Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Weekly Roundup | Top international development headlines

Humanitarian catastrophe in DR Congo, Earth Hour 2024 and overwhelmed Gaza hospital. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector.

DR Congo: Deepening humanitarian catastrophe in Ituri completely forgotten

The humanitarian situation in Ituri province in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is becoming increasingly critical, with over 1.6 million people displaced in the province at the end of 2023. The international community must stop neglecting communities in Ituri and take urgent action to support them build the foundations for a peaceful future, urges the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

While the world’s attention is captured by the worsening situation in and around Goma in the North Kivu province, the conflict in neighboring Ituri is being repeatedly overlooked by the international community. Increased inter-communal violence has accelerated a breakdown in the social cohesion between communities as repeated attacks have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes since February 2024

“We cannot afford to overlook the deteriorating conflict in Ituri. The lack of international attention beyond the crisis in North Kivu and the increasing breakdown in relations between local communities across Ituri demand immediate action. We need to be able to deliver more humanitarian aid while also promoting dialogue and reconciliation locally,” said Eric Batonon, NRC country director in DRC.

Millions unite for Earth Hour 2024

Earth Hour 2024 sees millions unite around the world in support and celebration of the planet, with more than 1.4 million hours given to the planet. At 8:30 pm local time on 23rd March 2024, millions of people around the world united for the 18th year of Earth Hour in support and celebration of the planet.

As of 6:00 AM GMT on the 24th of March, supporters from more than 180 countries and territories collectively contributed over 1.4 million hours, making this year’s Earth Hour the biggest hour for Earth yet, with many more hours to follow as celebrations are still happening in many places.

Key public figures participated, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, Colombian actor and influencer Sebastian Villalobos, Colombian model and presenter ⁠Claudia Bahamon, K-pop Super Junior Choi Siwon, Hollywood actress Kate Walsh, Bollywood actress Ananya Panday. Other notable figures included Chinese actor Zhu Yilong, former Cameroonian professional footballer Roger Milla, world-renowned table tennis Olympian Deng Yaping, ⁠Paris Saint-Germain football club, United Nations Environment Programme – and many more.

“The situation is unimaginable”: MAP, IRC and PCRF doctors report malnourished patients are dying from infections in overwhelmed Gaza hospital

As Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza approaches six months, an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) report horrific scenes of patients dying from infections with evidence of serious malnutrition at the European Gaza Hospital (EGH) where they have been recently been treating patients over two weeks.

The EGH, near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, has experienced a huge influx of casualties as a result of Israel’s military offensive on Gaza. It has become even more overwhelmed following Israeli forces’ raid and siege of the nearby Nasser Hospital which is not functioning.

Dr Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist in the EMT, said, “The situation is unimaginable. This hospital had an original capacity of just 200 beds, and at the moment it has expanded to 1,000 beds. There are around 22,000 people that have been displaced from other parts of Gaza sheltering in the corridors and tents inside the hospital because people feel that it’s safer to be here than anywhere else.”

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Ten ways to reduce poverty in the world

Poverty is currently one of the world’s most contemplated and complex issues. Indeed, being a state when people do not have proper access to resources such as nutrition, education, sanitation, and healthcare or, simply put, when their basic needs not satisfied, poverty affects billions of people of all nationalities, races, and ages.

Read the full article.

Merger of International Development Department limited UK’s aid capabilities – watchdog

The merger between the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2020 has limited the UK’s foreign aid management capabilities, the National Audit Office (NAO) has noted in a report.

Read the full article.

Are older people the world’s happiest? No, but the World Happiness Report says things are changing.

Just in case you didn’t know, your happiness is determined by a number of factors but one that seems to matter a great deal in today’s world is your age.

Every year, a group of experts publish the World Happiness Report – a list that shows the level of happiness of people from each country on the globe. With the report having been published annually since 2012, the only difference between previous listings and the latest one is the fact that the researchers decided to take into account one additional parameter, age.

According to the report’s findings, the traditionally accepted idea that the later stages of life are deeply depressing is no longer so certain. Research into happiness now shows a more nuanced picture and one that is changing over time. In fact, in some countries, like the U.S. for example, “happiness has fallen so sharply for the young that they are now less happy than the old”.

Read the full article.

IOM: Moving toward people-centered migration policies

Over 32 million people became migrants in 2022 due to natural disasters, and it is predicted that hundreds of millions of people will become migrants by the end of the century as a result of climate change, according to the annual Migration Governance Insights published by the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) on March 13, 2024. The report, which gives a broad overview of how 100 countries and 69 local authorities address migration, puts forward recommendations as to how “people-centered” policies can be implemented.

Read the full article.

Here’s what else has happened

USAID and IFRC: USAID and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) hosted the first Global Summit on Extreme Heat, which brought together leaders and changemakers from across the world to discuss solutions and strategies to protect communities and workers from extreme heat.

World Bank Group: The World Bank Board approved a pioneering $2 billion initiative to enhance energy security and affordability by scaling up renewable energy in emerging and developing economies in the Europe and Central Asia region.

Sudan: The conflict in Sudan, which has raged on for almost a year, is pushing the country to breaking point. The ongoing hostilities that have ripped the country apart, are pushing huge swathes of the population dangerously close to famine, with millions of lives at risk.

Ireland:Funding of €16.49 million will be provided by Ireland to help reduce poverty and protect human rights in developing countries. A total of fourteen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will receive grants to improve lives overseas.

EU and Republic of Korea: The EU and the Republic of Korea held the second Digital Partnership Council in Brussels. The Council was co-chaired by Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, and by Korean Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Lee Jong-Ho.


World squanders over 1 billion meals a day – UN report

Households across all continents wasted over 1 billion meals a day in 2022, while 783 million people were affected by hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity. Food waste continues to hurt the global economy and fuel climate change, nature loss, and pollution. These are the key findings of a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report published, ahead of the International Day of Zero Waste.

The UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2024, co-authored with WRAP, provides the most accurate global estimate of food waste at retail and consumer levels. It guides countries on improving data collection and suggests best practices in moving from measuring to reducing food waste.

Record growth in renewables, but progress needs to be equitable

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2024 released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that 2023 set a new record in renewables deployment in the power sector by reaching a total capacity of 3 870 Gigawatts (GW) globally. Renewables accounted for 86% of capacity additions; however, this growth is unevenly distributed across the world, indicating a trend far from the tripling renewable power target by 2030.

One in three migrant deaths occurs en route while fleeing conflict: IOM report

The report, A Decade of Documenting Migrant Deaths, looks back at the last ten years, with more than 63,000 deaths and disappearances documented during migration over that period – and more deaths recorded in 2023 than in any prior year. These figures demonstrate the urgent need for strengthened search and rescue capacities, facilitation of safe, regular migration pathways, and evidence-based action to prevent further loss of life. Action should also include intensified international cooperation against unscrupulous smuggling and trafficking networks.


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