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Dialogue meeting with Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forsell (M) and State Secretary Diana Janse regarding the reform agenda.

Since the new government took office autumn 2022, reprioritisations regarding Swedish development aid have been made. During 2023, the government will develop a reform agenda as a framework for the new direction.

This obviously affects Swedish civil society, who are important actors within development aid. Last January, civil society was invited to a dialogue on these changes where the Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade and the State Secretary shared information. In early May, this exchange continued with a dialogue meeting attended by around 80 civil society organisations.

The new development aid policy forms a strong bond between aid and trade to, among other things, mobilise private capital to broaden the donor base. As there is a gap between needs and available resources. Ukraine continues to be a geographical focus area in the coming years. The thematic focus will remain on climate, increased freedom for women and girls and gender equality.

There is a desire to increase the efficiency and transparency of aid on one hand, while on the other hand, the government decided to phase out information and communication support (InfoCom) from 2023. There is also a concern in the sector that the focus on trade will concentrate aid to middle-income countries that can offer trade opportunities while the most vulnerable, conflict-affected low-resource areas are left out. It is also difficult to achieve the desired and requested aid-results, as the reprioritisation has led to many civil society actors having to abruptly end their activities both in Sweden and in partner countries.

There are obviously still many issues to discuss regarding the reform agenda and more meetings between the government and civil society have been promised during the process.

The bottom line is that priorities, and thus de-prioritisation, will be made.