Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

14 March 2022

Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

EU steps up solidarity with those fleeing war in Ukraine, as climate changes, world grapples with a wildfire crisis, Ukraine conflict could lead to increase in global starvation. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector:

EU steps up solidarity with those fleeing war in Ukraine

The Commission outlines the very substantial support the EU is making available to help people fleeing war in Ukraine, as well as the EU countries receiving them. In the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military invasion of Ukraine, European solidarity in action is helping people through direct humanitarian aid, emergency civil protection assistance, support at the border, as well as a clear legal status allowing those fleeing the war to receive immediate protection in the EU.

Members of the College said:

High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said: “We are living the darkest times in Europe since World War II. Civilians are the first victims of Putin’s senseless war against Ukraine. The EU will support and protect those escaping Russia’s aggression – no matter their nationality, no matter where they come from. The EU will also mobilize all its tools to help those who host them.”

Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, war has unfortunately returned to Europe and in these darkest hours we need to help Ukraine but also its neighbors who are affected. Our first emergency assistance is already being delivered. And we are, as part of €500 million, urgently preparing a package of €330 million to provide assistance to people both in Ukraine and those forced to flee, especially the children and the elderly. And we work on longer-term objectives, from energy security to economic recovery and resilience.”

As climate changes, world grapples with a wildfire crisis

Whether it’s the Australian coast or the rainforests of Brazil, unrestrained wildfires – shrouded by black smoke and punctuated by the crackle of burning vegetation – have laid waste to some of the world’s most iconic landscapes in recent years.

These blazes, directly and indirectly, impact millions of people and myriad habitats globally – and they’re becoming more common.

Record-breaking temperatures in 2021 increased the frequency and intensity of wildfires and their associated risks to human and environmental health, according to Spreading like Wildfire, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and GRID-Arendal.

“We need to better understand the nature of the threat in each locality and develop more effective wildfire risk reduction strategies and policies,” says Andrew Sullivan, co-editor of the report and Research Team Leader of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. “We also need to accept that, regardless of what we do, there will always be a residual risk that we have to learn to live with.”

It proposes reconfiguring spending to “1 per cent for planning, 32 per cent for prevention, 13 per cent for preparedness, 34 per cent for response, and up to 20 per cent for recovery” as a starting point to manage wildfires’ direct and indirect threats.

Protection of civilians in Ukraine conflict

International aid agency World Vision warned that the conflict in Ukraine is not only devastating the lives of those directly impacted but also worsening the hunger crisis in dozens of other nations.

“The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in a spike in the global price of wheat, up to its highest level since 2008 when the world had its last severe global food price crisis. This is due to the fact that Russia and Ukraine export 29% – almost one-third – of the world’s wheat. Wheat is an essential product, provided to those experiencing, or at risk of, starvation” said Amanda Rives, Senior Director, External Engagement & Resource Development Disaster Management.

UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley recently said that as they obtain half their grain from the Ukraine-Russia area, the conflict could inhibit the organization’s ability to reach 120 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. As WFP’s largest partner, World Vision is extremely concerned for millions of people already on the brink of starvation. The agency calls on the international community to ensure ration cuts, as a result of fallout from this conflict, are avoided.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Resource mobilization and humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Government authorities, local partners, and NGOs have been mobilizing resources and asking for help to assist those people affected by the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. As the number of Ukrainians fleeing the war-stricken country has constantly been on the rise since the beginning of the conflict on 24 February, the amount of aid needed is expected to reach huge figures.

Check the full article here.

Tiny Moldova reports the largest concentration of refugees from war-stricken Ukraine

Moldova, one of the smallest and poorest countries in Europe, has become one of the main destinations for the Ukrainian refugees forced to leave their homes. Thousands of refugees found safe shelter in neighbouring Moldova immediately after Russia launched military attacks against Ukraine on 24 February. The country has received and provided aid to each and every refugee despite the fact that its capacity is very much overwhelmed by the needs of the unprecedented refugee flow.

Check the full article here.

The main issues of gender inequality in developing countries. Part II | Experts’ Opinions

According to the United Nations, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt differently by women and men. Globally, the average distance achieved towards gender parity is 68%, a step back compared to 2020 (-0.6 %). These figures are driven mainly by a decline in the performance of developed countries. At the current pace, it will now take up to 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide. On this special International Women’s Day, let’s analyze more opinions on this topic from several international gender experts.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened

EBRD: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced an initial €2 billion resilience package of measures to help citizens, companies, and countries affected by the war on Ukraine. The Bank has also pledged to do all it can to help with the country’s reconstruction, once conditions allow. Funding will be made rapidly available to support Ukrainian companies– for example, with deferred loans, liquidity support, and trade finance. Where possible, businesses will be helped to relocate so their work can continue.

THE UNITED STATES: Vice President Kamala Harris announced nearly $53 million in additional humanitarian assistance from the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to support Ukrainians affected by Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

UN: Humanitarians are deploying extra staff across Ukraine to aid the growing number of civilians sheltering from Russian bombardment, or fleeing the violence, the UN Spokesperson said.


Greater investment in care could create almost 300 million jobs

Persistent and significant gaps in care services and policies have left hundreds of millions of workers with family responsibilities without adequate protection and support, yet meeting these needs could create almost 300 million jobs by 2035, according to a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report. The report, Care at work: Investing in care leave and services for a more gender-equal world of work, finds that three in ten women of reproductive age, or 649 million women, have inadequate maternity protection that does not meet the key requirements of the ILO’s Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183).

UN study says fear, violence, and isolation prevents Myanmar women from accessing income and healthcare

Rising violence and insecurity are forcing women in Myanmar to stay away from jobs and healthcare services, says a new UN survey of over 2,200 women, which signals a deterioration of development gains in the country. The report adds that the compounding effects of COVID-19 and the political unrest on women’s security, finances, and health will not disappear quickly. Women are likely to face setbacks for years to come. It is important to reverse this trend quickly to recoup the gains that were being made towards gender equality.

Two thirds of households with children have lost income during pandemic

At least two-thirds of households with children have lost income since the COVID-19 pandemic hit two years ago, according to a new report published by UNICEF and the World Bank. Impact of COVID-19 on the welfare of households with children – which presents findings from data collected in 35 countries – notes that households with three or more children were most likely to have lost income, with more than three-quarters experiencing a reduction in earnings. This compares to 68 percent of households with one or two children.


Debt Management Facility Stakeholders’ Forum 2022 | Virtual

📅14-16 March 2022

Debt burdens were surging in many developing countries even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Increased funding needs, rising funding costs, price pressures, and stretched asset valuations are putting extra pressure on debt managers.

Fighting on two fronts: climate justice and gender rights

📅17 March 2022 🕟14:00 – 15:30 (GMT +00)

For this CSW66 NGO parallel event, ODI‘s Gender and Climate programs are teaming up with Futuros Indígenas to discuss the linkages between women’s livelihoods, natural resources, and gender norms.

Digital Dialogue #1 – Building Inclusive Civic Tech Communities

📅 17 March 2022 🕟 3 PM- 4 PM (CET)

Building Inclusive Civic Tech Communities – The relationship between digital innovations and amplifying underrepresented voices in civic tech.