Browse by Theme: Climate Change

Under the Fiji presidency of COP23 in Bonn, Germany, we have heard many stories of the devastation faced by the Pacific islands during Typhoon Haiyan, Cyclone Winston and Cyclone Pam. We have heard how Fiji is already having to relocate entire villages permanently because of sea level rise and coastal erosion, and that water sources are becoming contaminated.

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Aid spending by the UK is once again in the news. This time a Mail on Sunday campaign and petition has secured a Westminster Hall debate on 13 June. Up for discussion (but not review) will be the 0.7% target set into law at the end of the last parliament that obliges the UK to spend this percentage of its Gross National Income on overseas development assistance (ODA). But at a time when there are 91 million people in need of emergency assistance across 35 declared crises, the highest in a generation, climate change is daily demonstrating its disruptive and destructive force on the lives of the most vulnerable, and global health crises emerge on an annual basis, surely the only thing outrageous about spending 7p in every £10 on tackling global problems is that it is so little.

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From afar, the southern African countries of Madagascar and Malawi will not figure in conversations about the disasters affecting the world. When I told people I was going there on an emergency response deployment they looked at me baffled and asked: “Why – what’s happening there?”

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People have a certain image of what constitutes an emergency. To someone you ask in the street they would probably imagine panic, chaos and people desperately trying to save their families. And that is true but not always the case, as emergencies get more drawn out due to long-standing conflict, like in Syria, or are slow-burning crises such as Ethiopia’s drought brought on by the climate impacts of El Nino. In these situations, emergency is embedded in everyday life – thinking about the safest route to go to the market or children dropping out of school becomes a part of daily life. And this is when it is not so easy to differentiate humanitarian and development approaches as short-term creeps into long-term.

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Last month I visited Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to interview farmers and livestock traders faced with the drought effects of one of the most devastating El Niños in 50 years. What are their coping strategies in the face of extreme weather patterns? How are those strategies linked to national and international market systems? And how, through these systems, can we bring about a better deal for those in the supply chain typically made more vulnerable by drought – namely, women?

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A baseline study is more than an assessment of reference values against future progress and an expected impact. It represents the narrative about the context of the project, the stakeholders and the key challenges in delivery. It should be seen as the starting point – the first milestone – in a journey of learning, adapting, improving, and delivering impact. It outlines the starting point of the project and it sets the foundation for the whole M&E framework and its tools, methodologies and sources of information for both tracking inputs delivery and large-scale changes. Given the complexity of such endeavour, this blog presents some key observations that apply to most development projects dealing with heightened variability and uncontrollable external forces.

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I am currently in Budapest, Hungary, attending the second of two days of regional consultations. This is the fourth in a series of regional consultations leading up to the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) taking place in Istanbul. The WHS will be a major event. It will be the first-ever global humanitarian summit of this scale. It also has an ambitious goal: the summit aims to find new ways to tackle humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world – a topic close to the heart of CARE’s work.

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