• Join us at COP26 for our forum on saving Africa’s Congo Basin rainforests, people and biodiversity

    20 October 2021
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    Saving Africa’s Congo Basin Rainforests, People and Biodiversity: An Interactive Forum on Civil Society led forest and wildlife monitoring and law enforcement Actions, Learning and Priorities for the Struggle Ahead

    • Date: 11 November 2021
    • Time: 12:00-13:30
    • Register for live stream: Link coming soon

    Read our latest blog post – CIDT @ COP 26 – seeking a fair deal for the Congo Basin forests to find out more about COP and its importance, as well as our what has bought us to this event. 

    Congo Basin forests are of global importance. Unfortunately, these forests are under severe threats from unsustainable human activities accelerating illegal deforestation, conversion, wildlife poaching and loss of livelihoods of indigenous peoples. With support from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), CIDT, University of Wolverhampton has strengthened the role of Congo Basin Civil Society actors as environmental defenders and monitors of illegal deforestation and wildlife trafficking over the last decade; generating evidence for stronger law enforcement and sustainable management of forests and wildlife. We are proposing a panel discussion during COP 26 which will provide a unique opportunity for three representatives from Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Gabon to engage face-to-face with the live audience (in French with simultaneous translation) their first hand experiences of tropical forest and biodiversity loss and their tactics to counter illegal deforestation and wildlife trafficking in the region*. These regional experts will be complimented by a panel of international experts on independent forest and wildlife monitoring and law enforcement from CIDT and other international organisations (TBC).

    The aim of the panel discussion to be hosted in the COMIFAC pavilion (specify location) is to present and critique the role of independent forest and wildlife monitoring and law enforcement by civil society as a key tool for fighting illegal deforestation and biodiversity loss while highlighting its contributions to climate change. Panellists will share Central African experience and recommendations to stimulate debate and improved understanding of the realistic options for the Congo Basin. The panel session will target government officials, donor agencies, private sector, NGOs, Biodiversity Conservationists, etc.

    Agenda for the panel discussion

    • Introduction: The Head of CIDT, Professor Philip Dearden will faciliate the panel discussions. The panellists will be introduced together with a brief overview of IFM and wildlife monitoring and law enforcement while showcasing FCDO and other funding partners’ support to its development in the past decade (5 mins).
    • Part 1 – experience from the last decade: This will be followed by three fast moving 10 minute presentations by our expert Congo Basin civil society partners or international experts on the theme of ‘Independent Forest and wildlife Monitoring and law enforcement’ case studies. Experience from the last decade will be drawn and presented from Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. (30 mins).
    • Audience questions to the panel: Facilitated questions from both the live and remote audience to the panel to further clarify and critique on tactics and strategies to save Africa’s Congo Basin Rainforests, People and Biodiversity.(10 mins).
    • Part 2 – recommendations for the next decade: This will be a further 15 minutes round of presentation reflecting on ways forward for a stronger role of independent forest  and wildlife monitoring in saving the Congo Basin forests, people and biodiversity. (15 mins).
    • Audience questions to the panel: Facilitated questions from the live and remote audience to further clarify and critique the recommendations for way forward (10 mins).
    • Conclusion: The facilitator will conclude aiming to summarise the recommendations for action drawn both from the Panel and the Audiences Contributions. (5 mins).

    Financial Contribution: CIDT will draw on its ongoing FCDO/EU funded grants to support and sponsor reasonable share of the pavilion costs to be agreed with FCDO and COMIFAC. CIDT will also support the participation of Congo Basin partners in case COMIFAC is able to issue accreditation letters and facilitate access to daily access passes to the Blue zone for the events.

    *The assumption being that they are able to gain accreditation with the support of COMIFAC and CBFP and obtain visas in time to travel.

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  • CIDT staff celebrate the life of their inspirational Caribbean colleague – Alexa Khan

    11 August 2021
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    Alexa Khan was a lead trainer in CIDT’s delivery of a large training programme in 2018-19 for the Caribbean Development Bank in 19 countries. We quickly came to rely on Alexa’s technical expertise especially in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning and her reliability during the fast-paced training roll-out. Alexa led project cycle management training with Government officials in Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, St Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and in Barbados for CDB staff, working alongside CIDT trainers and independently.

    The loss of Alexa; her professionalism, integrity and desire to make a difference will be felt across the Caribbean.  You can read more about Alexa’s exemplary life here.

    Here are some of the memories from CIDT team members who worked alongside her. Our thoughts are with her husband Curtis and Alexa’s family and friends at this very sad time of loss.


    “In summer of 2018 I was asked, to lead a series of workshops for the senior staff at the Caribbean Development Bank.

    I met my co-trainer Alexa just before the workshops in Barbados and we immediately “clicked”. Indeed we got on like a house on fire! Her energy and enthusiasm for the work we going to be doing was palpable.

    Her amazing energy and enthusiasm continued throughout the workshops. These were challenging workshops but Alexa and I weaved our way through them and had a lot of fun together and with all the participants. The workshops were really successful and received some amazingly positive feedback from the CDB staff. Both Alexa and I felt very proud of our work together.

    Alexa as well as the fun we had together, I can clearly remember many of our thoughtful and deep conversations about your fight with illness, life in the Caribbean and life in general. You were a real spiritual warrior who taught me so much. Thank you.”

    Philip Dearden, Head of Centre, Alexa’s co-trainer in Barbados


    “Alexa was a joy to work with and to socialise with. We first worked together in Trinidad, her home territory, and then again in St Lucia. Her wit, her humour, her insight, her sharp intelligence, and her innate kindness ensured that I enjoyed and benefitted from working with her. She was also very brave and strong; on our first meeting to prepare for the workshop she explained about her battle with cancer and how it may affect her energy at work, but it never did, or rather, she never let it show.

    Alexa had a high level of empathy with the workshop participants, she could identify both their emotional and professional needs and take steps to ensure those needs were met. She was extremely knowledgeable and insightful about the challenges facing the Caribbean and helped me to understand them from a local perspective. She was also very good at getting workshop participants to open up, and was not afraid to challenge them with difficult questions.

    Alexa was also fun to socialise with. In Trinidad, she and her husband Curtis took me to see the sights across the island; she helped me to understand the historical and current context of the islands and its relevance to current challenges.

    Alexa was a wonderful, strong woman who was a joy to know.”

    Patricia Flett, Alexa’s co-trainer in Trinidad, St. Lucia & the Cayman Islands


    “I was lucky enough to share the floor with Alexa last year in a Caribbean Evaluator International webinar event, speaking together on how evaluation can be used to improve programmes. Alexa was thought provoking, challenging, going beyond the theory to lift the curtain on real issues on the ground. In this, as in her training work for us, her inputs were very well received.

    Alexa soon emerged within the project team of international trainers as a real stalwart and core team member. I quickly learnt that we could rely on the high quality of her delivery, her technical expertise and dependability to get the job done. However she was also very flexible and a good problem solver.

    The moment that exemplified Alexa’s consummate professionalism came when another team member was unable to reach SVG to deliver training. At the drop of a hat, Alexa agreed to stay on and delivered a bespoke training in relation to a training need she had identified with participants. Alexa went above and beyond in delivering for the project, the government and her team members in a flexible way that really met the need.”

    Ella Haruna, CDB PCM Training project manager


    “I remember Alexa as an exceptional colleague with an incredible drive and energy and a wealth of professional and life experience. She enjoyed life intensely. I especially remember the tour we made one weekend to the New Amsterdam Fort and museum, and we visited several former plantations and had such interesting conversations. She will be missed.”

    Wouter Hijweeje, Alexa’s co-trainer in Suriname


    Above and top of page: Alex Khan teaching on the Project Management Masterclasses for senior staff in the Caribbean Development Bank.

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  • The Sustainable Development Goals – how Higher Education can play its part

    23 July 2021
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    At the request of The Millennium Universal College (TMUC) Islamabad, Pakistan, Prof Philip Dearden, the Head of CIDT joined a discussion on the roles of Higher Education in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Philip debated this important question with M. Ali Kemal from the Ministry for Planning Development and Special Initiatives and Arif Masud Mizra, Regional Head of Policy MENA ACCA.

    You can watch the full webinar on LinkedIn.

    The fast moving session was moderated by Sarina Shirazi, Head of Social Sciences and Noorulain Zafer, Head of the Professional Qualifications & Career Development Center at TMUC.

    This TMUC Talk webinar provided the case for building, strengthening and institutionalizing university partnerships with governments and communities to achieve the SDGs. The speakers discussed how a change in mind sets and culture in both academia and government can be brought about, and invited all parties to start the dialogue, if we are to rise up to the global challenge.

    During the discussion Philip made a series of important points about the Higher Education and the SDGs. These include the following:

    1. A key feature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is its universality and indivisibility. The Agenda addresses all countries – from the Global South and the Global North – as target countries. All countries subscribing to the 2030 Agenda are to align their own development efforts with the aim of promoting prosperity while protecting the planet in order to achieve sustainable development. Thus, with respect to the SDGs, all countries can be considered as developing and all countries need to take urgent action. This very much includes both the UK and Pakistan.

    2. When asked about which is the most important goal, the simple reply was that no one goal is more important than any other. Indeed it was noted that the most important feature of the SDGs is that they are interlinked. If we are going to deliver on one we have to deliver across the board. E.g. we cannot deliver on development if we do not have peace and security in place. We should not be delivering creating decent work and jobs if these jobs are going to destroy the environment. The SDGs are all intertwined and interlinked.

    3. The important role of universities in both educating their students about the SDGs and in actually contributing to the SDGs is slowly being realised. UNESCO led the way in this regard with the publication of a set of Learning Objectives for the SDGs (UNESCO 2017).

    4. It was noted that back in 2017 Philip was advocating that the 17 SDGs should be the curriculum that we teach in universities. It was further noted that this important point is now being picked up and there has been a lot of recent rapid change. There are now many resources available to assist curriculum development involving the SDGs.

    5. It was also strongly noted that the role of higher education in creating awareness of the SDGs is critical. Our students need to know about the SDGs and they need to know about them in some detail see this example.

    6. Graduating students may go onto work in the business sector, in civil society organisations or the government sector. Wherever they go they need to have a good understanding of the SDGs and the importance of us all delivering them. This is as true in the UK as in Pakistan. There are four very good reasons why all students need to learn about the SDGs:

    • Students need to learn about the world.
    • Students must be active participants in the world they live in.
    • Students grow empathy and compassion.
    • Students and teachers are inspired to take action.

    7. It was also noted that in Higher Education we all need to be implementing the SDGs through the 3 Cs – the Campus, the Curriculum and the Community. Our campuses need to be beacons of sustainability. Our curricula need to cover the SDGs and we need to work with local communities as part of the civic responsibility role that we all hold. We need to drive understanding of the SDGs. We need to get staff and students debating issues around the SDGs and get both staff and students taking clear ownership of the SDGs relevant to their own subject disciplines.

    8. Many universities are working both locally and globally towards the SDGs. The phrase ‘working glocally’ has been used in relation to the University of Wolverhampton.

    9. The University of Wolverhampton is engaged with the SDGs in a number of ways. We strongly believe we are providing a quality education to our 23,000 students. Some 11% of these are international students who study on our campuses here in the UK. In addition we now have a wide range of Transnational Education (TNE) Programmes.

    10. The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), a specialist, not-for-profit, self-financing development centre within the University has the SDGs at its very focus. The staff of CIDT believe that Higher Education is about pushing at the frontiers of knowledge, to enable economic growth and create a democratic and inclusive society. CIDT staff are at the edge of this frontier, practicing a dynamic and alternative approach to teaching, research and knowledge transfer. The centre has successfully adapted the traditional model of the University to meet the technical and capacity development needs of economically developing countries. It embodies the spirt of UK higher education in a significant yet atypical way. The centres organisational model relies on the international quality of its programme deliverables and integrity of its international development approach. The Centres capacity development support to education, lifelong learning, “green growth” and environmental governance is rooted in sustainable partnerships – not as “experts” but to empower its project partners, to unlock their potential and enhance capabilities. Its work is based on challenging principles, which are innovative in international development programming and have been commended as a major factor in programming success (DFID 2013). The CIDT’s focus for the period 2000 to 2015 was the MDGs. The CIDT is now very much focused on the SDGs, especially Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16 and 17.

    11. Research to provide the necessary knowledge, evidence base, solutions, technologies, pathways and innovations to underpin and support the implementation of the SDGs is critically important. Research needs to be done through both traditional disciplinary approaches and newer interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches; providing capacity-building for developing countries in undertaking and using research; collaborating with and supporting innovative companies to implement SDG solutions; improving diversity in research; and training students for sustainable development research. Some Universities are focussing their research agenda and strategies around the 17 SDGs. See the University of Wolverhampton presenting research at the House of Lords.

    12. In 2018 the Times Higher Education new global Ranking of “Impact and Innovation” was been published. This new and innovative ranking looked at how Universities are delivering against the SDGs. In the first year, 11 SDGs out of the 17 were used with 47 metrics out of a possible 199 metrics and 111 measurements chosen out of 223 targets. This new ranking system looks at three ways in which Universities contribute to society. Through:

    • Research – Creating knowledge to address the world’s problems
    • Stewardship – managing resources, teaching well – the good university.
    • Outreach – directly acting in society.

    In summary it was noted that a Universities have a unique and critical role in helping the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their research, teaching, operations and outreach/community leadership.

    On a practical front two new SDG initiatives related to Universities require a mention:

    1. A new guide from SDSN Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities is strongly recommended. This guide aims to help universities, colleges, and tertiary and higher education institutions implement and mainstream education for the SDGs within their institutions.
    2. The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) has launched a campaign to show the world what universities are doing for our planet. Their campaign – #UnisForOurPlanet – highlights the important work that universities, students and researchers are spearheading across the Commonwealth to tackle climate change.
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  • Analysing the mechanisms to fight against wildlife and forest crimes in Cameroon

    22 June 2021
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    African elephant

    “In Cameroon, illegal logging is estimated at 33% of overall log production, while the annual financial loss is estimated at around 33 billion CFA francs [around 4 million GBP], excluding biodiversity losses”, says Ghislain Fomou, an expert in Natural Resources Management in Cameroon and the lead author of the policy brief.

    “In this climate, where Cameroon has subscribed to various international and regional instruments and is implementing various public and private initiatives to fight against illegal logging and wildlife trade, namely FLEGT-VPAs, CITES, ECOFAC, Independent Monitoring etc., there are questions on the effectiveness of all these initiatives on the ground.”

    In this context, a study has been jointly co-commissioned by CIDT, under the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme, funded by FCDO and the project ‘Strengthening Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa’ (RALFF), funded by the European Union and implemented by Conservation Justice (CJ). “The objective of this study is to assess the operational constraints faced by the mechanisms to fight against illegal logging. This study was specifically aimed at monitoring and identifying illegal forest and wildlife related practices, analysing the extent to which operational monitoring systems address illegal practices and propose solutions to strengthen the systems in place”, says Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Team Leader of Climate, Forests, Agriculture and Wildlife at the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT).

    “This policy brief is based on an extensive field study”, says Fomou, “which covered the Lom and Djerem and the Upper-Nyong divisions in the eastern region, as well as the of Dja and Lobo division of the southern region in Cameroon”. The study has also involved interviews with key stakeholders in the fields of fighting wildlife and forestry crimes, including government officials, representatives of the civil society and members of the local forestry communities.

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  • The Serbian Trade Union movement is at a crossroads – CIDT facilitates strategic planning through an intensive virtual support

    16 June 2021
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    The trade union movement in Serbia is currently at a crossroads. It faces declining memberships, challenges in securing trade union rights, and technological and economic changes which affect the nature and type of jobs. For the unions to become stronger and more representative, the old ways of working need to change.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has led to further change in the external environment in which trade unions operate, and the movement needs to revisit how to support members and adapt their operations in order to be efficient and fit for purpose.

    Working through a virtual delivery mode, Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden supported a Results Based Management (RBM) workshop as an integral part of the development of a new strategy by the CATUS Forestry Trade Union in Serbia. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and brought together 25 key Trade Union members, in Belgrade alongside ILO staff members and several key speakers.

    Workshop approach

    The key learning objective of the workshop was to examine the key concepts of RBM and apply these in the development of a new strategy for the Autonomous Trade Union of Forestry and Wood-Processing Industry Workers of Serbia. As a result of the workshop, the longer term strategic impact, outcome and outputs were developed as   a results framework. Key indicators were also developed so that the essential monitoring of strategic progress can be undertaken over the next few years.

    The framework will be further developed into a full and detailed strategy entitled “A Trade Union equipped for the Future” by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

    The recently published ILO working paper Trade Unions in the Balance presented by Rafeel Peels of the ILO proved to be a good starting point for this discussion. This paper authored by Jelle Visser describes the current situation of the trade union movement, its key challenges, and four possible scenarios for the future of trade unions:  “marginalization”, “dualization”, “replacement”, or “revitalization”. The paper discusses ways trade unions can achieve revitalization, the preferred strategy that the Serbian forestry trade union.

    International experience on the recent modernization of Trade Unions in Austria, was shared by Christian Folzer and Martina Schneller, illuminating suggestions for further positive action.

    Specific topics covered in the intensive workshop were:

    • Current concepts of results based management and their relevance to the Union,
    • A strategic planning framework structured around seven simple planning steps,
    • Undertaking a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis,
    • The development of a clear short and long term objective for the Forestry Union using the Results Chain
    • The development of relevant key indicators to measure strategic change and practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools.

    The workshop was  opened and closed by Jovan Protic, National Coordinator, ILO Serbia; Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe; and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union.

    Video from the workshop

    Screen shots of some of the participants and presenters:

    The workshop being closed by Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Tackling the question of why illegal logging persists in the Congo Basin

    27 May 2021
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    Aerial photo of forest village

    “Within the forestry sector, the law aims to guarantee respect for the balance provided for between commercial logging, conservation and community uses”, declares Samuel Nguiffo, a lawyer with specialist expertise in natural resources law.  According to Mr Nguiffo, forestry law seeks to ensure sustainability from economic, ecological and social dimensions. Despite the existence of many laws and regulations, illegal logging persists in all the countries of the Congo Basin. It is estimated that between 50% and 90% of timber produced in the Congo Basin countries could be illegally harvested.

    In a new policy brief entitled “The judge and the forest in Central Africa: why does illegal logging persist and escalate in the Congo Basin countries?”, Mr Nguiffo presents an analysis of the forest laws and penal code of four Central African countries: Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo based on a more extensive study in the four countries. The study was commissioned jointly by CIDT, under the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme (FGMC) Programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the project Strengthening Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa (RALFF), funded by the European Union and implemented by non-government organisation Conservation Justice (CJ).

    “The objective of this study was to understand the reasons for the persistent impunity of forest law offenders in specific countries, due to the recurrence of illegal logging activities”, says Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Team Leader of Climate, Forests, Agriculture and Wildlife at the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT).

    “The main question we wanted to explore with this study is whether the infractions observed in the forestry sector are the result of failures in law enforcement or a weakness in the law itself.”

    The study found that the increase in logging activities seem to be explained by the peculiarities of the repressive system in the forest sector, which has ensured immunity of violators of the legislation: weakness of regulatory standards, which does not include all infringements or penalties to cover all the obligations imposed on loggers, in principle, as well as the marginalisation of the judge in managing litigations.

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  • Creating learning products that help Caribbean Governments respond to shocks

    19 May 2021
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    Trees in hurricane

    The Caribbean region is especially susceptible to a wide range of natural hazards – droughts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and landslides – leading to an estimated US$3 billion in annual losses. Shocks that affect a large number of people simultaneously, such as the recent volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines, require appropriate assistance mobilized rapidly and effectively to those in need.

    The World Food Programme (WFP) manages a large portfolio of programmes and activities on Shock-Responsive Social Protection (SRSP) in the Caribbean to strengthen regional and national emergency preparedness and response capacities. As part of this engagement, WFP is developing a training programme to equip practitioners and policymakers to better understand the role of social protection and disaster risk management in preparing for, responding to and mitigating the impact of shocks.

    The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University of Wolverhampton has been contracted as a learning partner to design these face-to-face, online and self-paced distance learning solutions aimed at building participants’ knowledge, skills and competencies to prepare social protection systems ahead of shocks and to respond to emergencies through the social protection sector.

    CIDT are preparing a series of deliverables working in close collaboration with WFP including: curriculum and training resources to deliver a webinar series, face-to-face training, including a train the trainer input and self-paced online learning modules.

    The first important step was the development of a programme learning framework as team leader Ella Haruna explains:

    “We worked closely with WFP and consulted regional stakeholders to map out the ‘learning journeys’’ of each of the target groups, who may engage with the programme in different ways. The Framework details these learning pathways as well as the targeted training audience, the learning ‘gaps’, the training aims and objectives and the specific learning approach and training methods. We developed a schema of how the different components of the learning programme are to work together to deliver the desired impact and outcome. This learning framework essentially represents the road map for programme design and is the means to ensure that the different components of the training programme come together to create impact at scale… to become more than the sum of their parts.”

    The CIDT team includes Prof Rachel Slater and Daniela Baur and is comprised of social protection experts, capacity strengthening experts and specialists in graphic and online course design.

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  • Talking foreign aid budget cuts with Voice of Islam Radio

    4 May 2021
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    UK aid packages

    On 30th April 2021, CIDT’s Professor Philip Dearden appeared on Voice of Islam Radio’s Drive Time show to speak with hosts Raza Ahmed, Qayyum Rashid and Hanif Khan in a special show on foreign aid.

    Listen to the full interview below and the full show here, which also features Dr Colin Alexander (Senior Lecturer in Political Communications at Nottingham Trent University), Stuart Butler-Smith (founder of schoolsmith.co.uk and Farzana Zafar Akbar (secondary school teacher).

    Speaking about budget cuts in foreign aid, Phil noted how aid from many countries is increasing, for example recent 2020 OECD figures show foreign aid spending rising 3.5% in real terms compared with 2019, including increases of 11% in France and 14% in Germany. However, in the UK our aid budget has been savagely cut, at a time global extreme poverty is expected to rise due to compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Humanitarian aid cuts of 60% to war torn Syria have been especially brutal.

    A large ongoing three-year development project in Somaliland that several CIDT colleagues are working on has been notified of forthcoming cuts just as delivery gets into full flow. The project is supplying much needed services including water, sanitation, and important health inputs. Cuts will most impact the poor and marginalised communities.

    On these changing UK priorities Phil noted:

    “We are talking about the UK’s FCDO moving away from providing international aid to reduce poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities to a new self-centred focus on UK defence.”

    The government has allocated an additional £16.5 billion for defence spending over the next four years. This additional £4 billion a year will more or less offset the savings from the £4 billion cut to the aid budget.

    Speaking on the lawfulness of foreign aid cuts, Phil recalled the 2013 UK government commitment to the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI), which was enshrined in UK law in the 2015 International Development Act, with cross party support.  This commitment featured in all major party manifesto commitments at the last election.

    Phil remarked that in addition to being unlawful and morally redundant, the aid cuts are a real false economy.

    “It has always been clear that FCDO aid cuts of this scale will result in lives lost and the loss of hard-won development gains. They will severely damage the UK’s international reputation, hurt relationships, and undermine the UK’s security and ability to achieve foreign policy objectives.”

    After speaking further on the COVID-19 pandemic, which Phil stated is reversing decades of progress in reducing global poverty, the interviewers focused on what can be done moving forward. Phil highlighted that it is important not to overstate the impact of aid, stating that foreign aid has not been the major driver of development progress. Rather, long-term development progress depends primarily on the economic and political institutions that are built over time in low-income countries, and the actions taken by those countries themselves.

    To improve foreign aid, Phil focused on three salient points:

    • Working in partnership at all levels. Development programmes are more efficient and have a much better chance of success if everyone is working in partnership.
    • The continued need for strong oversight on how aid is spent and the important work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), the UK watch dog that independently scrutinises UK aid spending
    • A focus on development effectiveness with continuous monitoring, reviews, evaluation studies and openness to constant lesson learning.

    “In summary we need to focus on strategic, results-oriented design and planning as well as the use of performance information to improve decision-making.”

    Update: On 25 May 2021, Phil returned to Voice of Islam radio to speak further on this topic. Listen to this interview below.

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    Photo: LPhot Joel Rouse/MOD, OGL v1.o, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • CIDT joins organisations calling for lasting forest policy solutions

    28 April 2021
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    CIDT joins and supports civil society organisations from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and West and Central Africa in calling on the EU and international community for lasting policy solutions to strengthen forest governance, protect and restore forests. CIDT is already involved in pushing for a number of policy initiatives as we build towards the international climate change conference COP26 to be held in Glasgow in November.

    Download the summary document ‘Raising the bar Strengthening EU biodiversity and climate leadership through FLEGT and Forest Partnerships’, which gives an overview of the vision and recommendations.

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    Raising the bar document coverThis statement summarises the views of civil society organisations (CSOs) from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and West and Central Africa. These organisations help address the key challenges threatening forests around the world, including the ongoing trade in illegal timber and commodity-driven deforestation, by proposing lasting solutions that work for people and the planet. If the EU follows these recommendations, it will help to strengthen forest governance, and protect and restore forests globally:

    • Use the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Fitness Check to strengthen the FLEGT Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and address the persistent obstacles that hamper their effective implementation.
    • Maintain the integrity of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and provide tailored support to VPA countries, ensuring CSOs, local communities and Indigenous Groups have the space and capacity to participate.
    • Develop ambitious, inclusive, and rights-based Forest Partnerships that respond to the partner countries’ needs.

    First published by FERN.

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  • Action learning engages stakeholders in Suriname’s Energy sector

    28 April 2021
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    Global goals

    CIDT is facilitating a one-year action learning process within the Suriname Electricity Company (EBS) to introduce tools and methods for a structured stakeholder engagement process. The project is part of a Caribbean Development Bank-supported drive to strengthen social and environmental safeguards and contribute to quality service delivery.

    Project managers at EBS are familiar with dealing with internal government stakeholders. However stakeholder engagement as a structural approach to results-based project management is a different ball game for this state-owned private company.

    Power sector planning decisions are complex. They cannot be solved by a single government agency, institution, or interest group. Stakeholders can directly affect the successful outcome of power-sector projects when proactively engaged via transparent and regular communications. Addressing stakeholder concerns early in the project cycle can help avoid obstacles and save valuable time and money.

    Mr Eyndhoven, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) has said:

    “at EBS we recognise that our decisions and actions in conducting our work impact a wide variety of individuals, companies, and organisations. Consultation and feedback from our stakeholders will help us make better decisions, improve our operations and processes’ transparency and predictability, and build widespread societal and customer confidence in our business.”

    Wouter Hijweege

    Wouter Hijweege

    Due to Covid restrictions, CIDT’s Dutch associate Mr Wouter Hijweege used online training and coaching methods, developing a bespoke EBS guideline and handbook on stakeholder engagement.

    As the CTO explained:

    “Increasingly, effective and meaningful stakeholder engagement is essential to fulfilling EBS’ role to provide clean energy to all Suriname citizens. It allows our citizens and customers to become informed and also influence what we do”.

    Such engagement also forms part of Suriname’s ambitions in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this way, EBS is also contributing to achieving goal no 7: Affordable and clean energy.

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