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One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Innovating in development learning event: challenge brief

24 Apr 2017 03:56:35 GMT

The Innovating in Development learning event in February 2017, hosted by Ideas to Impact, brought together innovators, funders and implementers of development and humanitarian innovation to take stock of innovation in development efforts and exchange operational experience to enhance its pace. The workshop themes, identified through consultation with participants, addressed the following challenges:

  • Scaling: What approaches are required for scaling, replicating and diffusing innovations in developing countries?
  • Innovation ecosystems: What is needed to move social innovations, goods and services through the innovation process into adoption and use by poor people and communities?
  • Risks: How can we work positively with risks inherent in innovation in development, including risks of unintended consequences that reduce social benefit for the poorest?

This Ideas to Impact Challenge Brief summarises emerging insights on the topic of innovating in development. It brings together operational experience used to inform discussions at the  Learning Event and takes stock of where innovation efforts are today. It goes on the discuss some of the broad issues and insights around scaling, replication and diffusion and the inter-related topics of innovation ecosystems and risk. It also provides a useful guide to some of the key concepts and definitions in use.

Rethinking infrastructure in Africa: a governance approach

21 Apr 2017 09:57:46 GMT

Infrastructure deficits have long been recognised as being central to Africa’s developmental malaise. This paper looks at the state of the continent’s infrastructure, with a focus on the actions that governments can take to spur its development. In other words, it attempts this analysis from the perspective of governance. By any measure, Africa is on average less well provisioned with infrastructural assets (roads, railways, power grids, communication networks, water and sanitation systems) than any other part of the world. Much of what does exist has been degraded by unsatisfactory maintenance. The most comprehensive estimate is that an amount of some $93 billion annually will be needed until 2020 to achieve the necessary development. Funding continues to fall short of this, although the sums available are growing. Africa’s governments, bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector are all investing large amounts in infrastructure. Funding is no longer the defining problem in relation to Africa’s infrastructure development, and questions of governance need to be accorded greater recognition.


Studies demonstrate that gains are to be had through better project preparation, greater efficiencies and so on. Adequate maintenance is particularly important. These actions would help secure better infrastructure without significantly greater outlays. Achieving them would, however, require sometimes tough and politically unpopular decisions – making appropriate governance choices are therefore critical. Managing infrastructure construction and maintenance across borders is central to Africa’s infrastructure needs. With so many countries landlocked, cross-border links are imperative for their economic fortunes. This is a complex issue, and resolving it demands that governments and regional institutions cooperate with one another, imposing another set of governance choices. The paper concludes by noting the need to shift debate around Africa’s infrastructure to the governance obstacles it needs to confront. It suggests that governance action could be taken in seven areas to help achieve this: finance; policy, planning and project preparation; efficiency; the regulatory environment; private sector involvement; engagement of Africa’s people; and a focus on regional integration.

Assessing food value chain pathways, linkages and impacts for better nutrition of vulnerable groups

20 Apr 2017 09:58:21 GMT

In addition to targeting health and other areas related to undernutrition, a key priority is also the transformation of the agriculture and food sector. While patterns of crop and livestock production are widely expected to affect nutrition and the health of vulnerable groups, the evidence base for a positive impact, albeit growing, is still limited and sometimes inconclusive.

This article offers insights into assessing the effectiveness of post farm-gate agri-food value chains at improving the nutrition intake of vulnerable groups. It develops a conceptual framework integrating the value chain concepts with agriculture and nutrition, and identifies key outcomes and requirements for value chains to be successful at delivering substantive and sustained consumption of nutrient-dense foods by poor households. Other frameworks linking value chains with nutrition have been published, but this article provides the analytical lens to assess post-farm-gate value chains.

To achieve improvements in the intake of nutritious foods by the target populations food must be: safe to eat on a sustained basis; nutrient dense at the point of consumption; and consumed in adequate amounts on a sustained basis. This shifts the focus to the role of public actions and policy in terms of shaping the functioning of food value chains.

By assessing the limits of what business can and cannot contribute in a given market context, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders will be more capable of creating an appropriate institutional environment that shapes how value chains operate for the benefit of vulnerable target groups, designing and implementing effective policies and strategies with respect to the role and use of market-based interventions.


Gendered practices of remittances in Bangladesh: a poststructuralist perspective

04 Apr 2017 12:30:46 GMT

Bangladesh belongs to the top-ten remittance-receiving countries of the world with a yearly earning of US$15 billion. Comprising around ninety percent of the Bangladeshi overseas labour flow, men leave behind their spouses and children due to the high cost of migration and laws within the destination country. Compared to their men, few women migrate independently, since female migration involves unsettling the patriarchal gender order which sees men as main providers and women as carers of the household and also considers women to be insecure and unprotected abroad. In both the cases of male and female migration, however, stay put men and women come to have an important function in remittance management, but not necessarily in the same way. It is in this context that this working paper explores the relationships between remittances and men and women’s diverse, complex and, in some ways, conflicting identities in Bangladeshi households that depend on overseas earnings.

Building on the post-structuralist theorisation of gender as 'doing' or 'performativity', this paper analyses remittances' influence on the type of work, ideas and norms deemed suitable by males and females within migrant households and the organisation of gendered responsibilities within families. In doing so, the paper undertakes a systematic study of men and women's different roles, responsibility and access to and control over resources recognising the complex nature of intra-household relations. The underlying assumption is that gender is a fluid category which is to be examined beyond the status and power of the sexes.

The paper examines several situations to understand the role of remittance practices in shaping of fragmented, discontinuous and multiple gender roles and subjectivities. These are: a) men's remitting in a nuclear household, b) women's remitting in a nuclear household, c) the remittance practices of unmarried men and women from joint families and, d) the uses of remittances across different types of households.

The study reveals that when men migrate as the main provider of the family, the migrant and his wife become the long-distance provider and de-factor manager respectively. In contrast, female remitters, despite being the main earner, cannot perform as a complete provider, as their husbands retain control over their remittances and also because of the complexities arises as men fail to perform their expected roles. Again, the gender role and position of unmarried female remitters - whose primary allegiance lies with the natal home - are mainly shaped by their economic contribution to the household coffers, whereas unmarried male remitters’ subjectivity is influenced by the patriarchal norms of generational hierarchy. Investment and the use of remittances for girls' marriage and boys' employment at home and abroad have specific gendered implications, as shown in the paper, since it helps to maintain and reproduce the dominant gender ideologies of men as providers and women as carers of their household.

South Africa’s local content policies: challenges and lessons to consider

04 Apr 2017 11:03:59 GMT

South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) identifies local content as a strategic industrial policy instrument to leverage the power of public procurement; reduce the country’s trade deficit; address market failures; foster infant industries; and increase the
government’s tax base (the dti, 2016). Although local content is a commonly used industrial policy lever, there is no formally agreed definition of what local or content means, and this makes implementing the policy difficult.

The main problem with local content policies in South Africa is they are not leading to the desired level of procurement from local manufacturers. This problem persists for several reasons. Local producers often fail to compete against foreign suppliers on both quality and price, unless they are given more time to increase, improve and modify their capacity and capabilities to suit specifications. However, procurement regulations allow no space for negotiations between procurers and suppliers, leading to non-compliance by many local suppliers or total exclusion from the process. Moreover, transaction costs of locally manufactured goods are usually higher than foreign-sourced goods. The relevant systems required to measure and monitor imports and compliance on local content and procurement are inadequate, compounding the difficulty of monitoring and evaluating the policy.

Key findings from the research suggest no overarching cost and quality data on local content exists. Therefore, programmes should be established to provide suppliers with timely information on specifications, price, and quality, so that local producers can comply, and have sufficient forewarning and upgrading support. Systems to monitor imports and compliance need to be put in place, including providing a clear regulatory and legislative framework that provides a simple and concise definition of local content.

This policy brief assesses the key challenges and lessons that determine the success and failure of local content policies in South Africa. In particular, it analyses the economic rationale for using local content policies. Furthermore, the brief highlights the reasons
local content policies are not effecting the desired level of local procurement and why the problem persists, and suggests possible solutions.

Wanted: good governance - protection of minorities and human rights in Northern Iraq

04 Apr 2017 03:44:46 GMT

Dealing with the aftermath of the current situation in northern Iraq requires a a mid-and a long-term strategy. Both have to recognize limitations that are due to the cyclical re-occurence of conflict and that mirror specific historical and socio-political circumstances. The success of mid-term strategies to tackle the stream of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will depend in large part on the convincing development of long-term positive scenarios for the future of Iraq, introducing noticeable political and socio-economic change.

In the mid-term, promoting good governance practices, the protection of human rights, integration of refugees and ethnoreligious minorities with aid projects that benefit both the displaced and host communities ought to be rewarded. In the long-term, a sustainable conflict resolution as well as a solution for the withdrawal of international actors must be found even if the current political realities and military strategies in the country impede this and increase the need for external aid.


  • create inclusive economic incentives - camps can only be a strictly short-term solution. In the mid-term, cash-for-rent schemes under the roof of an international organisation such as the United Nations are necessary. Add rent subsidies from the beginning and combine vocational training, higher education and cash-for-work schemes in parallel to create inclusive economic incentives in the long run
  • promote small- and medium-sized enterprises with a conflict-sensitiveapproach - connect profound conflict and market analyses to (re-)build sustainable livelihood activities and markets. Rather than returning to an inefficient economic system, small- and medium-sized enterprises ought to be promoted
  • apply a needs-based community approach that addresses IDPs, refugees and hosts alike - foster local integration and reintegration policies of regional governments by creating the necessary additional infrastructure (housing/education/health) in destination communities as a compensation for the solidarity of hosting populations rather than increasing social tensions by targeting specific groups—such as vulnerable persons
  • link the protection of human rights with the delivery of assistance - reward minority/human rights guarantees, (re-) integration projects and good government practice by making them a prerequisite for assistance
  • foster reconciliation activities between host communities and the displaced - frame all activities with inter-community trust-building activities intended to foster reconciliation.Infrastructure projects should create spaces that connect hosts and displaced persons while respecting traditional structures of ethno-religious co-existence amongst different communities
  • make psychosocial support mandatory - Traumata are prevalent and have to be addressed in all projects by providing respective psychosocial support.

Family support for older persons in Thailand: challenges and opportunities

04 Apr 2017 02:29:46 GMT

Population ageing and the wellbeing of older persons are major emerging challenges for families, communities, and government in Thailand as in much of Asia. Traditionally, support and care for the elderly are met within the family. Adult children are important providers of material support as well as other forms of assistance to their older-age parents. The state and communities typically provide limited care services for the older population. Currently, Thailand is facing demographic and socioeconomic changes that pose significant challenges for the roles that family members, especially adult children, play in providing support for the elderly.

The Thai government has been giving very serious attention to population ageing issues. This was clearly indicated by the adoption of the Second National Plan for Older Persons covering 2002-2021, the prominence of aging issues in the 2012-16 National Economic and Social Development Plan, and a 2015 establishment of the Department of Older Persons with expanded authority to carry out programs to support elderly Thais. Importantly, the Old Age Allowance program was expanded in 2009 into a universal social pension for persons aged 60 and older who lacked other pension coverage. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in public awareness regarding population ageing in the last decade. Furthermore, efforts to strengthen community support for older persons have also
arisen in various parts of the country.
The key objective of this position paper is to empirically examine how family cares for older persons in various aspects (such as material and social support as well as personal care) and what challenges and opportunities are facing the family.

The position paper is organised into the following sections: 1) demographics of ageing; 2) availability of children and old-age living arrangements; 3) material support for older persons; 4) social support; 5) personal care support; 6) older persons’ contributions and; 7) discussion and conclusion; 8) policy recommendations.

Legal status and deprivation in India’s urban slums: an analysis of two decades of National Sample Survey Data

04 Apr 2017 02:07:42 GMT

In India, 52–98 million people live in urban slums, and 59% of slums are “non-notified” or lack legal recognition by the government. In this paper, the authors use data on 2,901 slums from four waves of the National Sample Survey (NSS) spanning almost 20 years to test the hypothesis that non-notified status is associated with greater deprivation in access to basic services, thereby increasing vulnerability to poor health outcomes.

To quantify deprivation for each slum, tha paper constructs a basic services deprivation score (BSDS), which includes variables that affect health, such as access to piped water, latrines, solid waste disposal, schools, and health centers.

In a regression analysis, the authors find a robust association between non-notified status and greater deprivation after controlling for other variables. Analysis reveals a progressive reduction in deprivation the longer a slum has been notified. In addition, data from the 2012 NSS show that, despite suffering from greater deprivation, non-notified slums were much less likely to receive financial aid from government slum improvement schemes.

Findings suggest that legally recognizing non-notified slums and targeting government aid to these settlements may be crucial for improving health outcomes and diminishing urban disparities.

Interrogating Decentralisation in Africa

31 Mar 2017 12:10:22 GMT

This issue of the Open Access IDS Bulletin examines the impact of decentralisation at the local level through detailed case studies of five countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The issue deals with all three of the main aims for decentralisation reforms in Africa: improved service delivery, democracy and participation, and a reduction in central government expenditure. It analyses micro, comparative stories by accumulating evidence on how decentralisation works differently within each featured country, and the factors that are responsible for differential outcomes.

Contributors are mostly African scholars who live under the region’s decentralised systems and study them with a proximate lens often denied to visiting scholars. Their research questions, on their countries’ respective policy agendas, are joined by the common belief that more innovative methods should be applied to these questions in order to get at better explanations.

While decentralisation is an important issue, systematic analyses of its outcomes are limited. This IDS Bulletin represents first efforts to use more innovative and incisive methods to understand decentralisation and its impact.

Public value perspective for gender budgeting: evidence from Egypt

31 Mar 2017 04:32:16 GMT

Budgeting for the provision of public service for women has gained a lot of interest all over the world. Developing countries have been part of this global trend. Studies on growth found that gender inequality deprives developing countries from boosting growth. However, in many cases services for women failed to meet expectations.
Inadequacy of budget resources comes at the top to justify this failure. However, weakness in budgetary and political institutions may add other dimensions. Weakness of planning and implementing the budget, and reporting its results is a critical factor for failure in delivering public values that satisfy the society’s developmental aspiration. Additionally, the weakness of political institutions to reconcile conflicting individual values and voice up the collective citizens’ preferences may also be another source of failure to produce gender services as it should be. Moreover, failu re to deliver may signal to the political inability to utilise public assets in the proper mix, timing, and networking. Whatsoever the combination of weak institutions, it alerts to a failure of operationalisation of public values  to produce public services beyond the issue of adequacy of public resources.

This article aims to discuss gender budgeting, beyond the adequacy challenge, through a conceptual framework that recognises weakness of budgetary and political institutions. We argue that while gender values may be strongly placed in the ethics of the society, nevertheless they often lack an informed governance framework to position them properly in the utilitarian set of objectives of the budgetary system. Gender issues are perceived from the perspective of the rights approach to budgeting; however, they are not situated in the growth and sustainability framework of the budget.

South–South peacebuilding: lessons and insights from Turkey and South Africa’s support to fragile states

31 Mar 2017 04:14:43 GMT

Emerging actors, such as providers of South–South cooperation (SSC), are increasingly playing a role in peacebuilding, particularly in fragile states and conflict-affected areas. While there is much discussion on the role of emerging donors in sustainable development, there is little empirical evidence on their contribution to peacebuilding and state building. Joint research by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) analysed the features of South African and Turkish assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia respectively, to unpack what sets these emerging economies apart from Western powers operating in similar environments.

This paper compares the peacebuilding approaches of South Africa and Turkey and attempts to assess their effectiveness in relation to the approaches of traditional donors. Evidence from the two case studies shows that, while operating under different paradigms, principles and drivers, Southern providers not only bring substantive support to fragile states but also get different types of results and responses from host countries. While it is still difficult to discern a clear ‘Southern peacebuilding model’, emerging economies play an important role in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and accountable institutions, in their region and internationally.

Economic integration and development partnerships: Southern perspectives

28 Mar 2017 12:16:17 GMT

As part of its work programme on capacity-building among developing countries on global and regional economic issues RIS has been conducting its flaghship Capacity-Building Programme on International Economic Issues and Development Policy (IEIDP) under the ITEC/SCAAP programme of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The programme is aimed to inculcate in participants enhanced understanding on challenges and opportunities associated with the processes of globalization and development. It is also designed to expose the participants to the growing complexities of global economic issues and negotiations and to build their analytical skills to deal with them. In this year’s programme, conducted from 13 February-10 March 2017, 33 participants from 25 countries took part.
The participants enthusiastically engaged in technical sessions and group discussions. They identified critical areas to deliberate upon and eventually come up with status papers highlighting regional and global contexts and country experiences.
Based on individual areas of expertise and inclination, they formed five thematic groups. This report comprises of contributions from each group:
  • Drivers and Experience of Regional Integration in Asia and Africa
  • South-South Cooperation: Select Country Experiences
  • Financing for Development: Developing Countries’ Perspectives
  • Economic Growth of Developing Countries in the Globalization Context:  Lessons from some Developing Countries
  • SDGs in Post-Truth: Do SDGs Matter for Developing Countries?

Balancing coal mining and conservation in South-West Ethiopia

28 Mar 2017 11:09:37 GMT

Ethiopia is confronted by the challenges of a growing population and a diminishing natural resources base. The country’s economic growth has relied heavily on agriculture, but progress in this sector has been hampered by the lack of access to agricultural inputs like fertiliser. Ethiopia has devised a range of development strategies for meeting agricultural and energy needs through the extraction of coal resources.

Exploiting the considerable coal deposits found in Ethiopia’s south-western Afromontane forests would produce coal phosphate fertiliser and electricity in the coming decades. However, the forests are sites of exceptional biodiversity. With these conflicting interests in an area of high biodiversity, Ethiopia now faces pressure from competing uses of forestland, forcing the government to identify ecologically and economically feasible approaches to reconcile biodiversity conservation and coal extraction.

Civil society’s role in shaping Zimbabwe’s diamond governance

28 Mar 2017 11:00:01 GMT

Zimbabwe confirmed that alluvial diamonds had been discovered in the Marange area in Mutare District in 2006. However, as in many otherAfrican countries, the promise diamond mining holds for economic growth has been eroded by a lack of transparency and accountability. The country’s diamond sector has been bedevilled by smuggling, opaque licensing, human rights abuses, self-enrichment by executives and public officials, and extremely limited accrual of diamond revenues to the fiscus, among others. Civil society monitoring and lobbying at local, national and international levels has played a critical role in improving the governance of Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.
This briefing highlights the actions civil society has taken to promote transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector. It concludes that civil society has contributed significantly towards better diamond sector governance in Zimbabwe in the last 10 years. It has also helped to broaden the view of what constitute conflict diamonds among international bodies such as the Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).

Patterns and drivers of internal migration among youth in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam

28 Mar 2017 10:25:53 GMT

There is general consensus in literature on migration that migrants are primarily young people. During the transition to adulthood, young people make important choices regarding education, labour force participation, and family formation.

Using a unique panel dataset on youth born in 1994-95 in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam, this working paper investigates how life-course transitions to adulthood relate to patterns and predictors of internal migration in low- and middle-income countries. It documents patterns on prevalence, frequency, timing, reasons and streams of migration, employment at destination, subjective well-being, and migration aspirations.

The paper then describes the factors associated with young men and women’s decision to migrate, and the reasons for migrating. The results suggest that there is a significant share of migrants between 15 and 19 years old across all four countries, and they are very likely to move more than once. In all countries, migrants are more likely to move after the school-age years, between ages 17 and 18.
These patterns on frequency and timing of moves provide new evidence that young individuals migrate very often even before having finished school, which is key to understanding educational performance. The patterns on the reasons for moving provide evidence that young people move for a variety of reasons that go beyond the economic-related: family formation and family reunion are also important motives for migrating, especially in the studied age range. The migration streams presented show that these youth do not necessarily follow rural-urban migration as it is generalised in literature, and they shed light on the dynamics of the less studied rural-rural migration. The results suggest that at this age, migration is a household strategy: although migrants do not necessarily contribute remittances to their previous household, they are often receiving them from their caregiver.

Choices made during the transition to adulthood shape young people’s migration patterns, and migrants are therefore a very heterogeneous group as there are systematic differences in their characteristics depending on their reasons for moving. This is important because understanding this puts us in a better position to propose more effective policies that target young migrants’ well-being in developing countries.

Indigenous participation in resource development: a paradigm shift

28 Mar 2017 03:47:42 GMT

Indigenous Peoples as a demographic are amongst the poorest and most marginalized on the planet. Many have been displaced and exist in territories where extreme conditions make sustainable economic development challenging, with infrastructure, water and energy costlyand unstable. Often, traditional ways of life are no longer able to get them out of the poverty which they face. Government programs to a large degree have proven ineffective and can serve to perpetuate the inequality and marginalization that persists. As a result, many communities have looked elsewhere for solutions. While the old paradigm in resource development at best did little to close the gap in territorial inequality of these marginalized communities, new tools are emerging that are developed through community participation, rooted in collaboration and empowerment. Resource development today more than ever before presents opportunities for both sides to enrich each other’s lives and that of the global collective.
Resource development exists in some of the most remote parts of the globe, often alongside Indigenous Peoples. It brings with it billions of dollars in investment, jobs, business opportunities, programs and attention to often times forgot regions of the world. While successful examples of resource development bridging the inequality gap have historically been few and far between, instead fostering a slew of socialand environmental problems and perpetuating inequality, we are seeing more and more success stories. Resource development, if done right, can transform societies even the poorest economies.
This paper will suggest that through Indigenous participation in resource development, a new model based on true collaboration is born which can be a powerful solution to territorial inequality. This paper will look at new opportunities and models in resource development that can serve to empower communities and reduce inequality through best practice examples and case studies from the Canadian context and the potentials that exist elsewhere, particularly in Latin America. It will highlight factors that have been seen to exacerbate the problematique such as land rights, resettlement and the environment. Lastly, it will look at regions which have proactively developed and implemented regional development strategies around mining such as Northwest Territories (NWT), in areas of historically marginalized Indigenous groups, using mining to transform territorial inequality into a competitive edge.

Older people in situations of migration In Africa: the untold migration story

28 Mar 2017 03:18:51 GMT

Older people in Africa are involved in all aspects of the migration chain: they are voluntary or forced migrants themselves, they shape the migration experience of others by funding youth migration and being involved in the decision-making process, they also benefit from remittances. Yet, they remain invisible in migration policy, as well as aid and development planning.

This briefing tells the untold story of older people in the migration ecosystem in Africa. It highlights the importance of including older people in migration policies and practice – whether they are left behind, on the move, or returning to their country of origin. It identifies the key challenges facing this generation, explores policy options and calls for more thorough research to improve understanding of the capabilities and needs of older people in situations of migration in Africa.

Ageing and the city: making urban spaces work for older people

28 Mar 2017 02:51:20 GMT

Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities, with this proportion set to rise to two-thirds by 2050. The global population is also ageing rapidly, with the numbers of people aged over 60 set to pass the 1 billion mark over the next decade. A significant and growing number of the world’s urban residents are older people – more than 500 million. These two trends – urbanisation and population ageing – are occurring most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries.Research shows that for older people, cities present physical, social and economic barriers that prevent them realising their right to live in dignity and safety, or enjoying their surroundings. Groundbreaking initiatives to make cities more appropriate for older persons, such as the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly Cities and Communities model, have led to improvements in a number of cities. Physical accessibility is absolutely essential, but thinking beyond this, what makes shared urban spaces and streets truly inclusive and liveable? What is the relationship between our health in older age and the physical, social and economic urban environment? What makes older people living in cities feel vulnerable to crime or disaster, and how does this affect their daily lives or the assistance they receive in times of crisis? These are some of the questions explored by this report. Focusing on low- and middle-income countries, this report aims to stimulate discussion about some of the actions that governments and city authorities can take to build truly inclusive cities. It draws on the programme experience of the HelpAge International network across a range of settings, including in Kiev (Ukraine), Beirut (Lebanon), Bogotà (Colombia) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).The research process involved a literature review, engagement with a range of experts and a series of focus group discussions with older women and men in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mexico City (Mexico), Sukkur and Peshawar (Pakistan). Recommendations: The report concludes that a broad range of interrelated interventions can do much to improve urban environments for older people. HelpAge International calls on governments and city authorities to:create inclusive and enjoyable shared urban spaces that encourage social activity and provide easier access to services and opportunities for all by reducing car use and traffic speeds, promoting walking and cycling, developing dense, mixed-use communities, and supporting those engaged in street-based livelihood activities. This also includes providing green and public spaces that encourage physical activity and social interaction, and increasing public transport provision that is adequate, accessible, safe and accountablepromote healthy ageing and tackle the key risk factors linked with urban living by tackling the high rates of non-communicable diseases in cities through awareness raising and encouraging physical activity and healthy eating, reducing air pollution from all sources, and creating communities that support people with dementiahelp older urban residents feel safe and secure living in a city by involving older people in disaster preparedness planning, promoting better coordination between humanitarian actors and city authorities to ensure the specific needs of older people are met in times of emergency, and recognising the specific challenges facing displaced older people. Also, cities should consider crime, personal safety and security in planning and policy decisions, particularly in streets and shared spaces and on public transport[...]

The governance of basic education in the Eastern Cape

28 Mar 2017 02:11:04 GMT

The Eastern Cape province experienced extensive governmental re-organisation following South Africa’s 1994 democratic transition. This entailed significant structural consolidation in the provincial government, and the integration of a disparate set of political and administrative actors under the stewardship of the African National Congress (ANC).

This process has had a profound effect on the province’s capacity to shape and implement policy, especially in institutionally  fragmented sectors such as basic education. Employing the political settlements framework to characterise the province’s governance transformation, we describe how historical patterns of clientelism were transplanted into a post-apartheid political and administrative settlement, resulting in considerable intra-party cleavages amongst the political elite and impeding the growth of a rule-compliant, insulated and performance-driven bureaucracy. This has been particularly acute in the education sector, which has seen chronic leadership instability, politicisation and financial mismanagement, and which has compromised the cohesion and integrity of provincial school oversight and policy management.

Competitive clientelism and the politics of core public sector reform in Ghana

28 Mar 2017 02:05:08 GMT

lthough Ghana has implemented several donor -sponsored public sector reforms (PSRs) in an attempt to improve core areas of state functionality, the impact of such reforms remains generally disappointing. In this paper, we show that the nature of the political settlement in Ghana, described as one of ‘competitive clientelism’, is central to understanding the country’s limited success in improving the effectiveness of public institutions.

Faced with a credible threat of losing power to excluded factions in competitive elections, reform initiatives tend to be driven largely by the logic of the maintenance of ruling governments , rather than by their potential to enhance the effectiveness of state institutions. This has often resulted in decisions that undermine reform efforts, ranging from needless and costly institutional duplications to the politicisation of the bureaucracy through patronage-based appointments, and the wholesale removal of public servants perceived to be associated with previous regimes. In this political environment, policy discontinuities across ruling coalitions are a norm, undermining the impact of reform initiatives that require a longer-time horizon to bear fruit.

The Bangladesh paradox: why has politics performed so well for development in Bangladesh?

28 Mar 2017 01:57:13 GMT

Bangladesh is widely seen as a ‘paradox’ in terms of governance and development because of the apparent imperfections of its political institutions and its leading players. It scores low/very low on many indicators of the quality of governance. It is close to the top of the global league table for corruption. But, over the last quarter of a century, it has maintained economic growth around a steady 5 to 6% per annum, has out-performed India on most social indicators and has brought down its fertility rate from more than 6 to around 2.2 births per woman. It has made great progress with the Millennium Development Goals, especially with poverty reduction but also in fields seen as especially difficult for a Muslim majority country - maternal mortality has dropped dramatically and girls match/outnumber boys at primary school level. Its government disaster management programs have
reduced deaths from super-cyclones by more than 99% (they used to drown up to 500,000 people in the 1970s but now mortality levels are well below 5000). Bangladesh is a ‘success’.
This briefing paper examines why and how political processes in Bangladesh have performed so well when the main theories of governance and development would predict economic and social stagnation.
Policy implications:
  • both a strong ideological preference for market-led growth amongst political elites together with a politically strong business community are needed to support a persistent ordered deals environment. The persistence of ordered deals creates enabling conditions for growth
  • it helps to conduct a political analysis at the outset of the key people who will oppose a development agenda and identify how to align policy agendas to minimise opposition
  • development in areas such as education and women’s empowerment is supported when there is an alignment with dominant ideas and incentives that shape the ruling coalition
  • when development agendas don’t align with the dominant ideas and interests of the ruling coalition, local level collaborative coalitions are needed, to run counter to national level policy and come up with problem-solving fixes
  • incentives within the political settlement should be identified to improve the status of the teaching profession, encourage teachers to perform better and hold teachers accountable

How transparent are think tanks about who funds them 2016?

24 Mar 2017 12:41:10 GMT

Through a survey of 200 think tanks in 47 countries worldwide, Transparify rates the extent to which think tanks publicly disclose through their websites where their funding comes from. The authors visited think tanks’ websites and looked at the funding and donor information disclosed online, including in online annual reports.

Rating and ranking institutions: a ten-step guide for think tanks and advocacy groups

24 Mar 2017 12:34:44 GMT

Ratings and rankings have become a staple output of advocacy groups and think tanks worldwide. This document offers a quick ten-step guide on how to write and achieve maximum impact with ranking reports.

Comparison of the effects of government and private preschool education on the developmental outcomes of children: evidence from Young Lives India

24 Mar 2017 11:44:54 GMT

Over the past two decades the importance given to preschool education as laying the foundation for lifelong learning and development has been increasingly recognised. India’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2012–17) has conceptualised the pre-primary and early primary sub-stages from 4 to 8 years old as an ‘integrated early learning unit’, to ensure a sound
foundation for every child.

With the expansion of private preschools, particularly in urban areas, even the poorest families are opting for low-fee private schools rather than free government services offered through the anganwadis (preschool centres). While evidence from developed countries exists that preschooling can have long-term beneficial effects on children, longitudinal evidence in India regarding the association of preschool education with later developmental outcomes is scarce.

In light of this, this working paper draws upon Young Lives panel data to explore whether children who attended private preschools demonstrate higher cognitive skills and enhanced subjective well-being at the age of 12, compared to those who attended government preschools.
Using linear and logistic regression models, as well as propensity score matching techniques, the analysis revealed that
children who attended private preschools have significantly higher mathematics scores and more positive subjective well-being than children who attended government preschools. However, there is no significant association of private preschools with higher PPVT scores. Another important finding is that entering preschool after the age of 4, is shown to have a significant negative association with both cognitive achievement, as demonstrated by mathematics and PPVT scores, and affective domain, as measured by subjective well-being at the age of 12. The propensity score matching reveals that children who had private preschool education scored nearly 10 times and 13 per cent higher in mathematics scores and subjective well-being respectively at the age of 12 than children whose preschool education was provided by the Government.
Given that the recently enacted National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Education recognises early childhood education as the foundation for all future learning and as a sorely neglected area, it is clear that policymakers must prioritise early childhood education, and quality within preschools be closely monitor ed, to ensure that the most disadvantaged children have access to high-quality preschool education programmes.

Perceptions and experiences of children associated with armed groups in northeast Nigeria

24 Mar 2017 11:21:17 GMT

The recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups is prohibited by international and regional legal instruments, to which Nigeria is a party. Recruitment and use of children in conflict is considered to be one of the six grave violations of children's rights under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005). Where there is evidence of parties to a conflict committing violations, they will be 'listed' in the annual report of the Secretary General to the Security Council. This listing triggers a monitoring and reporting mechanism, administered by the United Nations in a country, which submits quarterly and annual reports documenting violations and the steps taken to prevent and respond to the violations.

Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (JAS), more commonly known as Boko Haram was listed for recruitment and use of children in June 2015² and for abduction of children (one of the other six grave violations) in April 2016, having been first listed in 2014 for killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals. The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was listed for recruitment and use in April 2016.

The study examines the pathways and drivers for recruitment of children into these groups, the pathways for exiting the armed groups, and the challenges and opportunities for reintegration including the role of family and community perception and potential for stigmatisation.

The findings of the study will inform the development of policies, strategies and programmes that can effectively support the reintegration of children who have been associated with armed groups.

Climate data and projections: supporting evidence-based decision-making in the Caribbean

24 Mar 2017 01:45:23 GMT

Governments in the Caribbean recognise climate variability and change to be the most significant threat to sustainable development in the region. Policies and strategies, such as the regional framework for achieving development resilient to climate change and its implementation plan, acknowledge the scale of the threat and provide a plan that aspires to safeguard regional prosperity and meet development goals. To do this, decision-makers need effective tools and methods to help integrate climate change considerations into their planning and investment processes. To build resilience, decision-makers can benefit from access to appropriate climate change data that are specific to their geographical location and relevant to their planning horizons.
The CARibbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) project, funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), gives access to climate data that have been downscaled, making them relevant for use in the Caribbean region. The project also provides tools that allow decision-makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, rainfall and temperature changes. Caribbean decision-makers, researchers andscientists can access this data freely, through the CARIWIG website.
This policy brief provides an overview of CARIWIG data and information and how they can be used, pointing to illustrative examples of how they have been applied in several Caribbean countries. It also provides decision-makers with the tools necessary to make effective climate decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Key messages:
  • Climate data and projections that are relevant to the Caribbean region are available through the online CARIWIG portal
  • Historical climate data and future projections are available for a range of climate variables
  • A suite of simulation tools, including a weather generator, a tropical storm model and a regional drought analysis tool are also freely available
  • these resources are useful for decision makers. When combined with other data and information, they can help to build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the Caribbean
  • a series of case studies shows how these resources have been applied to real-world situations in Caribbean countries
  • the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is providing training and support on how to use CARIWIG outputs
  • CDKN-funded projects provide methods and tools for decision makers to take proactive action to build climate resilience, despite the uncertainty that comes with future climate projections

The BRICS in an age of multipolarity: sustaining strategic partnerships under difficult economic conditions

23 Mar 2017 11:42:27 GMT

Culminating in the formation of the New Development Bank (NDB), which was inaugurated at the Ufa Summit in 2015, the influence of the BRICS countries has now clearly gone beyond the economic arena, with the grouping evolving into a vital multilateral cooperation mechanism including Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America,with the potential to bring new vitality and momentum for global growth.
This special edition of Global Dialogue contains contributions from scholars in the BRICS countries and beyond. Authors were encouraged to explore areas in their respective fields of expertise that would contribute to our understanding of the evolving nature of cooperation within and amongst the BRICS countries.
  • The BRICS in an age of multipolarity: Sustaining strategic partnerships under difficult economic conditions - Philani Mthembu
  • Intra-BRICS financial cooperation: Opportunities and challenges - Wang Fei
  • The BRICS agenda: functional co-operation between competing logics - Pooja Jain
  • Between dependence and autonomy: Understanding the power dynamics in Brazil–China relations -Daniel Cardoso
  • BRICS 2016 and IBSA’s ‘Three Blind Mice’ -  Francis Kornegay Jr
  • New economy and participation society: A general outline of the issue, formation of approaches in the BRICS countries and their promotion in the information space - Vadim V. Balytnikov
  • Current political and legal issues of international commercial arbitration: Globalisation of economy vs glocalisation of law - Aleksey Kartsov
  • Youth participation in the BRICS Youth Summits - Sarisha Daya
  • Book Review: The End of American World Order by Amitav Acharya - Siphamandla Zondi
  • Interview with Prof. Godfrey Netswera, head of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT)

South African banks footprint in SADC mining projects: environmental, social and governance principles

23 Mar 2017 10:58:34 GMT

Environmental,  social  and  governance  (ESG)  concerns  are  an  increasingly  important  factor worldwide for banks when they invest in large projects. In the Southern African region with its rich mineral deposits, this trend has added importance. Mining companies extract minerals from the ground, and their activities routinely give rise to public concerns about the pollution of water sources, adequate land for agriculture, and fair community participation in mining projects. South African law accepts that the directors of corporations such as banks have fiduciary obligations to act in the best interests of shareholders.

Given the importance of mining activity to economies in Southern Africa an important question aligned to this fiduciary duty is this: Are banks when conducting business obliged to act in the best interests of stakeholders affected by the activities of the mining companies they fund? The trite response is that banks have recognised their obligations to communities through their commitment to SRI (socially responsible investment) practices and internal ESG processes that ensure that their funding decisions result in no harm to communities.

This paper sets out to critically consider the effectiveness of ESG principles implemented by South Africa’s banks when they fund mining projects in the SADC region. There are internal differences  in  ESG  principles  between  banks,  and  a  variety  of  funding  methods  to  which  the principles  are  applied. The study evaluates the ESG frameworks used by each bank and, given the significant market share, aggregates this information to present a picture of the effectiveness of  these  frameworks. The approach taken is a critical one, meaning that what is presented in bank annual reports and sustainability reports is not merely accepted, but (to the extent possible) internal ESG risk frameworks are interrogated for adequacy of application by banks when funding mining  projects. The effectiveness of the implementation of internal ESG  procedures  by banks is then measured against available evidence. This evidence includes the effects of mine project  funding  decisions  of  banks  on  ESG  categories  as  ascertained  from  public  information.  

After consideration of the evidence, observations and conclusions are provided on the analysis. In the closing section, recommendations are provided on areas for possible focus to improve the effectiveness of ESG principles used by banks in the SADC region.

Mineral governance barometer - Southern Africa

23 Mar 2017 10:35:35 GMT

Southern Africa is endowed with lucrative mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, copper, coal, platinum, and uranium.  This rich endowment can be a major asset in the quest for inclusive and sustainable development, yet mining in Southern Africa has often been criticised as an enclave sector that at best contributes little to economic development and at worst does substantial social and environmental harm.  To avoid such pitfalls emerging international consensus emphasises the importance of good mineral governance. This involves the adoption and implementation of regulatory frameworks that promote deeper linkages between the mining sector and the broader economy, and that protect people and the environment from the potentially harmful consequences of mineral extraction.

This pilot study provides a barometer of mineral governance in ten Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South  Africa,  Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions.  It is based on the observation that while regulations impose obligations on mining companies, in doing so they directly impose obligations on the state to monitor and enforce compliance, and they also indirectly impose obligations for citizens and civil society to hold the state and mining companies accountable.  The barometer includes indicators of mineral governance  across  four  main  issue-areas:  national  economic  and  fiscal  linkages;  community  impact; labour, and the environment, with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) treated as a special topic.  The barometer also includes indicators of state capacity and state accountability with respect to mineral governance.

Young women and work in Nigeria: how young women, including those with disabilities, can be supported to find employment and earn an income

23 Mar 2017 04:01:10 GMT

While the current Nigerian government’s commitment to youth employment is evident in the investments being made  through these youth employment and empowerment programmes, this study provides further evidence that such schemes lack a gender analysis  and responsiveness, which combined with  other issues, affect such programmes’ transparency, operational effectiveness, politicisation  and  impact.

While young women appreciate and are benefiting from some of the higher quality programmes, there is limited evidence of impact and sustainable increases in employment and income  earning. In particular, youth employment and empowerment programmes often suffer from poor design, targeting, implementation and monitoring.  

This report presents findings from a qualitative study commission by the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme  (NSRP), exploring the extent to which government youth employment and empowerment programmes are targeting, reaching and working for young women, with a particular focus on the most prominent federal level programmes including the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P); Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria Programme (YouWIN!); Youth Employment and Social Support  Operation (YESSO); Vocational Skills Development (VSD); and Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN).  

The study focuses on the experiences of young women, including those with physical disabilities, in rural and semi-urban areas in three of NSRP’s target states:  Kaduna (Middle  Belt), Kano (North-west) and Rivers States (South-South).

Do electoral handouts affect voting behavior?

23 Mar 2017 03:25:40 GMT

The literature on vote-buying often assumes a complete transaction of cash for votes. While there is ample evidence that candidates target certain voters with cash handouts, it is unclear whether these actually result in higher turnout and vote shares for the distributing party.

Empirically, using different matching techniques and accounting for district-level factors, the authors find that cash handouts have little to no effect on either turnout or vote shares during the 2011 presidential election in Benin. They cross-validate these results with additional surveys from four other African countries (Kenya, Mali, Botswana, and Uganda). Results suggest that vote-buying is better explained as an incomplete transaction between candidates and voters and that handouts from multiple parties as well as district-level traits (e.g. patronage, public goods) may account for the null effects observed.

Lessons from Rwanda: female political representation and women’s rights

16 Mar 2017 03:50:33 GMT

Gender equality is a basic human right that entails equal opportunities for men and women in all facets of life: socially, economically, developmentally and politically. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, without the active participation of women in and the incorporation of their perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
This paper sets out to examine the increased female representation in Rwanda’s Parliament to determine whether it has affected women in other spheres of life. It also provides an overview of the current status of women in African politics, as well as of the current governance situation in Rwanda.
It is clear that Rwanda has made significant efforts to elevate the status of women in its post-genocide society. However, it is also important to recognise Parliament’s limitations in an increasingly authoritarian system of governance. While women members of Parliament have passed legislation to empower women in society, a lack of information and education prevents many from taking advantage of new opportunities. Yet Rwanda is clearly on the right path towards improving its gender parity and must uphold its efforts to do so, while prioritising formal education for girls and women at all levels.

Public trust in elections: the role of media freedom and election management autonomy

16 Mar 2017 03:22:03 GMT

As multiparty elections have become a global norm, scholars and policy experts regard public trust in elections as vital for regime legitimacy. However, very few cross-national studies have examined the consequences of electoral manipulation, including the manipulation of election administration and the media, on citizens’ trust in elections.
This paper addresses this gap by exploring how autonomy of election management bodies (EMBs) and media freedom individually and conjointly shape citizens’ trust in elections. Citizens are more likely to express confidence in elections when EMBs display de facto autonomy and less likely to do so when mass media disseminate information independent of government control. Additionally, the authors suggest that EMB autonomy may not have a positive effect on public trust in elections if media freedom is low. Empirical findings based on recent survey data on public trust in elections in 47 countries and expert data on de facto EMB autonomy and media freedom support our hypotheses.

Agriculture, Food Systems, and Nutrition: Meeting the Challenge

14 Mar 2017 04:50:12 GMT

Malnutrition is a global challenge with huge social and economic costs; nearly every country faces a public health challenge, whether from undernutrition, overweight/obesity, and/or micronutrient deficiencies. Malnutrition is a multisectoral, multi-level problem that results from the complex interplay between household and individual decision-making, agri-food, health, and environmental systems that determine access to services and resources, and related policy processes.

This paper reviews the theory and recent qualitative evidence (particularly from 2010 to 2016) in the public health and nutrition literature, on the role that agriculture plays in improving nutrition, how food systems are changing rapidly due to globalization, trade liberalization, and urbanization, and the implications this has for nutrition globally.

The paper ends by summarizing recommendations that emerge from this research related to (i) knowledge, evidence, and communications, (ii) politics, governance, and policy, and (iii) capacity, leadership, and financing.

A practical agenda to reducing technical barriers to trade in SADC

14 Mar 2017 02:19:31 GMT

Technical regulations refer to product and process specifications, whether voluntary (standards) or legally required (compulsory specifications).

This policy brief provides context for technical regulation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It then offers some cross-cutting solutions for developing monitoring mechanisms that can allow policymakers to identify problem areas, and some specific interventions for the Standards, Accreditation and Metrology functions that can build capacity at low cost. It provides some recommendations for a practical agenda on reducing Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) in the SADC – ones that can be executed with minimal cost, and that improve the institutional capacity of regional organisations to grapple with the complexity inherent to the field. Above all, these regulations will need to be carefully attuned to assure that they provide the maximum protection for the region from dangerous substandard imports, while still allowing for a dynamic, mutually beneficial trading relationship.

Technical regulation cannot create jobs, but it is a vital underpinning for the type of policies that drive regional integration and create industrial jobs. As it stands, Southern Africa’s technical regulation is developing too fast, with too few controls to ensure that it is directed towards developmental purposes. Capacity expansion that simply results in ever more standards being churned out increases complexity,
but not quality. Practical interventions that create supporting mechanisms – such as monitoring systems, or assistance for firms seeking accreditation – are essential to creating a development-focused regional technical infrastructure.

Electricity supply in South Africa: Path dependency or decarbonisation?

14 Mar 2017 02:06:58 GMT

Renewable energy technologies have experienced an exponential growth in South Africa, thanks to the procurement of large-scale power plants. However, South Africa’s electricity sector still lacks a level playing field. Significant vested interests have maintained overwhelming support for centralised, coal-based electricity generation, preventing the development of renewable energy technologies to their optimal potential. Active efforts are required to enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country by truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, opening the policy space for the development of embedded generation, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

The electricity sector in South Africa is a highly contested space. The emergence of renewable energy technologies (along with energy efficiency and other demand-side management opportunities) has generated healthy revitalisation and disturbance of the status quo in the industry. Discussions around other technologies, such as gas-to-power and nuclear energy, are also adding to this vibrant dynamics. Significant vested interests are still at play alongside massive state support to maintain the domination of the coal industry over the electricity supply industry in South Africa.

Active efforts are required to provide a level playing field for all energy technologies and enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country. This includes truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, open the policy space for the development of embedded generation and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Making tax work for women’s rights

03 Mar 2017 12:55:27 GMT

Tax and women’s rights are entwined. How tax is spent and raised matters more for women than men. And there is lots of potential for tax to bring about positive change in women’s lives – at the moment, developing countries give away massive unnecessary corporate tax breaks while services that women need struggle for funding, while at the same time tax could be raised more progressively.

Shifting power: learning from women’s experiences and approaches to reducing inequality

03 Mar 2017 12:51:56 GMT

Shifting Power is based on focus group discussions and interviews in communities in seven developing and emerging economy countries where ActionAid is active: Brazil, Haiti, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Groups of women were asked how they experience inequality and, most importantly, how they are addressing inequality. The report finds that across the countries, when women take collective action on the many challenges facing them, they feel better equipped to address inequalities within their families and communities. This process is often accelerated for women whose first meetings are around income generating activities, while women who are economically autonomous tend to be more involved in organising.

Digital financial solutions to advance women’s economic participation: How governments, private sector and development organizations can bring more women into the global economy through digital financial services

03 Mar 2017 12:48:07 GMT

This report outlines the role of digital financial services in improving women’s economic participation, the challenges of increasing women’s access to digital financial services, and the opportunities governments and other sectors have to foster an inclusive global economy in which digital financial services are widely available to everyone, especially women.

Resilient markets: strengthening women’s economic empowerment and market systems in fragile settings

03 Mar 2017 12:44:36 GMT

Women’s economic empowerment in fragile contexts is vital to building the coping strategy of individuals, markets and other market actors to manage crisis and risk. However, to best support women to survive and thrive through crisis, interventions have to target the whole market system, and the roles and relationships within each contextual market system, before and during crises, in order to smooth the transition to longer-term recovery.

How inclusive is inclusive business for women? Examples from Asia and Latin America

03 Mar 2017 12:08:25 GMT

This report takes stock of 104 inclusive business investments active in 2015 supported by th Asian Development Bank (ADB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corperation (IFC), and examines 13 of these companies, in depth, on how they contribute to women’s economic empowerment. It shows that there are only a few inclusive business models that explicitly promote gender empowerment. And while there are many social enterprise initiatives and corporate social responsibility activities promoting gender-related issues, these projects remain small in scale and impact. The report also highlights that addressing gender-based constraints yields business benefits, and effective outcomes demand concerted action.

Women’s economic empowerment: navigating enablers and constraints

03 Mar 2017 11:59:54 GMT

Ten factors that can enable or constrain women’s economic empowerment are identified. In addressing these factors, the development of broad-based coalitions for change at all levels is essential, while scaling up financial resources across relevant sectors is also significant. Only two per cent of official development assistance to the economic and productive sectors was principally focused on gender equality in 2013-2014 (OECD 2016). Achieving women’s economic empowerment also involves challenging established norms, structures, and sites of power, while investments in monitoring how women’s lives are changing is essential for identifying progress.

Infrastructure: a game-changer for women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:54:28 GMT

Improved infrastructure can help women reduce the time women spend on domestic tasks, while enhancing their physical mobility. In addition, the construction of new transport, ICT and energy facilities yields new opportunities for labour market participation. With improved productivity and access to customers and suppliers for existing enterprises, investments in infrastructure can increase and stabilise workers’ earnings, while also reducing exposure to risks.

Financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:18:33 GMT

The briefing notes that women are less likely than men to access and use formal financial services, while their financial inclusion is weakened by poverty, discriminatory laws, and technology gaps.

Leave no one behind: A call to action for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment

03 Mar 2017 11:02:24 GMT

Expanding women’s economic opportunities is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pace of improvement in expanding women’s economic empowerment and closing gender gaps has been far too slow, while gender inequalities in other critical areas including political representation and protection against violence, are persistent and pervasive. Four overarching systemic constraints to the economic empowerment of women are identified: adverse social norms; discriminatory laws and lack of legal protection; the failure to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid household work and care; and a lack of access to financial, digital and property assets.

Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work: Report of the Secretary-General

03 Mar 2017 10:34:08 GMT

This report presents recommendations for consideration at the Commission on the Status of Women 61 (CSW61), 13-24 March 2017,  examining women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It examines interlinkages between women’s economic empowerment and their rights to decent work and full and productive employment; the obstacles women face in exercising their rights to and at work; and opportunities and challenges for women’s economic empowerment amidst the increasing informality and mobility of labour and technological and digital developments.

‘Who Cares’: Reflections on the international level advocacy work of the unpaid care work programme (2012–2015)

03 Mar 2017 01:11:03 GMT

This Evidence Report outlines the global-level advocacy work undertaken by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and our partner, ActionAid International, over the course of a four-year programme to make care visible. Following on from this introduction, Section 1 explores the concept of unpaid care work and how it is linked to the economic empowerment of women and girls, with Section 2 looking at the strategies we have adopted to make care visible at the international level. Section 3 then looks at the successes and challenges, as well as key lessons learnt, while Section 4 discusses future directions for the Unpaid Care Work programme at global levels.

Connecting perspectives on women’s empowerment

03 Mar 2017 01:00:22 GMT

With the formulation of the first ever internationally agreed stand-alone goal on gender equality, debates around women’s empowerment are at a critical juncture. This IDS Bulletin makes a timely contribution to our understanding of how ideas around empowerment have evolved and how we can move forward to expand women’s opportunities and choices and realise women’s empowerment in a meaningful way.

Innovative risk finance solutions – Insights for geothermal power development in Kenya and Ethiopia

02 Mar 2017 01:44:39 GMT

Geothermal development is on the rise in many regions of the world. However, the high costs of field development, coupled with the high risks associated with resource exploration and drilling, still pose a significant barrier to private sector financing.

Insurance can mitigate the risks to investors and increase flows of private finance to the industry.

A project by Parhelion, a private sector insurance and risk company focused on climate finance, funded by CDKN, aimed to improve the technical capacity of Kenya’s and Ethiopia’s local insurance industries for using geothermal risk mitigation instruments.

A consultative process with relevant stakeholders in these countries yielded insights and recommendations for international, multilateral and bilateral institutions that are looking to support geothermal resource development. The analysis was enriched by E3G’s expertise in analysing climate finance flows.

The study found that international, multilateral and bilateral institutions should:

  • Support technical assistance and capacity building, which takes into account the needs of all relevant stakeholders involved within specific country and market contexts.
  • Provide targeted concessional finance by taking into account all possible risk mitigation instruments during project development, and by envisioning the leverage of private finance as early as possible.
  • Use insurance instruments to target specific, well defined risks: this can offer very high leverage ratios on the use of public funds, and crowd in private sector insurance capital.

Climate impacts on agriculture and tourism – the case for climate resilient investment in the Caribbean

28 Feb 2017 05:42:54 GMT

For the Caribbean, climate change is not tomorrow’s problem. The threats it poses are neither distant nor abstract – they are already apparent. In recent years, hurricanes have caused major damage in countries such as Jamaica, Grenada and Cuba; severe flooding has hit Belize and Guyana; and droughts affect much of the east of the region. The small island state of Saint Lucia alone has faced 27 natural disasters between 1980 and 2008, with total economic damage reaching an estimated US$2.5 billion. The need for investment to build climate resilience in the Caribbean has never been greater.These impacts are putting considerable strain on the finances of national governments, businesses and citizens, and threaten regional prosperity and development. The Commonwealth Expert Group on Climate Finance has said that climate change is already reversing some of the gains on poverty alleviation and economic growth that have been made in the Caribbean.Over the past decade, research funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) has provided fresh insight into the nature of the climate threat to the Caribbean. Researchers have developed regionally downscaled climate change projections and climate visualisation tools providing information that can be used to make informed decisions at the subregional level. This information has been used in conjunction with a range of other tools, and has been applied to real-life situations in Caribbean nations including Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and Cuba.Focusing on the agriculture and tourism sectors, this document identifies some of the most pressing issues and climate vulnerabilities facing Caribbean states. It makes the case that climate resilience investment by governments, businesses and development partners is urgently needed toKey messages Climate variability and change are already having severe impacts on key sectors including agriculture and tourism.These impacts are reversing economic growth, exacerbating poverty and undermining the future prosperity of Caribbean countries.CDKN research has provided locally appropriate climate change projections that give fresh insight into the vulnerability of key sectors.Adaptation investment in the agriculture sector is needed to account for projected changes in rainfall and growing seasons, and occurrence of extreme events, especially drought.Adaptation investment in the tourism sector is also needed to build resilience to rising seas, bleached coral reefs, water scarcity and gradual temperature increase.There are many potential adaptation measures that can be applied by governments, businesses, individuals and development partners.Financial support is needed to support adaptation action as high up-fr[...]