Weekly roundup: What happened in the international development sector in the fourth week of March

Weekly roundup: What happened in the international development sector in the fourth week of March

Cyclone Idai humanitarian response expands, UN Commission on the Status of Women delivers a roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection and the physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating. Here is what you missed from last week’s top stories in the international development sector:

Cyclone Idai response expanded as humanitarian aid keeps pouring in

As the response to Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa grows, aid continued to arrive in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. UK Department for International Development (DFID) has raised the total response to the crisis to £22 million and has also provided £3.4 million to fund the UNICEF, World Food Programme and Red Cross humanitarian response for the people displaced by the disaster in Malawi.

The European Commission is also responding through the Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Offers of aid from Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg and Portugal have been accepted by Mozambique. Canada will provide initial funding of up to $3.5 million in emergency assistance to support humanitarian organizations responding to the devastation caused by the cyclone.

UNHCR has sent flights with relief items for some 30,000 people in the three countries affected by the cyclone. In addition, UNHCR emergency teams have started arriving and are being deployed in all three affected countries to support the response, as well as to assume inter-agency coordination functions to protect vulnerable persons coping with the aftermath of the disaster, including refugees.

UNHCR staff unload an aircraft carrying relief items for survivors of Cyclone Idai at the airport in Maputo, Mozambique. UNHCR/Vania Turner

Meanwhile, IOM appeals for $36.4 million as part of a broader Humanitarian Response Plan for Mozambique from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which was revised to include a $282 million appeal for flood response following Cyclone Idai. The organization will target 100,000 people in need of health support during this emergency phase.

The World Food Programme urges more funding for Mozambique, as well. With 86,000 metric tons of commodities needed, WFP requires US$140 million for the next three months.

UNFPA is also appealing for more than $9 million to provide reproductive health supplies and services to Mozambique – with prevention and response to gender-based violence the main priority.

The full impact on Mozambique — where the death toll stands at 446, with over 109,000 displaced — is expected to increase, because of widespread destruction to farmland and fisheries. This is expected to create food insecurity for the affected population over the coming months.

State of the Climate in 2018 shows accelerating climate change impacts

The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 highlights record sea level rise, as well as exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years. This warming trend has lasted since the start of this century and is expected to continue.

Progress on ensuring women’s social protection and accessing economic opportunities

The outcome of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), known as the Agreed Conclusions, adopted by Member States last week, serves a roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities.

“This annual gathering has never been bigger nor more significant for the women and girls of the world. The Commission’s recommendations pave the way for governments to engage and invest differently; involving women in policy dialogue, and targeting initiatives that go to the heart of the largest barriers to the empowerment and voice of women and girls.” said the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Participants rejoice as the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women adopts Agreed Conclusions, delivering a roadmap that ensures women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

In addition to that, two major initiatives of UN Women—“Making Every Woman and Girl Count” and “Buy from Women” are receiving significant support from Alibaba Foundation as part of the 5-year, $5 million commitment the Foundation made to UN Women.

Appeals for access to critical areas and for more humanitarian aid to Yemen

With Yemen now in its fifth year of conflict between pro-Government forces and Houthi rebels, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is calling for “unhindered access” to the most desperate areas in the frontline regions “to prevent the food security situation deteriorating”.

“Today twenty million Yemenis – some 70 percent of the population – are food insecure, marking a 13 percent increase from last year”, said WFP Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel. “Nearly 10 million of them are one step away from famine”.

Meanwhile, Islamic Relief renews calls for world leaders to provide aid to Yemen. The organization recently pledged to spend $7.6 million on humanitarian efforts, which is just a fraction of what is needed so the organization is renewing its calls for aid.
At the same time, the European Union has contributed new funding totaling $40.8 million to boost United Nations resilience-building work in Yemen. Interventions will target over 735 000 vulnerable people.

UNHCR appealing to donors for support to displaced Cameroonians

Violent clashes in Cameroon between the military and armed separatists over the past thirteen months have forcibly displaced thousands, including across the border into Nigeria. UNHCR is asking donors for stepped up support for half a million displaced Cameroonians. The UN Refugee Agency now requires US$184 million for its operations in Cameroon and Nigeria – including US$35.4 million needed urgently for critical life-saving assistance.

Here’s what else happened

KfW and the EU participate in the financing of the first solar thermal energy project in Latin America; Argentina, EU and UN team up to end violence against women and girls, and USAID announced the establishment of the Egypt Rural Business Strengthening project with an investment of $37 million. Also, EU increases emergency assistance to Venezuela by €50 million and the largest joint-United Nations programme on education is planned to reach tens of thousands of children in South Sudan thanks to European Union funds.


G20 Niigata Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled for 11-12 April 2019. The gathering is one of the eight ministerial meetings taking place in Japan alongside the 2019 G20 Summit. Its main theme is: ‘Toward Sustainable Agro-Food Sector: Emerging Issues and Good Practices’.
The FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade Geneva will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on 23-24 April 2019. The Forum will address the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety.
The SDG Global Festival of Action was announced to take place between 2-4 May, in Bonn, Germany. The Festival provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools, and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action.
EU Green Week is scheduled for 13-17 May 2019. This year’s edition will put the process of environmental implementation into the spotlight and will include events across Europe, as well as a high-level summit in Brussels from 15 to 17 May. The 14th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 14) is also due to take place in May (6-10 May), in New York City, USA.