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Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Germany gives EUR 2.85 million to support safe agriculture trade in developing countries, sharp, long-lasting slowdown to hit developing countries hard, and Uganda declares end of Ebola disease outbreak. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

Germany gives EUR 2.85 million to support safe agriculture trade in developing countries

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is contributing EUR 2.85 million (approximately CHF 2.8 million) to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) over a period of four years (2022-2025) to facilitate safe and inclusive agricultural trade in developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and to help them meet international food safety, animal and plant health standards.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “I thank Germany for its generous and longstanding support to developing countries and LDCs in strengthening their compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. When farmers are empowered to meet these standards, it improves access to global and regional markets, paving the way for increased sales and incomes. Enhanced SPS capacity also means more sustainable, resilient food systems, which contributes to food security at home and globally.”

Sharp, long-lasting slowdown to hit developing countries hard

Global growth is slowing sharply in the face of elevated inflation, higher interest rates, reduced investment, and disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report.

Given fragile economic conditions, any new adverse development—such as higher-than-expected inflation, abrupt rises in interest rates to contain it, a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, or escalating geopolitical tensions—could push the global economy into recession. This would mark the first time in more than 80 years that two global recessions have occurred within the same decade.

The global economy is projected to grow by 1.7% in 2023 and 2.7% in 2024. The sharp downturn in growth is expected to be widespread, with forecasts in 2023 revised down for 95% of advanced economies and nearly 70% of emerging market and developing economies.

Uganda declares end of Ebola disease outbreak

Uganda declared the end of the Ebola disease outbreak caused by the Sudan ebolavirus, less than four months after the first case was confirmed in the country’s central Mubende district on 20 September 2022.

“Uganda put a swift end to the Ebola outbreak by ramping up key control measures such as surveillance, contact tracing and infection, prevention and control. While we expanded our efforts to put a strong response in place across the nine affected districts, the magic bullet has been our communities who understood the importance of doing what was needed to end the outbreak, and took action,” said Dr Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, Uganda’s Minister of Health.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

How can Artificial Intelligence help fight climate change? | Experts’ Opinions

How can Artificial Intelligence help fight climate change? | Experts’ Opinions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could become a game-changer in the fight against climate change. Distilling raw data into actionable information, improving meteorological predictions, accelerating scientific modelling and discoveries are just a few of AI’s capabilities to accelerate climate action. We asked several international experts about the opportunities that AI has to address the changing climate. Check out their opinions below.

Check the full article here

Bilateral aid for agricultural adaptation to climate change in developing countries

Bilateral aid for agricultural adaptation to climate change in developing countries

In developing countries, agriculture accounts for a sizable portion of the labor force and is crucial to rural resilience, growth and food security. International trading in agricultural commodities is a significant source of income for many developing nations.

But besides the fact that in poor countries there needs to be a significant increase in productivity in agriculture, there is a need to shift to more sustainable methods, making adjustments for climate change.

However, there are two sides to the coin. On the one hand, agriculture leads to a significant volume of greenhouse gasses being emitted into the atmosphere (almost 17% of global GHG emissions) which contributes to the destruction of natural habitats as well as using a huge amount of water which means that minimizing its impact on the environment would necessitate significant financial investment.

Check the full article here

The blind CV: a step forward to diversity?

The blind CV: a step forward to diversity?

Nowadays, there are certainly plenty of ways to tackle discrimination at work. Anonymizing CVs could be a way to increase diversity in organizations and reduce bias in terms of enabling blind recruitment. In a way, this is also an approach that would allow candidates themselves to foster inclusiveness by concealing certain personal information.

This takes us back to 1952 when blind hiring was used by symphony orchestras. The musicians were asked to play behind a screen during their audition which increased the number of women who were accepted into the orchestra. According to later research, blind auditions increased a woman’s chance of being accepted by an orchestra by 50%.

Check the full article here

Here’s what else has happened

WMO: The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat, according to six leading international temperature datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization.

UN: United Nations agencies are calling for urgent action to protect the most vulnerable children in the 15 countries hardest hit by an unprecedented food and nutrition crisis. Currently, more than 30 million children in the 15 worst-affected countries suffer from wasting – or acute malnutrition – and 8 million of these children are severely wasted, the deadliest form of undernutrition.

UNCTAD: The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has extended support to the Indo-Pacific region on a joint programme with UNCTAD that works with governments, researchers and businesses to reduce manufacturing’s environmental footprint in developing countries.

West Africa and the Sahel: Although West Africa and the Sahel continue to face unprecedented security challenges, it is still “a land of immense opportunities”, a senior UN official told the Security Council. In her briefing, Giovanie Biha, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Officer-in-Charge of the UN Office for the region, UNOWAS, urged ambassadors to continue to support a strategy centered on building resilience, promoting good governance, and strengthening peace and security.

IEA: Technologies motivated by climate change concerns accounted for nearly 80% of all patents related to hydrogen production in 2020, a new analysis shows. Hydrogen technology development is shifting towards low-emissions solutions such as electrolysis, according to a joint study of patents by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).


Ozone layer recovery is on track, helping avoid global warming by 0.5°C

The ozone layer is on track to recover within four decades, with the global phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals already benefitting efforts to mitigate climate change. This is the conclusion of an UN-backed panel of experts, presented at the American Meteorological Society’s 103rd annual meeting. Examining novel technologies such as geoengineering for the first time, the panel warns of unintended impacts on the ozone layer.

The UN-backed Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances quadrennial assessment report, published every four years, confirms the phase-out of nearly 99% of banned ozone-depleting substances has succeeded in safeguarding the ozone layer, leading to the notable recovery of the ozone layer in the upper stratosphere and decreased human exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

The world is entering a new age of clean technology manufacturing, and countries’ industrial strategies will be key to success

Energy Technology Perspectives 2023 highlights major market and employment opportunities, as well as the emerging risks, for countries racing to lead the clean energy industries of today and tomorrow. The energy world is at the dawn of a new industrial age – the age of clean energy technology manufacturing – that is creating major new markets and millions of jobs but also raising new risks, prompting countries across the globe to devise industrial strategies to secure their place in the new global energy economy, according to a major new IEA report.

Energy Technology Perspectives 2023, the latest installment in one of the IEA’s flagship series, serves as the world’s first global guidebook for the clean technology industries of the future. It provides a comprehensive analysis of global manufacturing of clean energy technologies today – such as solar panels, wind turbines, EV batteries, electrolyzers for hydrogen, and heat pumps – and their supply chains around the world, as well as mapping out how they are likely to evolve as the clean energy transition advances in the years ahead.

A child or youth died once every 4.4 seconds in 2021 – UN report

An estimated 5 million children died before their fifth birthday and another 2.1 million children and youth aged between 5–24 years lost their lives in 2021, according to the latest estimates released by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).

In a separate report also released, the group found that 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same period. Tragically, many of these deaths could have been prevented with equitable access and high-quality maternal, newborn, adolescent and child health care.

“Every day, far too many parents are facing the trauma of losing their children, sometimes even before their first breath,” said Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF Director of the Division of Data Analytics, Planning and Monitoring. “Such widespread, preventable tragedy should never be accepted as inevitable. Progress is possible with stronger political will and targeted investment in equitable access to primary health care for every woman and child.”


The list of major upcoming events in development sector in January – February 2023

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 January-February 2023.

Download the comprehensive schedule of major online events.

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

📅 16–20 January 2023

The world is at a critical inflection point. The sheer number of ongoing crises calls for bold collective action. The Annual Meeting will convene leaders from government, business, and civil society to address the state of the world and discuss priorities for the year ahead.

It will provide a platform to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private cooperation.

Board of Trustees

The Forum is chaired by Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab. It’s guided by a Board of Trustees, exceptional individuals who act as guardians of its mission and values and oversee the Forum’s work in promoting true global citizenship.

Link for Registration

Value Chain Analysis for Development: providing evidence for better policies and operations in agricultural value chains

Value Chain Analysis for Development: providing evidence for better policies and operations in agricultural value chains

📅 18 – 19 January 2023
Brussels, Belgium & Virtual

Value chains are a privileged target and entry point for intervention and policy formulation in order to reduce poverty in rural areas. Beyond the generation of jobs and income opportunities, value chain development also has consequences on social and environmental dimensions.

The Value Chain Analysis for Development (VCA4D) project has been launched in 2016 by DG INTPA to support European Delegations and governments in partner countries in their decision-making processes for agricultural development. The project is implemented by Agrinatura(link is external), the European Alliance of Research Centers and Universities specializing in agricultural research for development.

VCA4D relies on a comprehensive methodology combining economic, social, and environmental indicators to appraise the economic performance, inclusiveness, and sustainability of a value chain.

Since its creation, VCA4D has performed more than 45 studies at the demand of EU Delegations across a range of agricultural products and countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia to provide evidence-based and quantitative information to decision-makers.

The Conference aims at taking stock of lessons learned from evidence (research and analysis) produced on value chains and on how to best support the policy dialogue. The Conference will present syntheses, proposed and produced by Agrinatura researchers and partners, on thematic issues that cut across the VCA4D studies. Discussion panels will foster a dialogue between researchers and decision-makers.

Link for Registration

Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2023

Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2023

📅 January 18-21, 2023
Berlin, Germany

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference on central issues of agricultural and food policies held each year in Berlin. Hosted by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the event welcomes 3,000 international visitors from politics, industry, science, and civil society to discuss what actions can be taken to achieve a transformation of food systems.

The 2023 GFFA will address the issue “Food Systems Transformation: A Worldwide Response to Multiple Crises.” With the 2030 Agenda, the international community has set ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, such as ending global hunger. Despite this, the number of people affected by hunger is continuing to rise. In addition to the climate crisis, the extinction of species and the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine has become a new driving force in this crisis of global food security.

Building upon the UN Food Systems Summit, the GFFA aims to promote continued discussion and collaboration with a special focus on the following four questions:

  • How can we create crisis-proof food systems?
  • How can we create climate-friendly food systems?
  • How can we preserve biological diversity?
  • How can we improve collaboration for sustainable global food systems?

The world’s largest informal Conference of Agriculture Ministers will take place on the final day, with 70 agriculture ministers from around the world gathering to adopt a joint political communiqué. High-level representatives from more than ten international organizations, including the World BankFAOOECD, and WTO will also be in attendance.

Link for Registration

Skills for Youth. Investing in human capital in Latin America and the Caribbean

Skills for Youth. Investing in human capital in Latin America and the Caribbean

📅 24 January 2023 🕑 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Washington, D.C., USA

As a new social, economic, and political order is being reconfigured in the post-pandemic world, 165 million young people in Latin America and the Caribbean face a rapidly changing present lacking the skills they need. To navigate complex realities, the youth need the region to build quality education that responds to the demands of the 21st century.

On the International Day of Education, IDB invites people to this hybrid event at IDB headquarters in Washington, DC. It will be a gathering of global leaders from the private and public sectors and experts on the regional agenda to transform the future of education with a focus on 21st Century skills.

Link for Registration

ECOSOC Partnership Forum 2023

ECOSOC Partnership Forum 2023

📅 31 January 2023 🕑 10.00 AM
New York, USA

Under the main theme of the 2023 ECOSOC and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”, the 2023 ECOSOC Partnership Forum will bring together the UN Member States and stakeholders – from civil society, the private sector, scientists, women, youth, local governments, and many others – to discuss innovative efforts that are driving action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to highlight the contributions that partnerships can make in this regard.

An analytical summary will be prepared to capture the key policy messages of the Forum along with the messages of the Coordination Segment, which will serve as input to the July 2023 HLPF and the 2023 SDG Summit as well as the overall work of the ECOSOC and other key inter-governmental processes throughout 2023.

The Partnership Exchange, organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs virtually on 30 January 2023, the day prior to the ECOSOC Partnership Forum, will provide a space for Member States and other stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise in the design and implementation of partnerships that will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Link for Registration