What to expect in 2019!

Posted on 08 January 2019

+ Funding pressures, nationalism and politics in 2019

Happy new year. But it's going to be a tough one.

As nationalist movements continue to win political office across the world, what will this mean for the global and international focus of aid and development?

Devex predicts another tumultuous year for aid work in 2019.

new presidential policy directive from the Trump administration "is expected soon, codifying a key theme of this White House on aid: That it should be proffered in exchange for friendship and favor, and withheld for disobedience — especially for countries whose citizens are making their way to the U.S. border," writes Raj Kumar of Devex.

There is now a real prospect of a no-deal Brexit and wait for  the disruption that will cause to NGOs, implementers, and aid workers.

Bilateral donors are under tremendous political pressure to cut aid budgets. This could see the rise of the multilateral institution in 2019, as the development banks take on more importance, filling gaps in climate, health, and education. "The World Bank, fresh off a successful capital increase, will be in the spotlight in 2019 as President Jim Kim rolls-out his most ambitious agenda to-date: the human capital index," writes Devex.

However multilateral organisations will be under threat in this new era of isolationalism. NPR predicts that more countries will follow American, andwithdraw funding from the UN.  

"On January 1, the U.S. formally left UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization."

Another factor to watch will be the World Bank’s pivot to fragile and conflict-affected states, a key element of its capital increase agreement.

Meanwhile Bond in the UK has called for 6 steps in 2019, including:
  • A government strategy for delivering the SDGs
  • Proportional compliance for small NGOs so they can apply for grants from DFID
  • A counter-terrorism bill that protects NGOs
In 2018, China unveiled its new bilateral aid agency, the China International Development Cooperation Agency. Expect more activity in the Pacific region this year from the three China initiatives: CIDCA, the $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — which has so far operated quietly but now touts 93 approved member countries, up from 57 when it launched two years ago.

Watch our for the Australian election this year. "Last year, Australian aid dropped to its lowest level since 2005. Could the change in government lead to a reversal of the trend?" writes Devex.

+ 2019 will have its share of humanitarian crises

No surprises -  a 2018 report from UNOCHA found that "conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs."

Nearly 132 Million People Will Need Aid, U.N. Says in 2019 Appeal. That means 1 in 70 people on earth will be in need of assistance. 

Pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia to hold true to the   ceasefire negotiated at the end of 2018 in Yemen. It was intended to ensure humanitarian access to Hudaydah, which is the conduit for 70 percent of aid to Yemen.

But what would Yemen post-war look like? 

"An end to the Saudi intervention is long overdue—but even if it occurs, don’t expect Yemen’s nightmare to draw to a close. For a change in Saudi policy to have the most impact, it must be coupled with a broader pullout of foreign powers and a ceasefire among Yemen’s many warring factions," writes Daniel L. Byman of the Brookings Institute. 

Alex de Waal from the UK Guardian calls for Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman to be prosecuted for his actions in Yemen

And how will the unexpected announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and drawdown from Afghanistan affect humanitarian and development efforts there?

"Islamic State fighters in Syria still number in the thousands, though their unit integrity has been vastly diminished by coalition firepower and by the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground, writes John R. Allen of the Brookings Institute. 

America's withdraws from Syria increases Russia's influence in the region, but there are no signs that Russia will encourage Syrian leader Bashar al Assad to re-build the country or help Syrian refugees return home.

"In a war that has killed some 500,000 people and displaced about 13m, Mr Assad seemed on the brink of defeat in 2015. But through brutal tactics—and with the help of Russia in the air, and Iran and Shia militias on the ground—he has regained most of his country’s heartland. He seems determined to keep fighting until he has recovered all his territory," writes the Economist.

"The immediate losers are Syria’s Kurds, whose dream of creating an autonomous region in Syria looks imperilled."

Infectious diseases are likely to be a growing cause of conflict too.

NPR predicts there may even be a pandemic in 2019.

"We're seeing a global increase in the spread of infectious diseases," says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who leads the Outbreak Observatory, a group that collects information about outbreaks. And she doesn't expect a change in that pattern.

Increased migration will contribute to the risk of outbreaks.

Watch the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, writes Devex.

But the good news is that we're better at responding to infectious diseases and pandemics in 2019.

Some predict that 2019 could see fewer food crises which is good news.

Although its the dry season, Esther Ngumbi, a researcher at the University of Illinois and an Aspen Institute New Voices food security fellow, is hopeful that the impact of the dry season will not be as dramatic. 'Countries are doing a better job equipping their farmers with water storage systems and encouraging them to plant drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, both highly nutritional grains, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas), whose seeds are high in protein.'

Politics will continue to contribute to humanitarian needs in 2019.

As Venezuela continues to spiral tragically downward into a full-blown humanitarian crisis for example, what’s the endgame for the country, its people, and its neighbours? Meanwhile human rights campaigners are targeted in the country. 

And Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, worries that there will be "an increase in denial for people seeking asylum in high-income countries." As it becomes harder to refugees to find safety in rich countries, the burden will continue to fall on counters like Lebanon, Jordan and others.

+ Predictions for the Pacific

Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, and Solomon Islands will all go to the polls in 2019.

"In Tuvalu, PM Enele Sesene Sopoaga will be hoping that his increased presence and activity in the realm of global climate diplomacy will not prove an impediment to success at home. Similarly, President Hilda Heine in Marshall Islands will be looking to secure something more substantial than the very narrow margin by which she defeated a motion of no confidence last year," writes Tess Newton Cain in DevPolicy blog 

Watch out for the Solomon Islands election, the first since the end of RAMSI. Also the referendum in Bougainville this year, where citizens will be asked to decide if they wish for ‘greater autonomy’ within Papua New Guinea or if they want to be an independent state.

"The issue of self-determination for West Papua is likely to become more significant in our region over the next few years, especially given that by the end of this year the Pacific Islands Forum troika will include Tuvalu, whose Prime Minister spoke strongly on this issue at the UN General Assembly in 2018, and Vanuatu, whose support for West Papuan independence is well known," writes Tess Newton Cain.

Australia will increase its focus on the Pacific, as other donors including China, the EU and Japan keep the pressure on. 

In New Zealand, the Pacific Reset agenda will continue to roll out. Expect 'some meat on the bones' with new policies and announcements in 2019.
+ Podcasts & briefings to ease you into 2019

Here's a podcast to get you up to speed before the working year begins!

“What to Watch in 2019,” the Out of Order hosts—with cameos by various German Marshall Fund experts from around the world—weigh in on what to expect in 2019 when it comes to transatlantic trade battles, China, and U.S. and European domestic politics in Part One of this two-part special.

Also top economic issues in the US to look out for in 2019, from the Brookings Institute.

Podcast: Defying the Taliban - a sector school for girls. 

Plus a backgrounder - 'Who are the Rohingya and what's happening in Myanmar?' from the UK Guardian. 
+ CID's newsletter is proudly sponsored by...

CID will keep you connected in 2019

We will be back at work in earnest next week, and expect your CID weekly to keep you up to date with activities, trends and issue in 2019.

What to look out for in 2019:
  • Feedback on MFAT's new funding arrangements 
  • A schedule of workshops and training for CID members, including  making partnerships work, and localisation
  • Events and speakers on key issues in aid and development
  • Research on impact and other key issues
  • Continued advocacy and consultation with ministers and MFAT
  • ....and much more.

Get in touch to let us know what you're up to, and to share stories on the CID Weekly.


Humanitarian Pacific Islands Government