Human rights in the Pacific, Inequality, Racism in Aid, and more

Posted on 07 July 2020

+ Human Rights in the Pacific 

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) has just released research on human rights in the Pacific.

Data is hard to measure in the region, which has been challenging for the researchers, but there is a critical need for better human rights data in the Pacific, they say.

The major challenge was finding enough local human rights practitioners in each place - some of which have very small populations.

HRMI is about collaborative measurement, accurate data, rigorous analysis, and shared outcomes.

"Human rights abuses are a constant concern. A growing number of governments and corporations around the world are shrinking civil society spaces," says Tiumalu Peter Fa′afiu (also a CID member, Chair of the Pacific Media Network, and Global Director for Amnesty International).

"The Pacific Region is not immune to this. Now more than ever there is a need
to expand and deepen the reach of civil society, which includes researchers, media, academia, and community groups. The front-line fight for justice requires an underpinning of strong research and accurate information and insights."

Some highlights:

  • Samoa is reaching the target on the right to food but has room for improvement to reach the target for other rights
  • You can see trends over time. For example, Papua New Guinea has been gradually improving on the right to education
  • Civil and political rights in the Pacific scored quite highly across the Pacific region, although some key categories can be improved
  • Nearly 200 human rights practitioners from around the Pacific gave their opinion on how much the climate crisis has worsened human rights conditions in their country
  • Indigenous and Cultural Rights in the Pacific are a concern to all respondents.

+ Register for the key election debate! 

There are still some seats left but they're going fast.

THE political debate to attend prior to the election. Five major parties on stage and TV3's Tova O'Brien moderating. Sparks will fly!!

How has the pandemic changed New Zealand’s role in the world and in the Pacific?

Our economic recovery depends on our ability to trade. But closed borders, broken supply chains and an already damaged global system will test New Zealand’s success.

Aid to the Pacific has increased, as Island nations call for a ‘bubble’ with New Zealand and aid to help rebuild economies dependent on tourism. Extreme poverty in hotspots across the world is on the rise again with COVID lockdowns. What is New Zealand’s humanitarian role now?

And can we remain neutral in the power struggles between the United States and China?

Please register for this major election debate on Trade, Aid and New Zealand's Place in the World post-COVID, co-hosted by CID and NZIIA (The New Zealand Institute of International Affairs)

CID members pay only $10 per ticket.

Thursday 6 August 2020  5.30-7.30pm
Location: The Ballroom, Intercontinental Hotel, 2 Grey Street, Wellington.
Please register at Eventbrite (registration is required and a small fee applies to cover our costs)
Moderator Tova O’Brien with:

  • David Parker (Labour)
  • Simon Bridges or Gerry Brownlee (National) 
  • Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First) 
  • Golriz Ghahraman (Greens)  
  • David Seymour (ACT)

+ How Inequality Fuels COVID-19 Deaths

'Several factors determine a country’s COVID-19 death rate: the quality of political leadership, the coherence of the government’s response, the availability of hospital beds, the extent of international travel, and the population’s age structure' writes Jeffrey Sachs on the Project Syndicate.

There is, however, one deep structural characteristic that seems to be shaping the role of these factors: countries’ income and wealth distribution. United States, Brazil and Mexico, the three countries that account for nearly half of the world's reported deaths since the start of the pandemic, despite the fact that they only account for 8.6% of the world’s population, are countries characterised by high levels of income inequality. 

The same goes for Europe, where Italy, Spain, and the UK – with Gini scores of 35.6, 35.3, and 34.8, respectively – are more unequal than their northern and eastern counterparts and have had the highest COVID deaths.

The correlation of death rates per million and income inequality is far from perfect; other factors matter a lot, but many studies suggest that higher inequality leads to worse overall health conditions, lower social cohesion, less social trust, and more political polarization, which significantly increases vulnerability to COVID-19 deaths.

+ Staff change at CID

Josie, Aaron, Jacqueline, and the whole CID team is sad to see our much-loved colleague and friend Gaia Maridati move on to bigger and better things!

Gaia has been the Office, Development and Events Manager at CID for more than a year, and for some of that, she has been juggling a new Masters of Sustainable Development Goals at Massey University.

She has decided to focus on that full time, but is available for some work with CID members if you need some support, and will continue to be our CID representative with the DevNet team.

We are really happy to see Gaia do something she’s passionate about and set herself up for her next amazing job.

But we will miss that passion, the lockdown love, and the deeply principled approach she brings to everything she does.

Gaia will still be a fixture at CID, hot-desking when she needs to, and you can contact her direct at

Her last day will be Monday, July 20.

I know our members will want to join us in thanking Gaia for all that she has done for the sector. It’s a labour of love most of the time, and we’re grateful for our time with our Gaia.

Ti amiamo e ti auguriamo buona fortuna!

+ KitKat, Whittakers -  break with Fairtrade and abandon poor producers 

Kitkat's owners, Nestlé's have decided to ditch its longterm relationship with CID member, Fairtrade (international). The move is being called 'shameful' in global media.

Beloved New Zealand company, Whittaker's chocolate has also ditched their Fairtrade certification, in favour of 'Rainforest' which does not guarantee a minimum return to producers but is a cheaper certification tick for businesses like Whittakers.

Fairtrade is the only certification process that protects small producers in developing countries, by guaranteeing them a minimum return on their cocoa, tea, sugar, and many other products.

Nestlé's move will take out $11 million per year from Fiji sugar producers for example.

Under Fairtrade, cocoa farmers earn a minimum price of the equivalent of £1,900 per tonne for their cocoa beans sold on Fairtrade terms – with the potential to earn more if the market price is higher – in a bid to protect them against global market volatility.

On top of this, a Fairtrade premium of about the equivalent of £190 per tonne of cocoa beans is paid to the certified farming co-operatives, which is spent on community projects such as building schools or health centres, improving productivity and quality, reports the UK Independent.

Nestlé will now use its own self-certification. 

Many other businesses continue to use Fairtrade certification, particularly bananas in New Zealand. 

Look out for the Fairtrade label in your supermarket!


+ Status of Charities Act Review & Research

The Minister has paused worked on the Charities Act review for 6 months.

Meanwhile, Sue Barker (who has been a core part of the the Government’s Core Reference Group for reviewing the Charities Act 2005) is on sabbatical as the recipient of the 2019 New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellow. Sue is undertaking research: 

  • “What does a world-leading framework of charities law look like?”, with a report due by March 2021.

Sue  has prepared an initial draft Bill that would amend and restate the Charities Act – staring from the key question -  'how things should be done' and then subjecting that thinking to challenges over the course of her research.

She would like to consult with stakeholders first (by the end go, to end up with a proposal that is 'by the sector, for the sector'. 

Sue thinking is outlined in her article here, which looks at how COVID-19 has impacted legal aspects of the charities sector and what needs to be done to maximise the chances of being able to 'build back better'.

Sue is also facilitating a webinar on Tuesday, 21st July at 2:00pm which will be a great opportunity to receive practical ideas on how charities law can be used to better advise and assist the sector and maximise post-COVID-19 recovery.

+ Private sector still far from reaching SDGs

Only 46% of businesses surveyed are embedding the SDGs in their core business. Less than a third of businesses believe their industry is moving fast enough to deliver the SDGs by 2030.
A new UN Global Compact report on the private sector, Uniting Business in the Decade of Action, indicates that the majority of companies in the Compact are not doing enough to help bring about the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
While the vast majority of participating companies recognize the importance of sustainable development, they are also not doing enough to significantly reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Although science-based targets are considered by many sustainable development professionals as an important indicator of a company’s willingness to reduce its carbon footprint and negative environmental impact, the report reveals that while a third of companies surveyed are developing a science-based carbon reduction target, only 15 per cent have already set one.

The report is available here.

+ Nominations for Code Committee Member Representatives

CID is looking for two new Member Representative for the Code of Conduct Committee, for a period of two (2) years (renewable) from September 2020 – August 2022. 

The aim of the Code of Conduct Committee is to provide assurance to CID members, donors, the public and partners that the CID Code is being implemented effectively. It monitors adherence to the Code and compliance self-assessment and ensures that complaints in relation to the Code are examined promptly and fairly. The next 12 months will also be an exciting time as we continue with the implementation of recommendations from the Code Review.

The Member Representative will be nominated and elected by CID member organisations. The elected Member Representative can be:

  • current staff or board members of CID organisations
  • ex-staff and ex-board members of CID organisations
  • fully elected CID board members but not the Chair of the CID board.

Please contact Aaron Davy if you require further information, including a copy of the Code of Conduct Committee ToR and nomination form. 

The closing date for CID to receive nominations for the Member Representative role is Friday, 7th August.

+ Do aid charities have a race problem?

"As various institutions grapple with their failure to address discrimination, there has been a disappointing lack of self-reflection in our sector," writes an anonymous author at the UK Guardian.

"The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging we have one. Many remain unconvinced. They proclaim that our entire work is underpinned by principles and values that promote equality and non-discrimination and that while we may not be perfect, we are far better than most.

"We do not need to dig too deep to identify contradictions.

"The most obvious is the failure to make any progress towards localisation – the effort to increase the role of national responders, as well as to place greater value on local expertise and knowledge, and the use of local language."


+ Keynote talk on Adaptive Management - coming soon

Following on from the adaptive management 'masterclasses', CID will host global expert, Leni Wild for a keynote talk on how to apply this approach to your work.

COVID-19 has forced adaptive processes on some and accelerated it for others.

How do we make this ‘Business as Usual’, and what have we learnt about ‘Doing Development Differently’ during the pandemic?

Leni Wild is co-director of the Global Learning on Adaptive Management initiative, co-funded by USAID and DFID, and an experienced research fellow in the Politics and Governance Programme at the  Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the UK. 
She is a recognised expert in the politics of service delivery, and how to identify and address governance constraints to delivery.

She has worked for multilateral agencies and governments, including DFID and the World Bank, as well as a number of large INGOs, and in post-conflict countries like Uganda, Sierra Leone and Gaza, as well as fieldwork in Malawi, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
Date: Wednesday 15 July 2020
Time: TBC
Venue: Zoom

+ A Humanitarian Reckoning: Crisis in the West

#BlackLivesMatter and the COVID-19 pandemic are exposing the hypocrisies and structural problems that have long underpinned international humanitarian action. "There are so many of us that are talking about the future of humanitarian aid, but whose vision are we privileging in that re-imagination?"

COVID-19 has further exposed the changing face of vulnerability, and some aid organisations have started to expand their focus to Western states. For instance, Doctors Without Borders has opened programs in Canada, Italy, Switzerland, and the US. In a departure from the diplomatic talk that tends to dominate narratives of humanitarian reform, The New Humanitarian recently gathered together a 'Triple-A Group' (Aid workers, Analysts and Activists) to discuss the rise of humanitarian crisis within Western states

Also available as a YouTube clip, the discussion explored systemic issues that perpetuate inequality. 

+ Update on CID conference - for your calendar

The CID conference will take place in the week of October 26, but this year will be different.

We will trial the first-ever joint regional conference, and co-host with ACFID in Australia and PIANGO in the Pacific.

This will allow us to share the best global and Pacific speakers, and co-host panels, workshops and discussions. 

Events will take place on-line over the week, and you'll be able to dip in and out.

We will still host a face-to-face event with a dinner and keynote speaker in the evening, plus the usual MFAT partnership day  - in person -  after the dinner.

More details to follow, but mark the week of October 26 in your calendars!

+ Cox’s Bazar and the myth of social distancing

A special interactive dossier from The Guardian takes a look at the conditions of the 1 million Rohingya refugees who live in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, in regards to the global pandemic.

The refugees fled Myanmar in 2017 and have since lived in close quarters inside flimsy bamboo shacks, using communal toilets and water facilities, within 34 refugee camps in the area. In some cases, the human density reaches 13 people per tennis-court area, and social distancing simply isn’t possible, says The Guardian.

'The Rohingya people are playing a huge role in managing the coronavirus outbreak in Cox’s Bazar. Before the first Covid-19 case was recorded in the camps, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) was already training the existing network of 1,440 volunteer community health workers to spot symptoms and protect against the virus.'

The UN, and other agencies, have raced to open new facilities in Cox’s Bazar, but equipment is still extremely limited, and it is feared medical centres could be quickly overwhelmed.

As of 28 June, 49 cases and five deaths have been recorded.

The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

+ DevNet Conference update - call for abstracts!

Researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and others are still invited 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. 
  • 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. 
Please, download the templates: Research presentation or Applied (practitioner) presentation.

We look forward to seeing you at #DevNet2020!

+ Cancel Debt in Asia Pacific Webinar

Developing countries in Asia Pacific are trapped in the vicious cycle of debt.

For decades developing countries have been spending more of their revenues to pay interest on debt, at the expense of the needs of their peoples.

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the reliance of developing countries on debt and while international finance institutions (IFIs) rapidly provided stimulus packages to respond to the pandemic, the money isn’t yet enough.

Civil society’s call to cancel sovereign debt is louder than ever.

To unpack and amplify this advocacy, Reality of Aid – Asia Pacific (RoA-AP) and Aid/Watch, together with Jubilee Australia, held the second Aid Talks Webinar last 25 June 2020 entitled, Cancelling Debt in Asia Pacific: Tackling the COVID-19 Health and Economic Crisis.

You can access the recording of the webinar here.

+ 'Leave no one behind'  - really?

ALNAP, the sector's largest library of humanitarian and development resources,  has released a new report on 'COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts: no excuses to leave persons with disabilities behind!'. 

This review of evidence illustrates how the COVID-19 crisis triggers disproportionate risks and barriers for men, women, boys and girls with disabilities living in humanitarian settings. It highlights recommendations for humanitarian actors, to enhance inclusive action, aligned with existing guidance and learnings on disability inclusion. 

Humanitarian work in the early twenty-first-century is steeped in the rhetoric of ‘inclusion’ and ‘leave no one behind’.

Yet, too often it is the most vulnerable people and the people most in need [who] fall through the cracks of humanitarian responses.

Humanitarian leadership is in need of a major paradigm shift: one requiring agencies to actually learn from people’s lived reality, rather than trying to fit that lived reality into pre-existing international systems and procedures.

The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership looks at this issue in their new report titled 'When 'leadership' means acknowledging others might know better'.

+ COVID-19 cost to global tourism - more than $1.2 trillion

The world’s tourism sector could lose at least $1.2 trillion, or 1.5% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), due to the COVID-19 pandemic induced standstill of nearly four months.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - UN’s trade and development body – has also warned that the loss could rise to $2.2 trillion or 2.8% of the world’s GDP if the break-in international tourism lasts for eight months.
“These numbers are a clear reminder of something we often seem to forget: the economic importance of the sector and its role as a lifeline for millions of people all around the world,” said UNCTAD’s director of international trade, Pamela Coke-Hamilton on The Financial Express.


+ CID Activities
  • Desk Study for Post-Cyclone Season report (overlapping responses; COVID pandemic & TC Harold)
  • Preliminary conceptualisation and planning of WHD campaign (joint appeals & global giving)
  • Support of Programming Network and Fundraising Network
  • CID work planning for Quarter 1 completed
  • Election event in progress - August 6th
  • Auditors report in progress
  • Two 'Adaptive Management' training sessions held
  • CEOs catch up (fortnightly)
  • Annual conference preparation in progress
  • 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
  • ACFID/PIANGO/CID meetings and actions
  • CID members panel discussion on Effective Communication in progress
  • Development of Localisation report - capturing baseline data


SDGs Human Rights Pacific Islands Health