CID Weekly (Redesigned!): Pacific Digital Connectivity Research, Vaccine Equity & more.

Posted on 02 February 2021

Development & Humanitarian News


+ 'Where you live should not determine whether you live'

Fears that not enough vaccines are reaching some of the poorest countries have accelerated calls for a temporary waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (IP) on COVID vaccines until enough people in developing countries have been vaccinated.

CID joined nearly 50 New Zealand organisations, including CID members, charities and think tanks, and over a 100 countries (led by India and South Africa), to call for the waiver.

New Zealand Alternative (a foreign affairs think tank) and Oxfam have launched a petition and an open letter.

COVAX and GAVI, both mechanisms to distribute as many vaccines to poorer countries as possible, will help but will only provide all of the vaccines needed. So far $6 billion has  been raised out of a target of $8 billion.

New Zealand has contributed $7 million to the GAVI Vaccine Alliance.

Hoarding by wealthy nations, funding shortfalls, regulations and cold chain requirements have slowed the process of rolling out the vaccines. "The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure and the price will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the poorest countries," warned WHO head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus the month.

As of mid January,  nearly 40 million doses had been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries, compared to just 25 doses given in just one of the lowest-income countries, according to the WHO.

A temporary IP waiver could be triggered through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) using existing protocols, if member countries (including New Zealand) agreed.

+ How conservation & biodiversity will  prevent another pandemic

COVID has demonstrated the urgent need to minimise the chances of another 'zoonotic' (spread from animals) pandemic.

That means a fundamental change in how we interact with nature, writes Vanda Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institute.

"It requires minimizing human interface with wild animals and wild spaces; eliminating transmission points where the likelihood of viral spillover to humans is high, such as unhygienic commercial markets in wild animal meat and live animals; better monitoring of the legal trade in wildlife; diligently suppressing illegal and unsustainable trade in wildlife; and conserving natural habitats."

+ Digital connection in the Pacific - new research

COVID and closed borders have changed the way we work in the development and humanitarian sector, and digital connectivity has become more than a ’nice-to-have’. It's a lifeline for many across the Pacific.

It's how children continue to be education, health professionals get the support they need, and businesses stay connected to markets.

It's as important that digital access stays open, as it is that trade routes and access to education and support must stay open.

With borders still closed, digital connection has been key to supporting communities during cyclone season with humanitarian responses.

But fast, affordable internet access is not a reality for many communities in Pacific states.  

Otago University’s Darrin Brinsden, has partnered with CID in this latest research into digital access in the Pacific. The findings are sobering.

Some countries like Vanuatu and Fiji have fast fibre optic connections,  but data is expensive. Others, like Niue and Tuvalu have slower satellite connection via mobile phones. 

You can read the research here.

Darrin will be available to talk about his research at a CID talk on 10 March, 12pm-1pm on Zoom. Details to follow.

+ NZ aid for smallholder farmers in Rwanda

The New Zealand Aid Programme has partnered with the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA), with its multi-year commitment of NZ$6.8 million to support smallholder farmers across Africa. NZ$4.2 million of this is committed to Rwanda from 2020-2023.

The contribution provided through the World Food Programme (WFP) will enable WFP to scale up its support over the next 3 years targeting 200,000 smallholder farmers in rural areas across Rwanda while working to sustainably transform agricultural markets to become more efficient, resilient and profitable.

“New Zealand is proud to partner with the Farm to Market Alliance.  This partnership will support lifting smallholder farmers in Rwanda out of poverty while also transforming regional food systems for longer-term sustainability and food security,” said Olivia Owen, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of New Zealand to Rwanda. 

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Members Activities & Updates


+ New play about Save the Children founder

Coming to Q Theatre in Auckland on 10 February is 'Eglantyne', a solo play about Eglantyne Jebb, the visionary human rights pioneer, humanitarian, social reformer and founder of Save the Children.

'Eglantyne' is written and performed by Anne Chamberlain, and directed by KC Kelly. At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 'Eglantyne' was longlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, which highlights human rights themed productions. 

For more information and to book tickets click here.

+ New Associate Member - Welcome to International SOS
CID would like to extend a warm welcome to International SOS, who have recently been approved to join CID as associate/affiliate members.

Many CID members partner with International SOS across the globe and utilise their expertise in health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions. International SOS will be a hugely valuable member of the CID 'whanau', and we're excited to have them formally join our conversations, activities and policy discussion on international development and humanitarian work.

+ The Inequality Virus: Oxfam International Report

The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to lead to an increase in inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began. A new report from Oxfam International - The Inequality Virus - outlines how the virus has exposed, fed off and increased existing inequalities of wealth, gender and race. Over two million people have died, and hundreds of millions of people are being forced into poverty while many of the richest – individuals and corporations – are thriving.

Oxfam New Zealand has also collated responses to many of the great frequently asked questions about the report here.


Pacific News in Brief 


+ Cyclone season continues to disrupt

It's rare, but the first day of February 2021 kicked off with three named Tropical Cyclones: TC Ana, TC Lucas and TC Bina.

TC Ana has weakened to a Category 1 after it crossed Fiji's main islands yesterday.

"Those in Tonga should remain aware of this serious storm, which will churn up the seas and may bring a burst of wind and rain if it tracks closer," says NZ's WeatherWatch.

Meanwhile TC Lucas is a Category 2, moving to the southwest of Vanuatu towards New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands. Winds are expected to strengthen during the day, bringing heavy rains and high seas, with residents advised to prepare for the storm to hit.

TC Bina has now been downgraded to a tropical depression and will bring further rain into Fiji, but without the gale force winds.

+ Vaccines start to roll out in the Pacific

Covid vaccinations are rolling out in US and French territories across the Pacific and Samoa is expected to receive its first round of vaccines next month with help from the Australian Government.

+ RSE workers return to NZ

The first RSE workers since border closures arrived into New Zealand this month. As part of the agreement, seasonal workers will finally be paid a living wage, and employers will cover any associated quarantine costs.

+ 5 dead in landslide in PNG

The Post Courier reports the five were part of a family of alluvial miners swept away by a landslide that triggered flooding of the Vibo River in the Bulolo district.


Useful Links, Webinars & Podcasts


+ Watch the Cyclone Yasa CID Talk from last week
Last week, CID facilitated a discussion with organisations involved in the response to Cyclone Yasa. Thanks to all who joined what was an engaging and informative discussion about the response and the various focusses of those involved. 

For those that were unable to attend, you can watch the recording here.

+ Webinar: Syria - the civil war and its aftermath

Syrian requiem: The civil war and its aftermath
Brookings Institute.

Thursday, February 4, 2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (USA) EST

+ Webinar: Strengthening the multilateral system 

Strengthening the multilateral order in a nationalist age
Brookings Institute.

Monday, February 8, 2021 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM (USA) EST

+ Podcast: David Miliband, CEO International Rescue

CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former minister in the UK government, David Miliband talks to the Financial Times about the need for global leadership to tackle global problems.

As head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband has seen the consequence of a lack of global leadership in helping the world’s vulnerable populations. He makes a strong case for multilateralism and greater international cooperation.