Posts Tagged ‘development’

Localization, Inclusion and Integrated Approach on Disaster Risk Reduction

June 23, 2017

Written by Nanette Salvador-Antequisa

Nanette is the Executive Director of EcoWEB, a non-governmental organisation based in the Philippines. Here she comments on discussions and lessons learned from the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) held in Cancun on 24-26 May.


CAFOD’s hopes for COP21

December 2, 2015

After much anticipation the Paris climate negotiations, or COP21, are finally upon us. It is no exaggeration to say that governments, businlogo-cop21-webesses, charities and faith communities have been working towards this point for years. Failure to secure a meaningful agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009 made many decide to work differently, building political will from the ground up.

Much good work on communicating the urgency of the climate challenge has already been done, from Ban Ki-Moon’s Climate Summit in New York in September 2014 to Pope Francis Encyclical, Laudato Si’. This process will reach its zenith over the next two weeks in Paris. CAFOD, together with sister Catholic development agencies, is now attending the negotiations in Paris to represent the experience of our partners on the ground, advocating for a deal that protects the world’s most vulnerable people. Paris needs to demonstrate the international community working together at its best, delivering a binding agreement which can be assessed and strengthened every few years and ultimately delivers a shift away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy that protects the planet and provides energy for everyone, including the poorest.


The SDGs and Pope Francis: it’s a wrap

October 13, 2015

This blog is a reflection on my time at CAFOD and the recent adoption of the SDGs, so it’s a bit longer than usual. While the real work for change at the national level is in many respects only just beginning, it’s a good moment for me to share some thoughts on what I’ve learnt over the last three years, what has changed, and opportunities and challenges ahead.


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.


Welcome to the Data Revolution Advisory Group – but will it be a revolution driven by people?

September 10, 2014

A warm welcome to Ban Ki-Moon’s new independent expert advisory group on the data revolution. While the data revolution conversation has been bubbling away over the last year, it’s been difficult to see how it will be brought into the official post-2015 process. With the announcement of the expert group, that missing piece of the puzzle has become clearer. The group will be tasked to input to the UN SG’s much anticipated Synthesis Report, providing input into the fourth chapter on the accountability framework (the other three covering the background, goals and targets proposed by the OWG, and financing).

Benita, 4 years old, from Ruyenzi, Rwanda uses a phone

Benita, 4 years old, from Ruyenzi, Rwanda using a mobile. How will her voice be heard in the data revolution?

So far, so good. But looking at the press release, a couple of questions occurred to me. As I’ve previously pointed out, the data revolution is in danger of missing out on the key constituency who are meant to benefit most from the collective endeavour to create a global development agenda: the very people who on a daily-basis experience poverty, injustice, discrimination and exclusion. Yet reading through the list I failed to spot anyone who would obviously champion this perspective. When the Secretary General High Level Panel was formed in 2012, Graҫa Machel, among others, supported the perspectives of people living in poverty, and many Panellists reached out to engage with different groups.


A day in the life of an advocacy accompanier

April 29, 2013


As an Advocacy Accompanier, I probably have one of the strangest named, but most interesting jobs in CAFOD. I support CAFOD’s partners to do advocacy on issues like children’s rights, economic justice, land grabs, extra-judicial killings and climate change and in the last year I’ve worked in six different countries. But how can you be an expert on so many different places and issues, my friends often ask me? The short answer is that I’m not. And nor do I need to be. The local organisations on the ground have a wealth of knowledge gained from the work that they do every day that is different from mine. My role is to support them think through the how of advocacy and together we grapple with questions such as: How can you make sure that your land grabs report lands you in the Minister’s office and not in jail? How can make the public buzz about budgets? Why would a sceptical politician choose to attend Stakeholder Dialogue meeting at your community centre and not steak barbecue lunch at the 5* hotel corporate lobbying fest ? I ask these questions because effective advocacy always requires a strategy: it’s not enough to be passionate about a cause, to publish a lengthy report or spend your time convincing those who already agree with you.

The kind of support I give varies: workshop facilitator, mentor, critical friend, sounding board, or researcher – everyone has different needs so there is no one size fits all approach to this job! Perhaps it would be a lot less work and cheaper to run a generic advocacy course in order to disseminate a CAFOD approach to advocacy. However, I suspect that this would be ineffective, out of touch with local reality and risky in the long-run.

So, why this word accompaniment in my job title? (more…)

Using Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to channel UK aid

April 17, 2013

The use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to deliver UK aid has been multiplying and looks set to increase in the coming years. All of these PPPs have some kind of arrangement between the public and private sector for the private sector to deliver some or all of the goods or services which traditionally fell under public sector responsibility, such as health care provision or building a road.

The one term PPP can refer to a wide range of different initiatives, some of which can have quite complex structures. For example, PPPs in international development have both a donor government such as the UK and a host government receiving UK aid as the public sector partners, but often the donor governments often channel their money indirectly to PPPs, via the World Bank, the Private Infrastructure Development Group and various other channels. There has also been a recent increase in sales of PPP equity, with over 75% of these transactions now being made through offshore infrastructure funds.

And when it comes to the private sector partner(s), they could be various different business sizes, structures or sectors; ranging from small-scale farmers, artisans or local entrepreneurs to UK companies and transnational corporations.

Given this diversity of the public sector, private sector and PPP structures, it is not possible to make any general assumptions about what the development impacts will be for all PPPs. This means that assumptions must be tested at the assessment, monitoring and evaluation stages for each PPP by all of the actors involved.

CAFOD’s new discussion paper picks out some of the key arguments that we have identified from the international debate about the advantages and disadvantages of using PPPs to deliver UK aid and then raises questions which we think will help the policy debate to better understand:

  • The nature of the value that PPPs add to the delivery of the environmental and poverty reduction objectives of UK aid
  • the ways in which the learning from the impact of these PPPs is informing policy and practice

The paper is the first in a series looking at the use of PPPs to deliver UK aid. CAFOD would like to hear your opinion about these questions. Are they the right questions to ask? Are there questions missing? What do you think are the added benefits of using PPPs to deliver aid? What has been your experience of applying the learning from implementation to new UK aid funded PPPs?

All comments are welcomed and can be sent to:

Beck Wallace, Lead Analyst on Extractive Industries & Corruption

G20 new directions on development: How the G20 can help poor households everyhwere

December 11, 2012

Last week, George Osborne had to announce more bad news on the recovery to the British public. He might taken some solace in the fact that others in the G20 group of leading economies are not having an easy time either. The buoyant BRICS economies (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) are set to join us in the growth doldrums according to a new report by the OECD.

But it would be wrong for the leaders of those economies to conclude that they don’t have time to think about the new phase of the G20’s development agenda when they next meet in St Petersburg. Doing so properly would benefit not only the poorest men and women in low income countries, but also back at home in G20 ones.
The G20’s Seoul Development Consensus was launched in Korea in 2010 in recognition of the impact of the global economic crisis on the poorest countries. The consensus was accompanied by a multi-year action plan to support their economic development, which is set to expire during Russia’s presidency of the G20.

This offers a real chance for the G20 to assess its impact to date on development and to think of ways of improving it. Here are five things the G20 should consider. (more…)

Are policy wonks in NGOs a good thing?

October 17, 2012

Definition: a person who takes an obsessive interest in the minor detail of policy

The etymology of the term wonk is a derogatory one used to refer to geeks, but it sometimes seems nowadays to be a badge of honour within development circles.  Undoubtedly we need wonks in the world, including development wonks, but are NGOs the right place for people to indulge any wonkish tendencies?

I’m not sure they are for three reasons:

1)      Most NGOs even sizeable ones like CAFOD have relatively few policy or research staff.  We can’t afford to have people who get too immersed in the detail even if those we are trying to influence have hoards of experts.  We are not an academic institution, we are an NGO – the two things should not be confused, although of course we work closely with academia, and I am not arguing that academia is full of wonks (oh dear have to be careful here)!

2)      The purpose of NGO policy and research is to make a difference to the lives of people living in poverty.  By working with our partners we have direct access to those people and our added value and indeed primary duty is to bring their experiences and voices into the policy debate and corridors of power – to show how policies and practices impact their lives and what change is needed as a result.

3)      People who are too immersed in the detail can fail to see the bigger picture.  At CAFOD we believe that it is not just policy that can be at fault but the values, the principles and the beliefs that inform that policy.  Our deep and living roots in the Catholic faith mean we take seriously Catholic Social Teaching and Gospel Values in informing our policy and advocacy work and we have an excellent Theology team who helps us to do this. And we believe there is a fundamental shift in worldview that is needed by those in power.  Most other NGOs I know have a strong sense of values and principles that inform their work whether that be a Rights Based Approach or an implicit belief system.

I hope I haven’t stirred up a hornet’s nest.  Views and comments as ever are welcome, particularly from self-confessed wonks.

The golden thread of development: spinning a yarn?

August 21, 2012

Matthew Taylor’s latest excellent blog has helped crystallised for me what troubles me about David Cameron’s golden thread of development.  In case you are coming to this new; the golden thread is the government’s take on the essential ingredients (apologies for mixed metaphors) for successful development.   These are individual rights, transparency and private sector growth.  Whilst we would agree that all three are good and very important, they do represent a somewhat one dimensional view that is in danger of reinforcing an individualistic approach to development. 

But why does this represent an individualistic approach? The philosophical basis seems to be that we need to have less barriers, more openness, more entrepreneurship. By itself this represents a negative view of freedom – that left to their own devices with the information they need – people will be free to realise their potential.  The absence of interference whether from the state or others is based on a particular understanding of the way markets should function. But, of course freedom without purpose or without limits is problematic as the banking crisis demonstrates and I am sure the Prime Minister would agree.   As Taylor argues for all its strengths the flipside of individualism is selfishness.

Taylor believes that social justice needs to be held as a limit to individualism particularly in societies which are highly unequal.  Catholic Social Teaching would agree on the need for a balance between the rights of individuals and the need for social justice, but it would also contend that each agent or actor should be oriented towards a clear common purpose or telos otherwise we are in danger of perpetuating unfreedom for some or even the many.  So forgive me for probably stretching the metaphor a bit too far, but if the golden thread is not the right one the whole jumper may unravel.