Low carbon credit where low carbon credit is due

July 24, 2014 by

By Rob Elsworth, Climate and Energy Analyst, CAFOD

The Government has announced that the UK’s fourth carbon budget will not be revised. This means that the legally binding target of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the period 2023-2027 against 1990 levels will be required.

The Government has made the right decision, for which they should be commended.

From a CAFOD perspective, the Government’s decision sends a hugely important message of encouragement to governments and civil society around the world about shifting towards more sustainable development. CAFOD’s work with partners on moving towards a more sustainable future is strengthened tremendously by the UK’s own commitment to a low carbon future.

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OWG report shoots but does it score?

July 21, 2014 by

While much of the world spent this year watching the World Cup, some of us were watching a very different kind of international tournament. The Open Working Group, mandated by Rio+20 in 2012 to produce a set of proposals for Sustainable Development Goals to succeed the Millennium Development Goals when they run out in 2015, delivered its outcome document this weekend. I for one was gripped.

I imagine some negotiators felt like this when agreement was reached

I imagine some negotiators felt like this when agreement was reached

I’m sure there are many comparisons that could be made between the skill and agility of footballers and the skill and negotiating agility of the negotiators (the only physical stamina required is the ability to endure marathon negotiating sessions, with the final one lasting some 35 hours), different tactics adopted, countries playing on the offense or defence. But unlike the World Cup, where Germany held the trophy aloft, in the post-2015 debate we all stand to win or lose.

So in this global game, who (or what) are the winners and who are the losers?

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Setting the moral compass for the post-2015 framework

June 24, 2014 by

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the President of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Event on human rights and rule of law. I tried to reflect what we’ve learnt through the grassroots research carried out by Participate and the global participatory processes led by Beyond 2015 – ultimately, that people experiencing poverty and marginalisation want the opportunity to meaningfully shape the decisions that affect their lives.

Are the messages from these people in Uganda...

Are the messages from these people in Uganda…

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Doubling climate ambition: from Rio to Paris via New York

June 9, 2014 by

It is no secret in the world of international politics that 2015 brings together two key processes that will significantly influence the wellbeing of people and planet over the coming decades.

However the Post-2015 framework and the UNFCCC have until now been treated as quite distinct, led by different negotiators and government departments. This is despite the fact that they will be agreed within weeks of each other (end of September and beginning of December 2015); have significant overlap in the issues covered (see below); will both need to be implemented through national development plans and will be seeking finance from similar (existing, new and innovative) sources.

new report by international environment and development organisations including CAFOD, WWF, ODI, Oxfam, Christian Aid and CAN International argues that only by treating the Post-2015 and UNFCCC processes as complementary, rather than unrelated, separate or competing, can they raise the necessary ambition for climate action. In fact, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has convened a Climate Leaders Summit in September 2014 aiming to raise ambition for both processes. Read the rest of this entry »

What makes a green economy a fair one too?

April 25, 2014 by

Guest blog post by Kate Raworth


Kate Raworth is a Visiting Fellow in Economics at IIED. Her research focuses on rethinking economics in the faces of extreme social inequalities and planetary boundaries. She blogs at www.kateraworth.com and tweets @KateRaworth

Ask any country’s leaders about their nation’s strategy for the next decade, and chances are, its colour will be green. ‘Green economy’ and ‘green growth’ policies are moving to centre stage in a surprising number of countries, including many low- and middle-income ones. From Vietnam and Barbados to Ethiopia and Mozambique, there’s a new focus on combining environmental sustainability with economic growth – particularly by cutting or curbing greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring a rising GDP.

For the sake of ecological integrity, that’s good news – but what about social justice? Green policies to transform key sectors – ranging from energy and transport to infrastructure and agriculture – bring many implications for women and men in vulnerable and low-income communities. And it would be dangerous to assume that they will automatically bring benefits. Indeed, without care, green policies could well do the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »

Is access to justice for poor communities really so risky for British business interests?

April 8, 2014 by

justiceimagesIn 2011 and 2012 the UK Government submitted official briefings to the US Supreme Court in relation to two high profile legal cases alleging corporate involvement in grave human rights abuses in the Niger Delta and Papua New Guinea.

These briefings questioned the right of the affected communities to use the US Courts to bring cases against Shell and Rio Tinto respectively. On 7 April the Guardian reported on the backstory to this decision, including the links between Shell and Rio Tinto and the Foreign Office’s official intervention in relation to these US Court cases.

The article is based on documents drawn from the CORE corporate responsibility coalition’s freedom of information requests. http://www.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/fs50487115_croser_kiobel_-_full_documents_following_ico_decision.pdf

They raise key questions about how and why the Government chose to prioritize what it saw as business interests in the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum & Shell case.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ensuring an Energy Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) delivers for poor people and the planet

March 25, 2014 by



Collecting water from a solar-based purification system supplied by
CAFOD. Chila Union, Mongla District, Bangladesh.

In late February, discussions over the post-2015 development agenda reached a milestone. The co-Chairs of the Open Working Group (OWG), the body tasked with preparing a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposal for consideration by the UN General Assembly in September 2014, issued a “Focus Areas Document”.

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The Chronic Poverty Report and post-2015: matching policy with people’s lives

March 19, 2014 by

Last week the ‘Chronic Poverty Report 2014-2015: The road to zero extreme poverty’ was launched. The report has an eye towards the post-2015 agenda and the global development framework that will follow the MDGs, suggesting a goal and targets to take extreme poverty to a minimum. I’m going to reflect on the Chronic Poverty Report (CPR) based on CAFOD’s participatory research how change happens in the lives of some of the poorest people in Bolivia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Philippines.

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COMPASS 2015: a faith perspective

March 12, 2014 by

CAFOD’s participatory research project, COMPASS 2015, engages with the perspectives of poor and marginalised people and communities as a resource for formulating development policy after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. The research involved 1,420 participants from 56 different communities in four countries – Philippines, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Bolivia – and guides CAFOD’s policy priorities in the global debate.

But what does this mean from a Catholic perspective?

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Helping Developing Economies Grow: the UK Government Approach

March 10, 2014 by

By Geoffrey Chongo: Head of Programmes, Jesuit Centre for Theology Reflection


The last week of February has been an eventful week for me. I have had a rare privilege of participating in a trade out of poverty event in Parliament, an event that was graced by the Minister of State for International Development, Mr. Alan Duncan. My role in the event was to give a Zambian perspective as a response to the UK’s new approach of supporting developing countries’ economic development agenda.

The UK’s new focus on economic growth through private sector development is welcome. Like they have rightly put it, economic growth is an important means of raising people’s incomes and reducing poverty in the developing world – it creates jobs and opportunities for poor people to support their families and build more stable futures. However, I hasten to say that from my experience, the manner of this growth will determine whether it will raise incomes and reduce poverty in an equitable way. Growth alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty unless it is guided so that it is inclusive. Otherwise it creates other concerns like income inequality.

UK Government should therefore ensure that the growth it supports is inclusive by way of including small businesses, where most poor people work, in its growth approach. Small businesses should be consulted on the support that the UK Government intends to give to private sector development so as to incorporate their needs.

It is also important to note that small businesses in developing countries particularly Zambia have developed entrepreneurial mindsets and thus any support given to them is not likely to be treated as aid simply for consumption but for applying in their small businesses. Reflecting on the blog comments on the article that we wrote on how to achieve pro-poor economic development it is evident that the role of small businesses in equitable economic development cannot be ignored. Small businesses’ challenges need to be addressed if they have to be helped out of poverty.

It was interesting to see Government agreeing to an open discussion on a very important government policy. It is my hope that CAFOD will continue to work in this area to effectively influence government policies as they relate to the poor.


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