Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Early warning technologies, Horn of Africa hunger emergency and reform of the EU electricity market. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

Early warning technologies can be game-changers for climate adaptation

Early Warning Systems are a proven and feasible means of helping people to adapt to climate change. Such systems can provide up to a tenfold return on investment by saving lives and livelihoods in the case of extreme weather events such as ever-more intense and frequent storms and floods. And smart, innovative technologies are playing an increasingly important role in making them effective.

These were the key conclusions of a meeting last month of the UNFCCC’s Technology Executive Committee in collaboration with the children and youth constituency of the UNFCCC, which convened a “deep-dive” discussion on Early Warning Systems at the 2023 edition of the Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (G-STIC) Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has made the UN’s “Early Warnings for All” initiative a priority, with the World Meteorological Organization leading the effort. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years. An executive action plan for the initiative was announced at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last year.

Horn of Africa hunger emergency: ‘129,000 looking death in the eyes’

Life-threatening hunger caused by climate shocks, violent insecurity, and disease in the Horn of Africa, has left nearly 130,000 people “looking death in the eyes” and nearly 50 million facing crisis levels of food insecurity, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said.

In an appeal for $178 million to support humanitarian assistance across the seven affected countries in the Greater Horn region, veteran WHO worker Liesbeth Aelbrecht warned that the situation was worse than anything she’d seen in more than two decades in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

“These 48 million people do include as many as 129,000 who are facing catastrophe; and catastrophe, that means they are facing starvation and literally looking death in the eyes,” Ms. Aelbrecht told journalists in Geneva. Those most at risk, are living in both South Sudan and Somalia.

“You can talk about levels of IPC and all that, but that’s what it means,” she said, referring to the food insecurity assessment index that humanitarians use to assess levels of assistance.

Commission proposes reform of the EU electricity market design to boost renewables, better protect consumers and enhance industrial competitiveness

The Commission has proposed to reform the EU’s electricity market design to accelerate a surge in renewables and the phase-out of gas, make consumer bills less dependent on volatile fossil fuel prices, better protect consumers from future price spikes and potential market manipulation, and make the EU’s industry clean and more competitive.

The EU has had an efficient, well-integrated electricity market for over twenty years, allowing consumers to reap the economic benefits of a single energy market, ensuring the security of supply and stimulating the decarbonization process. The energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underlined the need to quickly adapt the electricity market to better support the green transition and offer energy consumers, both households and businesses, widespread access to affordable renewable and non-fossil electricity.

The proposed reform foresees revisions to several pieces of EU legislation – notably the Electricity Regulation, the Electricity Directive, and the REMIT Regulation. It introduces measures that incentivize longer-term contracts with non-fossil power production and bring more clean flexible solutions into the system to compete with gas, such as demand response and storage. This will decrease the impact of fossil fuels on the consumer electricity bills, as well as ensure that the lower cost of renewables gets reflected there. In addition, the proposed reform will boost open and fair competition in the European wholesale energy markets by enhancing market transparency and integrity.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

How do the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria affect the world? | Experts’ Opinions

One single day can change the lives of millions of people forever. That is what happened on February 6, 2023 for millions across Turkey and Syria after a series of consecutive earthquakes sent shockwaves across hundreds of miles, causing over 45,000 deaths and colossal infrastructure damage. This tragic event echoed around the entire world, bringing thousands of rescuers to the scene. Read some opinions below on how this event could further affect the two countries and the international community.

Key Takeaways:

  • On February 6, magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes struck southeast Turkey and neighbouring Syria.
  • More than four million Syrians who rely on immediate humanitarian aid live in the affected region according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
  • More than 264,000 apartments in Turkey were destroyed as a result of the earthquakes according to preliminary data.
  • Experts suggest that the devastating events could have an impact on the upcoming elections, inflation, health, infrastructure, the refugee crisis, and international relations.

Read the full article.

Hero Stories | Carlo Gibson and Toni Rothbart: smaller organizations are the ones keeping the change possible in South Africa

The 2020-2021 tax year was a difficult one for the South African economy as the country grappled with the realities of a hard Covid-19 pandemic lockdown that eroded any small gains that had been made in dealing with the triple threat of inequality, unemployment and poverty.

On the back of this, the country continued to struggle with providing basic services such as water and housing.

It was within this context that fashion designer and social innovator, Carlo Gibson, and live events producer and project manager, Toni Rothbart, joined forces in early 2021 to found make-good, a non-profit company built around identifying societal needs and, through the skills, support and know-how of artisans and makers, using design thinking to develop and create innovative solutions to make people’s lives better whilst simultaneously supporting small businesses in the South African creative sector.

DevelopmentAid spoke with Gibson and Rothbart to find out more.

Pros and cons of wage indexation amid soaring cost of living crisis

The ongoing wave of social and economic crises has left many individuals struggling to make ends meet in recent years, prompting governments to take action to mitigate the effects of growing inflation. According to a recent report from Ius Laboris, a global association providing legal services in employment, only a limited number of nations have an automatic wage indexation system which adjusts wages in line with rising inflation. However, experts have called for caution, warning of the risk of spiraling wage prices that such systems bring about when applied automatically

The cost of living crisis (a decrease in real available income) is a global issue that affects people from all walks of life, regardless of income, age, or background. It is a growing concern for many households, as inflation has skyrocketed to its highest level in the past 40 years and the energy crisis has added hugely to bills. These have both led to a dramatic increase in the price of goods and services, significantly slashing purchasing power.

Read the full article.

Here’s what else has happened

WFP: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has stepped up an emergency response to help an estimated 130,000 people affected by the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy, which dumped six months’ worth of rainfall in six days in southern Malawi.

Cyclone Freddy: Plan International is extremely concerned for the safety and welfare of children and their families after Cyclone Freddy hit southern Africa for the second time in a month. More than 100 people have been reported dead and scores injured after the tropical cyclone ripped through central Mozambique and Malawi on Saturday, razing buildings, damaging infrastructure and telecommunications, and causing severe flooding and landslides.

Net-Zero Industry Act: The Commission proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act to scale up manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU and make sure the Union is well-equipped for the clean-energy transition. This initiative was announced by President von der Leyen as a part of the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

Child alert: The Sahel has long been one of the most vulnerable regions in Africa. But armed conflict and intensifying military clashes are putting lives and livelihoods at risk, disrupting access to services and leaving the futures of the central Sahel’s children in extreme jeopardy.



Green technologies: Coherent policy action needed for developing countries to reap the benefits

Green technologies – those used to produce goods and services with smaller carbon footprints – are growing and providing increased economic opportunities but many developing countries could miss them unless national governments and the international community take decisive action.

UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2023 published warns that economic inequalities risk growing as developed countries reap most of the benefits of green technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and electric vehicles.

“We are at the beginning of a technological revolution based on green technologies,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said. “This new wave of technological change will have a formidable impact on the global economy. Developing countries must capture more of the value being created in this technological revolution to grow their economies.”

Ms. Grynspan added: “Missing this technological wave because of insufficient policy attention or lack of targeted investment in building capacities would have long-lasting negative implications.”

Ensure decent work for key workers, says ILO

Countries need to improve the working conditions and earnings of key workers – who were essential during the COVID-19 crisis – to fully reflect their contribution to society and their importance in the daily functioning of economies, a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) says.

The report, World Employment and Social Outlook 2023: The value of essential work, underscores the extent to which economies and societies depend on key workers, and also how they are undervalued. The poor working conditions of key workers exacerbate employee turnover and labor shortages, jeopardizing the provision of basic services. Improvements in working conditions and greater investment in food systems, health care, and other key sectors are necessary for building economic and social resilience to shocks, the report says.

Migrant girls risk trafficking, kidnapping, extortion

Migrant girls in Central America’s Northern Triangle and Mexico risk trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion as they search for safety. Gender-based violence is driving adolescent girls from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico to embark on journeys along one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes, according to Plan International’s report “Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Experiences of Migration in Central America and Mexico.“

Plan International’s study, produced with the support of the European Union’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and other partners, shines a light on the lives of migrant girls in these four countries, many of whom have made the dangerous journey northwards in search of better life opportunities.

The report found that sexual and gender-based violence was seen as a common reason for migration by one in five (19.1%) adolescent girls. Social violence was cited by a further 11,7% of the adolescent girls interviewed.


Southeast Asia Development Symposium 2023

📅 30 March 2023
Bali, Indonesia

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. At present, climate impacts in the region continue to grow more severe, disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities, and placing millions at risk of being thrown back into extreme poverty.

Southeast Asian nations face the formidable challenge of contending with the ongoing effects of climate change while pursuing lower-carbon pathways and maintaining robust economic growth.

Link for Registration

9th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue

📅 28-29 March 2023
Berlin, Germany

In the past years, the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) has become a leading international forum for key stakeholders of the energy sector. High-level policymakers, industry, science, and civil society are given the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas on a safe, affordable, and environmentally responsible global energy transition. Over 2,000 participants from more than 90 countries, 50 foreign and energy ministers and state secretaries, and over 100 high-level speakers gather in the German capital every spring to be part of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.

Link for Registration