Weekly roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly roundup | Top international development headlines

FAO ready to help map a pathway out of global food crisis, Governments worldwide stoked an inequality explosion during COVID-19 pandemic, and How does mental health contribute to development? Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

FAO ready to help map a pathway out of global food crisis

Risk factors that could push today’s food access crisis into tomorrow’s food availability crisis are growing, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), told international policymakers.

“We must all work together to prevent such a scenario,” he said at the G20 Joint Finance and Agriculture Ministers Meeting.

Two successive global crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have along with other ongoing conflicts around the world produced a serious food access crisis, with the FAO Food Price Index showing rising prices for internationally traded food commodities, he said.

Declining stocks for some commodities, higher energy and fertilizer costs, poor weather conditions in several key producing countries, uncertainties related to trade policies, and risks associated with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine are all causes for concern, the Director-General said.

Governments worldwide stoked an inequality explosion during COVID-19 pandemic

Half of the poorest countries saw health spendings drop despite the pandemic, while 95 percent of all countries froze or even lowered taxes on rich people and corporates Rich and poor countries alike have exacerbated an explosion of economic inequality since the outbreak of the pandemic from 2020, reveals new research by Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI).

The overwhelming majority of governments cut their shares of health, education, and social protection spending. At the same time, they refused to raise taxes on excessive profits and soaring wealth.

The 2022 Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI Index) is the first detailed analysis of the type of inequality-busting policies and actions that 161 countries might have pursued during the first two years of the pandemic.

Climate change puts energy security at risk

The supply of electricity from clean energy sources must double within the next eight years to limit global temperature increase. Otherwise, there is a risk that climate change, more extreme weather, and water stress will undermine our energy security and even jeopardize renewable energy supplies, according to a new multi-agency report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

WMO’s State of Climate Services annual report, which includes inputs from 26 different organizations, focuses on energy this year because it holds the key to international agreements on sustainable development and climate change and, indeed, to the planet’s health.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Explaining desertification: natural causes and human contribution

Explaining desertification: natural causes and human contribution

Desertification is considered to be among the biggest problems facing humanity today. It occurs not only due to environmental phenomena such as drought and extreme weather events but also because of human activities such as deforestation. The impact of desertification when combined with droughts and a decrease in agricultural outputs cannot be ignored.

Desertification refers to continuous pervasive land degradation in a certain area as a result of natural or manmade causes whereby the productivity of dryland ecosystems is lowered, plant cover is diminished, organic soil matter is eradicated, and the expanse of sand dunes grows.

Desertification typically occurs in regions with low or unpredictable rainfall. However, it also happens in other regions where humans play a part through practices such as excessive deforestation.

Check the full article here.

How does mental health contribute to development? | Experts’ Opinions

How does mental health contribute to development? | Experts’ Opinions

Mental health is a subject of more and more interest across many sectors and the field of international development is no exception.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a staggering 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, some claim this was one of the factors that triggered economic recession, a fact confirmed by the World Health Organization – mental disorders cause a significant economic burden and could strongly impact the development of a country.

We decided to analyze the link between mental health and countries’ development by interviewing several specialists.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened

UN: Only 7% of appeals for urgent hunger-related funding through the UN humanitarian system are filled, leaving a hunger funding gap of 93%, according to “The Hunger Funding Gap: How The World Is Failing to Stop the Crisis,” an analysis released by Action Against Hunger, a nonprofit leader in the global movement to end hunger.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Women in sub-Saharan Africa continue to have an elevated risk of death following childbirth long after the 42-day postpartum limit the WHO uses to define pregnancy-related deaths, a new analysis shows. Researchers analyzed data from 12 sub-Saharan African countries to examine whether the 42-day definition accurately captures deaths following childbirth.

WHO: The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has contributed USD $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support an integrated health response for communities affected by crises and acute food insecurity across South Sudan. This funding brings USAID’s fiscal year 2022 humanitarian contribution to health care services in South Sudan to $34 million.

Uganda: The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to support Uganda as the Government there responds to a deadly Ebola outbreak, agency chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, in his weekly press conference on global health challenges.


WWF’s Living Planet Report reveals a 69% drop in wildlife populations on average in less than a lifetime

Mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish – have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report (LPR) 2022. The report highlights the stark outlook of the state of nature and urgently warns governments, businesses, and the public to take transformative action to reverse the destruction of biodiversity.

With its biggest dataset yet, featuring almost 32,000 populations of 5,230 species, the Living Planet Index (LPI), provided within the report by ZSL (Zoological Society of London), shows it is within tropical regions that monitored vertebrate wildlife populations are plummeting at a particularly staggering rate. WWF is extremely concerned about this trend given that these geographical areas are some of the most biodiverse in the world. In particular, the LPI data reveals that between 1970 and 2018, monitored wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean region have dropped by 94% on average.

In less than a lifetime, monitored freshwater populations have fallen by an average of 83%, the largest decline of any specific group. Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes are responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species.

50 percent of world’s poorest need debt relief now to avert major systemic development crisis

Fifty-four developing economies accounting for more than half of the world’s poorest people need urgent debt relief as a result of cascading global crises. The risks of inaction are dire – if these countries do not get access to effective debt restructuring, poverty will rise, and desperately needed investments in climate adaptation and mitigation will not happen – particularly since countries affected are among the most climate-vulnerable in the world, according to a new paper published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The paper – ‘Avoiding ‘Too Little Too Late on International Debt Relief’ – highlights the ripple effects of government responses to the recent economic crisis and warns of the potential impacts. Against this bleak backdrop, the paper lays out a number of policy actions for debt restructuring that could help stop the debt crisis in its tracks.

Market conditions are shifting rapidly as a synchronized fiscal and monetary contraction and low growth are fuelling volatility around the globe: 19 developing economies are now paying more than 10 percentage points over US Treasury bonds to borrow money on capital markets, effectively shutting them out of the market. Holders of many developing economy bonds are seeing them trade at deep discounts of between 40 to 60 cents on the dollar.

Girls’ rights gains ‘slow, fragile and unequal’ – new report

A girl growing up continues to face considerable human rights violations, with little change from 10 years ago, according to a new analysis by Plan International. In a report published on the 10th annual International Day of the Girl, a day celebrating the importance of girls’ rights, the NGO found that a combination of factors – including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, conflict, and the rise of right-wing politics – has profoundly set back progress on girls’ rights.

While the International Day of the Girl has considerably raised discourse on issues affecting girls and their rights, and the day’s role in raising awareness of girls and their circumstances must be acknowledged, there is much more to be done.

Though improvements have been recorded on key gender equality indicators, such as education and child mortality, a growing youth population means that more girls are being denied rights today – rights that are guaranteed under international law – than in 2012.


The list of major upcoming events in the development sector in October 2022

The list of major upcoming events in development sector in October 2022

Keep up-to-date on key events about emerging funding strategies, environmental policies, climate change, technological development, labor standards, and energy issues in the development sector via our compiled list.

Track events hosted by reputable international organisations, donors, NGO’s and IFIs that bring together the biggest change-makers and stakeholders in international development cooperation.

Save the date to register and attend the upcoming events in October 2022.

Download the comprehensive schedule of major online events.

GMCC Bitesize Session – Aid Funded Business Opportunities | Virtual

GMCC Bitesize Session - Aid Funded Business Opportunities | Virtual

📅 26 October 2022

As part of the commitment to support businesses in Greater Manchester to navigate their international trade journey, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) is pleased to launch a free series of Bitesize Sessions. The purpose of these sessions is to provide support and advice to businesses trading internationally during this time of change.

These sessions will provide an overview of a different topic each time including general export and import processes, border controls, and export documentation, etc.

Link for Registration

World Health Summit 2022

World Health Summit 2022

📅 16-18 October 2022
 Berlin, Germany

The World Health Summit and WHO jointly invite to the world’s leading global health conference. This year’s Summit will take place from 16-18 October 2022 in Berlin, Germany, and will bring together the most prominent names in global health from all sectors in all regions of the world: heads of state and government ministers, scientists, and representatives from the private sector as well as civil society.

Patrons are German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. WHS 2022 aims to set the course for a healthier, more equitable future. Central topics include climate change and health, pandemic preparedness, digital transformation, and sustainable health systems.

Link for Registration

Development2030 | Beyond Aid

Development2030 | Beyond Aid

📅 16-17 November 2022
Brussels Expo

With ever-increasing pressure to ensure the global public and governments worldwide continue to support overseas development assistance, it is imperative for the international community to adapt to the changing landscape if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Development2030 event will consider how best we can do this, by identifying the key existing and emerging players and analysing their role in creating long-term impact for low- and middle-income countries. It is THE place for the overseas development community to build meaningful relationships, get inspired and meet like-minded individuals committed to achieving the 2030 goals.

Link for Registration