Archive for the 'Great Lakes' Category

UNHCR says 2011 was a record year for refugees driven by African crises

June 19th, 2012

UNHCR’s Global Trends 2011 report shows that 2011 was a record year for forced displacement across borders, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.

And a lot of this additional displacement was in Africa, driven by a series of crises that began in late 2010 in Ivory Coast, and was quickly followed by others in Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere.  In all, 4.3 million people were newly displaced, with a full 800,000 of these fleeing their countries and becoming refugees.

More than two million refugees have fled from East/Central African countries – Somalia, Sudan and the DRC – with more than half a million of these ending up in Kenya.

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Club of Rome forecasts slow adaptation to a hot future – disasters are likely to increase in number and scale

June 13th, 2012

Forty years ago Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows published Limits to Growth.  It has surely been one of the most important, most widely discussed and most massively ignored (by politicians and business leaders) books ever published.

Commissioned by the Club of Rome, its thesis – unpopular at the time and increasingly unpopular as the years have gone by – was that endless growth was impossible because the planet would run out of material out of which that growth could be created.  It urged, way before its time, a move to sustainability and stressed that there were real, physical, limits to the amount of growth which was possible.  What they argued for was real sustainability, not the buzzword sustainability waved around by every business these days.

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Good news! Africa doesn’t come bottom in corruption

December 3rd, 2011

Good news for sub-Saharan Africa – it’s not as corrupt as some other parts of the world according to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index produced by Transparency International (TI).  Although there’s still quite a lot of work to be done if you have a look at the colourful map on page four of the TI report.

Unlike the recently-published 2011 version of the Human Development Index, in which the bottom places were packed with sub-Saharan African countries – and Afghanistan – there are a mere four African countries in the bottom ten of this global table.  Somalia comes equal bottom with North Korea, and the other African countries in the Highly Corrupt group are Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and Burundi.

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More bad news for Africa as carbon emissions soar

November 7th, 2011

African countries prone to floods, droughts and cyclones – and that’s most of them – had another dose of bad news last week when the latest global carbon emissions data was released  by the US Department of Energy.

Emissions in 2010 jumped by the biggest amount on record – so much for the fine words of the Copenhagen and Cancun summits.

This means that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just four years ago.  And that means that the risk of extreme weather events has also risen.  Since these extreme weather events disproportionately affect poorer countries in general and Africa in particular, the inability of the developed world – and that includes China and India who are now both major emitters – to reduce emissions has a direct effect on African lives and livelihoods.

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New HDI places Africa firmly at the bottom of the pile

November 4th, 2011

The 2011 version of the Human Development Index (HDI) has been released and it’s predictably bad news for Africa.

The bottom of the pile – the Low Human Development sector – is dominated by sub-Saharan African countries.  Indeed, positions 159 – 187 in the table, the bottom twenty eight in the world, are all African with the exception of Afghanistan.

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$69 billion a year in aid is spent in the North when it could support Southern businesses claims report

September 12th, 2011

A new report produced by Eurodad – the European Network on Debt and Development – shows that $69 billion spent on official development aid each year goes straight back to the donor country in the form of contracts for its private sector companies.  This is more than half of the total spend on development aid.

This means that companies in the developed countries of the North benefit massively from the aid that their governments are giving to the poorer countries of the South.

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Africa tops the charts with 11 million displaced people in 2010

March 24th, 2011

Africa still has more than 11 million displaced people, and accounts for 40% of all displaced people around the world according to the latest annual report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).  The IDMC says that globally, “the recorded number of people displaced within their country due to conflict or violence rose to 27.5 million in 2010, which is the highest in a decade.”

The number displaced in Africa at the end of 2010, 11.1 million, was the lowest for four years, although sadly recent events may well mean that that number – and indeed the four-year downward trend – is already out of date.
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Change in the air as Ashdown Committee report looms?

March 22nd, 2011

In just under a week, DFID’s Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (also known as HERR, otherwise knows as the Ashdown Committee) will be submitting its recommendations.   It could be a real red-letter day for those involved in the provision of emergency relief, because the way that we currently do things has to change and Ashdown has the ability, and the remit, to deliver change.
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African poverty is all the NGOs’ fault – or is it the journalists’?

March 21st, 2011

The Columbia Journalism Review is not the place that one normally looks for incisive comment on aid, development and emergencies, but there’s an interesting article published online that casts some light into the slightly murky world of the way that things get reported – or, in some cases, don’t get reported.

Author Karen Rothmyer comes with considerable credibility as she is a former managing editor of The Nation, was a Peace Corps teacher in Kenya in the 1960s and has lived in Kenya full-time since 2007.  So she has seen the NGO/journalist interface from both sides.
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DFID review leads to increased Africa focus

March 2nd, 2011

DFID yesterday announced the results of its bilateral aid programme and the decision that has been made is that it will be focussing its money on 27 countries, many of them in East Africa.  The review says that it wants to target support “where it will make the biggest difference and where the need is greatest”.

These 27 countries, according to DFID, account for three quarters of global maternal mortality and nearly three quarters of global malaria deaths.  And seventeen of them are in Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda , Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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