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.

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women who #AdaptOurWorld

Guest blog post by Gabriela Díaz Musmanni for International Women’s Day. 

The Covid crisis has exposed the depths of gender inequality on a global and disquieting scale: from a spike in gender violence, to a sharp rise in women and girl’s unpaid care work fuelled by worldwide lockdowns and school closures.

Sadly, the pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg. With a similarly pervasive scope, the climate emergency is not gender neutral either:

In spite of being hit hardest, and possessing valuable local knowledge, women have limited access to climate decision-making and leadership roles that could improve their situation and the world’s. Their inclusion is crucial to effective climate adaptation action, yet this remains a global challenge.

This year’s International Women’s Day, celebrated today, focuses on “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The 2022 theme encompasses the contribution of women and girls all over the world who, despite insurmountable challenges, have taken the lead in climate adaptation and mitigation action to build a more sustainable future for all of us.

With a similar goal, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC), partnered with CARE’s Climate Change and Resilience Platform, and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna to conduct a capacity-building training to elevate the leadership of young women in one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable regions, the African continent, in response to the climate crisis.

In October 2021, thirty African women between the ages of 20 and 35 embarked on the 20-week “Online Executive Training – Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation,” supported by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The women, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, were selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants based on their community leadership skills and dedication to climate action and adaptation, according to Viola Christian, Program Officer at BKMC.

The participants shared some of the training’s many benefits, including the opportunity to belong to an empowering network of women in adaptation:

“The training gave me a platform to connect with more than thirty climate champions: the instructors, resource persons and other trainees,” said Jiata Ugwah Ekele, 24, a Knowledge Management and Extension Assistant at the Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria.

Dorah Momanyi, 29, a Kenyan food scientist and founder of the Nutritious Agriculture Network, applied for the training because she finds “a strong link between local food systems, climate change and the attainment of SDGs given local food systems play a critical role in climate adaptation.”

“In a continent where youth unemployment is on the rise, climate adaptation puts a meal on my table,” she said, highlighting that, “I am a bigger and better brand as a result of this online training. Being a millennial generation influenced by everything western, I appreciate more than ever the role of local climate adaptation strategies fronted, designed, and led by women.”

Patience Sibanda, 28, a Zimbabwean student and researcher in the field of Climate Smart Agriculture and resilience building at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, said, “I gained priceless knowledge on climate crisis management, the nexus of gender, climate vulnerability, adaptation, resilience and advocacy and the pivotal role young women play in bringing attention to climate policy architecture.”

For Mariam Elsadek, 27, a marine scientist from Egypt who works as an Environmental Communication Manager at Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, the training created “a powerful community of women who work in the field and support and encourage each other.”

“The idea is to bring these young leaders together and elevate them to another level so that they can be more effective at driving climate adaptation solutions,” said Christian, explaining that one of the training’s main goals is that, as women, its participants will transfer the knowledge gained into more gender inclusive climate adaptation practices.

“Another big reason is that we want to connect them and give them opportunities and platforms to show the world that they have knowledge and that they already do so much for climate adaptation but their voices are often just not listened to – bringing them into opportunities where they can network with high-level decision makers. That way we ensure that they can be more effective in what they want to achieve,” Christian said.

The training, which is designed to be replicated in future, will conclude on 17th March and CEO of GCA, Professor Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, will deliver a speech during the closing ceremony.

For more information about the training “Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation” visit the BKMC or GCA website. 

8th UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY BAN KI-MOON COMMENDS UAE’S LEADERSHIP FOR CLIMATE ACTION AND CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION LEADING UP TO COP28

Ahead of COP27 and COP28, during a mission trip, Ban Ki-moon congratulates the government of the United Arab Emirates on their climate action efforts and calls for an increase in climate adaptation finance. (Read on Yahoo Finance) 

Vienna/Seoul/Dubai, 2 March 2022, – Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the leadership of UAE on climate action and sustainability and underlined the importance of ever-stronger global cooperation for COP27 in 2022 in Egypt and COP28 hosted by UAE in 2023 with bold net-zero targets by 2050. Former SG Ban put an emphasis on agricultural adaptation for climate change during consultations with H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Climate and Minister of Trade and Advanced Industry, and H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Addressing H.E. Mariam Almheiri, Ban Ki-moon said; “It is promising to see the advances UAE has made and the ambition with which it will lead the COP28 in 2023. More than 40 countries have joined the UAE and the USA’s Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) initiative launched at COP26 and 40 billion dollars have been pledged. I fully support the call for investing in agricultural research and innovation to accelerate adaptation in agriculture and commend the goal of doubling investment in climate-smart agriculture by the COP27.”

 

In return, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment shared her appreciation for Ban Ki-moon’s keynote speech broadcasted on February 23rd, at the Food for Future Summit at EXPO 2020 in Dubai. H.E. Almheiri also emphasized the importance of high-level cooperation and investment. The UAE has invested in renewable energy ventures with a total value of around US$16.8 billion across 70 countries.

Highlighting that the UAE was the first country in the MENA region to promise net-zero by 2050, at COP26, H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Special Envoy for Climate also pointed out that the UAE is the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

   

UAE is playing a key role in the region and globally as a bridge-builder and trendsetter in cooperation with UNFCCC on adaptation, mitigation, and finance. UAE’s active engagement in sustainability and climate action also manifests in the continuing developments in Masdar City, the work of IRENA, and recently with EXPO 2020. SG Ban visited all these venues as well as the Global Green Growth Institute UAE office in his function as President and Chairman of the Board of GGGI.

“Only if we all work together a just and fair climate transition can become a reality.” SG Ban underlined. Declaring the meetings a success, and calling for further collaboration, Ban Ki-moon mentioned that it’s hopeful to see the UAE continue the momentum by hosting the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2023.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens looks forward to working closely with the United Arab Emirates government for its Elevating Agricultural Adaptation program which calls for financial and political commitments to tackle agricultural adaptation and build the resilience of smallholder farmers in the Global South.

“We are at an inflection point,” Ban Ki-moon speaks out.

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote and had a panel discussion at an event hosted by a leading French agricultural cooperative group InVivo on December 19th, 2018.
“We are at a point of historical inflection in demographic and environmental levels,” said Ban.
InVivo aims to help French agriculture and agricultural cooperation to regain their rightful place in the global food value chain. CEO Thierry Blandinières ‏of InVivo said that the company is committed to bringing solutions for the challenges that the country and the world face. In order to achieve the sustainable development of the planet and human population, InVivo focuses on four fields of expertise: Agriculture, Animal Nutrition and Health, Retail and Wine. Learn more about the group here: https://www.invivo-group.com/en Photo: Jeudi Photo