Newsletter, News

CID Weekly: What next for Afghanistan, Aid neutrality in Myanmar, Covid in the Pacific

Posted on 01 September 2021


+ Vaccine roll out dashboard


The above graph shows the rolling 7-day average of COVID vaccine doses administered per 100 people for selected countries.

For more information go to Our World in Data. Also see the new article Tracking Global COVID-19 Vaccine Equity for more on the disparities in the global vaccine progress.


What next for Afghanistan? 

First we have to understand what led to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Sarah Chayes, former US journalist, who went on to work for non-profits in Kandahar highlights these failures in a recent blog: 

  • 'Afghan government corruption, and the U.S. role enabling and reinforcing it' 

  • 'Pakistan’s support for the Taliban' 

The Afghan people have been badly let down by America and its allies, she argues: 

“Americans like to think of ourselves as having valiantly tried to bring democracy to Afghanistan. Afghans, so the narrative goes, just weren’t ready for it, or didn’t care enough about democracy to bother defending it. Or we’ll repeat the cliche that Afghans have always rejected foreign intervention; we’re just the latest in a long line.  

I was there. Afghans did not reject us. They looked to us as exemplars of democracy and the rule of law. They thought that’s what we stood for.” 

The Taliban are promising not to engage in revenge attacks; to not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists; and to uphold the rights of women and minorities – but ‘within the framework of Sharia law.’ 

For an analysis of what this could look like, go here. Right now, the hope is that Turkey takes over security at Kabul airport, and charter flights are able to continue evacuations. 

According to Devex,18 million people are in need of aid, but its unclear how'll they'll access it.

France's President, will propose a 'safe zone' into Kabul for aid to the UN Security Council.


How Covid closed our borders to refugees 


Last week CID and the aid sector called for an increase in the quota of refugees by 1,000 immediately to take in more Afghans and their families.  


Amnesty International, Oxfam and ActionAid gathered nearly 30,000 signatures in a petition to increase refugees from Afghanistan.  


New Zealand increased the country’s annual refugee quota to 1,500 from July 1, 2020, but due to Covid, in the last financial year, New Zealand took in just 211 refugees. This financial year we are again expected to bring in significantly fewer refugees than we committed to.  


UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration put resettlement departures on hold for several months at the start of the pandemic.  


While these activities subsequently resumed, according to UNHCR only 34,400 refugees were resettled to third countries in 2020. This compares to 107,800 the year before and marks a dramatic 69% decline – at a time when 1.4 million refugees are estimated to be in need of resettlement, which could lead to a refugee crisis.  


Local takes on aid neutrality in Myanmar 


In the aftermath of the 1 February military coup in Myanmar, neutrality – one of the core principles of humanitarian aid – is being vigorously challenged


“Asking us to remain neutral is not the way,” said Tun Tun, a staff member at a UN field office in Myanmar. “Of course, it’s easy to remain neutral when the act of injustice doesn’t affect you.” 


For some, the coup has turned traditional views on the role of international aid in Myanmar on their head. They’re calling for international agencies to take a stronger stand against the military regime, and to focus on supporting local organisations to lead aid responses. 


Haitians wary of international aid  


More than 2,200 deaths have been recorded so far after the latest earthquake in Haiti, while at least 30,000 families have had to abandon their homes. Many were sleeping on the streets when Tropical Storm Grace struck the following week.  


Despite the hardship, many Haitians are wary of the massive international aid response which is still under way. “We don’t like international aid but it’s not like we have a choice,” says Marjorie Modesty, a community leader in Les Cayes, whose home was flooded and damaged in the dual disasters. 


An article from The Guardian describes Haiti’s relationship with aid as long and toxic. “So you get a lot of white people driving around in their white SUVs, not getting out of their cars, and they’re the ones making the decisions about what Haitians need and where they need it.” 


International Day of the Disappeared – 30 August 


Yesterday, 30th August was the UN Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances (‘Day of the Disappeared’).  


The feeling of insecurity generated by the practice of Enforced Disappearances is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole. 


Enforced disappearance has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. Once largely the product of military dictatorships, enforced disappearances can nowadays be perpetrated in complex situations of internal conflict, especially as a means of political repression of opponents. Of particular concern are: 

  • Ongoing harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of victims, witnesses and legal counsel dealing with cases of enforced disappearance; 

  • Use by States of counter-terrorist activities as an excuse for breaching their obligations; 

  • Widespread impunity for enforced disappearance. 



Concern for Covid infections on Fijian outer islands  


Two people have tested positive to Covid on remote Malolo Island as infections and deaths soar, health authorities said. 


Early investigations had revealed that the two individuals who tested positive on Malolo had travelled to the island from Viti Levu without proper authorisation. "They are currently isolated, further details will be provided once investigations are complete." Stated Health Secretary Dr James Fong. 


"The Ministry of Health is again urging all Fijians not to engage in unauthorised travel to and from Viti Levu. All our current protocols to regulate domestic movements must be followed to prevent spread of the virus beyond Viti Levu.” 

Cook Islands support for tourism pause 

With the country's tourism industry now back in pause mode due to the pandemic, the Cook Islands government has announced the reinstatement of wage subsidies and sole trader grants


The move comes two weeks after New Zealand detected cases of Covid-19 in the community, prompting a swift suspension of the travel bubble it had opened with the Cook Islands in May. 


Closing the Digital-Divide to achieve the SDGs 


The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Forum is currently underway in Fiji.  


This is a gathering of UN agencies, and representatives from a wide spectrum of farmers organizations, civil society and business leader to incubate, promote and scale-up the achievement of the agriculture, food and nutrition related Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). 


The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today called on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to foster the power of innovation and the critical importance of closing the ‘digital-divide’.  


“Advances in digital innovation have seen the vast oceans that separate us give way to vast possibilities. Alone, we are small islands. Together, we are one connected continent bound by a spirit of innovative resilience,” said Josaia V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji. “Our 39 states, from the South Pacific, to the Caribbean, to the Indian Ocean, are home to incredible minds, cutting edge innovation and deep traditional knowledge.” 


CID Annual Conference & MFAT Hui

Last chance to submit expression of interest!

If your organisation is interested in facilitating a session at day one of the Conference on the 26th October 2021, we would love to hear from you! This opportunity is a chance to present and share collective challenges in alignment with the theme, with representatives from across the sector. 

Photo competition 2021

We are excited to be doing things a little bit differently for this year’s CID photography competition.

Firstly, this year, we'd love you to invite your local partners to submit photos. Secondly, we've added a new category, which we hope will inspire some creative thinking. And thirdly, in addition to featuring your photos on our website and social media (check out our new Instagram account!), we will be providing an opportunity to have your photos exhibited in a public space in Wellington. 

Competition winners will each receive a prize of $200!

See more details and enter here.

CID has joined Instagram! @CID_NZ

We will be uploading images from previous photo competitions and will be publicising images and organisations that submit this year (with credits).

Follow us and spread the word!


SDG Summit Online 

The 2021 Aotearoa New Zealand Sustainable Development Goals Summit is now online and free due to COVID restrictions. The Virtual Summit: Collaboration for Systemic Change, will be held on the Thu 2nd Sep 2021, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm. Choose your pathway for action and be immersed in a one-day virtual experience with interactive workshops, project showcases, and moments to explore accelerating an SDG Alliance and the official signing of a SDG Declaration for Aotearoa. 

Register here 


CID Talk: Child and Youth Well-being Strategic Action Plan 


Hear from Mereia Carling, MFAT’s Senior Adviser for Inclusive Development – Child and Youth Well-being, on the development of MFAT’s Child and Youth Well-being Strategic Action Plan. The strategic action plan aims to deliver greater impact and equity across New Zealand’s international development cooperation by advancing human rights for children and youth and through taking a targeted and holistic approach across the life-cycle. 


When: Online 12 - 1pm, Wednesday 15 September 2021 

Register here 


Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2021 

The report covers the 49 regional members of ADB. It discusses trends in development progress and the challenges to achieving inclusive and sustainable economic growth across Asia and the Pacific. This 52nd edition discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the challenges of meeting development targets, which needed urgent attention even before the global health crisis began. You can download a copy for free.  

Read the report here




  • Reach out to us on updates on your partners in Afghanistan
  • Planning on holding an event, workshop, launch or other type of event this year, we can promote it - free for members
  • Last chance to put in a expression of interest to faciliate a session at the conference
  • Contact us here.


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