Posted on 31 October 2023
The Council for International Development (CID) Aotearoa New Zealand’s Annual Conference took place in Poneke Wellington at Parliament and Pipitea Marae on 20 and 21 September 2023.
The sold-out conference bought together delegates from CID member organisations, international NGOs, Pacific and global partners, business, government and academic institutions. The event centred around the pivotal role of partnerships in addressing global development issues.
Under the theme “Deeper Partnerships to Navigate Uncertain Futures”, CID Conference aimed to encourage greater and more effective collaboration in a world grappling with increasingly severe and interconnected crises from conflict and climate change to global food insecurity.
These ongoing global crises continue as we have seen in the past few weeks, post-conference, with the devastating conflict in the Middle East and destructive Cyclone Lola which has severely impacted Vanuatu.
“The number of people in extreme poverty is rising for the first time in a generation and is on track to reach 575 million by 2030”, said Peter Rudd, the Executive Director at the Council for International Development, in his opening remarks. “According to 2023 report from the World Food Programme as many as 783 million people are unsure of where their next meal is coming from.”
Delegates heard from an accomplished range of speakers and presenters from across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific, Europe and the United States who spoke to these global challenges, and discussed the latest developments in international development, foreign affairs and humanitarian aid.
According to the latest UN Global Sustainability Progress Report, at our current mid-point working towards the 2030 agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are well off track. The UN states, “the promises enshrined in the SDG’s are in peril.”
Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary General, spoke to the Asia-Pacific region’s challenges, with “climate change, demographic shifts, slower globalisation and disruptive technology posing new barriers.” She simultaneously spoke to the strength of the sector, saying “civil society organisations play such a significant role.”
“With their openness to engaging in partnerships, their courage and commitment, you can expand voice and reach to others in the region on these intersecting issues of economic, social, and climate justice”, she says.
The Pacific was a key area of focus at this year’s event; Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva spoke of the latest geopolitics pervading the region, and Emeline Siale Ilolahia, Executive Director of Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), spoke of her organisation’s role and priorities. She recognised the capability of civil society organisations in the region, saying “we're professionals and experts with deep experience working in our communities."
In recognition of the value of a coordinated regional approach for development, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Marc Purcell also spoke - sharing his organisation’s views on the strengths and shortcomings of Australia’s new development policy, following a virtual address from Australian Member of Parliament Hon Pat Conroy.
In line with the Conference theme, the event ultimately aimed to create a productive networking space, offering delegates the opportunity to unite on areas of common concern, and forge new connections and partnerships.
Bernadette Cavanagh, Deputy Secretary of the Pacific and Development Group at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also shared the New Zealand Government’s perspective on the value in partnering with the Aotearoa NGO sector. “While development and humanitarian need is rising, it is clear our partnership approach is enabling us to draw on our individual strengths to collectively respond, meaningfully and with impact”, she said.
“This is what we as a sector face”, said Peter Rudd. “We can’t solve these issues in siloed isolation, we need to work together to tackle these global challenges.”
“Deeper and more strategic partnerships are needed. We must prioritise greater collaborations across sectors and between nations", he said.
CEO of UNICEF Aotearoa and CID board member Michelle Sharp stated, “a conference like this brings great minds together. We all come at it from different angles, we all come at it with different expertise. Getting in a room together we realise we are all on the same page. We’re all striving for a better world.’
Sponsor partners for the conference included Tetra Tech International Development, OSACO Group, StoneX, Direct Impact Group, Tonkin & Taylor and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
Plans are already underway for next year’s conference, which is being held September 4-5, 2024.
You can watch the highlights from this year’s event here