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.

How Can Investing in Youth Leaders Combat Record Unemployment in Nigeria?

Guest Blog

By Joe McCarthy

Nigeria has struggled with an unemployment crisis for several years.

In 2021, unemployment in the country affected a third of the working-age population, with more than half of the people between the ages of 15 and 24 without work. For people in the next age bracket, 25 to 34, the unemployment rate reached 37.2%.

But Oyindamola Adegboye, grants and special projects coordinator at the youth empowerment organization LEAP Africa, recognizes the boundless potential of the country’s youth if resources, funding, and leadership opportunities are made available to them.  

As part of Global Citizen’s partnership with the Ban Ki-moon Centre, Oyindamola recently spoke to Global Citizen about the state of youth unemployment in Nigeria, and how there is a leadership gap that threatends to exclude young people from the job market.  Read our new content piece with Global Citizen HERE and find out why funding farmers is key to ending unemployment, poverty and hunger around the world.

You can Take Action Now and Speak Up for Farmers on the Frontline of the Climate Crisis! Leave a personal message and tell your leader why smallholder farmers need our help.

Closing Ceremony – Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2021

 

On December 15th, the Global Citizen Scholarship Program 2021 held its virtual Closing Ceremony. The Ceremony honored this year’s eight outstanding Global Citizen Scholars from African countries – Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.

The Ceremony was co-moderated by BKMC CEO Monika Froehler and BKMC Program Officer Julia Zimmerman and featured opening remarks from Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer as well as Márcia Balisciano, Chief Sustainability Officer, Global Head of ESG and Corporate Responsibility at RELX Group and BKMC Board Member. Further congratulatory remarks were delivered by Stéphanie Debette, Vice-President for External Relations at the University of Bordeaux, and Joanna Orne-Gliemann, Senior Scientist and Professor from the University of Bordeaux who coordinated the ‘African Cities in 2030’ summer school attended by the scholars and served as a mentor.

 “It makes me proud to see that you choose to be ambassadors for global citizenship and that we can count on you as a valued part of our BKMC family.” – Ban Ki-moon

After the opening and congratulatory remarks, Program Officer Julia Zimmerman presented an overview of the program and its activities. She highlighted the academic training with the University of Bordeaux, the 6 expert workshops, and networking opportunities provided as well as the one-on-one mentoring and the implementation of an SDG Micro-Project by each scholar.  

Following the overview, video pitches of four of the scholars’ SDG Micro-Projects were shared. The project videos screened included:

  • Informal Urban Fabrics Flood Resilience by Scholar Fenosoa Ramiaramanana (Madagascar)
  • Implementing Garden Sachs in Deep Sea Slum Nairobi by Scholar Bessy Thuranira (Kenya)
  • Get the Children off the Streets by Scholar Eedee-Bari Bawoh (Nigeria)
  • Project BLISS by Scholar Gillian Ndlovu (Zimbabwe)

After the project videos, scholars were honored one by one for their achievements and were presented with a professional illustration of their projects as well as a Certificate of Achievement signed by BKMC Co-chairs.

Before concluding the ceremony, Scholar Gillian Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) was asked to take the floor and share her reflection on her time in the program. She shared her deep appreciation for the opportunity and her hopes for the future.

 

“It only takes a little spark to get a fire going. Our SDG Micro-Projects are sparks that have become flames and that will soon become a fire. We are going to keep the fire burning, and we will endeavor from this moment forward to work hard for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.” – Gillian Ndlovu

The BKMC congratulates our eight scholars on their tremendous achievements and thanks their partners – RELX Group and the University of Bordeaux – for making this program possible.

Watch the full recording of the Closing Ceremony HERE.

Learn more about the Scholarship Program HERE.

Why Is Agriculture Key to Ending Unemployment in Kenya

Guest Blog

By Joe McCarthy

Kenya’s economy revolves around farming. More than 40% of the population, including 70% of rural adults, work in the agricultural sector, which generates a third of the country’s gross domestic product, according to USAID.

Harvesting crops, preparing and processing foods, and then selling goods locally or abroad is central to day-to-day life. 

Yet Loureen Akinyi Awuor, a programmes officer at the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation and “Young Women in Climate Adaptation” Trainee, still thinks agriculture is a “gold mine” of untapped opportunity. 

As part of Global Citizen’s partnership with the Ban Ki-moon Centre, Awuor recently spoke to Global Citizen about the state of youth employment in Kenya, how agriculture can be improved, and what structural investments need to be made to unlock the country’s potential.  Read our new content piece with Global Citizen HERE and find out why funding farmers is key to ending unemployment, poverty and hunger around the world. 

You can Take Action Now and Speak Up for Farmers on the Frontline of the Climate Crisis! Leave a personal message and tell your leader why smallholder farmers need our help.

26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) – There is No Time to Waste

First Pledge for Smallholder Farmers, Agricultural Innovation and Research reaches $575M!

Between October 31st and November 12th, the United Kingdom (UK) hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. After one year of delay, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 25.000 delegates from all over the world gathered to exchange, partner, negotiate, and significantly accelerate climate action towards achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.

In Glasgow, the BKMC was present throughout the conference and met with with high-level stakeholders and decision-makers of countries and institutions including the European Commission, Germany, NetherlandsUKQatar, and Zambia to advocate for higher attention to climate change adaptation in agriculture, especially towards the most vulnerable group – smallholder farmers. 

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered several calls for action during COP26. At the Agri-Food Transition Summit Climate Spotlight, he reinforced the key role of Agricultural Adaptation for building resilient food systems.

Monika Froehler, CEO of the BKMC, and Katrin Harvey, COO of the BKMC spoke at the COP26 side events: Sustainable Innovation Forum  “Climate Action Dialogue – Future Foods: Creating a Sustainable Food System for All” and the Agri-Food Transition Summit Panel Discussion “Meeting the Net Zero: Promoting Technological Innovation to Adapt Supply Chains Towards Efficiency, Resilience and Sustainabilty”, organized by Climate Action.

   

At COP26, a coalition of funders pledged $575 million to deliver climate-smart solutions to farmers in low-income countries via CGIAR. Several launches of initiatives and partnerships to draw further financing and commitment towards agricultural adaption were made.

In contrast to previous UN Climate Change Conferences, conversations and pledges at COP26 had a greater focus on adaptation measures, with agriculture playing a vital role. As of today, only roughly one-quarter of global climate change finance is directed towards adaptation measures. With the Elevating Agricultural Adaptation Program, the BKMC calls on leaders to increase commitments towards climate-smart agriculture, channeling resources to the CGIAR.

“It was encouraging to see the dynamics on many layers that increase the attention towards adaptation efforts in the agricultural sector,” says Angela Reithuber, Program Manager of Elevating Agricultural Adaptation at the BKMC. “However, it became very clear that there are still huge gaps in quantitative and qualitative commitments of countries to accelerate action in climate-smart agriculture. We need farmer-centred solutions with a high level of transparency to accelerate innovation and knowledge-sharing.”

There were loud calls that next year’s COP27 in Egypt, Africa must focus even more on adaptation measures, as agriculture is both a driver and a solution to solving the climate crisis.  

Read the COP26 Op-Ed by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon here.

Watch the Sustainable Innovation Forum recording here.

Watch the Agri-Food Transition Summit recording here.

Stage at Global Citizen Live Paris Copyright - Katre Olmez

World Leaders Pledge to Save the Planet at Global Citizen

$100B Climate Pledge, $6B for Famine Relief, and Vaccine Justice at Global Citizen Live!

Official partner of Global Citizen through a joint program Elevating Agricultural Adaptation the BKMC attended Global Citizen Live in Paris. The 24-hour broadcasted festival spanning seven continents and bringing together over 70 artists, activists, and leaders raised more than US$1.1B, 157M trees, and over 60M COVID-19 vaccines.

While calling for leaders to make financial and political commitments to agricultural adaptation, the BKMC calls to direct such resources to CGIAR. At Global Citizen Live, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a €140 million pledge while Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, announced a €75 million pledge, and Meryame Kitir, Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, announced a €6 million pledge to CGIAR.

The BKMC is strongly advocating for more attention to the most vulnerable in the world, supporting smallholder farmers and climate change adaptation. Thanks to all joint efforts, several world leaders made pledges to commit to vaccine distribution, fighting hunger, education for all as well as battling the impacts of climate change.

Under the leadership of Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, the BKMC thanks Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of Netherlands, Minister of International Development Dag Inge Ulstein of Norway and Meryame Kitir Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium and so many more for their commitments to the most vulnerable in our world.

Check out Global Citizen’s impact report here to find out about the details. 

     

How Funding for Farmers Can Help End Hunger and Poverty

Guest Blog

By Joe McCarthy

Globally, there are over 500 million smallholder farms, working on which are over a billion people who cultivate fruits and vegetables and raise animals to create the food that ends up providing half of the world’s calories.

By preventing hunger and generating economic activity, these farmers create the conditions for communities to thrive. But farming is an arduous profession made even more challenging by the worsening effects of climate change.

The world is at a crossroads — now is the time to put the full weight of global development behind the people who put food on all of our tables.  Read our new content piece with Global Citizen HERE and find out why funding farmers is the biggest step in fighting poverty and hunger around the world. 

 

BKMC teams up with Global Citizen to Promote Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Climate change is already transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, and nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the field of agriculture. Farmers worldwide are contending with rising temperatures, proliferating pests, and increasing droughts and floods that require new approaches to crops that have been grown for generations.

It’s a dynamic that leaves farmers exposed to financial ruin and diminishing yields, a prospect that threatens global food security at a time when the global population and its demand for calories continues to grow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted farmers, often cutting them off from laborers, markets, and government assistance. Building back better” from the pandemic requires bold climate action that prioritizes smallholder farmers who are struggling to overcome structural and environmental forces outside of their control. That’s why the BKMC is entering a two-year partnership with Global Citizen — to advocate for climate-resilient agriculture by championing smallholder farmers especially in Africa and calling on world leaders to strengthen global food security and increase development aid to agricultural adaptation.

“2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments,” said Ban Ki-moon, founder of the organization and 8th secretary-general of the United Nations.

“Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world.”

 

The partnership will involve behind-the-scenes advocacy and public awareness efforts that work hand-in-hand. By identifying governments that have shown broad sympathy for the cause of climate adaptation, the partnership will seek to increase development aid for agricultural adaptation in low-income countries.

 In support of these outreach efforts, Global Citizen and the BKMC will also seek to improve understanding of the challenges facing smallholder farmers, the complex dynamics of climate change, and how demand-driven research, such as those championed by CGIAR, accelerates climate adaptation on the ground.

In particular, the Program will bring forward the stories of smallholder farmers and how they’re confronting the climate crisis, incorporating agricultural adaptation tools and techniques, and building a better future.

While countries have shifted toward a form of industrial agriculture in recent decades that features massive plots of land and heavy use of chemicals, there are still roughly 570 million smallholder farms worldwide that manage land less than two acres in size. These farms support communities through food production, jobs, and the maintenance of traditional practices. But climate change primarily threatens smallholder farmers who do not always have the resources to adapt to emerging disruptions. Farmers often have to sell or leave their land when faced with rising temperatures, droughts, and other environmental changes. The absorption of small farms into industrial farms, meanwhile, often further contributes to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Today you can start by taking our joint short quiz powered by Global Citizen to understand why the situation facing farmers is so urgent. 

The partnership will highlight the lived experiences of female farmers on the front lines of food production; break down how adequately funded research can transform agriculture; explore how young people are reshaping agriculture and unlocking new opportunities; explain how agricultural adaptation practices can actually mitigate climate change, and look at how farming communities can improve rural development more broadly.

Through written content, video, and social media, the partners will put a light on the people who are crucial to the future survival of humanity: farmers.

Whether or not countries can navigate the disruptions of the worsening climate crisis depends in part on how well smallholder farmers can adapt. Farmers require stable weather conditions and steady supplies of water, both of which are becoming increasingly precarious as temperatures rise. Looked at another way, focusing on the plight of farmers can foster society-wide climate resilience. If the people who tilled the land were prioritized in global decision-making processes, then fossil fuels would be phased out more rapidly and inequality eradicated sooner. After all, fewer greenhouse emissions mean less climate change and more favorable conditions for growing food.

ENLIGHT Kickoff Week: University Network Launches with Energy and Ambition!

From March 1-5, 2021, the BKMC took part in ENLIGHT European University Network‘s official virtual kickoff, an alliance of nine European universities, striving for students to become lifelong learners and agents-of-change ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. The week was packed with exciting lectures, high-level roundtables, student-led sessions, and more! 

BKMC CEO and External Advisory Board member of ENLIGHT, Monika Froehler, joined two separate public sessions to share the message of the BKMC and to highlight the importance of instilling global citizenship knowledge, skills, and behaviors in students as well as fostering lifelong learning.

On March 2, CEO Froehler joined a high-level round-table​ discussion between ENLIGHT Rectors and the ENLIGHT External Advisors​. The discussion was themed, ‘Shaping communities – How can universities contribute to local and regional challenges?’ and featured three smaller roundtables o‘Learning and Teaching,’ ‘Research,’ ‘International Cooperation’ respectively

Taking part in the third roundtable on ‘International Cooperation, CEO Froehler underlined the incredible potential for sustainable impact through the ENLIGHT network:

“If only 1/3 of ENLIGHT students become gamechangers, this would make Europe a leading champion in multilateralism.”  – Monika Froehler

During the second roundtable on ‘Research, External Advisory Board member and BKMC Board Member, Irina Bokova (former Director-General of UNESCO), underlined academia’s role in contributing to the sustainable development agenda: 

“What is very important is for universities to introduce the concept of interdisciplinarity, lifelong learning & global citizenship education to prepare students for future challenges.”  – Irina Bokova

To conclude the discussion, the roundtable participants were asked to reflect on what attracts talented students to universities and the value proposition of ENLIGHT. The participants, including university Rectors and Presidents in addition to the esteemed External Advisorsremarked that the consortium will help to increase the talent pool at member universities as students will have the unique chance to benefit from the best educational opportunities available at all 9 universities. Each university has its strengths and together, the Enlight university members form a virtuous circle which helps individual universities develop along with the wider regions in which they are located.  

 

On March 4, CEO Froehler joined Flagship Lecture #3 on Global Engagement and Equity’ and presented a keynote themed, ‘Engaging Global Citizens for the Achievement of the SDGs.

During her talk, Monika outlined the key tenants of global citizenship and how the BKMC is working to engage and empower youth and women as actors for the SDGs. She also spoke about the role of ENLIGHT in educating engaged global citizens:

“We hope to fundamentally transform European Higher Education with ENLIGHT by empowering learners as engaged global citizens with state of the art knowledge, skills & innovation potential.” – Monika Froehler

Andrej Findor, Associate Professor and acting Director of European Studies and International Relations at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, focused his keynote on the comparative evaluation of equity, inclusion, and diversity (EID) indicators at nine European universities.  

The pandemic has intensified the exclusion of different types of people.For example, some students at Comenius are going through difficult socio-economical situations as their parents or even themselves are now unemployed.” – Andrej Findor

Nata DuvvurySenior Lecturer and Director, Centre for Global Women’s Studies and Co-Leader of Gender and Public Policy Cluster in the Whitaker Institute at National University of Ireland, Galway, focused her keynote on ‘Approaches to Equality: Mainstreaming or Intersectionality?’ Noting the mainstreaming equality isn’t enough, Duvvury described two clear ways forward to promote intersectionality within universities: 

1. Acknowledging and valuing diverse feminist, anti-racist, decolonial, and disability scholarship in the university.  

2. Taking actions to decrease class, gender, and racial inequality within the institutions. 

The BKMC is excited to be an Associated Partner of the ENLIGHT European University network and to have CEO Monika Froehler represented on the External Advisory Board! 

Stay tuned for news on exciting collaborations between the BKMC and ENLIGHT in the year ahead! 

 

To watch what ENLIGHT is all about: 

 

To watch the recordings of the launch:  

Climate Adaptation with Global Citizen

 

The COVID19 pandemic and its far-reaching impacts on the economy, climate, health, hunger, and education have halted and reversed the progress made for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Inequality among people, nations, and continents is getting worse. To call for global action, our partner organization Global Citizen has launched a new campaign that will feature their unique pop and policy approach.

The BKMC is very excited to be partnering with Global Citizen for the Recover Better Together Campaign. Building upon our Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s twin legacies of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs, we are dedicated to being a part of this collective effort and amplifying the voices for the needs of smallholder farmers as well as building the capacity of youth and women to take action on climate adaptation – who are on the front lines of climate change as well as the COVID crisis.

2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments. Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world.” – Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Co-chair, Ban Ki-moon

As an environment partner to the Protect the Planet pillar of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan, we have come together with Global Citizen for a two-year collaboration that will strive for a climate-change-resilient world – free of hunger by Elevating Agriculture Adaptation.

Anchored in the findings of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), the partnership will help to increase political commitment and public support to build the resilience of 300 million small-scale farming households around the world. Global Citizen and the BKMC will work collaboratively to address agricultural adaptation and strive to secure new governmental commitments for climate-smart agriculture. Learn more about the program here.

Watch the launch of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan above.