Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Accelerator calls for fair share-based financing to end pandemic as a global emergency in 2022, ocean plastic pollution to quadruple by 2050 and first transition pathway for a resilient, green and digital tourism ecosystem. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector:

Accelerator calls for fair share-based financing to end pandemic as global emergency in 2022

World leaders will launch a call to end the pandemic as a global emergency in 2022 by funding the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a partnership of leading agencies that are providing low and middle-income countries with tests, treatments, vaccines, and personal protective equipment.

With a significant proportion of the global population still unable to get vaccinated, tested, or treated, US$ 16 billion in grant funding is urgently required from governments to fund the work of the ACT-Accelerator agencies. This investment will allow them to procure essential tools to fight COVID-19 and provide them to low- and middle-income countries.

The ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council provides high-level political leadership, global advocacy, and assistance with resource mobilization to the initiative and is co-chaired by Norway and South Africa. The co-chairs recently wrote to all high-income countries, G20 upper-middle-income countries, and two additional middle-income countries who are contributors to the ACT-Accelerator, encouraging ‘fair share’ contributions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said: “South Africa has proudly co-chaired the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council from the very beginning, and we will continue to champion this initiative, as the best solution to the inequities the world – and Africa in particular – faces. As co-chairs, South Africa and Norway have written to more than 50 heads of state and government, asking them to contribute their fair share of financing to ACT-Accelerator agencies. The longer inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments persist, the longer the pandemic will persist. I urge my fellow leaders to step up in solidarity, meet their fair shares, and help reclaim our lives from this virus.”

Ocean plastic pollution to quadruple by 2050

A new WWF-commissioned review of over 2,590 studies provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the alarming impact and scale of plastic pollution on ocean species and ecosystems. The review reveals that the projected growth of plastic pollution is likely to result in many areas suffering significant ecological risks harming current efforts at protecting and increasing biodiversity if action is not taken now to cut global production and use of plastic.

Commissioned by WWF and conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the report “Impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean on marine species, biodiversity and ecosystems” notes that microplastic concentrations above a threshold level of 1.21 x 105 items per cubic meter have now been estimated in several regions around the world. This threshold, above which significant ecological risks are likely to occur, has already been exceeded in certain pollution hotspots like the Mediterranean, the East China and Yellow Seas, and the Arctic sea ice.

“Without a doubt, unchecked plastic pollution will become a contributing factor to the ongoing sixth mass extinction leading to widespread ecosystem collapse and transgression of safe planetary boundaries. We know how to stop plastic pollution and we know the cost of inaction comes at the expense of our ocean ecosystems – there is no excuse for delaying a global treaty on plastic pollution. The way out of our plastic crisis is for countries to agree to a globally binding treaty that addresses all stages of plastic’s lifecycle and that puts us on a pathway to end marine plastic pollution by 2030,” said Ghislaine Llewellyn, Deputy Oceans Lead, WWF.

First transition pathway for a resilient, green and digital tourism ecosystem

The Commission presented the transition pathway for tourism during the EU Industry Days. The transition pathway is a plan jointly created with actors of the tourism ecosystem detailing key actions, targets, and conditions to achieve the green and digital transitions and long-term resilience of the sector. The Commission invited involved parties to take part in its implementation.

In the opening of this spotlight event on tourism, the Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “I am very pleased that we can present to you the result of months of cooperation among all stakeholders. By working hand-in-hand we have come up with a common vision for EU tourism and agreed upon the ways to achieve it. This pathway will set the agenda for European tourism for the decade to come. I would like to invite all stakeholders to join the co-implementation process”.

Active involvement of all players in the sector will be key for the success of the green and digital transition. That is why the Commission is launching an online survey, inviting the EU tourism community to share information about their individual and collective commitments and to express interest in working together on the implementation of the transition. The Commission will be working with the interested stakeholders to steer, support, and follow up on the progress of the transition.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Female genital mutilation: a striking reality in the 21st century | Experts’ Opinions

While societies in most countries around the world struggle to achieve gender equality, in a few dozen states in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, women and girls do not even have the right to own their bodies. Annually, 3 million girls are at risk of partial or total removal of external genitalia – female genital mutilation, or other injury, for completely non-medical reasons. Moreover, over 200 million women alive have been subject to this practice, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Check the full article here.

World polarization over inequality continues to deepen

Although global income inequality has decreased somewhat from its peak in 2000, a recent paper points out that in 2020 it still remained massive. It notes that according to the Gini Coefficient, in 2000 global income inequality stood at 0.72 and had decreased to 0.67 in 2020 which is comparable to the 0.60 Gini coefficient recorded in 1820. Moreover, while global income inequality has been contracting slightly, global wealth inequality witnessed a sharp increase during the pandemic.

Check the full article here.

Most government internet shutdowns connected to human rights abuse

As the world is becoming warmer, heatwaves are occurring more frequently. Extreme temperatures have recently hit South America, Australia, and New Zealand where the summers have become not only unbearable for millions of people but deadly too and have also led to droughts and wildfires.

Check the full article here.

Heatwaves: causes, evolution, damages

As the world is becoming warmer, heatwaves are occurring more frequently. Extreme temperatures have recently hit South America, Australia, and New Zealand where the summers have become not only unbearable for millions of people but deadly too and have also led to droughts and wildfires.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened

WHO: Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can improve older people’s health and well-being, but only if ageism is eliminated from their design, implementation, and use said the World Health Organization (WHO). In a new policy brief, Ageism in artificial intelligence for health, the agency presents legal, non-legal, and technical measures that can be used to minimize the risk of exacerbating or introducing ageism through AI. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing many fields, including public health and medicine for older people. The technology can help predict health risks and events, enable drug development, support the personalization of care management, and much more.

UNICEF: UNICEF is deploying 457 high-performance tents to support school reopening in flood-affected districts in Uganda, marking the first time the newly innovated tents are rolled out in an emergency. The unique 72 square meter tents – which can be easily transported and reused – include ventilation systems and elevated shade nets to keep internal temperatures cooler in hot and dry climates; electrical and solar kits for lighting and energy; and three-layered windows to help block out disease-carrying mosquitos. The straight walls allow for more space for social distancing.

EU: Logistics is key for the delivery of humanitarian aid. The EU’s new humanitarian logistics policy aims to trigger a paradigm change, helping humanitarian operations be more efficient, effective, and green. The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department launched its policy on humanitarian logistics. It sets out the vision for the future of logistics across the humanitarian sector.


FAO unveils improved method of measuring rural poverty

The majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas, but reliable and harmonized information on their numbers and conditions is difficult to come by. To help meet this deficiency in the fight against global hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has published a report in collaboration with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), which introduces an innovative Rural Multidimensional Poverty Index (R-MPI).

MENA’s polluted skies and seas hurt economies, livelihoods

The human and economic cost of air pollution and degraded seas and coastlines is immense, estimated to be more than 3% of GDP in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to a new World Bank Report.

The report, Blue Skies, Blue Seas: Air Pollution, Marine Plastics and Coastal Erosion in the Middle East and North Africa, focuses on the degradation of “blue” natural assets in the MENA region (clean air, health seas, and stable coastlines) and offers policy recommendations to reverse the threat to this natural capital.

6 in 7 people worldwide plagued by feelings of insecurity

Global development progress does not automatically lead to a greater sense of security, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on human security released.

New data and analysis in the report, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene, show that people’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country, including the richest countries, despite years of upwards development success. Those benefiting from some of the highest levels of good health, wealth, and education outcomes are reporting even greater anxiety than 10 years ago.


Governing Council 2022

📅 16 February 2022

The Governing Council is IFAD’s main decision-making body. It consists of all of IFAD’s Member States and meets annually. The forty-fifth session, taking place on 16 February 2022, will focus on the overarching theme “Leveraging innovations and finance for a climate-resilient and inclusive recovery.”

Investing Together, For A New Alliance Between Africa And Europe | Virtual

📅 16 February 2022
Paris, France

In connection with the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, AFD Group is organizing a high-profile event to promote a new Euro-African alliance for sustainable investment to be held on February 16, 2022.

Best Practices to Recruit International Experts for Donor Funded Projects | Webinar

📅 17 February 2022 🕟 4 pm (Brussels) / 10 am (Washington DC)

DevelopmentAid, as the leading provider of recruitment solutions in the development sector, invites you to join an exclusive webinar on the Best Practices to Recruit International Experts for Donor Funded Projects to learn about efficient and innovative recruiting practices that you can employ even in crisis situations.

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Ion Ilasco, External Relations and Events at DevelopmentAid.

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