Aid in the climate change combat


In recent weeks there have been several large gatherings of experts dealing with how to tackle the complex climate change and environmental problems which our world faces. The Climate Change Expert Group (CCXG) Global Forum convened in Paris, there was another large ministerial meeting on mobilizing climate finance in Washington DC, and the World Economic Forum’s Green Growth Action Coalition presented a report on how to advance private initiatives.

So, despite the financial crisis in the eurozone and economic woes in the US, the debate is continuing strong. And more is coming.

© UN Photo/Kibae Park

On 4 June prominent academics in the field will be joined in Stockholm by development co-operation decision and policy makers, from the south and north, as well as from major initiatives in international organizations. The ReCom results meeting ‘Aid and Our Changing Environment’ is an opportunity to discuss the role of foreign aid in the pursuit of a sustainable human development in a world characterized by global environment change and the increasing need for planetary stewardship.

It will be a two-part meeting with new research results presented in the morning session and policy implications discussed after lunch. The conference website with registration link will soon be opened.

In many ways it feels appropriate to meet in the Swedish capital. The Stockholm declaration from the first Earth Summit 1972 was written more than forty years ago. It has been called the beginning of political and public awareness of the environmental problems. The link between poverty and the environment was made by the then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

The declaration was a vision of grand objectives of preserving and sparing our natural resources. It took ten more years before alerts of global warning started to reach the larger public audience.

A number of the same important issues will now be discussed in Stockholm. One question is the ‘greening’ of traditional development co-operation, where donor agencies are pressed to address environmental concerns in all forms of aid. How could the development aid system be designed to deal with environmental threats? Of the world’s poor population of some 1.3 billion, three out of four live in a middle-income country. Can they be helped by donors in this respect?

We hope the ReCom results meeting will bring answers to these and many more questions. You will be able to either register to participate in Stockholm, or through webcast. So expect more news on this exciting event.

In this ReCom newsletter four research briefs on thought-provoking working papers are included. In the WIDER Working Paper ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Nordic Development Agencies’—Malokele Nanivazo and Lucy Scott deal with gender mainstreaming in aid, that is, how should policies be designed so that their different effects on men and women are taken into consideration in all development activities? The paper looks at recent trends and studies how gender mainstreaming has worked in practice in the Nordic donor context.

Entrepreneurs are hailed as heroes in many places and they are of critical importance to development, but we know very little about their skills in developing countries. In the WIDER Working Paper ‘The Role of Training in Fostering Cluster-Based Micro and Small Enterprises Development’ Tetsushi Sonobe and Keijiro Otsuka assess what management training can do.

The final brief is on ‘Helping Poor Farmers to Help Themselves: Evidence from a Group-Based Aid Project in Mozambique’, by Milla Nyyssölä, Jukka Pirttilä, and Susanna Sandström who look at innovative attempts to improve productivity in agriculture.

Carl-Gustav Lindén is Senior Communications Specialist, UNU-WIDER