Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Gaza one month on, UN teams respond to a deadly earthquake in western Nepal and El Niño. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

Gaza one month on

It marks 1 month since an unprecedented escalation began in the Middle East. The situation on the ground in Gaza remains extremely dangerous and civilians are facing a desperate struggle to survive amid relentless bombing and shortages of water, food, medicines, and safe shelter.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza, including more than 4,800 children, and more than 1.5 million have become displaced following an order to evacuate to the south of the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands of individuals have been injured and interruptions to communication continue to leave people unsure of whether their loved ones are safe. In Israel, some 1,400 people have been killed and more than 4,500 injured.

UN teams respond to deadly earthquake in western Nepal

United Nations teams in Nepal are responding to the devastating earthquake in the west of the country, amid reports that over 150 people have been killed and hundreds more injured.

The powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the remote and rural districts of Rukum (West) and Jajarkot shortly before midnight as families slept in their mostly mud-brick homes, trapping many under the rubble. Several aftershocks have since been reported.

The shaking was also felt in the capital, Kathmandu, about 510 kilometres (about 315 miles) away. People ran out of their homes, with memories of the deadly April-May 2015 earthquakes still fresh in their minds.

The 2015 quakes claimed nearly 9,000 lives, destroyed or severely damaged over 500,000 homes, and reduced towns, schools, hospitals and centuries-old historic sites to rubble.

El Niño expected to last at least until April 2024

The ongoing El Niño event is expected to last at least until April 2024, influencing weather patterns and contributing to a further spike in temperatures both on land and in the ocean, according to a new Update from the World Meteorological Organization.

As of mid-October 2023, sea surface temperatures and other atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the central-eastern tropical Pacific are consistent with El Niño, the warm phase of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The El Niño developed rapidly during July-August and reached moderate strength by September 2023 and is likely to peak as a strong event in November – January 2024. There is a 90% likelihood it will persist throughout the upcoming northern hemisphere winter/southern hemisphere summer.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Almost 70 countries face severe ecological threats, half of them in Africa – report

A total of 66 countries are now facing at least one severe ecological threat and 30 “hotspot” countries are classified as extremely vulnerable, according to the 2023 Ecological Threat Report. The document, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) on November 1, 2023, also pinpointed that 19 of the “hotspot” countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, with Ethiopia, Niger, Somalia, and South Sudan topping the list of at-risk countries. Only Europe and North America were classified as not being at risk for ecological threats.

Read the full article.

Hero Stories | Marcel Roura i Puig: “It’s imperative for us to reconsider our procurement systems. This could address the annual loss of nearly 3% of GDP to corruption.”

A visionary leader with a unique perspective and an unwavering commitment to ethical and impactful solutions, Marcel Roura i Puig provides a fresh outlook on the sustainable development industry’s challenges and opportunities. Recognizing his significant contributions and the compelling stance he has taken on vital industry issues, DevelopmentAid approached Marcel to share his insights. As we delve into this ‘Hero Stories‘ interview, not only will you discover what sets the founder and CEO of DEVPOLES apart in the sector, but also understand why his voice is of paramount importance in reshaping the landscape of sustainable development.

Read the full article.

Pros and cons of GMOs for health and environment | Experts’ Opinions

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are currently causing the greatest confusion among consumers. Some are sure that food containing GMOs is particularly dangerous, while others share the opinion that this can solve the world’s malnutrition problem. Genetically modified or transgenic foods are those organisms whose genetic or genomic information is artificially modified for human consumption. Like all technologies, there are benefits and risks that must be considered for the optimum benefit for humanity. Check out some expert opinions on this issue.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research shows that GMOs are the most tested agricultural and food technology in history, and there are no negative health impacts.
  • GM crops are grown around the world by approximately 17 million farmers, most of them in developing countries.
  • Many experts consider that GM crops can address global food security by having the ability to feed a growing population.
  • On the other hand, experts mention that “private actors and agents may develop products engineered to withstand higher levels of carcinogenic and mutagenic synthetic inputs, endangering both human health and ecosystems alike”.

Read the full article.

Here’s what else has happened

IFRC: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 5 million Swiss Francs to scale up the relief and response efforts of the Nepal Red Cross Society.

Ethiopia: The EU announced new funding of €1 million to Ethiopia to contribute towards the ongoing humanitarian response to the cholera epidemic that has been claiming lives since August 2022 when the outbreak started.

USAID and WFP: The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare announced an expansion of its activities to improve community and government capacities in disaster risk reduction in the north of the country. Nearly 16,000 people in four districts of Oudomxay and Phongsaly province will benefit from this cooperation implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), under the leadership of the Ministry and with support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

German Development Minister: The German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze has met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini to discuss the unfolding tragedy in the Gaza Strip.

WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: Following devastating outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016 that saw the exportation of cases to China, the EYE Strategy – a global coalition of over 50 partners in 40 countries – was launched to accelerate efforts to prevent outbreaks, protect at-risk populations, and save lives across the continent.

Malawi: Malawi is the first country in Africa to utilize the recently updated Global Task Force for Cholera Control tool to identify priority areas for multi-sectoral interventions (PAMIs, also called hotspots) for cholera control. A timely approach as the country embarks on a roadmap to develop a multi-sectoral cholera control strategy.


New UN report: 43.2 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean

The new United Nations report, Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023, states that 6.5% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean suffers from hunger, or 43.2 million people. Although this figure represents a slight improvement of 0.5 percentage points over the previous measurement, the prevalence of hunger in the region is still 0.9 percentage points above the 2019 records prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows

The 2023 Production Gap Report: “Phasing down or phasing up? Top fossil fuel producers plan even more extraction despite climate promises” is produced by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)Climate AnalyticsE3GInternational Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It assesses governments’ planned and projected production of coal, oil, and gas against global levels consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.

Tuberculosis response recovering from pandemic but accelerated efforts needed to meet new targets

The World Health Organization (WHO) 2023 Global Tuberculosis (TB) report underscores a significant worldwide recovery in the scale-up of TB diagnosis and treatment services in 2022. It shows an encouraging trend starting to reverse the detrimental effects of COVID-19 disruptions on TB services.


Market Systems Symposium 2023

Market Systems Symposium 2023

📅 14-16 November 2023
Cape Town, South Africa

Empower your market systems development practice with inspiration, innovation, and connection.

Get ready to be inspired, equipped, and connected like never before at Market Systems Symposium 2023! Engage with industry-leading experts in Market Systems Development from around the world as we explore cutting-edge research, innovative strategies, and real-world application in this dynamic and engaging forum.

Key Themes:

Given the significant impact of climate change, conflict and food insecurity on our world today, the core themes which we will be discussing, debating, collaborating, and innovating around at MSS2023 are:

  • Climate Change & Adaptation
  • Conflict-Affected Contexts
  • Food Security and Food Systems


Global Digital Health Forum 2023

Global Digital Health Forum 2023

📅 4-6 December 2023
Hybrid Event – Virtual (Asia and East Africa time zones)
In-Person – Washington D.C.

Are you passionate about digital health? Join the Global Digital Health Forum December 4-6, 2023 – the largest gathering of digital health practitioners including tech innovators, funders, policymakers, project implementers, researchers, and students.

GDHF is the leading global public health industry networking and relationship-building opportunity for technology vendors, donors, researchers, government representatives, and implementing organizations working in low- and middle-income countries.

Here’s a sneak peek at what awaits you at the event:

  • Engaging with government stakeholders
  • Connecting with digital health developers
  • Exploring the latest research
  • Collaborating with donors
  • Partnering with implementers
  • Learning from field experts in public health and technology from across the globe

The event will take place both virtually and in person, so you will have a chance to engage no matter where you are!

With your active participation, we’ll spearhead effective and equitable digital health innovation together!

Have any questions about the Forum? Feel free to reach out to us atsupport@techchange.org.

Register here



📅 30 November – 12 December 2023
Dubai, UAE

A critical moment in global transformative climate action. In the three decades since the Rio Summit and the launch of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP) has convened member countries every year to determine ambition and responsibilities, and identify and assess climate measures. The 21st session of the COP (COP21) led to the Paris Agreement, which mobilized global collective action to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2100 and to act to adapt to the already existing effects of climate change.