SMC decides on cuts in this year’s development grant

The SMC Board decided on 30 May on how the government’sreduction of this year’s budget for foreign development assistance will be handled in the network. The decision concerns SMC’s largest grant from Sida, which promotes long-term development efforts through civil society. The SMC secretariat is in dialogue with the member organisations affected by the decision.

– This decision pains us. The effects of making a cut of 39 percent will be felt by all organisations, but mostly among our partners around the world. In order to secure resources for next year when we expect a more normal situation, we have decided to also use our own equity this year, said the new chairman of the SMC Board, Stefan Emilsson, after the decision.

The decision: reduce 39 percent in long-term development cooperation

Based on the information available today, the Board decided:

  • to reduce the development grant for 2022 by 39 percent for all affected member organisations.
  • that the member organisations themselves will decide how to deal with the cut.
  • not to go ahead with new applications this year for support within SMC’s environmental and climate initiative. However, the Board stresses a need to return to this priority in the coming years.

Based on the assumption that the cut only applies to 2022, both Sida and the SMC board want to protect costs for keeping organisations running by, for example, retaining staff.

SMC’s equity used to cover costs

The board has also discussed how the SMC secretariat should handle the cut, as the development grant is its largest source of funding. Large savings in ongoing operations have minimized costs for the ongoing year, and the Board has chosen not to impose additional savings on the secretariat for 2022 as it would require layoffs of staff in an already pressed situation. In order not to burden the member organisations with further reductions, the secretariat will use a maximum of SEK 1.6 million of equity (almost 15 percent) as well as parts of unallocated funds in the five-year budget to cover the costs.

Efforts to put pressure on the government

At the same time, advocacy work to change the government’s decision continues. SMC and several member organisations have participated in the Swedish media, sought diaglouge with politicians and representatives of Sida, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish government at various levels. Close cooperation is also underway with others in Swedish civil society, for example through the platform CONCORD.

  • We are pleased that many of our member organisations have endorsed the campaign “One hundredth for the world”. Recently, we also invited everyone who have affected partners to participate in WeEffect’s campaign #DearMagdalena so that they can tell the Swedish government directly about the consequences of cutting development aid, says Charlotta Norrby, Secretary General of SMC.

More Sida grants affected by cuts

On May 18, the SMC Board decided on reductions of up to 24 percent within SMC’s communications grant. SMC’s grant for trainees is also affected by cuts and will be closed down under the auspices of the Swedish Council for Higher Education from 2023. SMC’s humanitarian grant is not affected by these cuts but continues to be phased out according to a previous decision by Sida.