Are we on track with the SDGs? Does China get a win at FAO? Kiribati might graduate and more

Posted on 25 June 2019

+ Are we reaching the SDGs?

As New Zealand prepares to present its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) in New York in July, here is MFAT's report on how we're tracking. 

On development the report explains why we focus on the Pacific:

"We focus our contribution on the Pacific where we have deepened our partnerships and direct 60 percent of our aid. Alongside strong market access, we have committed to provide 20 percent of our Official Development Assistance as Aid for Trade in the Pacific with the aim of improving two-way trade, Pacific prosperity and economic resilience. We have increased our commitment to climate related financing to $300 million through to 2022. This will include a focus on adaptation to the impacts of climate change, in line with Pacific partner priorities."

Meanwhile the NGO sector has produced its own VNR. 

CID members are invited to the launch of New Zealand's first People's Report on the Agenda 2030 and SDGs, co-hosted by Hui E!, United Nations Association of New Zealand and the School of Government at Victoria University:

Wednesday, 3 July, 3-6pm
Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 3, Victoria University of Wellington School of Law

Register here.

The event will be recorded and live streamed via the Facebook page.

Also, you can now register for NZ's second national SDG Summit in Auckland, 2 September, co-hosted by the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology .

Early bird registration closes 19 July 2019.

Visit the website for more information about the Summit programme and registration fees for individuals and groups.

MFAT's report has been submitted to the UN, and will be presented at the UN in New York  on 17 July 2019.

It's not too late to email stories about your work on the SDGs, at
+ China gains FAO - a victory for inclusive multilateralism?

Qu Dongyu, China’s vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, was elected director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sunday with 108 votes, beating two other candidates from Georgia (12 votes) and France (71 votes), backed by the European Union and the United States.

A diplomatic win for China, that will give it weight in setting global food policy.

In the lead-up to the vote at the U.N. agency’s conference in Rome, the U.S. circulated a non-paper to FAO members, obtained by Devex, in which it stated that “our primary objective is to beat the Chinese candidate,” citing “strong concerns about Chinese leadership at multinational organizations.”

With the United States retreating from international leadership under the Trump administration, beginning in 2017, China has not been short of opportunities to move into more positions but stronger ones as well at the UN to serve its national interests.

The editorial Nature, reports that China has been leveraging its influence in its massive Belt and Road Initiative, to get votes for its candidate. But, despite the criticisms, China has become a reliable and less patronising development partner for many developing countries, especially in Africa.

"I am not a typical Chinese official" Dongyu says, referring to his international education and experience, that includes a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Science earned from the University of Wageningen, Netherlands. His priorities for FAO's work on sustainable Development Goal 2, which calls for “zero hunger” by 2030, include: tackling hunger and poverty, digital rural development, and better land design via transformation of agricultural production.
+ Pursuit of leisure drives internet use 

Turns out "movies, not grain prices, are bringing the poor world online," writes the Economists in a recent article (behind paywall).

Indian is on course to the be world's biggest consumer of mobile phone data.

From 2018, the proportion of the global population using the internet rose above half, according to the International Telecommunications Union, a un agency.

The next phase of growth will come almost completely from the developing world.

And turns out people in developing countries want what we want from our mobile devices:

"People want to stay in touch with each other, to be entertained and to express themselves, whatever their income and wherever they call home."

"Until recently, talk of connectivity in the poor world has almost invariably been clothed in the pragmatic and well-meaning language of development. Aid agencies, international bodies and big tech companies told themselves and their funders that poor people needed an internet connection to lift themselves out of misery. They extolled farmers looking up grain prices, women seeking information on maternal health or pupils diligently signing up for online courses."

Turns out those development benefits come second.

"Worthier uses tend to follow. But they are the cart not the horse."
+ When is tariff revenue bad tax revenue? Podcast 

Lucie Gadenne (University of Warwick) joins Soumaya Keynes and Chad P. Bown on the Trade Talk Podcasts, to explain when and why some countries use import tariffs as an important source of total tax revenue collections.

She looks at the traps for developing countries when removing tariffs.

The percentage of tax revenue coming from tariffs in poorer countries is higher than for richer countries, which means developing countries must be supported to increase tax revenue from other sources before removing tariffs.

Otherwise, she warns, expenditure on areas like health and education will be at risk.
+ Kiribati graduation from LDC under review

Kiribati’s graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status is currently under review.

Graduation from the LDC category requires an assessment in relation to gross national income, the economic vulnerability index (EVI), and the human assets index (HAI).

If Kiribati (which has met the formal criteria for graduation) were to graduate, it would lose access to the International Support Measures (ISMs) that LDCs are entitled to.

These ISMs cover market access and trade, development assistance and general support. For the country, in terms of market access, the main impacts are on the export of tuna loins and related processed fish products; specifically, those sent to Japan and the EU would face higher tariffs, writes James Webb on this detailed analysis on DevPolicy Blog.

Most non-LDC developing countries (the great majority) still receive aid, but graduation should mark the point at which an LDC has developed sufficiently to no longer require the maximum concessionary treatment from development partners and use of LDC International Support Measures (ISMs). Only five countries have graduated from the category to date (Botswana, Cabo Verde, Maldives, Samoa, and Equatorial Guinea). 

Looking at the Pacific, currently, Vanuatu is scheduled to graduate in 2020, Kiribati is under review, Solomon Islands is scheduled to graduate in 2024, and Tuvalu meets the criteria but has not yet been scheduled for graduation. 
+ How to keep your donors

Blue Avocado, an online magazine for NGOs, has some advice on how to keep your existing donors, who are more important than ever today as it gets harder to attract new donors.

"With the help of your donor database, a few creative ideas, and a strong online fundraising strategy (see a great past article on this here), here are three proven strategies to revitalizing lapsed donors’ interest in your nonprofit:
  1. Invite your donors to an enjoyable fundraising event;
  2. Create personalized communications with the help of donor data; and
  3. Expand your online giving options to make contributing more convenient
+ Celebrating refugees (and those who help them)

World Refugee day was June 20.  Victoria Nassera, a South Sudanese refugee now living in the USA, tells her story in the Brookings Institute this week.

"To the international community, I call for urgent economic empowerment of refugees, especially women and girls, who are the most vulnerable as well as the breadwinners of most families in the camps."

"I hope my story can not only more fully expose the immense struggles facing refugees around the world, but also highlight the unique challenges facing girls and women as well as how determined and resilient girls can rise to their potential against all odds and become successful."

Meanwhile, another Sudanese asylum seeker, Hitam Al-Sharif, victim of the so-called ‘Salvini Decree’, passed in autumn 2018 and named after Italy’s interior minister, said to The New Internationalist "It is better to stay in Sudan than come to Italy. Here I am ill from having too much time to think".

Across Europe, the situation is fed-up with extreme right-wing xenophobic messages and more and more people are being arrested for helping migrants and refugees or fined as much as $57,000 for performing unauthorized migrant rescue operations. Now, civil society groups are fighting back against the “criminalisation of solidarity”.

+ OECD on NZ  -  'room for improvement'

This morning, in a press conference held at the Beehive Theatrette in Wellington, OECD Deputy Secretary-General Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen and New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson presented the OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand.

“Life is good for most New Zealanders, with high employment, an exceptional natural environment and strong levels of social support and trust,” Mr Vestergaard Knudsen said. “But not everyone enjoys the same levels of well-being, with gaps in health, education, employment, and income. The challenge going forward will be to continue improving well-being through building a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.”

New Zealand’s economy has stabilised, with solid growth supporting jobs and incomes. 

The report discusses the challenges of maintaining sound growth and improving well-being for all. The Survey predicts growth of about 2.5% this year and next, against a backdrop of expansionary monetary policy, healthy public finances and tight labour markets.

Interestingly, immigration has increased well-being for both immigrants and most of the New Zealand-born, according to the Survey.
+ DFAT reinforces support on Pacific maritime boundaries

DFAT is increasing longstanding support to Pacific island countries to define their maritime zones and secure their rights within those zones.

At the 2018 Pacific Islands Forum, leaders acknowledged the urgency and importance of securing the region’s maritime boundaries as a key issue for the development and security of the ‘Blue Pacific Continent’.

A dedicated Pacific maritime boundaries section has been established working with the region to assist Pacific island countries securing their rights and entitlements stemming from maritime zones.

$3.5 million additional funding has been allocated to help address the risks to maritime boundaries from sea-level rise, and other climate change related impacts – bringing investment up to $8.5 million.

Original source: DFAT
+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by
+ Copy of 'Support Report' slides

Here is a copy of John McLeod's presentation on the 2019 Support Report, which he has kindly made available to CID members. The final report will be released soon.

Quick summary of key points again:
  • Donations from the public and philanthropists continuing to trend down, but still make up the biggest chunk of funding for most charities.
  • Too many charities in New Zealand means lower impact
  • Most donations go to organisations with name recognition. 
  • That means 91% of charities are competing over only 9% of the available philanthropic dollar.
  • Volunteering is by far the biggest ‘donation’ made to NZ charities
  • But volunteering is in decline, especially with young people. 
  • Business giving is on the increase. But it’s an untapped source in New Zealand.
  • NGOs are still not good at ’talking to business’, and identifying the shared value of partnership
  • Businesses still give predominantly to universities, where the shared value is clear (skilled graduates and R&D benefit business)
  • Donations to churches, although still high are falling.
  • Environmental causes are attracting more support globally, although in New Zealand, social welfare causes are growing the most.
Here is a link to 'Australia's Biggest Givers' - a rich list of philanthropists that has helped highlight the role of philanthropy in the charitable sector, and therefore grow the number of people on the list. 

We should do something similar in New Zealand! 
+ Launch and debate on the Annual Survey - SAVE THE DATE!

CID will launch its Annual Sector Survey with a panel debate, drinks and nibbles at Backbencher in Wellington at 5pm on July 16.

How is the sector funded? Where's the money spent? Who do we work with the most? And what does the future of the sector look like?

More details to follow.

Save the date!
+ VSA volunteer in Timor talks to RNZ

Ruth MacKenzie, in Timor-Leste with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), was interviewed by Radio NZ journalist Katrina Batten on First Up. Ruth is in Dili with her husband Mark who is volunteering to support local businesses. 

RNZ is checking in with Ruth about once a month from now on and interviewing more volunteers, too.  
+ Can you represent the sector at DevNet?

CID is calling for nominations to represent CID and the sector on the DevNet Steering Committee and 2020 Conference Committee, to help design and plan the 2020 DevNet Conference.

This involves meeting regularly throughout the year with the Steering Committee, and acting as a liaison between DevNet and CID and its membership. It is an opportunity to represent NGOs’ perspective on how to strengthen the links between research, evidence, practice and policy.

The representative must actively seek feedback from CID members and keep CID members informed about DevNet’s work. We already have one nomination. If others are interested in putting their name forward for this role, please let Josie know on
+ Deradicalisation  - CID Discussion paper

Faried F. Saenong, formally Lecturer at the  Institute of Qur’anic Studies Jakarta, and Expert Staff member for the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs, Jakarta-Indonesia, has prepared a paper for CID on deradicalisation Beyond Radicalisation: Designing the Role of Civil Society to combat radicalisation in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Click here to read an excerpt from the paper (which will be finalised shortly).

"Before March 15, you might have thought that New Zealand and the Pacific island countries would be immune from terrorists attack, whether from white supremacists or from the geographically long reach of ISIS.

"However, radicalisation, terrorism, and violent extremism are real threats to international peace and security globally, regionally, and nationally. Other regions which are geo-politically ‘away’ from zones of conflict including New Zealand and other Pacific island countries are no exception.

"My focus here is on the threat from Islamist radicalisation in New Zealand and the Pacific region, and how to effectively respond. The principles could be applied to terrorist threats from white supremacism too, although my primary focus in this paper is on Islamist radicalisation," writes Faried.

CID wishes to thank Faried for his work on this paper, and for being such a valuable and positive member of the CID team during his time here.

To find out more about Faried's work, please email him direct at


SDGs Economy