  • ensure all development activities are in line with the Paris Agreement,
  • increase finance for climate mitigation and adaptation,
  • support the redirection of funds and investments,
  • co-create solutions and influence norms.

In 2018, almost a quarter (24%) of French bilateral funding included climate objectives. France allocated €874 million in bilateral ODA to climate change adaptation, and €1.5 billion to mitigating its effects.
In 2019, €971 million in bilateral ODA was allocated to climate change adaptation and €1.8 billion to mitigation, up on 2018 by 11.1% and 20% respectively (provisional data for 2019).

Gender equality

The French President made gender equality one of the main themes of his term. It is a guiding and cross-cutting theme of France’s external action, as part of its international gender equality strategy for 2018-2022.

In 2018, the CICID planned for 50% of the AFD’s annual commitments to have gender as their principal objective or as a significant objective and for 100% of AFD projects and programmes to be scored according to the OECD gender marker, which measures their impact on gender equality.

In 2017, €2.6 billion in bilateral commitments (i.e. 28% of our total assistance) had a principal or significant gender marker. France will promote gender equality objectives in the main multilateral institutions it finances, most of which have dedicated strategies in that area. It will also take action via the French Muskoka Fund, which aims to reduce maternal, neonatal and infantile mortality jointly with four United Nations bodies.

The share of French bilateral aid comprising gender equality and empowerment of women was 13% of ODA in 2018 and should reach 22% in 2019, thus approaching the Development Assistance Committee average (38% in 2016-2017). In 2019, France should allocate €1.7 billion of bilateral ODA to improving gender equality, i.e. 27% of our bilateral aid (provisional data for 2019).

Health

France has made health a major part of its international action by:

  • improving health systems,
  • promoting universal health coverage,
  • fighting pandemics (HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis),
  • promoting sexual and reproductive rights,
  • supporting the health of mothers, newborns, children and teenagers, including by combating undernutrition.

France has chosen to invest in specialized multilateral health funds, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and its funding mechanism: the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), and UNITAID, with over €500 million per year, or over two-thirds of our ODA, invested in the sector.

At the Global Fund Sixth Replenishment Conference in October 2019, France committed to increase its contribution by 20% to reach €1.296 billion for the 2021-2023 period. It thus remains the organization’s second-largest contributor in history, after the United States.
France is the largest donor to UNITAID, which is responsible for speeding up the response to epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through more appropriate, more effective and cheaper innovations, accounting for about 60% of cumulative resources since its creation in 2006. Its contribution was some €90 million in 2018. France was also the sixth-largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the 2016-2020 period (after the United Kingdom, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Norway, the United States and Germany) and pledged to contribute €350 million in the 2021-2026 period, including a further €100 million to finance and purchase doses of the future COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to its previous pledge via IFFIm.

France donated almost €1 billion (€932 million) in ODA to the healthcare sector in 2018, about 78% of which moved through multilateral channels. In 2019, French ODA allocated to the healthcare sector should reach €980 million, up 5% on 2018 (provisional data for 2019).

Other important areas of action: food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture

France’s action for food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture is based on an International Strategy for the 2019-2024 period. Under this strategy, France sets out five main principles:

  1. strengthening global governance of food security and nutrition;
  2. developing sustainable agricultural and food systems;
  3. strengthening France’s action on nutrition;
  4. supporting the structuring of sustainable agrifood chains to promote the creation of decent jobs in rural areas, especially for young people;
  5. enhancing food assistance actions for vulnerable populations.

France has always taken action on these issues internationally and at several levels: through its diplomatic action, its research institutes, its projects and actions on the ground via the French Development Agency (AFD) and Programmed Food Aid (PFA).

Updated: January 2021