UK influence at the UN, CID Conference 2019, Venezuelan crisis and International Women’s Day 2019

Posted on 26 February 2019

+ UK influence at UN would be in freewill

As the UK hurtles towards the March 29 Brexit deadline, a new report from the United Nations warns “Brexit will have an impact on the UK’s standing at the United Nations. British diplomats will perform strongly but they will lose political capital because they are less able to align their campaigns in the Security Council and the General Assembly with the influence of their colleagues in Brussels.”

The report suggests that the impact of Brexit can be offset and the UK’s influence maintained if the UK invests in multilateralism and provides clear principled, values-driven leadership, reports UK Bond this week.

Meanwhile, the Department For International Development (DFID) has been working with Bond to prepare NGOs for Brexit and sent a letter this week which outlines DFID's preparations and responds to some of the concerns raised by Bond and members. Read the letter below or click here to read it as a PDF.

UK's NGOs are still unclear unsure about whether they can continue to work with the EU’s humanitarian arm, ECHO, reports Sophie Edwards at Devex.

"The UK government threw British NGOs a lifeline by promising to underwrite new contracts signed with ECHO after the humanitarian funder said it would cut short all funding to U.K. NGOs if there is a “no-deal” Brexit. In 2017, British NGOs secured €228 million ($258.4 million) in new grants from ECHO’s €2.5 billion budget, according to EU data."
+ CID Conference 2019 - Save the Date 

Please save the date October 21 and 22 for the 2019 CID Conference, AGM and partnership day with MFAT.
+ Tuvalu PM calls for a 'Pacific Union'

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has outlined his thoughts on supporting climate change refugees in the South Pacific. In his essay 'The Complacent Country', Rudd promotes the potential to offer Australian citizenship to Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru residents in exchange for control of their seas, fisheries and Exclusive Economic Zones. He suggests that "Australia would also become responsible for the relocation over time of the exposed populations of these countries to Australia where they would enjoy the full rights of Australian citizens."

The idea — which has been seen as suggesting these Pacific countries give up their sovereignty — has been strongly criticised by Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga. "The days of that type of imperial thinking are over," he said and warned it amounts to a form of neo-colonialism. My country "will not be subjugated" under a "colonial mentor," he said.

Tuvalu is made up of nine low-lying coral atolls and its highest point is just 4.5 metres above sea level, making it particularly vulnerable to climate change (although some scientists believe Tuvalu can still plan for a much longer-term future). A lack of support for localised adaptation are the real issues that need to be addressed by the Australian government, said PM Sopoaga.

He called for the establishment of a Pacific supra-state, along the lines of the European Union, that is "based on cooperation and integration, perhaps into some sort of United States of the Pacific". He says this would be a more realistic way for small Pacific Island nations to amplify their concerns about climate change on the global stage.

+ Don't let regret hold you back! 

For anyone considering a new job or just a change of focus, here's an article from the Conversation about how to avoid the 'fear of regret' – a powerful driver of maintaining the status quo in our lives.

For a sector that has a lot of churn in staff turnaround, this is a positive way to look at why change is good.
+ Women entrepreneurs in developing countries 

"Current women’s economic empowerment interventions are not enough to overcome all obstacles facing female entrepreneurs. The emerging evidence from psychology and experimental economics on agency, mindset, and leadership show that for successful interventions to be transformative, they need to move beyond basic access to financial and human capital and also tackle central psychological, social, and skills constraints on women entrepreneurs," writes Eyerusalem Siba at the Brookings Institute.

Successful interventions, among the studies from places like Tanzania and Nicaragua, have usually paired basic business skills provision with the provision of soft skills such as leadership and mindset considerations, according to this report.
+ Venezuelan Crisis: to intervene or not?

The Venezuelan crisis has deepened over the last month, with the provision of aid becoming central to the conflict. President Maduro has partially closed the country's borders to try to halt any international aid being delivered, saying that Venezuela is still able to meet its own needs. As opposition activists try to bring in humanitarian supplies across government blockades, there have been violent clashes, fatalities and attacks on aid supplies in border towns. Opposition leader Guaidó has vowed to make sure that aid including food and medicine enters Venezuela with the help of volunteers. 

ICRC has requested that whatever plans the US has to support the people of Venezuela, humanitarian support has to be shielded from political conversations. There's a growing sense that US military intervention could be on the table.

International law is unsure of the status of opposition Guaido's legitimacy as 'leader'. 

Mary Ellen O’Connell, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame states that regardless of how the world views President Maduro's actions, he is ineffective control as the government. O’Connell says that under International Law Maduro "is treated as the head of government. The fact the U.S. and other states have recognised opposition leader Guaidó as the legitimate president is irrelevant for these purposes. Guaidó must win the support of the military and other Maduro backers to govern. It is governing that matters, not the preferences of outside states. 

However, Diego A. Zambrano at Stanford University disagrees. 

"While recognition typically focuses on a ruler’s de facto control over a territory, Guaidó’s de jure status under the Venezuelan Constitution is also crucial. If Guaidó is clearly president under Venezuelan lawthen recognition seems warranted here. Even setting aside the fact that Maduro’s kleptocratic rule has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, I believe that the best and most sensible reading of the Venezuelan Constitution leads to the conclusion that Juan Guaidó is now the interim president of Venezuela."

And if (and only if) Guaidó is the legal head of state, he can invite a foreign military force in to help him protect his citizens. Military force for any other reason would violate the fundamental prohibition on the use of force within International Law. International law permits proportionate response to an armed attack in self-defence, but not for regime change,  or even to distribute humanitarian aid or food.

There's also the R2P principle (the Responsibility to Protect), which could allow an international intervention on humanitarian grounds, but the US under its present administration is unlikely to use R2P.

Meanwhile, civil society NGOs are shouldering a significant amount of the humanitarian challenge, with over 120 Venezuelan NGOs expressing grave concern at the approach UN agencies and others are taking in response to this crisis.

+ Project development  - key to NGO success 

"Project management qualifications are key to professional progression in many sectors. Certifications are highly sought after in the private sector, while in global development, the ability to manage people, resources, time, and budget management is extremely valuable, and demand for them is increasing — particularly with growing trends in accountability," reports Lottie Waters of Devex.

Project management is all about managing people - staff, stakeholders and donors -  and as the role of New Zealand NGOs changes in the era of localisation and new funding arrangements with MFAT, we need to get better at mentoring our partners and building their capacity, which means we have to be expert at project management, M&E and other 'brokering skills'. 

CID will be rolling out training and workshops on professional skills like project management, HR, finance and more. We'll keep you posted.
+ Gender equity in tourism

March 8 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter is a timely slogan within the tourism industry.  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 states we should work towards, “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030”. 

Achieving gender equality in the tourism sector will require both industry leaders as well as travellers to play a pro-active role.

Good Travel asks five questions in their latest blog to tackle this issue:

1. Why is it important that the tourism industry focus on gender equity?
2. What challenges are being faced by women in tourism?
3. How does this involve me/my organization?
4. What’s the potential for the tourism industry to be a leader in the #balanceforbetter campaign?
5. It’s great to support gender equity, but how does this tie into economic benefits?

"We’re convinced that the tourism industry could be one of the first–and certainly one of the most powerful forces for gender equity in the world with the support of GOOD travellers like you, and industry leaders eager to achieve financial success and social impact."
Governance & Leadership training, tools and resources

"At LEAD Centre for Not for Profit Governance & Leadership, we get the complexity of leadership, whether it’s for a charity, community group or not for profit organisation.  We get our sector and we get you.

Our training events are filled with tools, tips, approaches and frameworks - but they’re not simplistic. Training content is informed by research and evaluation, and underpinned by principles of community-led development.  We take the best of what’s happening in the global, Pacific and New Zealand third sectors, and distill it for your benefit.

The LEAD trainers have a collective experience of over a century of working and leading in not for profit organisations, so we draw on this to help shape what we share with you.

Whether you’re after a quick ‘top up’ with a Training ‘Bite’, a full day participatory workshop, a programme which develops your leadership capability over time, or a Masterclass to put the edge on your practice, we have a training event which will be transformative - giving you the ongoing  skills, knowledge and confidence to lead and create change."

For information on these events, click here.

+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by


Pacific Islands South America