Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Tackling corruption, important step for inclusive, sustainable development, Belize restructures its debt by investing in environment protection and internet connectivity ups during pandemic, less well-off people still far behind. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector:

Tackling corruption, important step for ‘inclusive, sustainable development’

Corruption spreads through societies and erodes people’s trust in leaders and institutions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told an anti-corruption conference, stressing that “greed over need, harms us all”.

Corruption deepens inequalities, feeds cynicism, and reinforces obstacles facing women and girls, according to the UN chief who maintained that tackling it is “an important step towards inclusive, sustainable development”.

Against this backdrop, UNODC is launching the Global Resource for Anti-corruption Education and Youth Empowerment (GRACE) initiative to unlock the potential of young people.

“To truly overcome endemic corruption, we need to aim for a fundamental change in mindsets, one that rejects corruption at every level”, she said. “People must believe that every act of petty corruption, every small bribe, undermines the rule of law and undermines their own future”.

Belize restructures its debt by investing in environment protection

Belize, a tiny Caribbean state, has announced it will use its natural resources to curb its indebtedness. The country which is known for its Barrier Reef, the second-largest expanse of coral in the world with thriving biodiversity, has witnessed a sharp increase in its public debt from under 100% of GDP to over 125% in 2020. In an attempt to resolve this issue, Belize has turned to blue bonds, committing to protect its ocean waters.

As concerns, the blue bonds, the process of securing these had until recently been a rather lengthy one. This time, Belize needed 1.5 years to finalize the swap whereas a similar previous deal reached by the Seychelles took four years to restructure US$21.6 million of debt involving the Paris Club as creditors.

As climate issues are becoming more urgent, creditors are also willing to shorten the process. Moreover, as the issues of environment protection and climate change have become increasingly pressing, such swaps are also becoming more and more popular and the number of indebted countries willing to benefit from these has been on the rise. At the latest global climate conference, COP26, Guillermo Lasso, the President of Ecuador, offered to enhance the natural reserves in Galapagos in exchange for a debt-for-nature swap. The Nature Conservancy is also negotiating similar deals with other developing countries.

Internet connectivity ups during pandemic, less well-off people still far behind

As many as 63% of the global population went online in 2021, compared to 54% in 2019, International Telecommunication Union reports. However, despite the progress, people’s possibility to connect internet is still unequal, as about 37% of the population around the world have never connected to the internet. The majority of individuals facing connectivity barriers reside in developing or the least developed countries.

According to a report published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the number of internet users has grown up to 4.9 billion people in 2021 compared to 4.1 billion people in 2019. New data suggests that growth occurred partially due to the “COVID connectivity boost”. The largest increase in a decade occurred in 2020 when the number of users hiked by 10.2%. The push was driven by emerging countries with a 13.3% growth in the number of users. In 2021, the figure dropped to 5.8%.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Is corporate social responsibility obsolete? | Experts’ Opinions

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a commitment made by private companies to behave ethically and responsibly towards both society and the planet, improving community life in various ways. In most cases, a company that chooses to be socially responsible integrates social and environmental issues within its activities. However, some say that meeting the target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by relying on CSR is not enough. Is this true?

Check the full article here.

Non-governmental organizations – everything you need to know

The term, non-governmental organization, was first mentioned in the United Nations Charter in 1945. Since then, numerous NGOs with a wide range of operational scope, focus, and orientation have been created around the world. Today, their number is estimated to be around 12 million with the NGO ADVISOR’s 2021 ranking highlighting BRAC International as the world’s largest NGO.

Check the full article here.

Developed countries increasingly use externalization to deter migration

Countries struggling with a rising influx of migrants have been increasingly using externalization as a tool to prevent people from seeking asylum before they reach their final destination. This practice is in breach of the 1951 Refugee Convention (Geneva Convention) which regulates the rights of asylum seekers.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened

EU Mission: The Commission has adopted an amendment to the Horizon Europe work program for 2021-2022, increasing the total budget to €15.4 billion: that is an increase of €723 million compared to the original budget of €14.7 billion. This new budget includes €673.24 million dedicated to the roll-out of EU Missions, which were launched in September to tackle big challenges and achieve ambitious goals in health, climate, and the environment by 2030.

World bank: The World Bank approved a US$400 million loan to strengthen the quality and efficiency of Indonesia’s National Health Insurance program, Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN), as part of efforts to improve health care delivery, expand coverage, and invest in Indonesia’s human capital.

Finland: Finland will contribute EUR 125 million to the replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), which is part of the World Bank Group. The replenishment process was brought forward to help the world’s poorest countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Green Deal: The Commission adopted a Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles, setting out how to increase removals of carbon from the atmosphere. To balance out the impacts of the CO2 emissions, the EU will need to drastically reduce its reliance on fossil carbon, upscale carbon farming to store more carbon in nature, and promote industrial solutions to sustainably and verifiably remove and recycle carbon. Removing and storing more carbon, from the atmosphere, oceans, and coastal wetlands is essential to achieve the EU’s legally binding commitment to become climate neutral by 2050.


USAID announces revised policy on counter-trafficking in persons

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to launch the revised Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Policy which includes the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to promote gender and race equality and equity and end forced labor in global supply chains.

This updated Policy highlights USAID’s commitment to partnering with trafficking survivors to develop government policy and prevention programs, addressing how migration and the climate crisis can render people vulnerable to trafficking, and promoting partnerships with all sectors of society to build local capacity to address this human rights abuse.

WMO recognizes new Arctic temperature record of 38⁰C

A temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk on 20 June 2020 has been recognized as a new Arctic temperature record by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The temperature, more befitting the Mediterranean than the Arctic, was measured at a meteorological observing station during an exceptional and prolonged Siberian heatwave. Average temperatures over Arctic Siberia reached as high as 10 °C above normal for much of summer last year, fuelling devastating fires, driving massive sea ice loss, and playing a major role in 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record.

CDC announced the 2022 to 2026 strategy

Children and young people could feel the impact of COVID-19 on their mental

The strategy, entitled, “Productive, Sustainable and Inclusive Investment”, sets out how CDC, which is changing its name to British International Investment, will become a central part of the UK’s offer to help to develop and emerging countries meet their significant financing needs for infrastructure and enterprise.

The strategy sets out three strategic objectives that respond to the opportunities and challenges CDC sees in the countries they serve.


GFLP International Conference: Financing Net Zero and Nature Positive Future | Virtual

📅 16 – 17 December 2021

The Global Green Finance Leadership Program (GFLP) is hosting GFLP International Conference: Financing Net Zero and Nature Positive Future, co-hosted by Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability and UK PACT.

World BioEconomy Forum announces new Advisory Board members in preparation for 2022 season

The World BioEconomy Forum is pleased to announce new Advisory Board members in preparation for the 2022 season. The Advisory Board has two major roles within the Forum: Firstly, to run its programme planning; and secondly, to drive the process of the annual declaration, announced at the end of each forum. In its declaration, the World Bioeconomy Forum captures the most relevant drivers of the bioeconomy for that specific year.

Applications of machine learning and advanced analytics in pandemic preparedness and response: Translating models into policy action | Virtual

📅 15 December 2021 🕟 9:00AM – 10:15AM

There have been several explorations and a few impactful uses of Machine Learning (ML) and advanced analytics during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of the discussion around the use of ML has centered around their use for case projections, accelerating the development of vaccines and treatments, and new forms of AI/ML-based diagnostic tools for COVID19. However, ML models have also been used to design more precise and targeted pandemic responses and in better planning for future pandemics.