World Bank climate targets, DFID's disability strategy, and counterterror legislation: This week in development

Deaf awareness march in Kapsabet, Kenya, organized by Deafway ICS volunteers. Photo by: Jeffrey DeKock / VSO ICS

British NGOs welcome an amendment to counterterror legislation, the World Bank announces new climate targets, and DFID launches its first disability strategy. This week in development:

The U.K. Department for International Development launched its first disability strategy on Monday. Disability rights advocates largely praised the new strategy, but warned that to be effectively implemented it will also have to be accompanied by sufficient resources. “There needs to be the right level of resourcing in place … to ensure that disability inclusion is budgeted and planned for across [DFID’s] programming and is not confined to flagship programs on disability or written in to programs ad hoc,” the co-chairs of the disability and development working group at Bond, said in a statement to Devex. The strategy follows an International Disability Summit, which the United Kingdom and Kenya co-costed in July. It also represents a personal priority of U.K. Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt — former minister for people with disabilities. The five-year strategy identifies four focus areas for achieving disability inclusion: education, social protection, economic empowerment, and humanitarian action. This week, Devex launched a series to look at how people with disabilities can inform and drive inclusion efforts to support a disability-inclusive world.

The World Bank announced a new set of five-year climate targets, including a pledge to double its current five-year climate-related investment to $200 billion between 2021-2025. The announcement came on the first day of the 24th Conference of the Parties — COP24 — in Katowice, Poland, where negotiators are tasked with agreeing to a rulebook that will guide implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Acknowledging that the impacts of climate change are already materializing in vulnerable countries, the World Bank also pledged to scale up its direct financing for climate change adaptation to $50 billion over five years, and to develop a new “rating system,” to “track and incentivize global progress.” In the wake of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that raised stark warnings about the consequences of even modest amounts of warming, donor countries and organizations are being called on to show leadership in building a more ambitious climate action movement — even as some major actors turn their backs on cooperation.

The body that sets rules around aid spending has a new leader. Susanna Moorehead, the British ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, will be the next chair of the Development Assistance Committee, a part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In an interview with Devex, Moorehead said she plans to try to “refresh” DAC’s image — many view the institution as a “donor club” that sets rules that benefit rich nations. Moorehead pledged to be more inclusive, engaging in more dialogue with recipient nations, civil society, and the private sector. Under her leadership, DAC will still have to contend with a particularly sticky issue — establishing new guidelines on the use of private sector instruments in official development assistance. “It’s very easy … to overfocus on one part of the financing package, and what is or isn’t ODA eligible, but there’s a wider debate about how do we use ODA eligibility — as agreed by the DAC — as a catalyst for different sources of finance,” Moorehead told Devex.

The U.K. House of Lords has amended a counterterrorism bill, in response to NGO warnings that the law could severely restrict humanitarian access. In its original form, the Counter Terrorism and Border Security bill would make it an offense for U.K. nationals and residents to enter or remain in certain countries and regions designated by the Home Office. U.K. nationals caught in restricted areas — likely those where terrorism and conflict are also driving humanitarian crisis — could have received up to 10 years in prison unless they presented a “reasonable excuse.” While humanitarian activities might have qualified for this allowance, such “excuses” could only be presented after being charged with a criminal offense. The amendment now exempts aid workers, and others with a legitimate reason to travel to areas where extremist groups operate, from prosecution, according to the NGO group Bond. The bill must still receive final approval before becoming law.

About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.