Climate negotiators return to action in Marrakech, Morocco, this week with the Paris agreement in their pockets, while a bitter U.S. election casts a shadow over the future of international cooperation. This week in development news.
Americans will elect a new president on Tuesday, and their choice will have implications for U.S. global development programs and international cooperation. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is widely considered to have the most development experience of any presidential candidate in American history. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s popularity stems in large part from his disdain for “globalism” and belief that America’s interests have been subordinated to an international social and economic agenda. Clinton, as secretary of state, was an architect of many Obama administration development initiatives, and she supports U.S. leadership in international climate change negotiations. Trump’s specific U.S. aid policy views are murky. But, he has questioned whether the U.S. ought to continue to support countries that experience natural disasters — given America’s own budget woes — and he claimed on Twitter that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Later he said he was joking… kind of. In short, most expect a Clinton presidency would mean the continuation of Obama administration policies, while a Trump presidency would introduce an unpredictable provocateur into the global development arena.
300 million children live in areas with toxic air, according to a UNICEF report, which used satellite imagery to gauge the extent of global air pollution. "South Asia has the largest number of children living in these areas, at 620 million, with Africa following at 520 million children," according to UNICEF. In 2012, air pollution was linked with 1 out of every 8 deaths, globally — or around 7 million people. The New York Times also reported on the role that agricultural burning — of straw left over from rice harvests, in particular — had on making New Delhi’s air pollution problem among the worst in the world. The city has implemented a number of innovative — and somewhat controversial — measures to stem the pollution problem, such as an odd-even license plate scheme to get cars off the road. But agricultural burning has continued unabated, the Times reported.
Kristalina Georgieva — a former head of EU humanitarian affairs, vice president of the European commission, and Devex #PowerWithPurpose honoree — will join the World Bank as its CEO, a new role created by President Jim Yong Kim. Georgieva is expected to take on the duties of the bank’s chief operating officer, a post that has been vacant since Sri Mulyani Indrawati departed to become Indonesia’s finance minister. Politico cited a source at the World Bank who described Kim as “ecstatic” upon landing Georgieva — who had been a U.N. secretary general candidate. Kim secured his own controversial reappointment earlier this year for a second five-year term at the helm of the development finance institution.
A damning independent special investigation into this summer’s violence against civilians, U.N. staff and aid workers in Juba, South Sudan, concluded that the U.N. mission “failed to respond to the situation,” despite calls for help from those under attack from South Sudanese soldiers. Aid workers who sought shelter in a private compound called the Terrain camp when fighting broke out in the capital last July were assaulted and raped; they blamed the U.N. Mission in South Sudan for failing to intervene. The report includes several recommendations for improving accountability when peacekeepers fail to protect citizens, restoring the credibility of peacekeeping units, and ensuring peacekeepers have better contingency plans in place that are regularly rehearsed.
International climate negotiators assemble in Marrakech, Morocco, next week, and Devex Senior Correspondent Michael Igoe will be on the scene again this year. This is the first Conference of Parties — or COP — since the Paris agreement entered into force, so expect to see a lot of mutual congratulations, along with the official business. COP22 has been branded the “COP of action,” because it’s seen as a moment to pivot from the process that put in place a framework for action — the Paris agreement — to figuring out how to actually take those actions. That means there will be a lot of discussion about finance, and how developed countries will demonstrate they are on a path to fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries by 2020. There will also, at least for the first couple days, be a lot of discussion of Donald Trump, who, as noted previously, has pledged to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement. More on that soon.
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