DFID merger, Global peace, migrant smuggling, and more

Posted on 23 June 2020

+ DFID merger - (some) pros (mostly) cons

The UK 'Department for International Development' - DFID - will be merged into a new department — the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, announced UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a surprise move that shocked most in the development sector.

The move is reminiscent of NZAID (a semi-autonomous agency sitting within MFAT) and its full merger back into MFAT in 2008.

Most in the sector greeted the DFID news with dismay and fury not just by those in the development sector.

Unicef, Save the Children and Christian Aid were among organisations warning the move will harm those most in need and reduce UK’s power overseas.

Former Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron 'told Boris Johnson that scrapping the Department for International Development is a “mistake” that will diminish Britain on the world stage.'

The merger signals a shift from using aid to reduce poverty to promoting British national self-interest, writes The Conversation.

The UK overseas aid budget is ring-fenced at 0.7 per cent of gross national income and is set to total about £15 billion this year, making it the third biggest aid budget in the world. 

But a handful of experts told Devex the move was a fair decision or provided opportunities to improve development practice, even if the announcement’s timing was questionable, reports William Worley.

“Whether there are different structures is an input question.…The focus should be on the outcomes, [which are] meeting our humanitarian responsibilities to our beneficiaries,” said James Cowan, CEO of The HALO Trust, a demining charity.

Marta Foresti, director of the Overseas Development Institute’s Europe program said she was highly critical of many aspects of the merger, saying that “DFID is a massive loss” and that the short-term results would be negative.

But she added: “The sector is in desperate need for some radical change, and there is a bit of tendency to maintain the status quo.

Echoing the principles behind New Zealand's 'Pacific Reset', she said “You don’t begin with development; you begin with climate, conflict and security, mobility, international crime.... And you bring what we know about working in particular settings around the world, fostering local and regional development as part of the solution."

+ * CID workshops on Adaptive management* THIS WEEK

CID in partnership with MFAT is holding two online training seminars on Adaptive Management, as we all face the challenges of adapting programmes and ways of working during COVID-19.

We'll cover:

  • Theory - what is adaptive management and how does it work?
  • Practice  - implementation and what it means for work with partners
  • MFAT's approach, research and practice
  • Aligning it with monitoring & evaluation, and locally-driven approaches
  • Latest international research and thinking  
Training and seminar sessions will be followed by a keynote speech, and a panel of your peers talking about their experiences.

Midday- 2pm Thursday, June 25
Midday - 2pm Friday, June 26

Please, register here.

COVID-19 impact on migrant smuggling and human trafficking 

COVID-19, and measures taken to control its spread, are impacting crime around the world, including migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

While some preventive measures have effectively hindered certain criminal opportunities in the short-term, smugglers and traffickers have found ways to overcome them. Migrant smuggling and human trafficking are particularly affected by geopolitical and socio-economic factors and vary greatly by region and the ways in which vulnerable communities in those regions are driven to migrate.

Based on a rapid stock-take by UNODC, the preliminary findings of the impact of COVID-19 on trafficking, together with UNODC response, messaging and recommendations, is available here.
COVID-19 will continue to influence these crimes across the globe. Economic consequences will significantly impact peoples’ desire and ability to migrate, as well as the incentive and opportunities for criminals to profit from illegal migration which is also expected to increase.

Online seminar - Fighting the Pandemic in Developing Countries 

The world is six months into the worst pandemic crisis in one hundred years. By mid-April 2020, more than 80 per cent of countries had imposed strict containment and mitigation measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The economic fallout from the pandemic has been immense, with dire consequences for poverty and welfare.

With more limited resources and capabilities but also younger populations, developing countries face different trade-offs in their fight against COVID-19 than developed countries do. This calls for different strategies—more targeted, self-enforcing, and cost-effective—to reduce the rate of infection. Facing different trade-offs, however, is no excuse for complacency. Lives and livelihoods can be saved with economic and public health policies that are tailored to the reality of developing countries.

The goal of this seminar is to explore the economic and social costs of the pandemic and measures to contain it. Panellists will discuss why alternatives to indiscriminate lockdowns are needed in developing countries and what these “smart” alternatives may consist of. The lockdowns may be easing, but the fight against the pandemic is likely to last for months, if not years. Coordinated and sustainable public health and economic policies are needed before the economy can begin to recover.

23 June: 9am – 10:30am (ET/Washington, D.C. Time)
24 June: 1am (NZ Time)

Original source and to register: World Bank

+ 'Work with us, not against us' - local NGOs to aid charities

"Our plea is that you work with us not against us. We need to be supported, not competed with."

For those who missed this passionate plea to international NGOs, published in March, here it is again.

"We appreciate that over the years, many of you have sought to help deliver much-needed services, and have helped to elevate some issues of concern, like debt relief, gender or climate change, to the world stage.

But times are changing. And you have (rightly) been facing a number of critiques in recent years – around your legitimacy, your ‘whiteness’ or the fact that far more aid money ultimately ends up in the pockets of northern organisations’ headquarters than it does in the Global South."


+ COVID-19 and peace search in Latin America

The report “Global Peace Index 2020”, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, shines a light on the deterioration of peace in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, reported in the last year, and the risks associated to COVID-19 for global peacefulness.

The 2020 index attributes South America’s drop in peacefulness to the militarization and safety and security metrics, whereas Central America and the Caribbean’s drop was caused by a rise in ongoing conflict, and Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Chile were among the most deteriorated.

Venezuela is the least peaceful country in the continent and, the one with the highest number of internally displaced people. 

“The world lacks a credible approach to deal with this crisis,” the COVID-19 analysis found. “The impact is likely to sharpen the focus on other socio-economic factors that have been brewing, such as the growing inequality in wealth, deteriorating labour conditions in developed countries and increasing alienation with the political system", said Steve Killelea, executive chairman at the Institute for Economics and Peace on Devex.

The Economist has also published a piece on the risks of violent conflict raised bt Covid-19.

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+ Children taking the brunt of COVID impact

New Zealand's aid agencies working with children are looking to collaborate on joint messages to the public to raise awareness about the plight of vulnerable children due to Covid-19 responses.

While the mortality rate for healthy children infected by the virus has been lower than for adults, 30 million are still at risk as diseases and malnutrition go untreated, and children are caught up in increased incidents of violence, including child trafficking.

It is the indirect impacts of this disease that pose a clear and present danger to children, particularly the most vulnerable, writes World Vision in two key reports - Aftershocks - here and here.

"We have a ticking time bomb on our hands," says Helen Manson from Tearfund who is organising the campaign.

If you are interested in following up please contact Helen directly

+ Inclusive research for people with disabilities

ACFID released a report last week 'Research for All: Making Research Inclusive of People with Disabilities'; the result of a collaboration between the RDI Network, Nossal Institute for Global Health, and CBM Australia.

The report provides advice and practical steps for practitioners, researchers and policymakers; with case studies, checklists, and tools to ensure inclusive practices in the research cycle.

+ High-Level Political Forum side events online

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development in 2020 will be held from Tuesday, 7 July, to Thursday, 16 July 2020.

Side Events and Exhibitions are scheduled to be organized on the margins of the 2020 HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC and sponsored by Member States, the UN system and other intergovernmental organizations and the Major Groups and other accredited Stakeholders.

These side events and exhibitions of the HLPF- held outside the official programme- provide great opportunities to discuss themes and SDGs under review at the HLPF, deepen the discussion on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), identify new issues, listen to all voices, and help spread greater awareness of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in general at all levels.

Given the situation linked to COVID-19, it has been decided that all Side-events and Exhibitions will be held virtually.

Side events are still to be announced, but 
here, you can find the programme and the scheduled special events that will be held online and register for it.

+ Yemen - a deadly mix of guns, conflict and COVID

In April, the UN Security Council issued a statement endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire in Yemen to better enable a response to Covid-19, writes Rebecca Barber at the Lowy Institute.

The Council recognised that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen made the country “exceptionally vulnerable”, and that any further military escalation would “hinder the access of humanitarian and healthcare workers and the availability of healthcare facilities”. 

Yemen has confirmed just 469 Covid-19 infections. But testing rates are among the lowest in the world, and the fatality rate – at 24% – is one of the highest, suggesting that the real caseload is much higher.

+ UN releases Handbook on prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

19th June was the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the prevalence of this alarming tactic within warfare and situations of violence is still unbelievably high. Sexual violence in conflict is a brutal crime, mainly perpetrated against women and girls, but also affecting men and boys. Information on the 2020 focus of this day is available here.
At the beginning of this month, the UN released their Handbook for UN Field Missions on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV). This Handbook codifies UN efforts to build upon best practices and lessons learnt, to provide guidance on all levels of engagement, from political commitments to the provision of services.
While aimed at UN personnel it is intended to serve as a practical guide and provides a basis for training field personnel to recognize that survivors are best placed to identify the assistance they need to recover and heal. The resource is also helpful to civil society as well as it delineates the respective responsibilities of civilian, military, and police components (and where civil society might interface with them) within UN Field Missions in the fight to protect everyone from Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

+ DevNet Conference update - call for abstracts!

The CID reps on the DevNet2020 organising committee now invite researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and others to submit abstracts for research and applied sessions at the Easy Chair submission link. The deadline for abstract submissions is: 12 noon NZ time on 30 August 2020.

Abstracts must be submitted to one of the following sessions:

  • General sessions: abstracts for research or applied presentations on any topic related to the conference theme and questions. Abstracts submitted to these sessions will be grouped with other similar abstracts.
  • Named sessions: abstracts for research or applied presentations corresponding to specific named conference sessions (download a detailed description of these sessions here.
  • Student session: Postgraduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts of their research proposals or preliminary results in this session. Speakers will be limited to 5 minutes and presentations will be eligible for a prize.  Alternatively, you may opt to submit an abstract to a general or named session for a longer presentation time slot (e.g. for those with well-developed results).
Please, download the templates: Research presentation or Applied (practitioner) presentation.

We look forward to seeing you at #DevNet2020!

+ Family Planning: Contraceptive Use Survey

CID member, Family Planning have launched a survey to learn more about the contraception people use, how they get it, and how they might improve access to contraception for all people in New Zealand who want to use it.

Find the survey here.

+ Resources for challenging racism in the aid sector
The recent murder of George Floyd and subsequent BlackLivesMatter protests in the US and globally have reinvigorated discussions about racism in all parts of society. The development and humanitarian sector has its own share of issues on racism and discrimination that remains to be addressed. Below are some helpful resources:

+ CID Activities
  • Election event in progress - August 6th
  • Preparation for Adaptive Management workshop
  • Meeting with NZDF and CID's involvement with KC20
  • CEOs catch up (fortnightly)
  • Network meetings - Programme Managers and Fundraisers
  • Collation of data for CID research: 'Health of the Sector'
  • Membership engagement: 1 on 1 calls with CEOs continued
  • Annual workplan for next Financial Year completed
  • Quarterly planning for next quarter in progress
  • ACFID/PIANGO/CID meetings and actions
  • CID members panel discussion on Effective Communication in progress


South America Human Rights SDGs