Posted on 24 January 2019
Intractable conflicts, natural disasters, refugees, climate change and growing inequality will continue to be the focus for New Zealand’s international Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs).
Humanitarian crises are on the rise
- The number of crises receiving an internationally led response has doubled since 2005, while the average length of a crisis also increased, according to the United Nations.
- Crises lasting five years or longer take up 80 per cent of funding compared with approximately 30 per cent in 2015.
- Nearly 70 million people across the world are currently displaced, most of them within their own borders.
- Syria tops the list of countries with people internally displaced by conflict, with 6.8 million (followed by Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Iraq).
- Nearly 132 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2019 at a cost of about $21.9 billion.
- Yemen is on the brink of facing the world’s worst famine in 2019, with more than 13 million people at risk of starvation.
- An estimated one in five women refugees has experienced sexual violence – actual numbers could be much higher.
SDGs at four years – not on track
- Most countries are not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce extreme poverty and inequality.
- New Zealand and 51 other countries will report on progress on the SDGs in July, when the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) gathers at the UN.
- $5-7 trillion in annual investments is needed to reach the goals.
Politics in the Pacific and beyond
- Elections will take place in Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Tuvalu, and Marshall Islands this year.
- The referendum in Bougainville (on independence from Papua New Guinea) is scheduled for June 15, but that date is likely to slip.
- West Papua and its fight for self-determination from Indonesia will become more significant.
- China, Japan, the EU, the UK, India, Israel, Russia, as well as New Zealand and Australia, will all make their presence felt this year in the Pacific.
- The Cook Islands is on the brink of graduating from developing country to developed country status.
- Indonesians will vote for their next president while Australia, Thailand, and India will hold general elections that could see new prime ministers.
Inequality will continue to be a rallying call
- 82% of the world’s wealth went to the richest 1% in 2017, according to Oxfam’s latest report.
- Inequality will be a goal under review at this year’s SDG review in July.
- France will align G7 efforts around tackling a range of inequalities.
Rohingya Refugee crisis ongoing
- Roughly 720,000 refugees fled to Bangladesh after the violent military crackdown against them in Myanmar in 2017.
- But a return looks unlikely. The UN and other human rights groups have condemned the deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar that could see the forcible return of refugees with no guarantees of their safety.
Technology will change development
- Drones will increasingly be used in emergencies, as well as providing valuable imagery to identify things like crop growth and leaf blight.
- 3D printing will help get much needed equipment to vulnerable communities.
- The World Bank estimates that over 1 billion people worldwide are unable to provide identification proving who they are. Digital identity, essentially a person’s electronic fingerprint—their birth registration, vaccinations, certifications, and refugee status, will grow in importance, but privacy will continue to be an issue.
- 3 billion people still have no access to the internet.