Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Women and girls deserve to live without violence, time for ‘tangible and credible’ forest management, Ukraine conflict will worsen hunger in world’s worst crisis zones. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector:

Women and girls deserve to live without violence

Violence against women and girls may be the world’s “longest, deadliest pandemic” the UN chief said, during an event focused on the role boys and men need to play, to help eliminate gender-based violence.

“One in three women worldwide has directly experienced violence”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message at an event on the fringes of the annual Conference on the Status of Women (CSW).

He noted that every 11 minutes, a woman is killed by a partner or family member, often in her own home, “where she should be safest.”

“We cannot accept a world in which one half of humanity is at risk in the streets, in their homes, or online. We must end violence against women and girls – now.”

From Europe to Asia and Africa to the Americas, COVID-19 has triggered dramatic increases in violence against women in every region of the world. In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, the UN chief called for an end to the rising surge of violence against women and girls. To this end, the UN’s Spotlight Initiative has so far, educated 880,000 men and boys on positive masculinity, respectful relationships, and non-violent conflict resolution. From taxi drivers to sports clubs, men are actively participating in programs to prevent gender-based violence and support women survivors, Mr. Guterres informed the event.

Time for ‘tangible and credible’ forest management

Healthy forests are “essential” for people and the planet, the UN chief said in his message marking the International Day of Forests.

“They act as natural filters, providing clean air and water, and they are havens of biological diversity…[and] help to regulate our climate by influencing rainfall patterns, cooling urban areas and absorbing one-third of greenhouse gas emissions” explained Secretary-General António Guterres.

Commemorated annually on 21 March, the international day reminds everyone that the sustainable management of forests and their resources, are key to combating climate change, and contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.

The General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. At all levels, countries are encouraged to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree-planting campaigns. In collaboration with others, the UN Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), organize events for the day.

Ukraine conflict will worsen hunger in world’s worst crisis zones

Food security in countries already facing severe levels of hunger will drastically worsen as the war in Ukraine will diminish global grain supplies and drive up fuel prices. As the world’s attention centers on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the IRC is calling on world leaders to renew their commitment to supporting people affected by crises across the globe.

Achim Steiner, UN Development Programme Administrator stressed that “With more than five million people displaced as a result of the war in Ukraine, the international attention and funding directed towards the crisis is warranted and needed, but it is simultaneously highlighting where attention and funding have been waning elsewhere. In Afghanistan, where over half the population is experiencing extreme hunger, only 13% of the humanitarian response plan has been funded, whilst Yemen, now entering its eighth year of conflict, is facing the reality of having less than 30% of the total funds required for humanitarian assistance following the donor pledging conference earlier this month. This is woefully inadequate to address the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Yemen. If donors do not increase their pledges, we will see further cuts to critical humanitarian assistance which will cost lives. Meanwhile, food insecurity across the Horn of Africa is precarious and is set to worsen as the Ukraine crisis threatens the reliance on grain the region has. Four consecutive seasons without adequate rainfall have seriously impacted crop harvests which millions of people across East Africa depend on for consumption and livelihoods. At least 4 million Somalis are projected to face emergency levels of hunger by June of this year and coupled with falling crop production, disruptions in imports from Ukraine will further increase humanitarian needs across East Africa. In the Sahel, almost 30 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, with vulnerabilities and needs worsening as climate shocks, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc across the region”

With partners in Ukraine IRC is also providing evacuation services and essential items to those that have become displaced according to individual needs. This could include blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothes, or cash assistance.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Is the world economic recovery under threat because of the Russian invasion in Ukraine? | Experts’ Opinions

After two years of the global pandemic, the world’s economy was just beginning to recover but now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has apparently shattered hopes in this regard. The war could now have far-reaching economic consequences as financial markets tumble and oil and gas prices soar. The greatest risk facing global supply chains has shifted from the pandemic to the Russia-Ukraine military conflict and the geopolitical and economic uncertainties this has unleashed. Check out some opinions below on how international financial experts see the future of the world economic recovery.

Check the full article here.

World population statistics by country in 2021 and population growth decline

Researchers have been able to analyze the growth of the entire population on Earth since the beginning of the Common Era (AD anno Domini) when the planet was home to around 300 million people. Due to the rapid development of medicine and agriculture, as well as improved living conditions, since then the number of people has constantly grown. Moreover, researchers do not anticipate this growth coming to an end.

Check the full article here.

Top 10 aid donors to watch in 2022

The international development sector is comprised of a myriad of stakeholders cooperating to eliminate global poverty and injustice and achieve a state of general well-being. Development agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and the private sector are just a few examples of such stakeholders. In this article, DevelopmentAid has compiled a list of the top donor organizations (providers and enablers) based on the number of open and upcoming funding opportunities in terms of tenders and grants, aggregated on the developmentaid.org platform.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened

UN: The United Nations and its partners in Ukraine completed the first convoy of urgent humanitarian aid to the city of Sumy in the northeast, one of the most war-affected areas of the country. The UN hopes this is the first of many shipments delivered to the people trapped by fighting.

IOM: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is launching its broad cash-based program in Ukraine to support the most vulnerable families forced to flee their homes in regions affected by hostilities. With initial funding from the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF), the European Union, Canada, Germany, and the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), IOM’s cash-based program will cover multiple regions in Ukraine in coordination with local authorities and other humanitarian actors.

CEB: As part of its immediate response to the war in Ukraine, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved five additional grants worth almost €2.6 million to help its member states deal with the massive displacement of people from Ukraine.


Is the solution to water crises hiding right under our feet?

UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water is launching the latest edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, titled “Groundwater: Making the invisible visible” at the opening ceremony of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The authors call on States to commit themselves to develop adequate and effective groundwater management and governance policies in order to address current and future water crises throughout the globe. Groundwater presently provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population, including the drinking water for the vast majority of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them via public or private supply systems, and around 25% of all water used for irrigation.

New report counts the costs of unpaid care and domestic work

A new report by the APEC Policy Support Unit found that women shoulder a significant, disproportionate burden, bearing almost three times more of unpaid care and domestic work compared to men.

On average, women in the APEC region spend 4 hours and 20 minutes daily on work not compensated by wages, such as taking care of children, the elderly, and sick members of the family, as well as doing household chores and voluntary work within the community. This is in line with the global average of 4 hours and 32 minutes.

The report further confirmed global trends that the majority of unpaid care and domestic work for both women and men consists of household work, with women carrying the greater share overall.


Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD)

📅 28 – 31 March 2022
Bangkok, Thailand

The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) is an annual and inclusive intergovernmental forum and a regional platform for supporting countries, in particular those with special needs, in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while serving as a regional preparatory meeting to the high-level political forum.

Middle East and North Africa Climate Week

📅 28 – 31 March September 2022
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The event is set to build on the outcomes of COP26 and explore resilience against climate risks, the transition to a low-emission economy, and collaboration to solve pressing challenges. MENACE 2022 will accelerate collaboration and integrate climate action into global pandemic recovery. This opens an opportunity for regional stakeholders to address social inequalities and invest in economic development that is good for humanity and nature.

Link for registration.