Friday, November 30, 2012

The Development Dose - 30 November

Welcome back to another dose of very interesting development news, research and analysis harvested from the web this week. This week we look at the hurdles facing the post-2015 debate (Human Rights!), Britain's push for greater aid transparency; and the World Bank's Kaushik Basu discusses multi-player sudoku!

First off, the UK international development secretary, Justine Greening discusses the hurdles facing the post-2015 development agenda

Human rights could be faultline in post-2015 development agenda
Pushing too hard on human rights in the next set of development goals could jeopardise agreement on the post-2015 agenda, the UK international development secretary, Justine Greening, has told MPs.

Coping with tragedy: a legacy of war in Laos

Peter Kim, a young bomb survivor, at the COPE centre
© UNICEF/Laos 2012/Andy Brown
Peter Kim is a victim of the Vietnam War. But he’s not a Vietnamese or American veteran; he’s a 20-year-old Lao youth living in Vientiane. Four years ago he lost both his hands and eyesight to one of the millions of unexploded bombs that still litter the Laos countryside almost four decades after the war ended.

Peter Kim grew up in a small rural village in Viangchan province, where his father grew rice and kept cows and buffalos. “On my sixteenth birthday, I went to school for an exam,” he told me. “I came home with my friend. On the way back, my friend saw something on the ground. He picked it up to show me. I tried to open it and that’s when it exploded. It happened very fast. Afterwards I couldn’t see or hear anything.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Impact of climate change on children

A Filipino boy carries supplies through waist-high floodwater caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana in September 2009. Nearly 2 million people affected.
The UN Climate Change Conference -- officially the 18th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change -- is taking place this week in Doha, Qatar. It opened on 26 November and will continue until 7 December 2012. This photo essay aims to illustrate some of the consequences of extreme weather conditions resulting from climate change on children of the East Asia & Pacific region, the world's most affected by natural disasters.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Development Dose - 15 November

Welcome back to another dose of very interesting development news, research and analysis harvested from the web this week. 

I was excited to see this Xin Hua story this week. Its about a recent poll of Chinese opinions on the challenges their country faces in sustaining their economic growth and development. It was great to see that the top issue was the significant and growing disparities in the country. Wealth gaps and vastly unequal access to decent services, like health and education, are a critical problem across the region. Will be interested to see how the government chooses to respond.

Poll: wealth gap greatest challenge for China's growth
More than 75 percent of respondents said the wealth gap will be the biggest problem for China's development in the next 10 years, followed by the abuse of power (59.4 percent), entrenched interest groups (52.8 percent), ecological and environmental degradation (52.6 percent) and infringements on the rights of disadvantaged groups (50.3 percent).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Joining Forces to Fight Malaria in Asia-Pacific

I've been in the business long enough to be a skeptic when it comes to conferences and, often, the bigger the conference the more dubious I am of it achieving a genuine result for children. But here I am in sparkling Sydney, Australia for what has turned out to be an impressive conference on fighting malaria.

Malaria accounts for 7% of all child deaths globally. In the Asia-Pacific region, there were 30 million cases of malaria in 2010 and 42,000 deaths. Malaria’s impact on the health and future wellbeing of the region’s children is huge. It’s cost to development…massive.

Articles of Interest - 9 November 2012

The great thing about working as a Communication specialist for UNICEF is that I get exposed to all facets of development. I get to see our research, advocacy and programmes at work in the fields of health, child protection, education or HIV. I also get to spend part of my day staying on top of the latest news and thinking in the world of international development. And the field is changing rapidly. So I thought I’d share some of the more interesting articles, reports and analysis I come across each week. Read, comment, share or ignore as you see fit!

UKaid for Chile on a RAF C17 plane. Credit: DfiD
A very well argued stance against the branding of aid by governments. Will we see more countries asking for their contributions to be branded as they struggle to convince their domestic population that their tax-funded aid is hard at work or to have a more visible foreign policy presence?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Iodised salt is an essential part of Viet Nam's future prosperity

© UNICEF/VTNA2010-008/Truong Viet Hung
UNICEF Viet Nam representative Lotta Sylwander wrote for the Viet Nam News on what threatens to be a major problem for future generations.

Despite arriving in Viet Nam over two years ago, to this day I still import salt from my native Sweden.The reason for this is not an unconditional preference for Swedish salt, but a realisation that very little of the salt sold in Ha Noi's markets is actually iodised. Because I was able to get a sufficient intake through iodised salt consumption as a child, my health would probably not be effected if I used non-iodised salt.