Geopolitics in the Pacific heats up, global disability summit and more of Social Enterprises

Posted on 31 July 2018

+ How much do our members love us?
+ Geopolitics in the Pacific heats up

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo gave a keynote speech overnight, committing $113 million to new investments in cybersecurity and the digital economy, energy and infrastructure spending in the Indo-Pacific region, in a bid to build the US's influence.

Without naming China, Pompeo said  "that the US role in the region would be defined by its opposition to any nation that sought to erect a competing sphere of influence", writes Tom McCarthy in the UK Guardian. 

“The great theme of our engagement is this: where America goes, we seek partnership, not domination,” Pompeo said.

He called the $113 million “just a down payment on a new era in US economic commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

But some question the US's resources to make it happen. "The new Indo-Pacific strategy, (is) meant to reshape America’s regional approach and coalesce efforts to manage a rising China. But allies and adversaries alike are left wondering if the United States really has the will and resources to make it happen," write the Washington Post.

“Economic security is national security,” Pompeo said, echoing themes in Winston Peter's recent speeches on the Pacific Reset.

In his Otago speech, "Next Steps", Minister of Foreign Affairs said "...our eyes are wide open to New Zealand’s decreasing influence in the Pacific and we are committed to re-setting our approach to working with the Pacific. We want to be clear though – the reset is not about trying to control Pacific countries economically or politically. Instead, this reset is about working with our Pacific family to be independent and self-sufficient."
+ Lessons from social enterprises

Social Enterprises are popping up everywhere.

CID members are working more often and more closely with social enterprise as well as businesses (70% of our members have a partnership with a business).

And CID has just welcomed its first social enterprise member (Akino).

Here's an in-depth interview with Eat My Lunch founder, Lisa King.

Eat My Lunch was in the news last week over accountability. Henry Oliver from SpinOff covers the argument here.

"Eat My Lunch came under fire for claiming that 290,000 New Zealand kids were going to school every day without lunch when KidsCan estimated that the number was closer to 55,000."

Lisa King corrected the typo on the website and apologised for the error, but hit back at the critics, saying that she didn't think social enterprises should be required to report on outcomes in the same way that NGOs do.

She "rebuffed calls for Eat My Lunch to be transparent like charities, which are required by law to publish financial statements showing how much of the money they receive goes towards the cause they are seeking to help."

"Sadly, rather than pulling together to address social ills, there are now some organisations and pundits targeting Eat My Lunch – this detracts from resolving real-world issues in a real-world way," she said.

While there is a lot for NGOs to learn from social enterprises about funding models and entrepreneurial flair, for example, there remains a question over how accountable social enterprises are required to be over their development claims. Who checks if buying a bottle of water from a social enterprise actually gets a bottle of water to someone who needs it in a developing country? Should they be required to report on their development outcomes?

These are the sorts of challenges that will be covered in CID's social enterprise panel discussion on August 10 in Wellington (details below in Events).
+ Photo Competition - alert

The very popular CID photo competition is on again!

Find the most stunning images from your organisation over the last year that tell the story and capture the imagination. To find out more information about the CID Photo Competition,

Find out more here.

+ Are you a living wage employer?

UnionAID has joined the growing number of CID members who are Living Wage employers.  CWS and Oxfam have both been Living Wage employers for several years and Caritas is currently working through the accreditation process. 
Accreditation means all directly employed staff and contractors engaged on a regular basis are paid the Living Wage.  For these CID members, it was important to show that their commitment to decent livelihoods and justice extends to people in Aotearoa as well as overseas.
Any CID members interested in becoming Living Wage accredited employers can contact or
+ Period poverty

It is not new to our members or the NGO sector that period poverty is a big problem in the countries we work in.  With recent CID talks by UNICEF and UNFPA discussing these issues and what work is being done around the world to lessen the shame and taboo around periods, and decrease the number of girls and women missing out on education because of their period.

This week the same issue was magnified in New Zealand.  With the issue being brought to everyone's attention back in 2016 when The Salvation Army and Countdown launched a joint campaign.  It was this week that saw for the first time, the price of some sanitary products was dropped by the supermarket chain to tackle period poverty.

"Too many women go without sanitary products themselves so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family," Countdown spokesperson Kiri Hannifin said.  "Period poverty is a worldwide phenomenon and a reality here in New Zealand."

Not only are charities stepping up to help alleviate this problem, but social enterprises are too

In Malawi, Supreme Malawi is providing an alternative to the classical way of providing aid, as they cross-subsidise themselves, charging NGOs a higher price than they charge the local people and shops to make sure that the product stays affordable in the rural areas.  “What I find most rewarding is that loads of girls are able to attend school because of our products and that my staff enjoy great working conditions which uplift them and their families.”

In New Zealand, Dignity New Zealand has a buy one give one model with every box purchased by a company for their female employees, the equivalent gets given away to High Schools in New Zealand.    Also, similar models are being used by menstrual cup businesses, MyCup and Wā collective, with the added benefit of stopping 357 million tampons and pads from ending up in NZ landfills each year. 

+ UN running out of cash

On Thursday, the secretary general of the United Nations said that its cash supply had been severely depleted.

“Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in an internal memorandum to employees shared with The New York Times. “We are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer.”

The United States, by far the biggest single contributor at 22 percent of the budget, has not paid yet. 

The United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.  "The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known,” she said at the time. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”

Under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter, if a member is in arrears in an amount that equals or exceeds the assessment due for the previous two years, that member could forfeit its General Assembly vote unless there are extenuating circumstances.  Currently, five members are subject to Article 19: Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Principe, Somalia and Libya. But only Libya has lost its vote.

+ #NowIsTheTime

In the UK, the Global Disability Summit and Civil Society Forum took place on the 23 and 24 July.  Following on from our recent Member of the Moment on cbm New Zealand and the work they are doing in this area, it is important to keep thinking of the ways that the rights of people with disabilities can be incorporated into all our work.

The key asks from this summit, as reported by cbm UK:

  1. Be led by people with disabilities, and their representative organisations, in development processes that impact them. 
  2. Recognise diversity and intersectionality of people with disabilities
  3. Implement international agreements and standards
  4. Commit money and resources to inclusion
Delegates were invited to sign the Charter for Change.

DFID also used the summit to make a series of announcements, including:

  • the "AT Scale" partnership on access to assistive devices
  • the UK Aid Connect programme to support people with disabilities access jobs
  • a new Global Data Portal on disability
  • and a commitment to end the institutionalisation of children with disabilities.
+ Tracking Progress on Pacific Localisation 

Localisation is recognising local leadership in humanitarian operations and emergency response, because local actors are inherently closer to the beneficiaries of their work, and are already part of the community where needs must be met and measured.

In the Pacific, localisation is vital for strengthening the capacity of local civil society actors and preparing them further for future humanitarian response is vital. Effective monitoring and measurement of localisation is critical for this to occur.

The global development and humanitarian sector is currently developing ways to measure progress on localisation following on from the commitments made at the 2016 World Humanitarian Support (WHS).

The Humanitarian Advisory Group, in partnership with PIANGO, has recently released their report ‘Tracking Progress on Localisation: A Pacific Perspective’. The report asks the question of how change towards a more locally-led humanitarian system in the Pacific might be better demonstrated.

CID will be hosting a workshop on localisation at its Annual Conference, October 29.
+  SIDCA: China’s new Development Cooperation Agency

In April 2018, China made an announcement on the appointment of the head of the China’s State International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDCA), their new agency focused on foreign aid. The appointment of provides some insight into the direction China might be moving with its foreign aid efforts, including within the Pacific.
Dr Denghua Zhang, is a researcher at a School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

Zhang states that it is “fair to say that foreign aid is an important component of foreign policy, but not the most important… The most important is trade and investment — this is the top priority. But the establishment of the new aid agency suggests that China wants to better incorporate aid in foreign diplomacy and wants to use aid as a tool to maximize China’s foreign interests and increase its influence on the global scale.”

This is further expanded upon in the article ‘China’s new aid agency: What we know’ suggests some of the signals that this appointment makes and how the mandate of SIDCA might be realised. 
+  Australia also 'countering China' in the Pacific

With the sign off on a deal to link Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Australia via an undersea internet cable, Canberra positioned itself as a thoughtful neighbour, eager to help developing nations in its own backyard. Writing for the South China Morning Post, John Power asks if Australia has another, arguably deeper motivation for taking on the project; this is the countering China’s growing influence in the region, such as through SIDCA.
In the article ‘China: The real reason Australia’s pumping cash into the Pacific’, the displeasure of Canberra authorities with the current China-Pacific status quo is examined. The article examines how a concern for Pacific Island sovereignty and the burden of unsustainable debt outcomes might be a contributing factor for greater Australian (and New Zealand) development investment in the Pacific.
+ Assumptions of Empowerment: Can a goat change a women's life?

On the 10th July Serene Khader, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Brooklyn College, presented in Wellington as part of the 2018 Alan Saunders/ Maurice Goldsmith Memorial Lecture series.  For those that did not attend, her lecture ‘What Is Global Women’s Empowerment?’ is now available to hear via the ABC website.

Khader challenges the common assumptions by the ‘Global North’ of what and how empowerment is achieved, such as through micro-finance or the provision of resources (such as sewing-machines and goats). She states that from a philosophical perspective there is a big difference between addressing injustice and reducing poverty, and explores this through three themes; individual well-being confusion, work confusion, and instrumentalisation confusion.
+ World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day 
(WHD) is held every year on 19th August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world. It is held on 19th August to mark the day (in 2003) when Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq, and 21 colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.
The theme for 2018 is the reinforcement of the message that civilians are not a target.  Interested members of CID are invited to join the #NotATarget movement and demand world leaders to do everything in their power to protect all civilians in conflict. Note: The website link above will take you to the basic WHD website, and the full website will be available closer to the date.
+ Member of the Moment: WWF New Zealand

WWF-New Zealand aims to turn New Zealanders’ passion for nature into action.  They work with local groups, businesses, NGOs and government to make great things happen for Aotearoa’s unique plants and animals.

Their latest achievements have been working alongside the Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society, with the Tindall Foundation, to release 14 native kōkako onto their 
maunga.  They have been working alongside youth organisation Generation Zero to push for a new law to tackle climate change, The Zero Carbon Act, which the new government has adopted.  They are also backing Blockchain technology, which is the next big thing to help fix issues with the global fishing industry – like bycatch and slavery.

Read more about WWF NZ and our other fantastic Members of the Moment here


Pacific Islands Social Enterprise