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New pan-agency development financing report suggests major economic crisis brewing

ODI - 4. April 2019 - 0:00
A major report launched today confirms record global debt levels and financial fragilities – but is disappointingly light on solutions.
Kategorien: english

Climate change, conflict and security scan: analysis of current thinking

ODI - 4. April 2019 - 0:00
This scan summarises the literature and social media coverage on the topic of resilience, climate change, conflict and security from April–July 2018.
Kategorien: english

Making adaptive rigour work: principles and practices for strengthening monitoring, evaluation and learning for adaptive management

ODI - 4. April 2019 - 0:00
Adaptive programmes can be accountable, rigorous and high quality in how they use evidence by taking an 'adaptive rigour' approach.
Kategorien: english

Strengthening research impact: the LIFT model for leaders and managers

Simon Maxwell - 3. April 2019 - 17:27

Strengthening research impact: the LIFT model for leaders and managers



There are many resources on bridging research and policy, but not so many on how to lead and manage others in this domain. That was a focus of a recent webinar for research leaders at the University of Nottingham, facilitated by Nottingham’s Institute for Policy and Engagement, and by On Think Tanks, the global platform for supporting policy research. The Powerpoint is here, with links to resources from ODI and other places. The first part of the presentation deals with the general field, and will be familiar to those who have followed my work, but the LIFT model is new.

Leaders and managers have a natural interest in strengthening research impact. It is good for the reputation of their institutions, and for the reputation and profile of individual researchers. Further, in the UK at least, it is a criterion used in allocating public funding: the guidelines for the Research Excellence Framework assessment, scheduled for 2021, state specifically that the exercise will assess ‘the reach and significance of impacts on the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life that were underpinned by excellent research . . .’, with a weight in the overall assessment of 25 per cent.

Even more important than all this, researchers and research institutions in many disciplines have an intrinsic commitment to making the world a better place. They do not want their research sitting on a shelf.

There can, however, be a gap between aspiration and practice. Researchers may lack skills or institutional support. And they may not feel recognised or rewarded for making a commitment to policy engagement. This is where the LIFT model can help senior staff set a course and provide practical support.

LIFT. Leadership. Incentives. Facilities. Training.


On Leadership, it goes without saying that good work on policy should be recognised and celebrated. But more than that, impact needs to be embedded in overall strategy and planning. Not all institutions have Mission Statements, but those that do need to make sure that policy impact is enumerated alongside other objectives like high quality research and teaching. For think-tanks, this is especially important. At ODI, in my time, we defined our mission as follows:

‘ . . . to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. We do this by locking together high-quality applied research, practical policy advice and policy-focused dissemination and debate. . .’.

A Mission Statement provides an overall vision, with the benefit that staff, including new recruits, can be in no doubt as to the purpose of the organisation. It then needs to be translated into strategy and annual Business Plans, including for units and programmes. Business Plans need to specify public affairs outputs, even outcomes, with resource allocations to match. Formats differ, but Business Plans will often specify what policy questions are being tackled, what research questions follow, and what policy engagement options will be pursued. Sometimes, this will be straightforward, because funding has been secured in advance, thus reducing uncertainty. In other cases, the Business Plan will set a direction of travel and will require adjustment as resources are secured: doing so does not, however, remove the imperative of fixing on the final destination.

The public affairs team will also have an entry in the Business Plan, of course. In an ideal world, there will be more bids for their support than can be accommodated, which will encourage some friendly competition and institutional prioritisation. Which, for example, will be the flagship reports for the year? A commitment to advance planning of this kind also reminds researchers that they need to build in a public affairs plan at the beginning of major projects.


On Incentives, researchers are unlikely to throw themselves enthusiastically into policy if all the institutional incentives are for them to concentrate on publishing academic articles or on teaching. This means that policy engagement needs to be specified in individual work programmes and that it needs to form part of appraisal and evaluation. Some institutions have adopted complex quantitative measures to assess performance across different domains, others use a more qualitative balanced score card, which personally I have always found more appropriate: rather than trying to calculate just how many newspaper op-eds are equivalent to a single journal article (which newspaper? Which journal?), better to have a group of evaluators make an informed judgement about overall performance. The rewards can be monetary (promotion, additional increments, bonus payments) or non-monetary.

An important issue is whether objectives, assessment and reward will be individual or team-based. Probably some combination is best. In the policy arena, that allows for the fact that some researchers may make significant contributions but find public affairs difficult.


If researchers are to make policy impact, they need institutional support. Some things they can do on their own – a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a personal email distribution list – but mostly they will want to make use of institutional formats. That means institutions (departments, programmes) need websites, social media platforms, policy timetables, media, political and policy-related contact lists, and a variety of other ‘products’, standardised for institutional identity. These can include Briefing Papers for policy-makers, Opinion pieces, Blogs, public or semi-public meetings, press releases, and the like. Editing support will be needed. And public affairs teams will normally want some control over outputs, in order to secure quality: the ‘brand’ of an institution, its reputation among policy-makers, is vital to having influence.

Public affairs input has to be paid for, and this is often a delicate subject within institutions. Is the public affairs infrastructure an overhead charge on researchers, adding to their fund-raising targets? Or can it be funded from project revenues? The answer is that project funding is highly desirable, and should be built into budgets whenever possible, but that a stable, minimum infrastructure needs to be guaranteed, and will require overhead funding.


Some researchers turn out to be ‘naturals’ at communication and policy influence. However, it cannot be assumed that all researchers, especially young recruits, will be expert authors of policy briefs, or brilliant on TV. Indeed, some of the most important outputs, like writing policy briefs, turn out to be among the hardest things researchers are asked to do. That is why institutions need to invest in training and mentoring.

One tool that can be especially useful is the ‘Story of Change’, a kind of after-action review of policy engagement, describing what was done, and analysing lessons. They can help participants learn lessons from their own work. If institutions develop a portfolio of such cases, Stories of Change can also provide a repository of good ideas, and be turned into training cases.


It would be useful to have comments on these issues, and personal experiences, even Stories of Change.  Please do make use of the comments box. See also the blog by Stephen Meek, who leads the Nottingham Institute and has set up a ‘policy academy’ (with On Think Tanks) to support researchers at his University.




Kategorien: english

The Head of UNICEF (Who is a Former Republican Official Nominated by Donald Trump) Warns Against Cutting Aid to Central America

UN Dispatch - 3. April 2019 - 17:00

The head of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, is a former Republican official. She served in George W. Bush’s administration as a top official at USAID, the State Department and even ran the US Mint for several years in the early 2000s. She was nominated to the position by Donald Trump and selected by Antonio Guterres to run the UN’s most visible agency.

This week, she visited Honduras which is experiencing an epidemic of violence against children.  Her statement from upon return from Honduras is worth reading in full.

“A child under the age of 18 dies from violence every day in Honduras. For a country not engaged in active warfare, this figure is staggering. 

“Despite its efforts to reduce violence and protect its youngest citizens, Honduras remains a dangerous place for far too many children and young people. Gangs terrorize neighborhoods across the country, offering young people an impossible choice: Join us or die.

“More than half a million children of secondary school age do not go to school, accounting for 1 in 2 adolescents in lower secondary and 2 in 3 in upper secondary. Dropping out of school is far too often the only way young people can escape gang threats, harassment and forced recruitment, particularly as they travel to and from school through gang-controlled areas.  

“The combination of violence, poverty and lack of education opportunities is causing thousands of children and families to flee their homes. Without access to protection and safe migration pathways, most are forced onto dangerous routes where they are at risk from violence, exploitation and abuse.

“In the words of a young woman I met in Paujiles, San Pedro Sula: ‘We are not migrating to have nicer lives – we are migrating to survive.’

“These children and young people need real investments in education, protection and other services that can help guide them towards a more hopeful future while also reducing some of the causes that drive them to flee.

“UNICEF is committed to working with governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to make transformative investments in education – particularly in the countries of northern Central America – to increase educational participation, attainment and learning outcomes with an emphasis on new technology.

“UNICEF is also working with partners in Honduras to provide children and young people with safe spaces to play, learn and receive training. Those who have been returned to Honduras receive counselling, help returning to school and guidance on the services available to them.  

“Unless the root causes of migration are addressed, children and families will continue to embark on dangerous migration journeys. Funding programmes to end violence, develop skills and create education opportunities will help create the environment these children need to build their futures at home.”  (emphasis added)

Fore’s visit to Honduras comes as the Trump administration is calling for the United States to suspend aid to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador ostensably as a rebuke to those countries for being the source of migrants coming to the United States. But as numerous experts have pointed out, cutting off aid would exacerbate out-migration from those countries. In other words, this move would have the exact opposite effect from its intended purpose.

Now, you can ad the former Republican official and the woman Donald Trump tapped to lead the UNICEF as among those experts and officials who are cautioning against the reckless cut-off of aid to Central America.



The post The Head of UNICEF (Who is a Former Republican Official Nominated by Donald Trump) Warns Against Cutting Aid to Central America appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States

UN SDSN - 3. April 2019 - 16:36

Available now, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States provides a “legal playbook” for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the United States to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity. It is based on the technical analysis in  “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States” by Jim Williams and the U.S. team of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project.

Edited by leading climate experts Michael B. Gerrard and John C. Dernbach, the book addresses in detail 35 different topics in as many chapters. These 35 chapters cover energy efficiency, conservation, and fuel switching; electricity decarbonization; fuel decarbonization; carbon capture and negative emissions; non-carbon dioxide climate pollutants; and a variety of cross-cutting issues. The legal options involve federal, state, and local law, as well as private governance. Authors were asked to include all options, even if they do not now seem politically realistic or likely, giving Legal Pathways not just immediate value, but also value over time.

While both the scale and complexity of deep decarbonization are enormous, this book has a simple message: deep decarbonization is achievable in the United States using laws that exist or could be enacted. These legal tools can be used with significant economic, social, environmental, and national security benefits.

Kategorien: english

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

UN #SDG News - 3. April 2019 - 15:16
More than two billion people face grave health risks because basic water facilities are not available in one in four medical centres globally, the UN has said, in an appeal to countries to do more to prevent the transmission of treatable infections that can turn deadly if not washed or flushed, away. 
Kategorien: english

Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait

Devex - 3. April 2019 - 13:17
Kategorien: english

Mangroves against climate change

D+C - 3. April 2019 - 10:14
Conserving mangrove forests to protect Indonesia’s coasts and mitigate climate change

Mangroves are shrubs and trees that grow in coastal saline waters in the tropics, where the water temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius. They protect the coasts against storm surges and tsunamis. So when the mangrove forests disappear – often as a result of aquaculture development – the coastline is exposed to erosion and damage by natural forces.

The coast of Palu Bay on the Indonesian island Sulawesi used to be covered by dense mangroves, but these were cut down to build settlements, hotels and docks. The tsunami on 28 September 2018 hit the city of Palu badly and destroyed most of it because there was no natural barrier to stop the high waves crashing on the land.

In Palu Bay, only ten hectares of intact mangrove forest are left. This preserved ecosystem is called Gonenggati. It is maintained by 30 local people. They plant mangrove seeds on damaged coastal lands. “The mangroves saved our village from destruction by the tsunami,” says Yuryanto, the coordinator of Gonenggati. In the mangrove forest, local fishermen catch shrimp and crabs.

Several communities on other Indonesian islands like Java, Bali, Sumatra and Kalimantan also try to rehabilitate and conserve their mangroves. Furthermore, international organisations like Mangroves for the Future have local branches in Indonesia and support the reforestation of the coastlines.

Besides their protective function, mangroves have another important advantage: they are highly effective at absorbing carbon. Research by the National University of Singapore in 2018 concluded that mangroves are the “most cost-effective habitat to mitigate carbon emissions”. Coastal vegetation grows fast and stores organic carbon more efficiently than tropical rainforests or any other ecosystems. 

The ground of the mangrove ecosystem is most important: 78 % of the carbon is stored in the soil, 20 % in living trees and two percent in dead trees. When deforested, the mangrove ecosystem releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. In Indonesia, 190 million metric tons of CO2 is set free every year due to mangrove deforestation, which amounts to 42 % of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists demand to stop deforestation and restore mangrove forests in Indonesia.

According to Rudhi Pribadi, a researcher from the Marine Sciences Diponegoro University in Central Java, this could be a successful “strategy to mitigate climate change”. 

Ika Ningtyas is a freelance journalist based in Java, Indonesia.

Mangroves for the Future (MFF):


Kategorien: english

The debate that never was

D+C - 3. April 2019 - 9:43
Unfortunately, Prime Minister Imran Khan fast watered down promise to grant citizenship to refugees born in Pakistan

On 16 September 2018, Khan told a rally in Karachi: “Afghans, whose children have been raised and born in Pakistan, will be granted citizenship.” He made a passionate plea, arguing that so far the people concerned have been prevented from getting formal-sector jobs and accessing basic services. Khan’s statement made sense, but it was devoid of history, political intricacies and ethnic divisions. He backtracked soon.

Khan’s new policy would have applied to up to 1.5 million persons, reversing decades-old practice. Afghan refugees were always only given a temporary status, and Pakistan made efforts to repatriate them. The powerful military endorsed this approach.

The reactions to Khan’s speech were mixed. The international community, including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Afghan refugees, appreciated the announcement. Sceptics, however, questioned his motive. Some say that it was a mere ploy to strengthen Khan’s party, the Pakistan Justice Movement. It has traditionally attracted Pashtuns. This ethnic group lives on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and many Afghan refugees belong to it. 

In public discourse, however, the refugees are often linked to narcotics, crime, smuggling and counterfeiting. To some extent, they are also blamed for Islamist extremism.

For four decades, Afghanistan has been a country torn by crisis and political violence. Refugees started leaving the country in masses after the Soviet invasion in late 1979. Some 3 million people fled across Pakistan’s border during the ensuing civil war. In those years, western powers supported anti-Soviet Mujahedeen, and the militant Islamist Taliban took root in refugee camps. The withdrawal of the Red Army, however, did not lead to peace. Eventually, the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, but their government was toppled by the invasion of US troops after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Afghan refugees were considered a security risk in Pakistan. In the context of UNHCR supported repatriation efforts, people were intimidated into returning home. In 2002, the international non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged “the government of Pakistan to cease harassment, extortion, imprisonment and forced returns of Afghan refugees because of their undocumented status”.

According to the UNHCR, Pakistan is currently housing 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees. Another 800,000 Afghans are in the country legally without claiming refugee status. Up to 1 million Afghans are reckoned to be in the country illegally. All in all, there are at least 2.6 million Afghans in Pakistan. In 2017, HRW reported about the “mass forced returns of Afghan refugees”, adding the qualifier “so called” to what officially is called “voluntary repatriation”. 

The situation of the refugees is bad. They include the poorest and the most vulnerable of refugees who have nothing to return to and cannot meet the repatriation costs even with token UNHCR assistance. There is also a vast number who were born and raised in Pakistan. They do low-paying informal work. According to the law, they cannot register businesses or pay taxes.

Most Pakistanis consider them a burden and do not acknowledge their perseverance or contributions to the local economy. They associate refugees not only with crime, but also with over-use of natural resources and over-burdened infrastructure. Only a few human-rights organisations appreciate that the refugees are a marginalised community that deserves better opportunities.

Imran Khan’s policy reversal could have benefited up to 1.5 million persons, but under intense criticism, he fast softened his stance. A political commentator pointed out: “Raising an issue and bringing it into the limelight is one thing and getting it resolved is another.” The prime minister tried to start a debate that Pakistan needs to have, but six months later, it has not moved forward.

Mahwish Gul is from Islamabad and studies development management at Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Western Cape in Cape Town. Her masters programme belongs to AGEP, the German Association of Post-Graduate Programmes pertaining to international development.

Kategorien: english

What the global public is missing

D+C - 3. April 2019 - 9:07
Care International and Germanwatch warn of growing climate risks

All but two of the crises listed by Care, the international humanitarian agency, are African. The report is based on an evaluation of 1.1 million online articles. The list includes the DRC, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Sudan, Philippines, Haiti, Chad, Niger, Madagascar. The crises do not necessarily affect the entire country. Ethiopia is listed twice, for displacement and hunger. Common themes in every country named are poverty, starvation and displacement. These hardships are often intertwined. Nearly every country listed has experienced natural disasters, drought and a decline in agricultural output.

In Haiti, the situation is worst. Ranked number one, Haiti is said to be “on the edge of survival”. Its food crisis, however, has received little international coverage. Half of the people live on less than the purchasing of one dollar per day, and 22 % of children in Haiti are chronically malnourished. Core challenges are extreme poverty and a lack of basic infrastructure, with frequent natural disasters threatening any progress made.

In many cases, climate change is part of the problem. Indeed, three of the nine countries have been named in the top ten of the Global Climate Risk Index (GCRI) between 1998 and 2017. It is compiled by Germanwatch, a Bonn-based civil-society organisation. Haiti is number four in the 2019 GCRI.

In the case of Madagascar in 2018, climate change contributed to severe crop damages. According to Care, it caused tensions within families and compounded problems like child marriage and domestic violence. Fewer children attend schools, moreover, as Madagascans struggle to feed them.

This is happening in other crisis countries too. They are suffering the impacts of climate change, which they, unlike prosperous nations, have done little to cause. Apart from supplying aid, Care considers it essential to raise awareness for these issues. The report lays out sensible steps for policymakers, aid agencies, journalists and consumers.


Suffering in Silence: The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2018.

Global Climate Risk Index 2019:

Kategorien: english

Potential of blockchain technology for trade integration of developing countries

GDI Briefing - 3. April 2019 - 8:36
Blockchain technology (BT), famous due to its use in digital currencies, also offers new opportunities in other fields, one of which is trade integration. Developing countries especially could benefit from greater trade integration with BT, as the technology can, for example, remedy deficiencies with regard to financial system access, intellectual property protection and tax administration. BT allows virtually tamper-proof storage of transactions and other data on decentralised computer networks. In fact, it is possible to store not only data, but also entire programmes this securely: Smart contracts enable the automation of private transactions and administrative processes. This article summarises the latest research on the use of BT in trade integration by examining in more detail five key and, in some cases, linked fields of application.
The first is trade finance, where BT could deliver direct cost savings for exporters and importers by removing the need for credit-lending intermediaries. Second, tamper-proof storage of information on the origin and composition of goods could enhance supply chain documentation. This makes it possible to more reliably verify compliance with sustainability standards, particularly for globally produced goods. However, for the information in blockchains to be truthful, it must be entered correctly (it is then tamperproof), a process that therefore requires monitoring.
Third, BT could deliver improvements in the field of trade facilitation by making it easier for border authorities to access information on goods and thus easing reporting requirements for exporting firms. By reducing dependence on central database operators, BT could help bring about a breakthrough with existing digital technology in the area of trade. Fourth, facilitating access to information on goods could also simplify customs and taxation procedures and make them less vulnerable to corruption and fraud. This goes hand in hand with cost reductions for exporters and better mobilisation of domestic resources for public budgets. Fifth, in the field of digital trade, BT also facilitates management of digital file rights in environments where, for institutional reasons, there is little intellectual property protection. This could help to promote digital industries in developing countries.
However, when it comes to using BT in border and customs systems in particular, it is essential to involve the relevant authorities at an early stage. At the same time, it is necessary to promote uniform technical standards for supply chain documentation in order to safeguard interoperability between the different systems across actors and national borders and thus fully leverage the cost advantages. If these guidelines are taken into account, then BT could effectively support sustainable trade integration of developing countries.
Kategorien: english

Intersectional approaches to vulnerability reduction and resilience-building

ODI - 3. April 2019 - 0:00
This scoping paper explores intersectional approaches to vulnerability reduction and resilience-building.
Kategorien: english

India's energy transition: stranded coal power assets, workers and energy subsidies

ODI - 3. April 2019 - 0:00
Briefing note providing analysis of the relationship between subsidies and coal power assets.
Kategorien: english

Child poverty, disasters and climate change

ODI - 3. April 2019 - 0:00
These infographics highlight the relationship between poverty and climate change, natural hazards and disasters over the life course of children.
Kategorien: english

Home, Family Employment and Home Care in the European Union

UNSDN - 2. April 2019 - 17:01

On March 6th, the European Federation for Family Employment and Homecare (EFFE) presented the European White Paper on ‘Home, family employment and home care in the European Union’ at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. The White Paper intends to promote the sector of private home employment at a European scale and displays concrete paths for its further development with 10 specific proposals.

Home employment refers to a large range of activities which contribute to the well-being of families and persons in their home: child-care, caring for the elderly and the disabled, housekeeping, educational support, etc. In the sector of home employment between private individuals, a household finds an external response to its needs by employing a person at home, with the right skills matched with these needs.

The European White Paper intends to define, specify and promote the specific characteristics of this employment model, which provides answers to various economic, social and societal stakes in Europe.

EFFE’s aims is to ensure recognition of a European sector of home employment between private individuals, in which citizens define their needs and create their own solutions, choosing their employees freely, and creating jobs that generate social rights without gaining profit from them, as long as these jobs are declared. This sector offers virtuous solutions to meet social and economic challenges.

In Europe, the home employment sector statistics are quite poor, implying difficulties in measuring its importance and compromising its visibility. The European White Paper thus aims at explaining how the home employment sector in Europe can participate in the production of wealth in the Member States and become a major contributor to public policies resulting from the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Social Europe remains an evolving concept. There is no common social policy within the European Union. The EU can only set minimum rules that States are bound to respect (e.g. in terms of working time). The White Paper takes into account this coordination between different levels to develop its 10 proposals:

  1. Highlight the economic weight and social stakes of home employment between citizens
  2. Encourage a constructive European social dialogue on the family employment sector
  3. Identify the specific characteristics of home employment in the definition of the regulations on social protection
  4. Fight efficiently against undeclared work in the sector of home employment
  5. Consider health and safety at work for domestic workers
  6. Include the stakes of the home employment sector in the funding of the cohesion policy
  7. Create favorable conditions for increasing the professional skills of the employees of the sector
  8. Accompany digital inclusion and the development of collaborative platforms
  9. Reinforce exchanges of good practices in Europe
  10. Recognize the status of household employers and domestic workers

This Thursday (4 April 2019), a side event will be held at UN HQ in NYC to talk about the role of parents in social inclusion and overcoming inequalities, since parenting education is a key component for the cohesion, sustainability and inclusion of every family unit.

Source: IFFD

The post Home, Family Employment and Home Care in the European Union appeared first on UNSDN - United Nations Social Development Network.

Kategorien: english

New UN data tool shows 'mismatch' between government aid and places modern slavery exists

UN #SDG News - 2. April 2019 - 16:38
A new interactive data tool created by the UN University Centre for Policy Research, which shows a mismatch between where modern slavery occurs, and where governments are spending resources to address it, could help make a positive impact on policy debates surrounding the issue.
Kategorien: english

A Race to Stop Cholera in Mozambique in the Wake of Cyclone Idai

UN Dispatch - 2. April 2019 - 16:34

International and local aid workers are racing to stop a cholera outbreak in Mozambique, which so far has sickened at least 1,000 people in the wake of Cyclone Idai.

Cholera is a deadly waterborne disease that can spread easily in disaster situations. The lack of proper sanitation and clean water, combined with crowded conditions at shelters and camps for displaced persons, is a perfect breeding ground for cholera to spread and kill.

This was a predictable contingency for which international and local relief workers have planned. In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Idai, the World Health Organization began to set up cholera treatment units.  Now international teams are in the process of training local health workers to use and deploy a cholera vaccine.

9 cholera treatment centres are now open with 500 bed capacity, MSF and IFRC are supporting the Ministry of Health to run these centres. 124 people are receiving treatment #cycloneIdai,

— OMSMocambique (@OMSMocambique) March 31, 2019

From the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The cholera taskforce is holding daily meetings in Beira to inform operational response. The Oral Cholera Vaccination campaign is scheduled to begin on 3 April and to last six days. Training for personnel giving the vaccinations is underway. Meanwhile, community sensitization is on-going on radio and through printed communication materials to convey messages related to communicable disease control and when to seek health-care. The Community Engagement Group has amplified messages to address and discount rumours that the cholera vaccination will give people cholera.

Meanwhile, the displacement crisis continues. According to the latest facts and figures from the United Nations, More than 146,000 displaced people were sheltering in internal displacement camps.

Credit: OCHA

Funding for emergency relief could be a problem.

When a disaster like this strikes, the international humanitarian response system snaps into action. But to mount an effective response, agencies need proper funding. This is what often slows down and hinders relief efforts. United Nations agencies like the World Food Program, the UN Refugee Agency and UNICEF operation as charities. That is, they must raise money from donors in order to fund their operations. (This is opposed to the UN proper, which is funded through regular dues payments from its member states). As a result as soon as disaster strikes, fundraising efforts need to snap into place as well.

So, for example, the World Food Program says it needs $140 million to provide food for vulnerable populations in the region for the next three months. UNICEF is asking for $122 million to provide services for 1.5 million across the countries affected by the cyclone.

Other UN-agencies and non-UN relief organizations like MSF, Save the Children and Oxfam are also launching their own appeals to fund their own distinct relief operations — which are done in coordination with each other and with the UN to avoid duplications and streamline efforts.

The extent to which these agencies can raise funds is the extent to which they can mount effective responses to this massive humanitarian crisis. In a natural disaster like this, funding tends to be the main limiting factor in maximizing the reach of humanitarian services and saving as many lives as possible.

The post A Race to Stop Cholera in Mozambique in the Wake of Cyclone Idai appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Demographics and the future of Africa

INCLUDE Platform - 2. April 2019 - 10:58

Demographics are immensely important to economics. In fact, the relationship between the working-age population and dependents is so important that it explains between a third and half of economic growth. It is particularly important in low and lower-middle income countries where labour contributes the most to improvements in productivity.

And the higher the worker-to-dependent ratio, the faster the economic growth.

For Africa, demographics are particularly vital. When the working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) is significantly larger than the dependent population (the very young and elderly), an economic window of opportunity known as the demographic dividend opens. However, contrary to the view of many policy pundits, Africa is several decades away from entering its demographic dividend. In part due to its one-child policy, China experienced particularly rapid economic growth up to 2011, when its demographic dividend peaked at an extraordinary high ratio of 2.8 persons of working age to every dependent. At that time, China had a population of roughly 1.4 billion people. Without a change in fertility rates, China’s economic growth is now set to decline quite rapidly as its working-age population has to support more dependents with each passing year.

Figure 1. Comparison of working-age to dependent population in Africa, India and China in 2019 and 2070
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

In the meantime, the worker-age to dependency ratio in India is improving and will likely peak at around 2036. At that point India is expected to have a population of around 1.6 billion people. Because the working-age to dependent ratio in India at its peak will be significantly lower than China, which was around 2.2, India will not be able to achieve the rates of economic growth previously attained by China, perhaps growing at around 6% per annum.

According to current forecasts, Africa only gets to its demographic dividend after 2054 and peaks much later, shortly after 2070, at a modest working-age to dependent ratio of 2.0. It is, therefore, unlikely that Africa will be able to achieve the rates of economic growth that China achieved in 2011, or the growth forecast for India mentioned earlier. By then, Africa’s population would have increased from its current 1.3 billion people to more than 3 billion people.

Using the International Futures Forecasting system from the University of Denver, I estimate that by 2072 Africa will only achieve an average economic growth rate of around 4% per annum, which is significantly below that required to provide employment and improve livelihoods for its large and expanding population. That is because Sub-Saharan Africa has a particularly young population with a large cohort of people below 15 years of age.

Figure 2. Ratio of working-age persons to dependents for China, India and Africa
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

With few exceptions, average economic growth rates in Africa will be too slow and population growth rates too high to allow the continent to either rapidly reduce poverty or improve average incomes.

Interventions targeting family planning, clean water and improved sanitation, education, and women’s power, status and education can change this. A recent report on demographics from the Institute for Security Studies simulates a scenario that advances Africa’s demographic dividend by empowering women and meeting the pent-up demand for contraceptives use, which the UN estimates as equivalent to two less children per women. In that scenario, the continent will, by 2063 (the final year of the African Union’s Agenda 2063), have 400 million fewer people. Poverty will largely be eliminated and Africa will have an economy that is roughly a trillion dollars larger than would otherwise be the case. The result is that average incomes in Africa would be significantly higher.

The impact of that scenario on the ratio of working-age persons to dependents is depicted in Figure 3, which also compares the current demographic path for Africa to the end of the century with the working-age to dependent scenario in the rest of the world.

Figure 3. Ratio of working-age persons to dependents in Africa vs the rest of the world
Source: International Futures v7.36, University of Denver

Africans need to engage candidly and robustly in public discussions and scholarly analysis of the economic and development implications of the continent’s large youthful population. Political leadership in discussing gender inequality and family size is vital, as are public media campaigns that demonstrate the health and economic benefits of smaller families.

In addition to investing in the education of women and girls, African governments in low- and lower-middle income countries should prioritize the accelerated roll-out of modern contraception. Such a programme should first meet the pent-up demand for contraception and then aim to significantly expand contraception use beyond current planning. This would advance the onset and intensity of Africa’s demographic dividend with substantive development benefits, including much more rapid economic growth and higher incomes.

Full report available at: Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

The post Demographics and the future of Africa appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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How economic transformation happens at the sector level: evidence from Africa and Asia

ODI - 2. April 2019 - 0:00
This paper explores the factors that shape the prospects of success in economic transformation at the sector level
Kategorien: english


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