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Keeping the life insurance

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 11:21
Inclusion of community and long-term funding are vital for effective conservation

We have known it for long, but still do too little about it: species are becoming extinct at the rate of one every 15 minutes, an estimated 100 a day, nearly 700 a week, more than 30,000 a year. Yet we need biodiversity today more than ever – because it provides food, building materials, energy, medicine and a great deal more to a growing number of people.

Science cannot yet say exactly how many species are actually necessary for the survival of humanity, but it does tell us that “a lot is good”. The reason: diversity is like a life insurance. If one species fails, due to drought or heat for example, its function is transferred to another. Accordingly, the continuous decline in the number of species is eroding humanity’s insurance cover day by day.

In response to the alarming depletion of biodiversity worldwide, the international community agreed in 2010, under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to commit to what is known as the “Aichi Targets”. They range from halving the loss of natural habitats to stopping the overfishing of oceans and placing 17 % of inland water and 10 % of marine areas under protection. The deadline for achieving the goals is 2020. Judging by the progress made so far, however, most of the targets will not be met. Therefore, at their latest meeting in Egypt in late November, the parties to the CBD launched one more urgent appeal, calling for the extension and intensification of global efforts to preserve biodiversity (see Günter Mitlacher, Debate section, D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/01).

What is needed is not just political. Significantly more money is necessary too, and it must be spent more efficiently. Experts reckon that an annual $ 1.3 billion are needed to close the funding gap for maintaining today’s protected areas in developing countries and emerging economies alone.

KfW has a great deal of experience in this area. We have been involved in conservation for over 30 years. And with a portfolio of more than € 2 billion, we rank among the biggest international financiers in the field. Many years of engagement have taught us five important lessons for the future of conservation finance.

Lesson number 1: Long-term conservation works only if the local community benefits directly.
From the 1980s onwards, financial support to partner countries focused predominantly on government-funded conservation. In effect, this mainly meant helping under-funded, poorly equipped administrations of national parks in sub-Saharan Africa, with natural resources neither being protected nor managed sustainably. Their protection status existed only on paper. KfW responded by frequently investing in park infrastructure and in better equipment for park administrations. Later on, we extended our focus to include the development of the rural peripheries of the parks in order to secure support from local communities. It had become clear that long-term success was only achievable if both the local communities and the national players had incentives to preserve biodiversity.

Lesson number 2: The running costs of protected areas need to be met, so long-term funding must be guaranteed.
One example is the case of the Amazon Basin, where protection for the rainforest is linked to protection for indigenous livelihoods (see Carmen Josse in Focus section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/02). But before long, evaluations from every region started to show that national-park finance was generally only assured for the duration of the ongoing project. Once the investments were made, the question of long-term funding arose.

In Eastern and Southern Africa especially, the problem was compounded by increasingly well organised – and in some cases heavily armed – gangs of poachers. They decimated entire populations of rhinoceroses, elephants and other species to the brink of extinction. So even if the local community is involved, it is not enough just to designate protected areas or improve their management. The question of how parks can be sustainably financed must be considered early on.

Lesson number 3: The massive cost of preserving biodiversity cannot be shouldered by the public sector alone. Financing models need to mobilise private funding.
Against this backdrop, KfW joined with other actors to develop a new policy instrument: the conservation trust funds (CTF). Funds of this kind now play an important role in the preservation of biodiversity, especially in developing countries and emerging economies that struggle to earmark limited public money for safeguarding protection areas.

Most CTFs are established as endowments. These institutions generate revenues from the assets they own and use them to sustainably finance ongoing expenses. On behalf of Germany’s Federal Government, KfW is currently supporting the establishment and capitalisation of 18 CTFs, contributing to finance more than 200 protected areas. Examples of CTFs range from trusts that promote regional protected area systems (for instance the Amazon Fund in Brazil) through funds with a national remit (as in Madagascar), to transnational institutions (like the Sangha Trinational Trust Fund in the Congo Basin). In times of negative interest rates, however, the model has its limits. In some cases, CTF revenues have dropped so low that the management had to raise additional funds to cope with the lean times until interest rates rise again.

Lesson number 4: Intelligent use of public funds can prompt private investors to invest in new areas.
Public funds are best deployed by multiplying their impacts through other channels. One option is to cooperate with the private sector, which has been showing a growing interest in a healthy environment. First of all, sustainability is an increasingly important selling point in the eyes of consumers. Second, many companies realise that they rely on services that nature provides. They face escalating costs if such services fail – for example when water is in short supply or contaminated. Indeed, there are strong arguments why using natural resources more sparingly can interest the private sector. KfW supports that process. On behalf of the Federal Government, KfW has teamed up with Finance in Motion, a financial institution, and Conservation International, a US-based non-governmental organisation, to establish the eco.business Fund. Its purpose is to promote enterprises that develop innovative sustainable products and processes. The fund offers such companies low-interest loans, which are provided through local financial institutions. Shareholders of the eco.business Fund include state agencies, private investors and NGOs. The private investors benefit from the public-sector partners bearing the largest share of the risk. The Fund is currently operating in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. There is significant demand elsewhere too. KfW is working on transferring the model to Africa, where funding is set to start this year.

Lesson number 5: Cooperation with NGOs can supplement conservation work with partner governments in useful ways.
NGOs generally have a great deal of expertise because of their many years of experience on the ground. One example of cooperation with NGOs is the Blue Action Fund, which KfW initiated over two years ago on behalf of and in conjunction with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (see contribution in the Monitor section  D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2018/1). The Blue Action Fund is special because it supports the work of international NGOs such as Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) or Conservation International in coastal and marine protection while at the same time mobilising additional capital from other donor governments. And the response has been positive: Sweden and France are now on board, and other governments have shown interest in joining.

Thirty years of experience in nature conservation show that the classical funding model of donors and partner countries neither fulfils the financial requirements of conservation nor sufficiently addresses the complexity of the issue. To halt species decline, a wide range of approaches and funding sources need to be coordinated and reinforced. An alliance of public donors, partner governments, NGOs, the private sector and philanthropists is necessary. A few weeks ago, Swiss-American philanthropist Hans-jörg Wyss pledged to donate $ 1 billion over the next ten years to biodiversity protection. Such funding should be integrated in conservation approaches that are prepared and structured by development banks in order to avoid duplication of efforts or conflicting impacts. As an experienced development bank, KfW can combine the diverse interests and capacities of public and private finan-ciers and channel them through scalable new approaches like the eco.business Fund or the Blue Action Fund.

Great strides need to be taken in conservation finance. Otherwise, the international community will find, when the Aichi Targets are reviewed at the global biodiversity summit in Beijing 2020, that the extinction of species has accelerated, and there is no money for the ambitious conservation goals needed for the next decade. That would be a disaster.

Stephan Opitz heads the Policy/Latin America Directorate of KfW Development Bank.
stephan.opitz@kfw.de

Kategorien: english

Social protection systems: not simple, but worth the effort

OECD - 31. Januar 2019 - 11:18
By Alexander Pick, Economist, OECD Development Centre Check out the upcoming international conference Together to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030 for more on this topic A systematic approach lies at the core of universal social protection. However, it is not immediately obvious what the term means, or why it is so important. After all, do … Continue reading Social protection systems: not simple, but worth the effort
Kategorien: english

Engaged Excellence in Development Studies

EADI Debating Development Research - 31. Januar 2019 - 9:54
By Melissa Leach Development Studies dilemmas In our current times, Development Studies is needed more than ever.  As global challenges – from inequality, conflict and migration, to climate change and pandemics – intensify, the established hallmarks of Development Studies have much to offer and need to be nurtured and spread. These include interdisciplinarity, problem-focus, the …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

A tax on every call

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 9:47
A new tax on internet calls may curb freedom of expression in Zambia

At present, people in Zambia can make online calls free of charge. Research has shown that 80 % of Zambians use the internet for telephone calls on WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. But this may change now: President Edgar Lungu’s cabinet has proposed a daily levy of 30 Ngwee ($ 0.10) on internet phone calls.

“The government has noted an increase in the use of internet calls at the expense of traditional calls,” declares a statement issued by the cabinet, arguing that such calls are “threatening jobs in the telecommunications sector”. The statement refers to the state-run Zambia Telecommunications Company as well as the private-sector companies Airtel and MTN.

However, civil-society organisations raise objections to the new tariff that the government intends to impose. The Zambia chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and Bloggers of Zambia are among them. In a joint statement, they have pointed out their concern: “It is a major threat to freedom of expression, access to information, media rights and freedom of assembly online, an affront to the enjoyment of digital rights.”

They insist that Zambians have resorted to internet calls because of poor service delivery by some telecommunications companies. “Recently, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) fined Zambia’s three mobile phone companies for offering poor services,” say MISA Zambia and Bloggers Zambia.

In addition, the two institutions have launched an online campaign. They want “bloggers, journalists and activists to join our clarion call for a free, open and safe internet ecosystem for all, including women and girls”. They are using the hashtag #OpenSpaceZM on Facebook and Twitter.

Jerry Chumbwe, who lives in the Central Province, considers the new tariff on internet an example of double taxation. The reason is that the costs of internet access include the sales tax. “With another tax on the internet calls, this will be double taxation,” Chumbwe complains.

 

Humphrey Nkonde is a journalist and media researcher based in Ndola, Zambia.
humphrey_nkonde@ymail.com

 

LINKS

Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zambia chapter:
http://zambia.misa.org/

Bloggers of Zambia:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/zambloggers/posts/

#OpenSpaceZM:
https://twitter.com/zambloggers

 

Kategorien: english

Endangered ocean treasures

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 9:21
Climate protection will not suffice to protect coral reefs

For 450 million years, corals have been building reefs. They always re-emerged after the great extinctions that marked earth’s history, giving scope to complex ecosystems and even “exporting” species to neighbouring habitats. To maintain their spectacular biodiversity, contemporary warm water reefs need water that is extremely nutrient poor, but gets very much sunlight.

The ecosystem services they deliver to human communities are of incalculable value. Absorbing up to 95 % of the force of waves, they protect coastlines. They cover only 0.15 % of ocean floors, but are the habitat of about one quarter of marine biodiversity, so they ensure the food security of hundreds of millions of people. Moreover, reefs attract tourists, generate carbonate and are the source of pharmaceutically relevant agents. For example, an AIDS medication is derived from a Caribbean sponge, and the poison of a cone shell is the basis of a highly effective painkiller. In total, reef related annual revenues are estimated to amount to € 26 billion.

All over the world, reefs are under imminent threat today. More than one third has already been lost since the 1980s. Another 50 % is considered to be damaged long-term. Up to the early 21st century, overfishing, pollution, mismanagement and destructive fishing methods were believed to be the main reasons, and climate change was considered a less important driver. In the meantime that perception has changed: global coral bleaching was first observed in 1998, and the phenomenon reoccurred in 2010 and 2015, with increasing durations. The reason is the global increase in ocean temperatures.

Australian experts warned as early as 2015, at the UN climate summit in Paris, that global warming must be kept significantly below two degrees on average. Otherwise, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) would be reduced to only 10 % of its 1980 size by 2035. The GBR is the world’s largest coral reef. The scholars estimated that 30 % would survive if global warming was limited to 1.5 degrees. In 2016 and 2017, bleaching once more affected the GBR along a stretch of 1,500 kilometres. In some places, more than half of the corals died, and in the north, some important reef building species disappeared entirely. The ecosystem has thus changed irreversibly.

Lack of progress in mitigating climate change is not the only problem. Many coral reefs are in the territorial waters of developing countries and emerging markets. Some of them suffer political instability, lack of funds for local action or do not muster the political will. Climate protection is indispensable for saving the reefs, but it will not suffice. Additional measures are needed to minimise the environmental pressure exerted by fishing, pollution, tourism and human-caused impacts in general. Protected areas must be established. Fishing must be controlled effectively in protected as well as unprotected reef waters. Tourism must become sustainable. Moreover, land-use patterns and coastal management must change as well. It is necessary to prevent sedimentation from rivers, erosion and construction sites. The same is true of pollution with nutrients from untreated wastewater or agriculture, chemical substances in general and garbage, especially of the plastic variety.

To protect reefs effectively, we need a holistic approach, taking into account everything that has a bearing on these precious ecosystems. The challenge is huge, and as a contribution to rising to it, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) declared 2018 to be an International Year of the Reef. Previously, 1997 and 2008 had been declared as such. Reef protection requires constant monitoring of reef conditions, research on how they adapt to change as well as awareness raising and education. For the purpose of monitoring, the Reef Check method was established 20 years ago. It serves to identify and compare human impacts on essential reef species globally.

Jenny Krutschinna is a marine biologist and has been an activist of Reef Check, an internationally active non-governmental organisation, since 2001.
jenny.krutschinna@reefcheck.de

Links

International Coral Reef Initiative:
https://www.icriforum.org/

International Year of the Reef:
https://www.iyor2018.org/

Reef Check:
www.reefcheck.org
 

Kategorien: english

Undeniable challenges

D+C - 31. Januar 2019 - 8:54
Not the extinction of individual species is dangerous, but the collapse of entire ecosystems

Why the whales went astray on their way south from the Arctic Ocean is unknown. One theory is that they followed swarms of the octopuses they feed on. The squids normally find the North Sea too cold, but they may have ended up there either because of increasing water temperatures or unusual currents that resulted from strong storms. Another theory is that underwater noise from ships and oil rigs disoriented the whales. Solar flares, which influenced the earth’s magnetic field, are yet another possible reason why they lost their way. Whether the whales fell victim to human-made change in their environment is not certain.

In any case, however, a stranded whale perfectly illustrates the fragility of ecosystems – and it triggers emotions. As large mammals, whales resemble us. My children were impressed because the bones of a sperm whale’s pectoral fin look very much like those of a human hand.

Whales appeal to humans, and so do polar bears or orang-utans, two other endangered species that activists like to use as symbols for environmental protection. Pictures of such animals feature prominently in campaigns to protect the climate or primeval forests for example. Using photos this way is entirely legitimate – but the survival of individual species is not what matters most. For the earth system, it is probably irrelevant whether the sperm whale, the polar bear or the orang-utan goes extinct. What is most relevant, by contrast, is that species have never disappeared in such great numbers and at such great speed as they do today. The great risk is that entire ecosystems will collapse should “tipping points” be reached and irreversibly change the environment.

No doubt, humans are the driving force behind the major environmental changes we are witnessing. The dangerous trends are being accelerated by us humans as we overexploit resources, produce waste and generate emissions. Our entire economic system is destructive – especially in the industrialised countries. The great challenge, therefore, is to change that system. For good reason, the UN has been tackling the issues for many years. In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the international community agreed on the paradigm of sustainable development, adopting important agreements such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Forest Principles and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Many other agreements have since been concluded, such as the Agenda 2030, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015. What is still lacking, of course, is determined implementation.

We must not give up. In September, the UN will hold the next sustainability summit in New York, four years after the previous one. It must add strong momentum to fulfilling the commitments made in international agreements.

Kategorien: english

The 2017 pre-famine response in Somalia: progress on reform?

ODI - 31. Januar 2019 - 0:00
Reviewing the 2017 pre-famine response in Somalia through the lens of the Grand Bargain: what lessons have been learned, and what could still be improved?
Kategorien: english

The Polar Vortex and Climate Change: What You Need to Know

UN Dispatch - 30. Januar 2019 - 23:01

Ed note. This post is by Kelly Levin of the World Resources Institute and was originally published on the World Resources Institute blog.

Parts of the United States are expected to be colder than Antarctica this week, and three-quarters of the U.S. population will likely experience temperatures that dip below freezing. Climate deniers are already using the polar vortex to call into question the existence of global warming. Yet a cold snap in one region has little to do with worldwide warming. Indeed, the latest scientific research shows a relationship between a melting Arctic and extreme winter weather.

Here are three things to know:

1) Despite current cold snaps, global temperatures have been steadily rising.

First, it is worth noting that record cold temperatures are happening against the backdrop of unabated warming. The last four years have been the warmest on record, and there is every indication that this global warming trend will continue. Right now, Australia is experiencing a brutal heatwave, which has led to heat-associated illnesses, power outages, fires and wildlife die-offs.

Map from ClimateRealizer.org, generated from the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) model

2) A growing body of research links rising Arctic temperatures with extreme winters

The Arctic is warming two to three times as fast as the global average. Scientists say warmer air temperatures in the Arctic can weaken the polar jet stream, a west-to-east river of wind where cold Arctic air meets milder subtropical air in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. A strong jet stream typically traps the polar vortex over the Arctic, but when it’s weakened, the cold air can stray southward into the United States.

The impacts of a warming Arctic on mid-latitudes is a rapidly emerging field of scientific inquiry. There have been some significant scientific findings in just the past year:

  • Warmer Arctic linked to U.S. winter extremes: Scientists have strengthened our understanding of the link between a warmer Arctic and the frequency and changes of U.S. winter weather, especially cold spells and heavy snows in the Northeast and upper Midwest. While previous studies only looked at a few months’ or a year’s worth of data, authors of a recent Nature Communications study analyzed data stretching back to 1950. They found a strong relationship between warm Arctic temperatures and severe winter weather east of the Rockies, especially in the eastern United States.
  • Warmer Arctic linked to Eurasian winter extremes: Researchers have now confirmed a pattern of colder winters and more frequent cold air outbreaks in Siberia, following sea ice loss in the Barents-Kara seas in late autumn. In another study, scientists found that over the past 37 years, weakened polar vortexes happened more frequently, allowing frigid air to escape the Arctic. This helps explain cooling trends seen in mid-latitude Eurasia.
  • Warmer Arctic linked to prolonged extremes: Scientists have now established a link between Arctic warming, sea ice loss and more persistent weather patterns in North America. When weather conditions get “stuck” and last for many days—a phenomenon caused by altered wind circulation patterns—they can cause prolonged and damaging droughts, cold spells and heat waves.
3) Our understanding of the connection between a warming Arctic and extreme weather is still evolving.

There are still many questions to be answered. For example, warmer Arctic temperatures is only one effect of climate change. Other changes to the climate, such as future warming of the upper atmosphere over the tropics, could counterbalance effects on mid-latitudes, presenting a tug-of-war between various climate impacts.

And a quick analysis from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) last year found that a two-week cold wave affecting the U.S. Northeast and southeastern Canada in December 2017/January 2018 was not intensified due to Arctic warming. On the contrary, the researchers found that cold waves like the one the United States is experiencing now have become rarer.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its Arctic Report Card a few weeks ago, taking stock of the recent climate science on the relationship between Arctic warming and extreme weather, among other topics. It concluded that the subject of how a rapidly warming and melting Arctic affects extreme weather will “keep scientists busy for years to come.” As the report said, “it’s becoming ice-crystal-clear that change in the far north will increasingly affect us all.”

Learn More from the World Resources Institute 

The post The Polar Vortex and Climate Change: What You Need to Know appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Helen Clark on cities as places of refuge

Devex - 30. Januar 2019 - 19:31
Kategorien: english

SUTROFOR Spring School „Preparing Field Work in the Tropics“

Postgraduates - 30. Januar 2019 - 18:57

The „Tropical Forestry and Management“ (MSc) Programme  at TU Dresden, together with its SUTROFOR partner universities, is organizing a Spring School on „Preparing Field Work in the Tropics„. To be held in Pokhara, Nepal, between 5 and 19 March 2019, the Spring School will be preceeded by a preparation course at home institutions between 28 January and 1 March 2019.

The Spring School aims to impart a thorough understanding of the importance of field work preparation. This is planned to be achieved through acquisition of in-depth factual location specific knowledge, building on theoretical knowledge obtained in other courses, relevant to tropical forestry issues and development of practical skills.

This even shall serve as a preparatory course for the Sustainable Tropical Forestry Summer School, with the special focus on  developing a minor research project (that will then be implemented during the spring school taking place in a developing country). The course thus covers the entire research process until the implementation phase. Particular attention is paid to practical considerations in connection to research design and implementation, group work, field work, e.g. ethics, personal safely, training and managing enumerators.

Kategorien: english, Jobs, Ticker

How to Convey a Message for a Broad Audience – With a Little Film and a Lot of Fun

SCP-Centre - 30. Januar 2019 - 13:52

We all know that food value chains have a high potential for improvements in terms of sustainability. But what would happen if we ask the products we consume how they feel?

As part of the Action Alliance for Bananas (ABNB) project the CSCP created a video to sensitise consumers to start to think about aspects of the value chain and increase their appreciation of the fruit. It is intended to reach a broad audience, especially consumers – with a good laugh, little moralisation, and images that create a lasting effect. It is made to be shared on social media, with the #bananalove hashtag.

In cooperation with the members of the ABNB, the CSCP’s creative team has sent the banana to a therapist. See

For further information on our creative/communication services, please contact Nikola Berger.

For further information about the Action Alliance for Sustainable Bananas, please contact Alexandra Kessler.

Der Beitrag How to Convey a Message for a Broad Audience – With a Little Film and a Lot of Fun erschien zuerst auf CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Investing in Resource Efficiency – The Economics and Politics of Financing the Resource Transition

OECD - 30. Januar 2019 - 9:57
By Florian Flachenecker, Junior Economist, OECD, and Jun Rentschler, Economist, The World Bank1 Various factors are putting increasing pressure on policy makers, researchers, firms and investors to explore pathways towards sustainable and efficient resource management. These factors include: high and volatile resource prices, uncertain supply prospects, rising demand, and environmental pressures. Moreover, rapid technological transitions … Continue reading Investing in Resource Efficiency – The Economics and Politics of Financing the Resource Transition
Kategorien: english

The refugee response in northern Uganda: resources beyond international humanitarian assistance

ODI - 30. Januar 2019 - 0:00
How do refugees in northern Uganda make ends meet? What resources contribute to the refugee response? And how could resource data improve crisis response?
Kategorien: english

A Breakthrough for the United Nations in Yemen

UN Dispatch - 29. Januar 2019 - 15:44

The United Nations Security Council reached a major milestone in January when it approved a new UN mission in Yemen. The mission will oversee and help implement a local ceasefire agreement that has the potential to lay the groundwork for a broader political agreement to end this long running conflict.

This was the first significant diplomatic and political breakthrough in nearly four years of Yemen’s devastating war. It is a demonstration of the role the United Nations can play in helping to reduce the burden of conflict on civilian populations, and potentially to end the conflict itself.

Still, the agreement that resulted in a sharp reduction of violence in a key part of the country is extremely fragile and could unravel unless key international players maintain pressure on the parties to the conflict.

Government Offices of Sweden/Ninni Andersson
Secretary-General António Guterres (center), Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström (center left), and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths (center right), with participants of the Yemeni political consultations in Sweden on 13 December 2018.

A new role for the United Nations in Yemen

Since the outbreak of the conflict, the United Nations has played two key roles in the Yemen. First, UN humanitarian agencies like the World Food Program and UNICEF have been providing on-the-ground relief for populations besieged by conflict. That effort has been monumental, and if not for the work of these relief agencies, the humanitarian situation would be even worse.

Second, the United Nations has played a political role, seeking to broker a resolution to this conflict. Those efforts were extremely slow to get off the ground, with parties to the conflict more interested in inflicting monumental suffering on the civilian population of Yemen than coming together around a negotiating table. However, at the end of 2018 the calculations of the parties changed and UN envoy Martin Griffiths was able to bring parties together in Sweden, where they signed an initial agreement that called for (among other things) a prisoner exchange and, significantly, a cessation of hostilities around the key port city of Hodeidah.

This is known around the United Nations as the “Stockholm Agreement,” and it calls for a new United Nations mission to oversee and support its implementation.

Enter: The United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA).

This mission was created by the Security Council to support the implementation of several aspects of this agreement. This includes supervising the redeployment of armed groups in specific sites and overseeing a province-wide ceasefire.

The mission formally deployed on January 16. The situation remains extremely tenuous and the agreement is fragile. “While fighting inside the critical port city has dramatically decreased since warring parties agreed to a ceasefire at talks in Sweden last December, recent clashes demonstrate the extremely fragile state of the agreement,” the International Rescue Committee said in a statement released today.

The key question going forward is whether or not this agreement can hold. And, if so, whether or not that this local ceasefire can be harnessed to achieve a broader political and peace agreement to end this brutal conflict.

This is still a tall order. But after four years of being the single worst humanitarian crisis in the world, the first few weeks of 2019 have seen the most significant reduction of violence in four years of war in Yemen.

The post A Breakthrough for the United Nations in Yemen appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

KfW’s foreign portfolio

D+C - 29. Januar 2019 - 14:49
KfW disburses concessional credits as well as grants, the credits often serve to support infrastructure projects

The top priorities are to improve people’s prospects for higher standards of life as well as to protect the climate and the natural environment. In the context of development cooperation, KfW disburses concessional credits as well as grants. The credits often serve to support infrastructure projects in the transport, electricity, health care and agriculture sectors. One example is a metro construction in the Indian city of Nagpur. A new 42-kilometre elevated light rail system is currently being built there with a concessional credit of half a billion euros from KfW Development Bank. It is scheduled to go into operation in 2020 and make an important contribution to environmentally friendly public transport (see contribution in the Tribune section in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/01).

Two other KfW subsidiaries also involved in international affairs are the DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft) and the IPEX Bank. The DEG promotes private-sector investments in developing countries and emerging markets, cooperating both with German and local companies. Examples include textile producers in Bangladesh (see contribution in the Tribune section in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/05) and a private hospital in Mozambique.

The IPEX Bank finances projects that specifically facilitate export industries in the medium and long run. (sb)

Kategorien: english

“This is a marathon”

D+C - 29. Januar 2019 - 14:36
KfW Board Member Joachim Nagel strives to continue the fight for climate protection and sustainability determinedly

In regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), experts speak of an annual financing gap of some $ 2.6 trillion. To put things in proportion: Germany’s gross domestic product amounts to about $ 3.5 trillion. How can the international community close such a huge gap?
One thing is certain: development banks and governments will not be able to provide such huge sums on their own. Therefore, it is very important to mobilise private capital. All countries share an interest in global public goods, such as climate protection, being delivered. Consider India. It has become the world’s number three in terms of carbon emissions, and its economy keeps growing. If we do not cooperate with the fast expanding economies like India, there will be problems that affect everyone on earth. It is a global challenge to make the growth trajectory of these countries sustainable. We have to contribute to ensuring that 1.4 billion Indians will not generate the same level of carbon emissions per capita that we do. That would be the road to climate disaster. Of course, the industrialised countries like ours must make contributions at home too.

How do you ensure sustainability?
Well, first of all we must define what sustainable means – to us and to others. Sustainability is about much more than merely climate protection. My impression, so far, is that people’s understanding still diverges considerably. We need to agree on a shared definition at the EU level. On the other hand, we have ideas of our own at KfW, concerning what criteria make finance sustainable. We want to make sustainability measurable. DEG has already developed methods to measure the developmental impact of the companies it finances (see Tribune section in D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2017/10). This approach does not cover all SDGs yet, but it is an important first step towards documenting and communicating our achievements. We are working on defining indicators of that kind for all KfW operations.

At the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, industrialised nations promised to make an annual $100 billion available for climate finance in developing countries and emerging markets by 2020. For a long time, it seemed that they would not be able to live up to that pledge. However, last year they actually made about 80 % of the sum available. How did they manage to do that?
The private sector accounts for a huge share of the funding, but in my eyes, the picture still is quite mixed. Many companies have become aware of the growth potential in Africa or Asia, and they are pursuing business interests there, concerning renewable energies, for example. But I think much more must happen. We are still not anywhere close to a scenario that we could call satisfying. My impression is that people in emerging markets increasingly understand the urgency of the matter too. They want to live in a clean environment. In China, for example, climate protection has been making fast progress in recent years. But it still is far from enough.

How do you intend to involve more private-sector companies in these efforts?
Well, the Compact with Africa, which was launched in the context of Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017, is certainly a worthy initiative. Its goals include partnerships at eye level as well as a more enabling environment for trade and investments. We must encourage private investors to overcome their fears regarding our partner countries. They need assistance there. They ask: How do I get market access? What customers will I find? On the other hand, we need to engage with the partner governments and motivate them to create a more trustworthy investment climate. It is their responsibility to achieve that. We Germans cannot hold lectures and simply tell partners how to improve things. It doesn’t work that way. I find it promising that partner governments are telling us with increasing self-confidence how and where we can assist them. The more that happens, the more private-sector investments will be made. Development, however, is not a 100 meter sprint. This is a marathon. We are in it for the long haul.

But we only have 12 years left for decarbonisation …
Yes, but 12 years are a time frame we can utilise. We must make efforts and leverage all instruments at our disposal to make best use of those 12 years. The worst thing would be if we gave up. No, we have not lost the fight. I firmly believe that we can master the tasks ahead of us.

What is the role of DEG, which finances private-sector companies, in this context?
DEG is important, but to see things in proportion, you need to consider the figures. Of the around € 24 billion KfW Group provided for investments abroad in 2017, DEG contributed a mere € 1.6 billion. It is actually not easy to find good private-sector projects. I keep telling our partners that they would be well advised to do more to encourage bankable projects. On the other hand, we must certainly check whether we are operating in the way we should be. Developing countries do not always find cooperation easy. There are lots of different financiers: KfW, the World Bank, the other multilateral development banks, France’s AFD and so on. Every bank has its own rules. We are engaged in defining common standards that would reduce the administrative complexity.

Adding to the complexity, the People’s Republic of China is now disbursing considerable loans, without, so far, showing much interest in harmonisation. What is your view of the new donors’ role?
I don’t think it is very problematic. We just discussed the huge sums we need to achieve the SDGs. In my eyes, the new donors are contributors, not competitors. Our partner countries can make sovereign decisions on whether they want Chinese loans or not. Our preconditions differ from Beijing’s, and so do our ideas concerning how to implement projects. Moreover, we can prove that our approach has advantages …

… for instance in regard to sustainability. Critics point out that many of the projects that China finances in other Asian countries as well as in Africa and Latin America are problematic both in environmental and business terms. Should China become more diligent?
I think every country must assess whether projects are sustainable, both in the business and the environmental sense. That is their responsibility, and if they fail, the consequences will be painful. Our job is to discuss these things with our partners and make them aware of long-term risks. We must do our best to convince them.

What do you prioritise in your capacity as a KfW board member?
We are currently contemplating what development trends to expect until 2025 and in what sense our own business should adapt. We want to accelerate our operations and expect digital technology to prove helpful in this context. For example, we are implementing a first block-chain project in Burkina Faso, with an eye to optimising business processes. Moreover, we think the SDGs are very important, so we want to gear the entire group even more to achieving sustainability. Within KfW Group, international financing will certainly expand. Another thing I am keen on is raising more public awareness for development cooperation. We have to reach out to people and discuss related matters. We want KfW Group to become more transparent, faster and more effective. Finally, we want to take a more holistic approach. In most countries, it is not enough to be involved in a single sector like infrastructure or health care. Projects should have positive impacts on several sectors, and that means that the planners have to consider those sectors right from the start.

Joachim Nagel is a board member of KfW, which is owned by Germany’s Federal Government.
https://www.kfw.de/KfW-Group/About-KfW/Organe-und-Gremien/Vorstand/Dr.-Joachim-Nagel/

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