Sri Lankan bombing, World Earth Day, ODA flows in the Pacific, Women’s empowerment, and Easter readings

Posted on 23 April 2019

+ Sri Lankan Bombings & Social Media concerns

The coordinated series of bombings over the weekend in Sri Lanka has killed at least 290 people and injured more than 450 others, after suicide bombers exploded devices in three churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Three hotels and a banquet hall in the Sri Lankan capital were also attacked.

Despite Sri Lanka's decades of conflict between state forces and the Tamil Tigers, the bombings on Easter Sunday came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a civil war and suicide bombings in the past, but nothing of this level of fatalities within a single event. Sri Lankan authorities are stunned by the apparent scale of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggests the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot. 

Concerns by Sri Lankan officials regarding the role of social media echo the same sentiments following the Mosque attacks in Christchurch last month.

The Sri Lankan government has blocked access to social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, which have been used in the past to circulate messaging that incited attacks against minority groups in the country. This move not only suggests 'official’ worries about social media’s risk to public safety at moments of national tension, but also their distrust in the companies’ ability to manage the platforms responsible. It reflects a global, and growing, wariness toward social platforms.

Sri Lankan authorities have apprehended 13 people in connection to the attacks.

+ World Earth Day & Environment Aotearoa 2019 Report

Yesterday (22nd April) was Earth Day, with the theme for 2019 being 'Protect our Species'. Earth Day has been commemorated on this date since 1970 when 20 million citizens took to the streets in the US at the height of counterculture movements and the long shadow of environment awakening cast by the publication of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring'. Earth Day mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. 

Nearly 50 years later, we have seen the environment youth protests, inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg, taking place in over 20 countries including New Zealand, and last week the Extinction Rebellion protests taking place, most notably in London. The UK protests have been urging their government to be more transparent about climate change, to reduce net carbon emissions to zero, and to hold a citizens’ assembly to oversee the changes necessary to "save the planet from ecological collapse". Extinction Rebellion protests also took place in seven New Zealand cities over the weekend.

Last week the NZ Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ released the report Environment Aotearoa 2019, providing an overview of the state of our environment. The report presents nine priority environmental issues in New Zealand, using five broad themes:
  1. Our ecosystems and biodiversity
  2. How we used our land
  3. Pollution from our activities
  4. How we use our freshwater and marine resources
  5. Our change climate
While not suggesting responses (which were not under the scope of the report’s governing legislation), Environment Aotearoa 2019 provides evidence to have an open and honest conversation about what New Zealand is at risk of losing, and where changes need to be made.
+ ODA flows in the Pacific Region
Alexandre Dayant from the Lowy Institute shows us a new interactive chart on the sectoral distribution of aid in the Pacific and looks at where the money is going. The Pacific, when measured by aid inflows as a proportion of GDP, is the most aid-dependent region in the world due to its small-scale economies and geographical vulnerability.

When only looking at ODA, Australia is the leading donor to the region, with 45% of the total amount of aid given over the period, followed by New Zealand (9%), China (8%), the US (8), Japan (6%), the Asian Development Bank (5%) and the World Bank 4%.

The main sectors of investment are Governance, Transport, Health and Education, with only a few exceptions. Fiji, for instance, doesn’t focus as much on Governance projects as other Pacific Islands countries, probably due to the Australian position after the 2006 military coup (less working directly with the government), and the rise of China as an aid partner for the Fijian government (more Transport).

The focus on Governance seems fairly aligned with the five points raised in The Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development that, overall, call for strong political leadership, and effective institutions and capacity at national and regional levels as a prerequisite for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.
The European Union, instead, who seems to acknowledge the importance of the Pacific region and increasingly seeks a seat around the table, spends almost a quarter of its ODA to the Pacific in Humanitarian Aid. In general, the EU’s development cooperation with the Pacific still counts for a small part of its ODA commitments and it is shaped by the identification of and commitment to pre-defined sectors for support, and by the promotion of crosscutting and mainstreaming issues, such as climate change and gender.
+ Women's Empowerment - inspiring women gather in Taiwan

CID's Director took part in a global workshop on Women's Empowerment in Taiwan, with representatives from around 30 other countries.

Some of the experiences and stories from women in and around our region were inspirational. 

Cathy Alex from PNG runs the Women Leaders Network which provides access to resources and connections to support and investment for women in business and governance. The organisation has helped 1000s of local women connect with investors and scale up their businesses, and this has had a profound impact on the communities where they live. 

Jennifer Torea Pascal runs the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBI). The mission of the organisation is to promote and develop women's participation as business owners in their own right. 

Ramona Levy-Strauss runs Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), an organisation that brings women in teh Marshall Islands together and supports them to develop their own businesses, promote local knowledge and practice, and advance good governance and human rights. 

Krithika Ram runs WEConnect International in India, an organisation that certifies businesses in India as women owned and run. It then supports these women-owned businesses to succeed in local and global value chains, partnering with the big companies like Walmart in the US.

Adi Litia Cakabau Nailatikau, a lawyer from Fiji helps local start ups in  Fiji to set up, specialises in environmental law, and was formally UN AIDS HIV Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Pacific.

Kyawt Kay Thi Win runs the Business Coalition for Gender Equality in Myanmar, supporting gender equality in the work place, not just because its the right thing to do, she says, but because gender equality is good for business! The organisation provides a diagnostic and certification system for gender equality for companies in Myanmar.

Luzviminda Arcega Villanueva runs the Supporting Women's Empowerment in the Philippines Project (GREAT Women Project). This helps women's micro enterprises become more competitive and grow.

Participants also includes women running organisations, non-profits and businesses from Mongolia, Brunei, Australia, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore. 

If you like to know more about these organisations and get contact details please contact Josie Pagani at CID,
+ Easter holidays - Long reads/listens

Here are a few longer articles or podcasts for those of you taking advantage of a long week off.

Is the Israeli-Palestine Peace Process Dead? The Brookings Institute looks at the latest development post the Israeli election in this podcast.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a leading indicator of the scale of China’s global ambitions, so what are the implications? The Brookings Institute assembles its leading authors - Amar Bhattacharya, David Dollar, Rush Doshi, Ryan Hass, Homi Kharas, Mireya Solís, and Jonathan Stromseth—to interrogate popular perceptions of the initiative, as well as to evaluate the future of BRI and its strategic implications, here.
  • "While the initiative began with a predominantly economic focus, it has taken on a greater security profile over time."
  • "The initiative is meeting a need and filling a void left by international financial institutions (IFI) as they shifted away from hard infrastructure development. But there is a real possibility that the BRI will follow in the footsteps of the IFIs, encounter the same problems, and falter."
  • "China has been responsive to requests from recipient countries. This adaptability has made BRI resilient and attractive to recipient governments in spite of popular concerns expressed through the ballot box in multiple countries."
+ Improve your governance - online tool

Here's a useful assessment tool for free, to test your organisation's governance capacity.

The Governance Internal Evaluation Tool (IET) is created by the NZ School of Trustees Association, and can be applied to any non-profit.

It's designed to help boards identify areas where they need to improve their governance practice. For more info, click here

PIANGO & CID: Localisation workshop - Sign up now!
"Organisations that already believe they are local or believe that a few tweaks to their systems will be sufficient to ‘localise’ them, are in for a shock. The implications of localisation are profound touching on every aspect of an INGO’s work including the nature of partnerships, business, financial and operating models. Localisation is more than a new programme of work. It aims to fundamentally rebalance the entire humanitarian ecosystem"
Building on former workshops, we will take a practical look at how localisation can work well (or not) on the ground, and how it is changing the way we work.
Selina Kuruleca, facilitator 

Selina works as a consultant with PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs). She has been facilitating localisation workshops across the Pacific and has hosted workshops for many organisations including the WHO, the World Bank, UNFPA, Red Cross, and many NGOs, corporate and government departments.

She has a background in conflict mediation and resolution, in post-emergency psychological services, in mental health and in localisation.

To register, click here.
+ From the Members

Oxfam NZ exploring new Pacific project

Oxfam NZ will be leading a new scoping project to explore potential new partnerships with Pacific diaspora communities that may, in turn, enrich, inform and support projects taking place in the Pacific. As part of this exploration, a Pacific Koloa Collective has been set up consisting of indigenous Pacific practitioners with development and humanitarian experience in the Pacific. This scoping project is led by Christine Nurminen, International Management Portfolio (Pacific). For more information about this project email

+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by


Asia Environment Pacific Islands