Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Weekly roundup: Top international development headlines

Attacks on education, the launch of the Facilitation Council to strengthen global collaboration and development of the ocean activities. Here is what you missed from last week’s headlines in the international development sector:

Attacks on education during times of conflict must stop

Education is a fundamental human right and an essential driver for peace and development, yet armed attacks targeting teachers, students, and education facilities are on the rise, with some 11,000 incidents reported between 2015 and 2019, the UN Secretary-General said.

António Guterres shared the startling figure in an address to mark the first observance of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.

“In addition to depriving millions of vulnerable learners from accessing education, this violence has serious adverse effects, including increased drop-out rates, prolonged educational disruption, child recruitment into armed groups, early pregnancy and sexual violence”, he stated, adding “These attacks simply must not continue.”

The President of the UN General Assembly outlined the magnitude of the problem, noting that most incidents involve direct attacks on schools, including arson, ground and airstrikes, raids, looting and use of explosive devices.

WHO and European Commission launch the Facilitation Council to strengthen global collaboration

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launched and co-hosted the first meeting of the High-Level Facilitation Council, leading the work of the global collaborative framework Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (the ACT-A) to speed up the development and deployment of vaccines, tests, and treatments against COVID-19, as well as to improve health systems.

The objectives of the first Council meeting was to align the plan for ACT-Accelerator as a key global solution to end the crisis and restore health systems and global growth, concur on the economic rationale and investment case for fully financing the ACT-Accelerator, and mobilise political leadership and international support for global equitable allocation.

Countries must do more to ensure sustainable development of ocean activities

Countries need to work together to defend the ocean from a steady rise in temperature, pollution, and overfishing that threatens its ability to continue supporting marine life and providing food and income to billions of people, according to a new OECD report.

Sustainable Ocean for All: Harnessing the benefits of sustainable ocean economies for developing countries says that with ocean-related economic sectors forecast to grow rapidly over the next decade, ensuring this development takes place in a sustainable way is critical.

While the COVID-19 crisis is hurting key ocean-based sectors, such as tourism and shipping, demands on marine resources for food, energy, minerals, transport, tourism, and leisure will persist as the global population grows towards an expected 9 billion by 2050. If managed sustainably, the ocean could have the capacity to regenerate, be more productive, and support more prosperous societies. This will require governments to support those sectors less equipped to foster sustainable ocean economies by facilitating their access to finance and policy evidence.

DevelopmentAid Editorials

Experts’ Opinions | Antigovernment protests – more widespread and more frequent. Causes and consequences.

The years 2019 and 2020 will be notable not only for the Coronavirus pandemic. They will also be remembered for the tsunami of protests that swept across six continents and engulfed both liberal democracies and ruthless autocracies. Do these demonstrations and international development intersect somewhere? Let’s see what some experts have to say about this.

Check the full article here.

Nepal’s green sanitation progress fails to meet its commitments

Although Nepal was declared to be ‘open defecation free’ (ODF) in September last year, the country’s attempts to implement green sanitation have failed to meet the commitments developed as part of its climate change policies and plans. A growing population and ineffective management strategies remain major obstacles to addressing and managing fecal sludge and wastewater thereby escalating the exploitation of natural resources. Furthermore, Nepal has developed an ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda in relation to green growth intervention targeting a 95% access rate to piped water and improved sanitation. Regrettably, Nepal has yet to rewrite its national climate and energy policy objectives as per the Paris Agreement which was ratified by Nepal on October 6, 2016 and was intended to be the key driver for green growth.

Check the full article here.

US$9.4 million project launched to provide survivor-centered response to gender-based violence in Nepal

The government of Nepal has often found itself unable to appoint executives to the National Women Commission (NWC) and, furthermore, the COVID-19 related lockdown has put women at greater risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Therefore today, a US$9.4 million project has been launched in the country to provide a survivor-centered response to GBV.

Check the full article here.

Here’s what else has happened


ILO: ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has welcomed the commitment of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers to a job-centric focus for COVID-19 recovery plans, promoting decent work for all, especially women and youth.

European Union: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a EUR 45 million contribution from the European Union (EU) to provide vital food assistance to families in Yemen facing acute food shortages as conflict, economic collapse, and now the coronavirus pushes millions of people to the brink.

Greece: UN agencies have offered support to Greek authorities after a major fire ripped through an overcrowded refugee camp overnight, destroying dwellings and forcing thousands to flee, many reportedly suffering from smoke inhalation.

World Bank: The World Bank approved a $104 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of skills development programs for Mozambican youth. The project will invest in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education (HE) subsystems to improve access and quality of educational curriculums and skills development training in response to the country’s priorities and economic sectors.


More than 50% of global destinations are easing travel restrictions- but caution remains

A majority of destinations around the world (53%) have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though many remain cautious in view of the development of the pandemic, the seventh edition of the UNWTO “COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism” confirms the ongoing trend towards the gradual restart of tourism.

Read the report: COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism.

68% average decline in species population sizes since 1970, says new WWF report

Globally, monitored population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have declined an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016, according to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020.

Read the Living Planet Report 2020.World Manufacturing Production.

Renewables at heart of reaching zero emissions in industry and transport

Only seven industry and transport sectors will account for 38% of all CO2 emissions globally in 2050 unless there are significant changes in current approaches. Concerted action beyond planned policies can turn the page within the remaining 40 years and achieve zero emissions in heavy industry and transport by around 2060, a key requirement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C. The use of renewables will be central, accelerated through the rapid falls in technology and power costs.

Read the preview of Reaching Zero with Renewables. 


Webinar | The Future of Education is Here for Those Left Furthest Behind

? 17 September 2020 ? 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (EST)

This event will challenge participants to reimagine education for those left furthest behind, shifting the narrative from one of crisis to one of opportunity. It will provide a platform for leaders to bring forward commitments that bring this shared ambition to life. It will amplify the voices of young people to guide us on a path to deliver a better future for conflict and crisis-affected children and youth.

Webinar | Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Asia

? 16 September 2020 ? 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (GMT+9 Tokyo time)

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting falls in demand due both to uncertainty and policy interventions such as lockdowns, social distancing, and travel restrictions are making a severe impact on Asian economies.

In many of them, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) constitute the majority of economic activity and employment. Together with households, MSMEs will bear the brunt of the pandemic’s negative impacts. In order to develop appropriate policy responses, it is necessary to obtain a correct understanding of the current situation of MSMEs and households in Asia.

This side event will present the results of the latest survey work by the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) to assess these impacts.

Virtual | Team Europe: Joining Forces for Financing the Global Recovery

? 11 September 2020 ? 15:00 – 16:15 (CET)

This online event is dedicated to Team Europe’s response to the recovery in emerging and developing economies, the response of European financial institutions to COVID-19, and their coordination initiatives.

It will focus on the European Commission’s recent proposals to strengthen existing and future external instruments, which will help development finance institutions to do even more, to address the healthcare crisis and the socio-economic challenges caused by the pandemic in emerging and developing economies.