Development Blog

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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A girl sheltering from monsoon rains in Dhading District, Nepal, in a community where many were still living in temporary shelters after the 2015 earthquakes A girl sheltering from monsoon rains in Dhading District, Nepal, in a community where many were still living in temporary shelters after the 2015 earthquakes

The Mail on Sunday’s recent petition calling on the UK government to renege on its fixed 0.7% foreign aid commitment received a staggering 230,233 signatures. The petition is set to be discussed in a Parliamentary debate on 13 June 2016, which will re-evaluate the newly-passed International Development Bill. According to the Mail on Sunday, the Department for International Development (DFID)’s annual £12 billion aid budget is grossly misspent, “fuels corruption, funds despots and corrodes democracy in developing nations”.

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Martha Nyabar with packets of seeds distributed by CARE in South Sudan Martha Nyabar with packets of seeds distributed by CARE in South Sudan

I am sitting in the closing plenary of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next to women first responders - civil society partners - from Syria, Somalia and Pakistan. It's been two intensive days, at times despairing, at times inspiring, in a sprawling, labyrinthine venue apparently built as a metaphor for the process. We often didn't quite know where we were going on more than one level.

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The high level leaders roundtable on gender The high level leaders roundtable on gender

On Friday 20 May 2016, on the eve of the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, CARE International with the support of Hogan Lovells convened a business/UN/government roundtable to discuss the potential for business to empower women in emergencies. Business has played an active role in the WHS process, and a set of ‘core commitments’ on gender equality in humanitarian action has been tabled for the Summit outcomes. But these two agendas are yet to be linked. The roundtable looked at how this might happen both as part of the WHS process and beyond.

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Zemey Vamaniutra is a member of a farmers' group in Madagascar which teaches farmers modern agricultural techniques to help people survive the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon Zemey Vamaniutra is a member of a farmers' group in Madagascar which teaches farmers modern agricultural techniques to help people survive the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon

The World Humanitarian Summit has had a rough ride over the past few months, not least from us at CARE, who have noisily demanded it engage with the need for political action and that it fully address the huge gender differences in disaster and conflict. However, to my surprise, at the end of the first day, it’s mostly achieved its aims.

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Gareth Price-Jones speaking at the CARE stand at the World Humanitarian Summit Gareth Price-Jones speaking at the CARE stand at the World Humanitarian Summit

An interview with Naseer Memon of the National Humanitarian NGO Network in Pakistan

The National Humanitarian NGO Network (NHN) was established in 2010 to support joint work between national civil society organisations working in humanitarian response in Pakistan. NHN has sought to influence the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), including by developing a joint statement by national NGOs in Pakistan on the process. Naseer Memon, chief executive of SPO (Strengthening Participatory Organization – a national NGO) and current chair of NHN, shared his thoughts on the WHS.

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Children look out from a temporary tent home after flooding caused by heavy rains in September 2014 affected more than 2 million people. Photo from CARE partner organisation Awaz. Children look out from a temporary tent home after flooding caused by heavy rains in September 2014 affected more than 2 million people. Photo from CARE partner organisation Awaz.

Back in 2013, a senior UN policy-maker told CARE: “Gender isn’t summit-worthy.” Since then, concerted advocacy by hundreds of women and men has turned this around. CARE has played a leading role by co-convening the first global consultation with over 40 women from every region with the WHS Secretariat, and following up at the national level in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan and elsewhere. So what can we expect from the Summit, and what are the next steps?

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Rachele Nsii, a displaced woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo Rachele Nsii, a displaced woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo