Why does only China do infrastructure, the SDGs, refugees and more

Posted on 29 May 2018

Well-being measures, the SDGs and trade deals

CID was very pleased to host Girol Karacaoglu at a CID Talk last week. He talked about the connection between the Government's new well-being measurements and the SDGs (FYI - the SDGs are an input into the well-being measures), and how the international NGOs can report on the SDGs. Find a summary of this talk and his slides here. 

'The notion of wellbeing is defined as the opportunity to live the kind of life a person values, without being judged', he said.

Also a 2016 paper, from the Critical Public Health journal, uses the example of nutrition or health-based development programming to illustrate the potential incoherence between some regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the ability to reach nutrition and health-related SDGs.

We know policy coherence is key to successfully implementing the SDGs, but it remains a challenge. It's true, governments have multiple policy objectives that may never be fully coherent. But the SDGs give governments a new framework to have another go. If the government wants to make 'trade popular again' it needs to make sure trade agreements don't undermine the achievement of SDG targets. This is especially important in the Pacific region. 
New CID member & a new code signatory

A huge (and overdue) CID welcome to our new member, Global Development Group.  GDG is a humanitarian organisation with a head office in Australia, and also offices in the USA and Cambodia. They provide comprehensive quality management to help achieve development effectiveness, together with partners, in aid and development projects and activities around the world.

It's fantastic to have them on board, especially given their long-standing relationships with our sister organisation, ACFID in Australia, where GDG played a key role in the ACFID Code of Conduct.

And a big congratulations to UN Women National Committee for Aotearoa New Zealand, who reached signatory status to the CID Code of Conduct last week. This has been a huge task for a volunteer organisation.

The more CID can do to promote the Code to key stakeholders, including the New Zealand public, the more value our smaller members will get from being Code signatories. It's about growing trust and the on-going social license to do the work we do. Thank you to the team at UN Women for all the work you've done to get this across the line.
SDG stories from Aotearoa

At the heart of the SDGs, there is a human story.

A group of passionate young Kiwis decided it was important to know what the SDGs mean to New Zealanders of all ages and backgrounds. They designed a competition for essays, poems or short stories, and offered a $5000 prize as a call to Aotearoa to have their say on the Sustainable Development Goals and stories that matter to them. 

You can hear the project's co-creator, Ella Gordon-Latty, discussing the initiative on Radio NZ, here.

After receiving over 200 entries, they are inviting the public to help them identify the best entries - so you can get involved! Voting opens on Wednesday 30 May 2018 and closes at 11:59pm on Sunday 10 June 2018. Narrative Imperative will publish all entries as PDFs on
How the West ceded infrastructure to China

Why did the West give up on infrastructure?

"China’s planned Belt and Road Initiative (B&R) could further shift the global strategic landscape in Beijing’s favor, with infrastructure lending as its primary lever for global influence," writers Francis Fukuyama and others in Foreign Affairs.

"The Chinese tend to overvalue the beneficial economic spillover effects of infrastructure projects, while undervaluing the potential harms, whether economic, social, or environmental.

"The Western approach, by contrast, is more transactional and focuses on painstaking due diligence concerning the economic, social, and environmental consequences of a given project. These safeguards are in the interests of ordinary people in developing countries. But Western institutions have become so risk averse that the cost and time to implement such projects have skyrocketed."

In other words, the West's risk-averse approach to development is not only holding us back, its leaving the field open to others, like China, who are only too happy to step in.

(Sign up for free to read the whole Foreign Affairs article).
Water crisis getting worse

Water insecurity is only getting worse. Water shortages, and the lack of access to potable water is likely to remain one of the key environmental concerns throughout the next century.

A comprehensive study by NASA, the first of its kind, used data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to track trends in freshwater from 2002 until 2016 across the globe. The results make for sobering reading, as they track the changing patterns of water resource availability globally. An article on this was published in The Guardian this week.

Worst hotspots are northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia. Some new hotspots have been discovered, like a region in north-western China in Xinjiang province. And the shoreline of The Caspian Sea is shrinking.

"We see for the first time a very distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter, in the high latitudes and the tropics, and the dry areas in between getting drier,” said James Famiglietti, of the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and co-author of the paper published in Nature.
More ticks for government's aid increase

An increase in the government's aid budget has also got a big tick from Massey Development Studies academics, but the development focus must be clearer on poverty alleviation and  climate change in the Pacific, they argue. Have a read of the full statement from Massey University on the Government's announcement here.

“In the next steps we need to see a new strategic plan that resets the mission and direction of New Zealand aid that we believe had been fundamentally misdirected during the past nine years. In particular, whilst there is a welcome commitment to more climate change-related initiatives, more is needed in terms of the aid programme’s overall alignment with the inclusive agenda put forward by the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals."
Support new way for communities to help refugees

An innovative programme in New Zealand is opening the door for more refugees to rebuild their lives in safe places. It complements the existing government-led refugee quota programme, but it’s communities not government that offer the help. Language lessons, home hunting, advice on putting together a CV, showing how to use public transport – these are just some of the ways individual people, organisations and businesses in New Zealand will welcome newcomers and help them resettle.   
Canada has resettled over 300,000 newcomers through this kind of community sponsorship programme. We know it works. 

A one-year pilot is underway in New Zealand. But the Government hasn’t decided whether to continue it.   
By taking the I Welcome Pledge, and helping reach the goal of 10,000 pledges, together we can show the Government the support and potential that community sponsorship has across New Zealand. 
Let's make our communities more welcoming. Let's do everything we can to solve the refugee crisis. Please take the pledge today...and share it with your friends and whanau.
Return to Hau’ofa’s ‘Our Sea of Islands’

Epeli Hauʻofa was a Tongan and Fijian writer, adacemic and anthropologist, and lived and taught in Fiji at the University of the South Pacific. Hauʻofa co-produced the literary magazine Faikara with his wife Barbara, and in the 1980s he was the first director of the newly created Rural Development Centre, based in Tonga. Sadly, he died in January 2009.

Hau'ofa was a writer whom many students of Development Studies and Pacific Studies will have read as part of their academic studies. His article 'Our Sea of Islands' from A New Oceania: Rediscovering our Sea of Islands remains as pertinent today as it was 25 years ago. With the Pacific Reset, it is a good time to return and refresh ourselves with Hau'ofa's vital academic piece in understanding the connectedness of the Pacific.

In particular he challenges the Euro-centric view of the 'smallness' of the Pacific, and illustrates that such perceptions or assumptions have the potential to  undermine the role and expectation of Pacific agency and autonomy in development thinking.  The challenge to us all, is to ask ourselves if we are still making these incorrect assumptions today.
+ Ebola Outbreak

The WHO, harshly criticised for its handling of the last outbreak, which killed more than 11,300 people and infected nearly 29,000, appears to be atoning for past inaction. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director-general is taking a hands-on approach to his agency's response, getting briefed hourly on developments from his disaster preparedness chief. Health workers are inoculating those proximate to the outbreak in a strategy called "ring vaccination."

Given the extremity of the last Ebola outbreak — between the lives lost and the economic devastation it caused — the global health community can only hope that early responses translate into sustained and effective global action. 

IRIN writes on what you need to know about the outbreak.

“Speed is very important with this kind of outbreak. And with the organizations that have already responded, they have really put this lesson into practice by having people deployed on the ground with supplies within a few hours of the declaration of the outbreak by the Ministry of Health in Congo,” Ben Adikonyi, regional head of health and care for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told Devex.


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