#nziswatching Advocacy for Syria, celebrating women humanitarians, Pacific Leaders Forum fallout, plus many upcoming events and more.

Posted on 20 August 2019

+ #NZiswatching

Eleven CID members launched a campaign to call on the New Zealand government to resume funding to Syria, and to keep the pressure on the Syria regime to prevent war crimes and human rights abuses.

You can sign the petition and read the latest on the campaign here.

CID would like to thank Andrew Robinson for his fantastic leadership of this campaign, the CEOs who fronted, and the team at Tonkin & Taylor for making the video happen. 

Today MFAT has announced increased funding to Syria of $3 million, to go to Red Cross. 

Minister Winston Peters said, “The Government has contributed this additional funding to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support the distribution of food and other essential items, restore water supplies, and support hospitals and health centres to continue to function.”

Some media from the launch:

Newshub's Mike McRoberts calls for more government aid to Syria in the Sunday Star Times.
Newshub and the AM Breakfast show did a story on the campaign and showed clips of the video.

Also Newshub ran a story on last night's 6pm news.

Here is a link to the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2018-19, mentioned in the petition. So far only 17% of the pledges have been realised. New Zealand is not on the list of donors for this year. 

Some have speculated there might be a reluctance on the part of some donors to be seen to 'normalising' Bashar Al Assad's 'win' by funding reconstruction. If that's true, it makes the work of NGOs and charities all the more important in the short term.

For an analysis of how to respond to Assad's apparent victory, and what reconstruction of Syria could look like, here is an excellent podcast, summarising the challenges and opportunist right now -  from the Brookings Institute.  

Also from the Brookings Insitute, 'Democracy and Disorder' in the Middle East. Well worth a listen. 

And finally, two days ago a family of seven were killed in the latest air raids in Idlib.
+ Tonight!... Discussion with Vangelis Vitalis: NZ Trade Policy in Turbulent Times

CID members are invited to attend Diplosphere's upcoming event hosting MFAT's Deputy Secretary Vangelis Vitalis for a discussion providing insights on how New Zealand can navigate these turbulent times for trade policy internationally and the strategy for the way ahead.

The event will consist of an opportunity to network with attendants (with drinks provided) followed by the discussion with Vangelis Vitalis.

Date: Tuesday 20 August
Time: 5:00pm - 6:30pm 
Venue: PwC Centre, 10 Waterloo Quay, Level 4, Wellington

To purchase tickets and for further information click here.
+ Celebrating Women Humanitarians on World Humanitarian Day

Yesterday (19th August) was the 10th anniversary of World Humanitarian Day.

The focus this year was on women humanitarians and the huge difference they make for millions of women, men and children in urgent need. This year’s campaign supports the recognition that women deserve in the strengthening of global humanitarian response as well as in protection efforts under the international law.

The scope and diversity of the unique impact of women within the humanitarian sector has been highlighted in 24 Stories. The triumphs and challenges that women humanitarians face in the field and within their own organisations are also covered here.

Some argue, however, that the praise for women humanitarians rings hollow when inequality and harassment is still so pervasive. Research in the last 2 years highlights the challenges facing women aspiring to leadership within the humanitarian sector, which are as pervasive as in other sectors. One may also question the point in celebrating female humanitarians, without effective delivery upon calls for reform.
+ Pacific Leaders Forum statement re. climate change

The leaders of the 18-member countries and territories met for 12 hours on the 15th August, with a communiqué on climate change titled the 'Funafuti Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now' released soon after. The final communique makes no mention of a transition from coal due to calls from the Australian delegation. It does reaffirms climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of people in the Pacific. 

Influential Pacific island leaders have since called for Australia to be ousted from the region’s main regional grouping, criticizing Canberra’s “neocolonial” attitudes and refusal to take urgent action on climate change. Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said the Pacific Islands Forum row on climate change reminded him of regional meetings decades ago, when “colonial masters” set the agenda.

Vanuatu will host the next Pacific Islands Forum in 2020. The incoming Chair of the next Pacific Leaders Forum in 2020, has already asked that Australia prepares well ahead of the next forum meeting, and requested that the Australian delegation "comes to the table ready to make real, tangible commitments on climate change".

+ Peter Fa'afiu appointed to Global Amnesty International Board

Amnesty International’s 2019 Global Assembly (GA) recently took place in Johannesburg. In a recent interview, it's secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, stating that the organisation is midway through developing a new strategy that aims to help it become “a bigger, bolder and more inclusive human rights movement”.

Following the Global Assembly, the current Chair of Amnesty International Aotearoa, Peter Fa'afiu, was elected as a Director to the AI International Board. The Asia Pacific region now holds three out of nine positions on the Board, which has oversight of Amnesty International's global human rights strategy.

Peter states "These are watershed years for human rights activism. Today, if we looked at negotiating the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, we wouldn’t get to the negotiating table. Abuses are on the rise and are acute in some parts of the world where governments are shrinking civil society spaces. We need Amnesty International to be a strong and assertive advocate.”

The Amnesty International tenure is for four years. CID would like to congratulate Peter on his appointment to this role, and looks forward to continuing work with him through the Pacific Reset Group as well.

+ CID launches its new website

The Council for International Development website has been re-designed to increase our ability to bring members and their partners together, online and in person. And to get the most relevant and up to date information and tools to our members.

We look forward to continuing to build on this work - still a long way to go. Please let us know of any feedback, and please send this to
+ Can humanitarian impact bonds marry saving lives and making money?

Invented less than 10 years ago, impact bonds are designed to harness private capital for public good. The better the outcome or results of a project, the better the return for the investors who funded the project.

For those trying to make budgets stretch further to fund international relief programmes, impact bonds might sound like a match made in heaven: private investors could fund projects that help people living in the midst of health or other emergencies, and those investors would be rewarded based on how well those projects were carried out.

Sceptics say the model simply makes projects more expensive for traditional donors while directing money to private investors.

+ Localisation report post CID workshops

To all those who took part in the localisation workshops earlier this year, here is the final version of the report.

A quick summary:

"The outcomes of the Localisation Workshop indicate that at an intellectual, and ethical, level the New Zealand international development sector understands the concept of localisation and recognises it to be a consequence of the evolution of the international development and humanitarian sectors. This, coupled with the fact that the Council for International Development Annual survey of the Sector indicates that approximately 80% of CID members have partnered with a Pacific partner, appears promising.

However, several blockages to progress exist resulting in a lack of momentum and little 
urgency to substantially change operating models and behaviours.

64% of CID members have not signed any localisation commitment.

49% of members have worked with local partners on only 1-5 activities, and the traditional business model for international non-government organisations remains mostly unchanged. Members are also struggling to establish baselines in order to measure progress.

+ Governance and development 

For those who couldn't attend CID's recent sessions with Graham Teskey, global expert on governance in development, here are his slides and other tools and resources. 
+ 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.
+ Safeguarding workshops in the US - just in case you're there!

OSACO Humanitarian, a CID member, is holding 3-day workshops in New York and Washington in October. In case any CID members are in the US at this time, here are the details. OSACO are now based in New Zealand and work closely with CID and MFAT to support the sector to strengthen its capacity to deal with allegations of staff misconduct. Here are more details on these Effective Workplace Investigations workshops.

Or you can contact Sean Buckley, Dominic Smyth and Jaydene Buckley directly.


Asia New Zealand Humanitarian #NZisWatching