Investing In Development Programs Means Investing In Our Future

As host of this year’s G7 summit, Germany can set an example. Ban Ki-moon
  Author: Ban Ki-moon May 19, 2022

The world is stuck in a tangle of alarming, severe crises that demand urgent action. The worsening climate crisis is impacting every aspect of our lives. It is further increasing the threat of violent conflicts, health issues, and food insecurity. More than ever, we need developed countries like Germany to uphold and increase their development assistance budgets and lead as an example.

In Yemen, the war has been raging for almost eight years; Syria’s crisis grinds on into its eleventh year. Over two million people have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia due to brutal violence against civilians. While Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis plummets to extreme levels of deprivation, Myanmar’s military factions expand the scale of conflict, increasingly involving civilians. Most recently, Russia’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine forced more than five million people to flee the country while almost eight million are internally displaced.

These complex emergencies are set against a backdrop of transnational, planetary challenges like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has cost the lives of more than 6 million people worldwide. All of these extremities have consequences far beyond their immediate impacts, most particularly in the realm of food production.

 

There is a need for investments in climate-resilient agriculture

Agriculture, in particular, is both foundational to human wellbeing and also highly vulnerable during crises. In recent months, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown the devastating impact conflict can have on our ability to cultivate and transport food, with looming surges in hunger anticipated worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has similarly sent shockwaves throughout local food systems, causing the highest levels of hunger seen in modern history. The reduction in yields, the increase in pest infestations, and unpredictable weather patterns have made the impact of climate change more evident than ever. The severity of these disruptions often stems from a lack of investment in the people who produce food and the inevitable precarity they experience on a day-to-day basis.

Two thirds of adults living in poverty work in the agricultural sector, meaning the very people who provide us with nutrition often struggle to get it themselves. Without drastic climate action, these inequities will only increase. Global demand for food is predicted to increase by 50% by 2050, while agricultural yields will likely decrease by up to 30% over the same period due to worsening environmental conditions.

Investing in climate resilient agriculture is essential to improving the lives of 500 million small-holder farmers around the world and bolster local, resilient food systems. Currently, smallholders receive only 1.7% of total climate finance. World leaders need to keep their promise to deliver $100 billion Dollars to climate finance and significantly step up their commitments towards agricultural adaptation to build the resilience of smallholder farmers. In this regard, global champions like CGIAR need to receive more funding for the acceleration of adaptation in agriculture, to ensure food security, increase resilience and protect biodiversity. The right investments in innovation, research and development will lead to food production increases, rather than decreases in the decades ahead.

Just as we cannot prioritize our obligation to meet the human rights needs of one crisis over another, underfunding critical development programs will severely hamstring our ability to prepare for and prevent the crises of tomorrow. That is why global leadership, bold action, and strategic programming are needed now more than ever.

This means identifying and resourcing the communities that exist at the intersections of extreme poverty.

 

Germany has a special responsibility to step up

In recent years, Germany has taken on a leading role in the global fight against hunger. The government has substantially invested in global food security and rural development and when it comes to the overall provision of official development assistance, Germany ranks second. The leadership the government has shown in recent years when it comes to global development cooperation could not come at a more crucial time. Looking at the multiple crises the world currently faces, funding for development cooperation and strengthening of multilateral institutions will be crucial to be able to respond to the medium and long-term consequences and to prevent future crises.

The German government must therefore consistently continue its commitment to strong development cooperation. Especially in a year in which Germany holds the G7 Presidency, the government’s actions and decisions will have wide repercussions at the international level. With a clear commitment to strengthening development cooperation, the German government can send a strong signal of support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the most marginalized people worldwide. To get the world back on track at the G7 Summit at the end of June, it is important that Germany continues to take on a leading role in international development cooperation.

The last time Germany held the G7 Presidency, back in 2015, G7 countries made a commitment to lift 500 million people out of hunger and to increase funding accordingly. This commitment still remains to be followed-up upon. The war in Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the increasing droughts and floods we witness across Africa and Asia have only amplified the urgency. It is the drastic consequences of conflict and climate change that put the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. What is needed by the G7 countries is to take urgent climate actions and to step up their ambition with regards to international climate finance, especially targeting agricultural adaptation measures.

If we don’t respond adequately and equitably now, the world will see a worsened situation for every crisis to follow — from access, availability and affordability of food, fuel prices, climate shocks and exposure to extreme weather events, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the ongoing displacement of people.

In this extraordinary time of need, citizens must urge their government to step up and do all that they can to provide support. That will mean donors raising development budgets to cover rising costs. This year, Germany can be in the driving seat for international solidarity and cooperation.

BKMC Celebrates Africa Day 2021

May 25th is celebrated as Africa Day 2021 around the globe to mark the founding of the African Union 🌍🌍 This year’s theme of Africa Day is Arts, Culture, And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.

As the Ban Ki-moon Centre boasts several programs and projects targeting Africa including scholarships and grants for Global Citizenship Education and more, we are happy to support the day! If you are wondering how you can contribute check out Nala Feminist Collective: A Pan-African group of 17 feminists with a mission to foster, enable and mobilize young women from Africa while bridging the gap between policy and implementation.  Learn more about Nala here. 

They are calling for 10, 000 signature for their Manifesto demanding:

 
  • Economic Justice
  • Criminalization of Gender-Based Violence
  • Ending Gender Discrimination
  • Access to Justice and Protection
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights 
  • Mental Health and Well-Being 
  • Inclusive, Equitable and Quality Education
  • Digital Justice
  • Silencing the Guns
  • Intergenerational Co-Leadership
✒️Sign the Africa Young Women Manifesto demanding #GenerationEqualityhere. 

The First Expert Workshop for our Scholars is Complete!

The BKMC Global Citizen Scholars attended their very first “Expert Workshop” on Thursday, July 23rd. The scholars had the unique opportunity to discuss funding opportunities with expert Katharina Meder, Deputy Head of Program for Water and Energy for Food at the GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation).

During the online workshop, Katharina gave a brief overview of the GIZ and the four different funding options that the company offers: service contracts, public-private partnerships, calls for solutions, and grants/financing contracts for non-profits. She also elaborated on the different processes for applying and receiving these grants.

 

Additionally, she spent time sharing examples of projects that the GIZ funds, particularly for Water and Energy for Food.

Following her presentation, the scholars were able to ask questions and get feedback about their individually proposed SDG Micro-Projects. For many of the scholars, the topic of Water and Energy for Food is very relevant for their projects which deal with sustainable agriculture and wastewater management.

The BKMC is grateful to Katharina for taking the time to share her expertise and insights with our young changemakers! Learn more about our scholars and scholarship program here.

Checking in with Aya Chebbi, The African Union Youth Envoy

The Ban Ki-moon Centre had an informative online session with the first ever African Union Special Envoy on Youth and award-winning Pan-African feminist, Aya Chebbi, on Thursday, April 2.

  The discussion was centered on the AU Youth Envoy´s amazing campaigns and projects in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic that she and her peers have put into action. (Check out https://auyouthenvoy.org/) Aya Chebbi emphasized that the young people of the African continent were working together and in synchronization in their fight against this difficult challenge.   Similar to the calls for solidarity from global leaders, she explained “The young generation is working on coordinated efforts and trying to reach every single person we can.” Mentioning the economic challenges of the situation, she underlined the importance of global response funds such as the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund, the one led by the World Health Organization and the donation of 1.5 million test kits made by the Jack Ma foundation to the continent of Africa. Much more is still needed!   Working with volunteers and young change-makers, the African Union Youth Envoy has initiated multiple programs to include, educate and mobilize all countries in the region. Aya stated that young people are following the situation closely, trying to be a part of the solution and coming up with remarkable initiatives and action plans.   A pioneering project, the Virtual AU Youth Consultations on COVID-19 for Youth Collective Response in collaboration with Africa CDC, is a series of virtual consultations, now completing its 10th round, convened 150 youth leaders from 40 countries, that allows groups of young people to meet online to discuss emotional and physical issues caused by the virus. During these sessions, the attendees are able to learn from each other, brainstorm and come up with action plans on how to tackle urgent problems. The project highlights cross-border cooperation. These enlightening consultations can be held by any person or institution interested. You can find more information and the registration process here.   Aya Chebbi also informed the BKMC on the launch of a new initiative called the African Youth Charter Hustlers, a youth-led Pan-African accountability movement, to engage African youths in continental, regional and country-level advocacy across the continent. For more information on youth policy makers you can click here.   Another response of the African Union Youth Envoy was to create hotlines for every country on the continent. Anyone who needs support can call these hotline numbers and reach out for the help they need.   The Union is leading many more inspiring projects on topics such as policy making, youth advocacy, women entrepreneurship and fundraising. Visit https://ayachebbi.com/ to follow this great initiative and get updates on African efforts and Aya Chebbi.      

Ban Ki-moon, Jack Ma, and Graça Machel encourage Africa’s young entrepreneurs with the Africa Netpreneur Prize!

The final competition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize was held in Accra, Ghana on November 16th. As BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon serves on the Advisory Board of the Africa Netpreneur Prize together with Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, and Graça Machel, Chair of the Graça Machel Trust Board, he delivered a speech at the ceremony. Alibaba Group is China’s internet giant that has influences worldwide, and Jack Ma created the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) together with his foundation after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.   The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation gave a total cash prize of one million dollars to support the enterprises of 10 young African entrepreneurs during the maiden Netpreneurs’ awards ceremony. Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of LifeBank, took home the top ANPI 2019 Africa Business Hero Award. Photos: Xinhua/Zhang Yu & ANPI

BKMC hosts “Advocacy: Your Tool for Change” workshop at the African Youth Development Summit

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler hosted a workshop on “advocacy: your tool for change” at the African Youth Development Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 30th, 2018.
With 120 advocates, the Summit co-hosted by BKMC partner JCI and Africa 80 aimed to help young African leaders identify the challenges they face and actively seek for solutions for the sustainable future. The 3-day summit was free to attend, and upon successful completion of their participation, each participant received a complimentary ticket to the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 organized by Global Citizen.

Co-chairman Ban Ki-moon Joins the Advisory Board of the Netpreneur Prize to Support African Entrepreneurs

Jack Ma, the founder and the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, established Jack Ma Foundation Netpreneur Prize to support businesses in digital economy by funding entrepreneurs in Africa. The prize will focus on internet-led businesses that help advance technology and innovation in Africa. The entrepreneurs will get a million USD per year for 10 years through competitions. The Ban Ki-moon Centre’s Co-chairman Ban Ki-moon was named to the advisory board of the Netpreneur Prize. Ban expressed his excitement to join the advisory board through a video message and said,
“we aim to support African entrepreneurs to build a more inclusive and prosperous Africa and dramatically shape the future prospects of the continent for the better.”
“All young Africans should seize the opportunity to aim high,” Ban urged to the African youth, especially women, “put your best foot forward and I look forward to your application to the African Netpreneur Prize.” Ban sees that the empowerment of youth and women and the development of the global digital economy in Africa will make the continent become the leader of the next century.
For more information: http://netpreneur.africa/ Photo & Source: https://www.alizila.com/jack-ma-10-million-african-entrepreneurs-prize/

Women Mediators Networks: Connecting for Inclusive Peace-making

As regional women mediator networks have emerged around the world, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution, and the Peace Research Institute Oslo organized a meeting with these networks from Africa, Mediterranean Sea, ASEAN and different regions of the world in Oslo, Norway in March 2018. The Ban Ki-moon Centre participated and learnt from the expertise of the OSCE, the EU, the UN DPA Mediation Support Unit and many others. The meeting was to discuss cooperation and the possible establishment of a global alliance of women mediators. Now a video on the importance of building a global network said by the women mediators is available online.
“If we connect all the mediating networks, we can pull resources; we can exchange best practices; we can reinforce each other.”
  • Magda Zenon, Mediterranean Women Mediators Network (MWMN)
“All of us are different levels of development, different levels of violence, and different levels of peace. Women have been working in isolation for a number of years, but now we are realizing that we should be working together. And having a network like this brings together the women from all works of life on the continent to bring about peace and security, and stability.”
  • Stella Sabiiti, FemWise-Africa
“I think the networks that have been created over the last few years are incredibly important, and the reason is that they are linking together with each other, they are sharing good practice and experience, but also they are building a movement. And that is about insuring that mediators and member states know that women have this experience. They have this impact, and we need to look at their access to this process.”
  • Nahla Valji, Senior Gender Advisor Executive Office of UN SG
“[It is important] that different networks know about each other and that you can use women from across the globe in different mediation efforts.”
  • Hilde Salvesen, Nordic Women Mediators
Source: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/WY5vWfNKYS/files/fi-0a8250db-ee49-43a4-8c04-f187a56fcda2/fv-fd4d1fcb-6caf-4ebb-82c4-be119ec41e1d/0610_Noref1_v6.mp4