Newsletter, News

CID Weekly: 'Development Matters' at DevNet 2020

Posted on 08 December 2020

+ 'Development Matters' at DevNet 2020

The DevNet 2020 conference, 'Development Matters', was a big success last week with many CID members attending.

It was a truly partnership event, hosted jointly by Massey University, the University of the South Pacific and the National University of Samoa (see photo of 3 flags flying on the Massey campus.) 
Using a hybrid format of face-to-face, plus virtual plus Pacific hubs (in Apia, Suva and Port Vila), around 270 delegates met to discuss linkages between development research, policy and practice.  
Topics ranged from inclusive development, to health security and mobility justice.

Sessions included the new 3 minute aid pitches, and the Great Debate on the final day, where teams grappled with the moot – “10 years to go and we’re right on track to meet the SDGs”.
Ralph Regenvanu, Leader of the Opposition in Vanuatu, presented a great keynote speech (you can see it here), focusing on ‘Development Partners: What Role Should they Play in the Pacific?’, followed by a very honest and forthright Q&A session spanning free trade agreements, to the role of China as a donor. 

+ Watch: Tackling the impact of COVID: A talk with UN's Mark Lowcock

How the public and private sector better coordinate their responses to the pandemic will have major economic and social implications into the future, says Sir Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

You can watch his talk here.

Key points:

  • This year, the pandemic has dramatically increased the populations in need of humanitarian aid from 168 million to 433 million people.
  • The virus has caused the biggest contraction in the global economy since records were kept, almost 150 years
  • 80 million children are at risk of missing vaccinations, which will most likely lead to a spike in global child mortality.
  • Expect almost a doubling of the number of people on the planet at serious risk of starvation through the reemergence of famines.
  • 500 million kids in the most vulnerable countries haven’t been to school for six months.
"Beyond financial support, there is a need for alternative types of collaborations with the private sector.

"For example, to compensate for the lack of commercial air services from many countries where we were sending hundreds or thousands of aid workers in and out, or taking vaccines in, we set up what was essentially a new dedicated air service in partnership with commercial airlines."


+ Yemen 'one step' away from famine - Mark Lowcock

The window to prevent the return of famine to Yemen is rapidly closing, UN agencies have warned, with a new assessment showing millions could head further into hunger in the coming months, reports the Guardian this week.

"An estimated 16,500 people are now facing a “catastrophic, famine-like situation”, which could increase to 47,000 people by June 2021.

The new figures were disclosed as aid agencies warned that less than a half of the emergency funds called for by the UN to help Yemen this year had been delivered. Last month, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the UN security council that the $3.4bn (£2.5bn) appeal for 2020 for Yemen had received only $1.5bn, or about 45%.

He said that by this time last year the UN had received twice as much – almost $3bn."

+ How civil society responded to COVID

As we reach the end of 2020, it's a good time to take stock of how New Zealand international NGOs supported their civil society partners in-country to respond to COVID.

New Zealand international NGOs were quick to adapt, cut costs, and work with partners in-country to support them through closed borders, job losses, cyclones, schooling, health issues and much more.

"The crisis has tested civil society (in-country). Many states used the pandemic as a pretext to repress civic freedoms, while civil society organisations (CSOs) are facing a new scarcity of resources," writes Andrew Fermin at UK BOND.

Civil Society Groups in country:

  • Delivered food and support where it was needed
  • Went into vulnerable communities to promote hand-washing and social distancing
  • Supported migrant and informal workers
  • Helplines for gender-based violence. Violence soared under lockdown in Lebanon for example, so the Resource Centre for Gender Equality offered a helpline
  • Defended human rights
  • In Nigeria, Spaces for Change set up an online tracking team to map and monitor restrictions, including police violence, and established a helpline to provide free legal advice.
  • In Brazil, a coalition of 160 CSOs formed to campaign for an emergency basic income during the crisis.

International NGOs in New Zealand supported their civil society partners across the world and in the Pacific.

Back in New Zealand, advocacy campaign like Big Hearts and a collection of New Zealand NGOs who came together to raise the profile of children during COVID, helped to highlight the reality for people in developing countries dealing with lockdowns, and made sure that while charity might begin at home, it didn't stay at home.


+ UN's 'New' Prioritisation of Climate Action

In a major speech to Columbia University in New York last week, UN Chief Antonia Guterres elevated climate action and the restoration of nature, making building a 'global net zero emissions club'  a priority in 2021. We are facing a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken,” Guterres said.

Mr. Guterres ended his speech on a note of hope, amid the prospect of a new, more sustainable world in which mindsets are shifting, to take into account the importance of reducing each individual’s carbon footprint. You can read the full speech here.

This speech has been made in the same week that the World Meterological Organisation has released it's Provisional Report on the State of the Global Climate 2020.


+ Guterres: "Slavery is not simply a matter of history"

It has been a busy week for UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who also made a statement highlighting the impact of  contemporary forms of slavery, underscoring that these practices have no space in the twenty-first century.

This was to mark the UN International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2nd December.

In the message, Guterres said that global protests this year against systemic racism brought renewed attention to a “legacy of injustices all over the world whose roots lie in the dark history of colonialism and slavery.” 

“But slavery is not simply a matter of history.” 

Globally, more than 40 million people are still victims of contemporary slavery, including about 25 million in forced labour and about 15 million in forced marriage, according to UN estimates. One in four victims are children, and women and girls account for 71 per cent of the victims. 

CID members, TradeAid and World Vision will be launching a campaign early next year to push for a Modern Slavery Act in New Zealand.

Watch this space for more information.


+ Laugh our way to freedom!

CID's Standards and Humanitarian Manager gave a presentation at last week's DEVNET conference on the sin of joylessness in humanitarian work, and the role of humour in creating connection. This was based on the work of Pablo Suarez (Associate Director of Research at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre), and Dr, Barbara Plester (University of Auckland).

And here's Oxfam's Duncan Green channelling the same message in a recent blog.

When rubber ducks were used by anti-government protestors in Thailand, they became the newest icon of the Thai democracy movement after protesters used them as shields against police water cannons on November 17. 

"Images of a rubber duck stained with purple-colored chemicals from the water used in the cannons went viral, inspiring memes and messages of solidarity from activists, artists, and internet users in Thailand and also in Hong Kong and Taiwan."

Blueprint for Revolution’ by the Serbian activist Srdja Popovic, distills lessons from his experiences of fomenting protests in several countries, including his own.

"One chapter, called ‘Laugh Your Way to Victory’, extols the ‘genius of laughtivism’. Humour is cool – it swells the numbers of protesters; laughter trumps fear (Mark Twain ‘against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand’)."


+ How can 'BINGOS' scale up big new ideas?

The systematic scale-up of social entrepreneurs’ solutions by Big International NGOs (BINGOs) is simply not a thing. Why not?

Kevin Starr & Sarah Miers from Stanford Social Innovation Review set out to find out why.

"We asked CEOs of Big International NGOs (BINGOs), BINGO board members, and a few select people with a long, broad view of the social sector if they could name one solution from the social entrepreneur world that had been effectively scaled via the BINGOs.

With no hesitation, but more than a little agonizing, the across-the-board answer was no"

Part of the problem, they found was money and incentives.

BINGOs have big payrolls, so they rely on Big Aid (from donors, multilateral etc) for much of their funding.

"But Big Aid funding is restricted, and Big Aid likes projects: time-bound, site-specific one-offs driven by the funder’s ideas and priorities. So the BINGOs do projects, and rather than a determined scale-up of elegant, proven solutions, we get a sprawl of unconnected projects that are often a kitchen-sink mash-up of barely related ideas.

"We recently read a study of one project that crammed nutrition, WASH, and savings interventions into an unscalable stew (that also failed to have any impact on health or malnutrition, but that’s another story…). That’s more typical than exceptional."

"The paradox at the center of it all is that there are no enthusiasts for this status quo."

+ Global Entrepreneurship Summit - social impact and the SDGs

On the theme of scaling up big ideas, the TiE Global Summit (TGS) 2020 - billed as the world’s largest entrepreneurship event - is being held this week (Dec 8-10) in India, online.

Sir Ronnie Cohen, who is known as the father of British venture capital and is a pioneer of social impact investment across the world is one of the key speakers.

It's a free event but you have to register to be able to attend. Here is the link.

If you who have  an interest in social entrepreneurship / impact investing / sustainable development goals (SDGs), tune in.



+ Kia ora and welcome to two new leaders 

On behalf of the sector we would like to welcome Michelle Sharp who has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer at UNICEF, starting 14 December.

Michelle  joins UNICEF NZ with extensive leadership and governance experience. She holds multiple directorships including that of Kilmarnock, the Akina Foundation, is an Edmund Hillary Fellow and Independent Chair of BNZ. She has a strong background in digital innovation, transformational leadership and global stakeholder engagement.

And also, Sarah-Stuart Black starts this week as the new Secretary General of Red Cross NZ. Sarah will be known to many of you as the former Deputy Chief Executive and Director Civil Defence Emergency Management in the New Zealand Government's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) advising the Minister of Civil Defence. 

Most recently Sarah has played a significant role in New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other major emergency responses.

We look forward to working with them both, and are thrilled to see such excellent leadership talent coming into the sector. 

+ Summer podcasts: Good Will Hunters

ACFID's Bridi Rice, Director of Policy and Advocacy, will host a summer series on the aid and development podcast, Good Will Hunters. Great listening if you're looking for something to do on the beach!

This summer series will include Australian, Pacific and New Zealand voices (including CID members) to bring you simple insights on development, trade and aid post COVID.

This series was born out of the realisation that for the first time in a generation, there is predicted to be a rise in extreme poverty. What does it mean for those of us in the development sector, and the broader foreign policy community too?

A trailer for the series is here.


+ 2021 Humanitarian Leadership Conference: Who are the Humanitarians?

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership is holding its Humanitarian Leadership Conference on Wed 28th & Thurs 29th  April 2021.  The conference will work to determine where change is needed and what a reshaping of the humanitarian ecosystem might look like, from the actors involved and ways of working to the very definition of what constitutes a humanitarian crisis.

The Call for Abstracts and Expressions of Interest are now open. Submissions close 9 December 2020.


+ UBD campaign launched - 'Send cash not stuff'

CID has launched its campaign which will include a roadshow, plus media, radio ads and videos, to encourage the New Zealand public to send cash, not stuff when responding to emergencies. 

The World Food Programme, in partnership with New Zealand’s Council for International Development recently launched a new website to support kiwis to donate more effectively following a disaster. 
Messaging on how to send cash safely:

  • Donate to a trusted humanitarian organisation in New Zealand. For a full list of accredited humanitarian responders, go to the Council for International Development’s website
  • Use the same banks and businesses that you use to send remittances to impacted families or church communities in the Pacific
  • If you still want to collect stuff, convert it into cash in New Zealand by selling it at a garage sale, then sending the cash.
 Remittances play a critical role following a Pacific crisis. 

CID is urging banks and money-transference businesses to support humanitarian responses, by temporarily wavering transaction costs or keeping them at less than 3% during an emergency response and removing bureaucratic barriers for already stressed families trying to send cash to family overseas.


+ MFAT Hui/Zui - 10th December

MFAT’s Pacific and Development Group are hosting the annual NGO Hui/Zui – this year held virtually on Thurs, 10th December, 1:00 - 4:30pm

There will be: 

 - MFAT Updates
 - Partnering for Impact sessions and updates on recent research and surveys
 - Localisation: Initial research findings
If you have not received an email with the agenda, please contact CID at

Registration is open to NZ NGOs via the link here. All participants must register individually, after which you will be sent a login code and password.



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