Author Archive

Working with faith groups: What can donor agencies learn from Germany?

September 6, 2016

Graham Gordon is Head of CAFOD’s Policy Team. Here, he reflects on what development agencies can learn from a new strategy published by the German Development Ministry for working with faith groups in development.

Photo 1 - Graham Gordon is Head of Policy at CAFOD

Graham Gordon is Head of Policy at CAFOD

Religious beliefs and practices are complex and often intertwined with culture. Faced with this complexity, many international donors tend to underplay religion’s role in development, or to use faith groups as instruments for advancing their agendas or reaching the most remote groups.

BMZ, the German Development Ministry, seems to be making a genuine attempt to do things differently and to engage with the complexity and tensions. Earlier in 2016, it published a strategy on working with religious communities as partners for development.

Find out more about CAFOD’s Policy work

The political drivers of the strategy are clear: the worldwide rise in religiously-motivated violence; increased migration to Europe and new migrant communities with strong religious beliefs and practices; and the rise of anti-immigrant political rhetoric across Europe and countries such as Australia and the US.

However, the strategy cannot simply be seen in the political context of migration and extremism, but also as a genuine attempt to think more deeply about the role of religion in development.

What can other donor agencies learn from Germany’s approach?  (more…)

Three rules for donors: making sure public-private development finance actually works

April 4, 2016

Last year’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement on climate change represent a significant political shift away from a dependency on fossil fuels towards an era of development more in harmony with the environment. They broaden the previous focus of tackling poverty to include leaving no-one behind and tackling inequality.

Both will require billions, if not trillions, of pounds to implement.

With limited aid budgets, donor governments and global institutions have quickly set their sights on leveraging private sector investment as a way of plugging this finance gap. Aid budgets are increasingly directed towards participating in private sector projects, such as big infrastructure projects like roads, ports and hospitals; service provision such as schools; energy and healthcare.

But if public-private partnerships (PPPs) are to be used effectively to implement both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, donors need to keep three key rules in mind. (more…)

Measuring what matters

November 11, 2015

In Laudato Si’ – the Pope calls us to think about what we mean by progress.

Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress.” (194)

It has been understood for years that we cannot and should not try to reduce progress or development to economic development. Similarly, it is widely accepted that success cannot just be based on economic indicators, in particular the narrow focus of GDP growth.

The reason in many ways is simple. (more…)

Will Addis Ababa fire the starter gun for a new approach to sustainable development?

July 12, 2015
ban ki moon addressing csos

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressing hundreds of civil society organisations

Thousands of delegates have descended on a rainy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the third International Conference on Financing for Development. This is the first in three UN Summits this year that will show how much governments are willing to rise to the current global challenges, including climate change, ongoing poverty, hunger and inequality.

It is the chance to present an ambitious and transformative agenda to tackle structural injustices in the global economic system, to ensure that all development is people-centred for current and future generations and to protect the environment.

Addis presents the starter gun for the journey over the next six months that ends up in Paris in December for the climate change negotiations. AS Ban Ki Moon said to civil society groups today, a successful outcome in Addis is crucial for success in everything else.


Can we reach a principled approach to public-private finance?

April 10, 2015

In a year of major UN Summits on development finance, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate change, the topic that has dominated the discussions has been on the role of the private sector and the finance that it can provide and finance that can be channelled through it.

This is clearly controversial with some groups arguing that no development finance should go through the private sector, while others see it as the panacea to “crowd-in” as much private sector involvement as possible.

Whichever side you’re on (or somewhere in the middle), one thing is clear – that the role of the private sector is likely to increase significantly in all forms of development in the forthcoming years, and certainly within the lifetime of the new SDGs.


Where will the money come from for sustainable development?

October 10, 2014

Yesterday I attended the presentation of the OECD Development Co-operation Report 2014: “Mobilising Resources for Sustainable Development“. The report can be seen as positioning itself as a key reference for the UN Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa next year and is well worth a read.

It is unashamedly optimistic, arguing that “there is plenty of money in the world that could be used for development”, and that what we need to do is to mobilise these resources and ensure there is the right political environment for them to be used well. There is a certain inevitability that much of the debate around the report will focus on where the money will come from, but that would be to miss some of the more transformative elements.

I will look briefly at where the money for development will come from, but then turn to the more important questions of what the money should be used for, and what else needs to be done to ensure the increased resources make a difference. (more…)

Yesterday the climate summit, today the post-2015 development debates – but are they linking up?

September 24, 2014

Yesterday’s Climate Summit in New York was attended by over 120 world leaders and produced some bold statements and the outline of some concrete commitments.

Climate change was seen as a defining issue of our time with President Obama saying that ““We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it”. Speaker after speaker, including David Cameron, recognised that climate change is a major threat to poverty eradication.

However, in order for action on climate change to contribute to poverty eradication and sustainable development, the siloed approach of the UN’s climate and post-2015 processes still need to be broken down. (more…)

Low carbon credit where low carbon credit is due

July 24, 2014

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.


Doubling climate ambition: from Rio to Paris via New York

June 9, 2014

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. (more…)