SweDev coordinated meeting with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the reform agenda

August 18, 2023

Researchers and State Secretary Diana Janse and the Ambassador for the reform agenda at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Carl-Michael Gräns, discussed the reform agenda in Swedish development cooperation on 11 August 2023.

Photo: Ethan Sees / Pexels

On Friday 11 August, SweDev coordinated a meeting with representatives from academia who met with the State Secretary Diana Janse and Carl-Michael Gräns, the Ambassador for the Reform agenda at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the so called reform agenda in Swedish development cooperation, a forthcoming government decision. 

During the meeting researchers asked questions about the rationale of the cuts on aid to research cooperation and the termination of development research grants channeled through Swedish Research Council. In line with previous responses from the Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, the State Secretary responded that “the government believes research is important, however needs are many and priorities need to be made. 98% of the Swedish Research Council’s budget is still intact.”

Discussions were held on other sources of funding and how to make them effective also for research on global development. Several suggestions were made during the meeting: 

  • The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, together with the Ministry of Education and Research, should review the research strategy in development cooperation in light of the greatly reduced budget for research assistance.
  • In the upcoming process for a new research bill, discussions should be held on how research for and about global development should be financed and coordinated, and how the links between decision-making and research should look like.
  • Research is needed for effective development cooperation. The government should seek to use researchers and research-based knowledge more to create the effective aid they want. This should be signaled in their steering. 
  • Government funding for research is needed in many areas and especially in low- and middle-income countries. Private investors cannot replace this funding since they for example have no interest in eradicating malaria or HIV since it is more lucrative for them with continued chronic diseases. 

The meeting ended with agreements on continued dialogue on the topics discussed. Minutes from the meeting can be found here.