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CID Weekly

The development & humanitarian news you need to know

Brought to you by the Council for International Development
with the support of Direct Impact Group


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What links governance to good development?

CID, in partnership with MFAT, is offering an unmissable 1-day workshop on the role of good governance in generating development impact.
Facilitated by world-leading expert on governance in the aid and development sector, Graham Teskey, you will explore the following:
  • What does it mean to think and work politically?
  • How can you support partners in-country to have good governance?
Graham Teskey of Abt Associates’ Global Governance practice in Australia, specialises in the governance aspects of international development. He has been head of the Governance and Anti-Corruption at The World Bank; advised DFAT on governance in its international aid program; and spent 16 years with the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).
Venue: CID Offices, Level 4, 26 Brandon St, Wellington
Date: Thursday 8th August
Time: 11am-3pm (Bring your own lunch)

Register here to the workshop (Cost $10)

MFAT would also like to invite CID members to a panel session with Graham at 3.30 – 5.00pm, on Wednesday 7 August, followed by a Reception until 6pm:
“To what extent is this thing called governance an indispensable element of good development practice?”

Venue: MFAT Level 13
Date: Wednesday 7th August 
Time: 3.30-5pm, followed by Reception 5pm-6pm
+ What makes for good philanthropy? 

We know this is an untapped source of funding for international NGOs in New Zealand, so what makes for good philanthropy?

This podcast looks at the work of Bill gates, and the 'Not so Benevolent Billionaire'. Part 2 is here.

Also a long read from the Guardian on potential problems with so-called ‘Philanthrocapitalism’, a shorter read from the Atlantic on philanthropy and democracy and even shorter notes on an OECD report

And a Dev Policy piece by Jeremy Stringer from 2017 Philanthropy as a development actor.

For more on effective altruism you can check out the resources from last month:

·         Peter Singer’s book, The Most Good You Can Do, and notes that:

·         Articles from the Spinoff, the Guardian and the Atlantic

·        Read more about the movement in New Zealand

(With thanks to the Breakfast Korero group for the links this week!)

+ What does Boris mean for development in the UK? 

Boris Johnson has come out in support of the law which determines that the UK spends at least 0.7% of our gross national income on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

But he has also said he believes that the international aid budget should be used to support 'the diplomatic and commercial objectives of the UK,' writes Paul Abernethy from Bond UK.

"This isn’t the first time Johnson has spoken out on the issue – earlier this year he called for a multibillion-pound cut to the aid budget and the closure of the Department for International Development (DFID) as a separate Whitehall department."

+ Ethical guidelines to transform the economy

An economic system that serves everyone and the planet is necessary for our survival, writes David Korten on OpenDemocracy

Here are his eight guiding principles for a reformed economic theory for what he calls 'a new economy for the 21st century'.

"Principle 1: Evaluate the economy’s performance by indicators of the well-being of people and planet; not just the growth of GDP.

Principle 2: Seek only that which benefits life; not that which harms life.

Principle 3: Honor and reward all who provide beneficial labour, including nature; not those who exploit it to get rich.

Principle 4: Create society’s money supply through a transparent public process to advance the common good; not through proprietary processes that grow the profits of for-profit banks.

Principle 5: Educate for a lifetime of learning in service to life-seeking communities; not for service to for-profit corporations.

Principle 6: Create and apply technology only to serve life; not to displace or destroy it.

Principle 7: Organize as cooperative, inclusive, self-reliant, regenerative communities that share knowledge and technology to serve life; not as incorporated pools of money competing to grow by exploiting life.

Principle 8: Seek a mutually beneficial population balance between humans and Earth’s other species; not the dominance of humans over all others."

+ Renewables in Rwanda

Director-General Frank Rijsberman of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) spoke with Eco-Business to discuss the commercial viability of renewable energy, Rwanda’s net-zero emission airport, impatient optimism, and GGGI's vision and mission. 

'Renewables are now the cheapest energy source, says Dr. Frank Rijsberman. But if renewable energy is more affordable than fossil fuels, why aren’t the poorer countries making a beeline for technologies that are now available?'

'According to Dr. Rijsberman, the main bottleneck comes from government policies that allow for fossil fuels to still be subsidised. This results in highly pollutive fuels such as diesel being falsely cheaper than renewables.'

+ Jenny from the block(chain)

Blockchain technology will bring the next wave of globalisation by radically upgrading the world’s trade infrastructure. Discovering what policy changes are necessary to facilitate this new economic infrastructure, however, will require significant policy entrepreneurship through a new dedicated international policy coordination body, writes Darcy Allen on DevPolicy.

Blockchain technology offers a new way of governing information along the supply chain – especially amongst those that lack a degree of trust. The modern global economy is ultimately made up of supply chains. These supply chains link together the mining of raw materials – through their transformation and production – and the final retail process. All of this must be tracked, often across several countries and between parties where strong business relations are yet to be forged.

Questions about goods may range from whether a product falls under fair trade standards to how fresh its ingredients are. Blockchain can act as a new more detailed, cheaper, and trusted infrastructure for modern supply chains. 
What, then, is the role of government? Will governments recognise blockchain-based information as proof of the quality and origins of a good? How will smart contracting technology interact with preferential trade deals? What are the implications for competition policy? These are only a few of the issues that policymakers and industry members must discuss together.

+ Tech without borders

DoNotPay, an app dubbed “the world’s first robot lawyer” by its developer, Joshua Browder, has been helping refugees in the United States and Canada to complete immigration applications. It's a chatbot - a computer program that carries out conversations through texts or vocal commands - and it uses Facebook Messenger to gather information about a case before spitting out advice and legal documents.

There’s also the International Organization for Migration’s MigApp, which fills in the blanks on topics ranging from money transfer to visa rules around the world. Signpost,  a portfolio of online tools, was launched in 2015 as a collaboration between the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps. According to its developers, one of its tools,, delivers reliable information in five languages and reaches 70 per cent of some 500,000 refugees in Greece, and in total has reached one million people in Greece, Italy, Jordan and El Salvador. 

RefAid, which connects refugees with services, is used by more than 400 aid organizations, from the Red Cross to Save the Children; and aptly named Techfugees invites individuals and organizations to share tech solutions, including ways to fight xenophobia online.

Digital solutions are quickly filling the information vacuum plaguing the thousands of people around the world who have been displaced.

In Roraima, a state on the Brazil-Venezuela border, researchers at non-profit think tank Igarapé Institute met migrants who had sold their phones to finance their journeys. When they did have phones, they were usually simple, with minimal data storage, and often shared.

While some refugee camps and shelters provide dedicated wi-fi spaces, only a handful of migrants can gain access to them at once. Pacaraima, the town in Roraima where most Venezuelan migrants land, has had a 4G connection for about a year, but it is not enough to meet demand. 

To make the new tech platforms more secure, sponsors can take steps to collect data only at aggregate levels and to ensure the integrity and safety of this data. Fake news can be controlled by watch-dogging information uploaded to a site.

After conducting interviews and focus groups with migrants, Igarapé went back to the drawing board. The result is a free phone app, called OKA, that does not require wi-fi access once it is downloaded.

The tool, funded initially by the international charity Porticus, is available in Portuguese, Spanish and French and will soon be available in English. It offers information on Brazil’s federal public services — spanning housing, schools, health care, social and legal assistance, jobs and disaster response and preparedness —and more local services in Rio de Janeiro and in Boa Vista, Roraima, writes Adriana Erthal Abdenur and Lycia Brasil on PassBlue.

+ PHAP Tips & Tools for aid workers

Building trust

Trust should never be taken for granted, even and especially not in our sector. An inspiring TED Talk on this topic by Onora O’Neill (a philosopher and crossbench member of the House of Lords in the UK) offers some key takeaways and reflections that we can all benefit from.

Aid workers and stress

While a lot of research has been undertaken to document the links between aid work and high levels of stress, I recently came across a study published in the Journal of International Humanitarian Action that captures aid workers’ views on stressors and coping strategies. It involved a wide range of aid workers living in 63 countries, including previously under-researched groups such as development professionals and national workers. Amongst other things, they use the findings to inform practical stress reduction recommendations at the individual, organizational, and sector levels.

Another interesting piece of research on wellbeing from New York University, “From a Culture of Unwellness to Sustainable Advocacy” included key findings pointing to several obstacles for incorporating wellbeing and care into human rights work, among them:

  • Activists reported myriad sources of stress and harm, including those coming directly from their work and for example work with victims, but also from their own organizations.
  • They believe mental health is overlooked and the majority of NGOs are not doing enough to promote well-being.

Outcome monitoring in humanitarian response

We are all very much aware that in humanitarian response monitoring, we report the reach more often than any other "quality" indicators. I have written about that in an earlier post as well. This paper invites us to think about how to get better at monitoring outcomes – the first level of change for our beneficiaries – rather than just how many people we have reached with our interventions. 

Using qualitative methods in humanitarian monitoring

As an evaluator where we use a lot of qualitative methods for evaluating humanitarian action, I have always questioned the focus on quantitative approaches in humanitarian monitoring. We cannot quite express quality so well by just counting, and as evaluators we ask, we read, and we observe. This paper is a timely and vital contribution to the sector and makes us re-think how we can use qualitative methods more consistently and in a more structured way.

Is there innovation in monitoring?

The third paper in this series builds on real-life experience in "non-traditional" monitoring in humanitarian response. It uses three lenses to look at them – when do we monitor, how can we be flexible, and how do we put monitoring data into perspective. Good food for thought with useful examples that we can model.  

+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by

Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.
+ SDG conference concludes

The establishment of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), "The Future We Want"

The Forum meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council for eight days, including a three-day ministerial segment and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly for two days.

The 2019 HLPF meeting was held from 9 to 18 July in New York, with the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".

In accordance with paragraph 84. of the 2030 Agenda, Member States have decided that the HLPF shall carry out regular voluntary reviews of the 2030 Agenda which will include developed and developing countries as well as relevant UN entities and other stakeholders. 

In 2019, 47 countries (7 for the second time) have volunteered to present their national voluntary reviews to the HLPF. 

Described as “a global blueprint for dignity, peace and prosperity for people and the planet”, the 2030 Agenda has, however, left several lingering questions unanswered at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Why are countries faltering on their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by world leaders in 2015? Is it due to a decline in development aid? A lack of political will? Or is the agenda far too ambitious in its lofty goals? And will a new global fund help deliver the development agenda by 2030?

The Government of Iceland and the Nordic Council of Ministers sponsored a side event on ‘Youth, Climate Action and Democracy’ at the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), during which youth leaders stressed their concerns about the current pace of climate action.

Also, during the HLPF, Action for Sustainable Development launched a joint call to #StandTogetherNow, highlighting the importance of an inter-connected agenda, linking demands for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world with many civil society partners around the world. You can find out more and sign up to the joint call to #StandTogetherNow here.

Finally, Together2030 is running a debrief seminar on HLPF 2019 on 14th August. You can register here.
+ Nominations for Code Committee Member Representative

CID is looking for a 4th Member Representative for the Code of Conduct Committee, for a period of two (2) years (renewable) from September 2019 – August 2021. 

The aim of the Code of Conduct Committee is to provide assurance to CID members, donors, the public and partners that the CID Code is being implemented effectively. It monitors adherence to the Code and compliance self-assessment and ensures that complaints in relation to the Code are examined promptly and fairly.

The Member Representative will be nominated and elected by CID member organisations.  The elected Member Representative can be:

  • current staff or board members of CID organisations
  • ex-staff and ex-board members of CID organisations
  • fully elected CID board members but not the Chair of the CID board.

Please contact Aaron Davy if you require further information, including a copy of the Code of Conduct Committee ToR or position description. The closing date for CID to receive nominations for the Member Representative role is Monday, 5th August.


+ CID Activities
  • CID is attending the WFP Logistics Cluster in Melbourne this week to discuss UBDs and report back to the CID Humanitarian Network
  • #theworldiswatching video on Syria was filmed and is now being edited, ready for launch on Aug 19th - Works Humanitarian Day
  • CID Board held a Skype meeting
  • CID website to be launched next week
  • Scoping of content for CID joint select-committee submission for inquiry into New Zealand's aid to the Pacific.
  • Collation and analysis of Code Review survey results and desktop research.

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