Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Solving the water and sanitation crisis, World TB Day and record 9.6% growth in renewables. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

Solving the water and sanitation crisis: How technology and innovation can help

This year’s World Water Day on 22 March focuses on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. About 2 billion people lack safe drinking water, according to UN-Water, and about 5.4 billion don’t have access to safely managed sanitation services. A recent UNCTAD report emphasizes the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in tackling this crisis.

It says frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things help in monitoring water and sanitation infrastructure and accelerate progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on “clean water and sanitation for all”.

To expand their use, the UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) will examine how STI can help get safe water and sanitation to the billions of people without these essential services, during its twenty-sixth annual session from 27 to 31 March. UNCTAD provides substantive support to the CSTD.

World TB Day: More people need access to testing and treatment

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling on governments and donors to speed up access to new, shorter, safer, and more effective treatments for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), as well as the diagnostic tests needed to initiate treatment on these medicines. This is part of a “Call to Action” that MSF joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other actors ahead of World TB Day on March 24.

Following MSF’s TB PRACTECAL clinical trial, WHO issued new guidelines in December 2022 that recommend countries roll out a safer and shorter regimen called BPaLM to treat people with DR-TB—a six-month regimen comprised of bedaquiline, pretomanid, linezolid, and moxifloxacin. However, a lack of access to diagnostic testing for resistance is standing in the way of rolling out safer and shorter DR-TB treatment regimens.

“In a country like Afghanistan, where people are struggling to afford basic food items, travel expenses, and medical fees at hospitals, being able to treat people with DR-TB within six months instead of up to two years with the older treatment regimens would be a blessing,” said Dr. Geke Huisman, MSF medical coordinator in Afghanistan. “Access to affordable diagnostic tests remains a major challenge in Afghanistan and other countries in this region because of high prices. Governments, donors, and pharmaceutical corporations must act now to ensure an affordable supply of these critical tests and treatments for TB so that more lives can be saved.”

Record 9.6% growth in renewables achieved despite energy crisis

By the end of 2022, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3372 Gigawatt (GW), growing the stock of renewable power by a record 295 GW or by 9.6 per cent. An impressive 83 per cent of all power capacity added last year was produced by renewables.

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023, released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy continues to grow at record levels despite global uncertainties, confirming the downward trend of fossil-fueled power generation.

“This continued record growth shows the resilience of renewable energy amidst the lingering energy crisis”, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said. “The strong business case of renewables coupled with enabling policies has sustained an upward trend of their share in the global energy mix year on year. But annual additions of renewable power capacity must grow three times the current level by 2030 if we want to stay on a pathway limiting global warming to 1.5°C.”

While many countries increased their renewable capacity in 2022, the significant growth of renewables is persistently concentrated in a few countries and regions like Asia, the USA, and Europe. IRENA’s data finds that almost half of all new capacity in 2022 was added in Asia, resulting in a total of 1.63 Terawatt (TW) of renewable capacity by 2022. China was the biggest contributor, adding 141 GW to the continent’s new capacity.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Forests can save our planet. But can we protect the forests?

Did you know that some of the Earth’s oldest trees are aged over 5,000 years? Living in harsh conditions in the South and North Americas, these trees have survived time, droughts, disasters and even mankind. For thousands of years, trees and forests have been the ‘lungs’ of our planet, ensuring humans can breathe, feel heat, eat and rest their souls.

Covering nearly 31% of the total land area, forests house 80% of the world’s biodiversity, encompassing over 60 thousand tree species but the fauna of the area is not the only living thing dependent on forests – more than 2 billion people also rely heavily on forest products.

Without forests, the future of humanity can scarcely be hardly imagined but people continue to destroy forests uncontrollably, leaving too little scope for the sustainable use of wood and land.

Read the full article.

How AI can impact developing countries: positives and negatives

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a widely-debated issue for decades but it is now gaining even more attention with the recent advent of its real-world use. There are differing opinions about what AI may hold for the future with some focusing on the potential opportunities while others highlight the possible disruptions it may cause globally. Nevertheless, it is widely recognized that AI holds immense potential and will have a significant impact on the world, with PwC even predicting that the global economy will rise by 14% thanks to AI alone.

Read the full article.

Working with USAID. Tips for junior professionals | Experts’ Opinions

“From the American People” is nowadays probably one of the most recognized slogans in international development. Behind the slogan, thousands of aid workers and professionals work within the organization that leads the U.S. aid missions – the United States Agency for International Development. For decades, a career with USAID was a major milestone for generations of aid workers, and it still is. Why? What are the characteristics needed to become a part of the team? What are the mistakes that can be made when applying for a USAID job? At DevelopmentAid, we decided to ask the best resource we have available – our members, experts in the aid sector, with years of experience at USAID. We are sure their insights will be of great help to both junior and experienced aid workers seeking to become part of the USAID team.

Key Takeaways:

  • USAID has missions in more than 80 countries and runs programs in over 100 states, working in a variety of technical areas: agriculture, economic growth, environment, education, democracy, human rights, and governance, women’s empowerment, water and sanitation, and global health.
  • According to experts, among the most important skills and requirements for an USAID career are a depth of background experience, excellent time management, the ability to work under pressure, productivity, and good language knowledge.
  • One of the biggest mistakes made when applying for an USAID position is not paying enough attention to the job requirements.
  • Among the main benefits of working with the USAID, multicultural experience, and the satisfaction of helping vulnerable people, are most appreciated.

See also: A brief history of USAID

Read the full article.

Here’s what else has happened

UNHCR: At the start of the holy month of Ramadan, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is launching its 5th Islamic Philanthropy Annual Report, which shows the power and growth potential of Islamic giving to save lives and build better futures for the forcibly displaced globally.

Haiti: Haitians remain desperate for access to basics including food as a deepening crisis pushes more and more people into hunger. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis reveals a steady increase in the number of acutely hungry people in Haiti – with nearly half the population of Haiti or 4.9 million people now struggling to feed themselves. The worrying trend shows a steady deterioration of food security, with the number of hungry people going up threefold since 2016.

Yemen: Eight brutal years of conflict have devastated the lives of millions of children in Yemen and left 11 million children in need of one or more forms of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said, warning that, without urgent action, millions could face greater risks of being malnourished. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen stems from a devastating convergence of compounding factors: eight years of a fierce conflict, economic collapse, and a crippled social support system affecting essential services.

Afghanistan: A powerful earthquake struck Afghanistan. This comes less than a year after the quake that killed over 1,000 people in the country last June. CARE Afghanistan Country Director, Victor Moses, shared the organization’s main concerns at the moment.

Burundi: Health authorities in Burundi said that they had detected eight samples of polio, officially declaring the landlocked African nation’s first outbreak in more than 30 years. Health authorities said there was a confirmed case in an unvaccinated four-year-old child in the Isale district, in western Burundi, as well as two other children with whom he had been in contact


Access to chronic disease medication ‘still out of reach for many’: WHO report

Although COVID-19 is disappearing from view, access to medicines that treat non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, remains out of reach for millions across the world, said the World Health Organization (WHO) in a new report published.

Access to NCD Medicines: Emergent Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Key Structural Factors, highlights the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to NCD medicines, and the policies and strategies implemented by countries to both anticipate and mitigate the disruption that has hit medical supply chains.

Imminent risk of a global water crisis

Between two and three billion people worldwide experience water shortages. These shortages will worsen in the coming decades, especially in cities, if international cooperation in this area is not boosted, warn UNESCO and UN-Water in the latest edition of the UN World Water Development Report.

Globally, 2 billion people (26% of the population) do not have safe drinking water and 3.6 billion (46%) lack access to safely managed sanitation, according to the report, published by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water and released at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York.


Ocean Visions Biennial Summit 2023

📅 4 – 6 April 2023
Georgia, USA

The Ocean Visions Biennial Summit 2023 will be a significant opportunity to advance the sharing of knowledge and solutions to critical challenges at the ocean-climate nexus. The ocean is under threat from a host of pressures, but none loom larger than those caused by greenhouse gas pollution, which drives overheating and acidification. Ocean heating is in turn causing deoxygenation, sea level rise, and disruption of critical marine ecosystem functions and services.

Link for Registration

Effective Fundraising and Proposal Writing | In-person training course

📅 2-5 May 2023
In-person training course

This course aims to teach participants how to prepare and present information about their organizations and their specific projects to donors, to raise funds for their work.

The course will inform participants:

  • How to look for funds for humanitarian and development projects.
  • How to register with humanitarian and development donors.
  • How to create (with examples) a pipeline of potential donors.
  • The organizational information required by donors to apply for funds (‘donor due diligence’).
  • How to prepare an effective concept note- main information required, format, hints and tips for writing a good project concept.
  • How to prepare an effective proposal- main information required, format, hints and tips for writing a good project concept

Link for Registration