Evolution of Pacific Localisation, NZ aid budget, COVID testing in Africa, and more.

Posted on 19 May 2020

+ Update on Modernising the Charities Act 2005

Department of International Affairs Te Tari Taiwhnua has provided an update on Modernising the Charities Act 2005.
COVID-19 has impacted the Department’s policy work programme, with new work required toward New Zealand’s response and recovery across each of the portfolios they administer. The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector has paused all work on Modernising the Charities Act for the next six months. This means no further policy work or external meetings will take place for the time being and no policy decisions will be proposed this Parliamentary term. Later in the year, they will revisit how they might continue to progress this important work.
In the meantime, the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and the Department are considering how issues and opportunities relating to COVID-19, which have been raised by the sector and by philanthropic funders, might be incorporated into the work programme.

Further information on Modernising the Charities Act 2005 is available here.

+ Increase In Aid Budget Welcomed, As Pacific Faces Crisis

Aid charities welcomed the government’s decision to increase the aid budget today with an additional $55.6 million.

Although New Zealand faces the decimation of its own tourism industry, in Pacific countries, tourism can be as high as 70% of GDP in the Cook Islands for example where up to 35% of the population is employed. In Vanuatu, also struck by Cyclone Harold during lockdown, tourism is about 47% of GDP and employs about 27%.

CID called on the government to accelerate planning for a Pacific Bubble with New Zealand and Australia so that the region can start to attract tourists in the near future.

Pacific community organisations have identified the following as priorities:

  • Food security and water (support for primary producers to get food to markets, and to open up supply chains).
  • Strengthen the health system (some countries have only a few ICU beds and little PPE equipment).
  • Make the borders safe (support to have temperature checks and systems in place).
  • Digital connectivity (so that health professionals, for example, can ‘sit-in’ on operations and clinics while still in New Zealand).

Read the full press release here.

+ Pasifika Medical Association: Talanoa on the coordination of Pacific COVID-19 public-health messaging

The impact of COVID-19 within the Pacific region could be devastating if regional community partners are not adequately supported, and if the public-health messaging is not coordinated and informed. Last week CID co-hosted a webinar with the Pasifika Medical Association, a network of Pacific health professionals, working collaboratively to strengthen Pacific health workforce capacity and meet the health needs of Pacific people across the region.
Presented by Debbie Sorensen (D.C.C.T, CMinstD, NZRPN), Chief Executive of Pasifika Futures, and the Pasifika Medical Association, this webinar was an opportunity to hear about what they identify as the critical issues facing the Pacific region as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. It also covered things NGOs in New Zealand need to consider to best support their Pacific partners:

  • For NGOs to listen carefully to information from countries and not push their own agenda
  • Understand how NGOs might redeploy resources to support a countries approach and need currently
  • The importance of collecting data in the Pacific and the misconception that this is a difficult task
  • The prioritisation of child and maternal health, communicable and non-communicable disease control.

The talanoa with Debbie and the Pasifika Medical Association team has been one of CID's most popular webinars. CID's goal is to try new models and ways of working and broadening our partnerships across the Pacific, and this webinar showed the importance of listening to Pacific voices and what their priorities are in terms of health.

The video of the 11th May webinar/ talanoa is available here.

+ University of Otago COVID-19 Remote Working Employee Survey

The 'spontaneous' roll-out of different working practices during the past two months was at a scale never seen before in New Zealand. This allows for an incredible opportunity to ask questions and crunch the numbers on the realities of working form home.

Led by Dr Paula O'Kane, Associate Professor Sara Walton and Dr Diane Ruwhiu from the Work Futures Otago team, the University of Otago is currently collecting data for an associated research project. 

The objective of the COVID-19 Remote Working Employee Pulse Survey is to gather data on employees’ experiences of remote working in these unprecedented times. We want to collect data to answer the following questions:

  1. How are employees adjusting to remote working, what is going well and what changes would employees suggest?
  2. How are employees responding to remote working from a well-being perspective?
  3. How is remote working impacting employee productivity?
  4. What lessons can be learned about remote working that could be retained/sustained post-COVID-19?

+ The Struggle for COVID-19 Testing in Africa

The latest modelling by the World Health Organisation predicts 29 million to 44 million people across Africa could be infected within the first year of the pandemic, if containment measures fail – with 83,000 to 190,000 deaths.

“Test, test, test” has been the mantra for defeating COVID-19, but African countries are finding themselves at the end of a long global queue for the chemical reagents and other commodities necessary for administering diagnostic tests. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights the significant divergence in testing performance among Africa's 54 countries.

The Lancet warns against a repeat of the AIDS pandemic when diagnostics and life-saving affordable drugs were available to African countries far later than those in the 'Global North'. “Political leadership is urgently required to secure ethical global allocation of scarce resources,” it noted. “It is entirely foreseeable that many countries will be locked out of the market.”

+ The Evolution of Pacific Localisation in Cyclone Response

Due to Vanuatu government COVID-19 restrictions, the prevention of international aid workers to respond in-country during TC Harold has led to a wave of interest in the implications of national isolation for the localisation of humanitarian assistance. 

Previously in Pacific responses, there has been a re-negotiation of what localisation means. A history of government-to-government assistance has over time reinforced state-led rather than civil-society led responses. Sadly, a diminishing international NGO presence is now also reducing, rather than enhancing, the scope for local civil society engagement in many Pacific disaster responses. 

Effective localisation is of central importance to the future of humanitarian action but will require sustained investment in deeper and longer-term partnerships between international and national response actors. In the article 'Uninvited guests: the evolving practice of international humanitarian response to cyclones in the Pacific', the author Tom Bamforth looks a each of the responses to TC Pam (Vanuatu in 2015), TC Winston (Fiji - 2016) and the latest TC Harold (Vanuatu) to look at the strengths and current limitations to Pacific localisation in practice.

+ CID Training: Good Governance in Action

What is good governance and why is it so challenging? What does a strong governing board look like? How can we ensure diversity of views at the board table?

These questions and more will be addressed at our informative and fast-paced training facilitated by Caren Rangi of the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).

Date: 26 May 2020
Time: 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm
Venue: Zoom
Registration Fee: $10

(CSI) works with a range of partners to support social change initiatives. It supports organisations investing in social impact and designing policies or programmes to enable social impact - including government agencies, philanthropic funders, corporate investors, and community sector organisations.

Caren has extensive experience in governance roles on not-for-profit, government and private boards. She is proud of her Cook Islands Maori heritage and brings that lens to the range of board tables that she serves at. 

You can register here.

+ JBWere's COVID-19 Bulletin

COVID-19 poses a unique risk for the New Zealand economy and society as a whole, with the New Zealand for-purpose sector playing an important, yet precarious, role in navigating this challenge.

Supporting the sector, JBWere’s latest For-Purpose COVID-19 Bulletin summarises the current central government packages available to the sector and its employees, including those announced by the Government in its 2020 Budget. It also highlights the additional government funding available to certain sub-sectors. It is available here.

+ A people’s vaccine against COVID-19

An impressive list of over 150 signatories including world leaders, past and present, health, economics and human rights experts issued a call for a People’s Vaccine - “Available to all. In all countries. Free of charge.”

Their letter notes: “Now is not the time to allow the interests of the wealthiest corporations and governments to be placed before the universal need to save lives, or to leave this massive and moral task to market forces. Access to vaccines and treatments as global public goods are in the interests of all humanity. We cannot afford for monopolies, crude competition and near-sighted nationalism to stand in the way.”

Their call: “for a global agreement on COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments – implemented under the leadership of the World Health Organization” specifies that such an agreement:

  • Ensures mandatory worldwide sharing of all COVID-19 related knowledge, data and technologies with a pool of COVID-19 licenses freely available to all countries. 
  • Establishes a global and equitable rapid manufacturing and distribution plan – that is fully-funded by rich nations – for the vaccine and all COVID-19 products and technologies that guarantee transparent ‘at true cost-prices’ and supplies according to need. A
  • Guarantees COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, tests and treatments are provided free of charge to everyone, everywhere. Access needs to be prioritized first for front-line workers, the most vulnerable people, and for poor countries with the least capacity to save lives.”
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+ Update from DevNet 2020 Conference Committee

Conference is still planned for  2-4 December.

It will be a mix of virtual and (hopefully) in-person participation for those who are able to get to Palmerston North, says Jo Spratt, CID's rep on the DevNet Conference Committee.

"We're planning to get virtual hubs participating from across Pacific Island Countries, and potentially beyond. Watch this space. For now, the most important thing is to get your ideas for sessions in.

Head to the Conference website, download the template, and share your thoughts on what you'd like to see, hear and present on at the Conference. This is your chance to contribute your organisation's experience and learning to a collective conversation about development matters.

We're really keen to showcase NGOs' work so make sure you get your sessions submissions in by 1 June 2020. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions:
Second, a huge thanks to Shona Jennings from ChildFund, who was also a rep on the Committee with me until she left to join the Swedish Childfund team. Thanks so much, Shona for your thoughtful contributions, and your desire to make sure the DevNet 2020 Conference work for the people in our organisations who do the hard graft of managing programmes."

+ COVID-19 Resources 

 Events During Lockdown
+ CID Activities
  • Further H&S arrangements for Level 2/ return to work protocols
  • CEOs/MFAT catch up
  • Media release on budget day
  • Code compliance self-assessment meeting with new members.
  • Preparations for CID board meeting
  • Preparation for online 'Governance' workshop
  • Membership engagement: 1 on 1 calls with CEOs continued
  • CID Member Program and Fundraising Network groups launched
  • Provision of assistance to set up Election Group
  • ACFID/PIANGO/CID meetings and actions
  • Design of research on 'Health of the Sector'
  • Preparation for CID Humanitarian Network, and CID Code of Conduct Committee meetings


Health Localisation Pacific Islands