Strengthening development in the face of the climate crisis and environmental degradation

By Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate and Andrew Norton, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

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Aftermath of a Brazilian Amazon fire

The climate emergency and broader environmental destruction — from forest devastation to loss of biodiversity to depleted water supplies — are challenging international aid agencies’ collective ability to support sustainable development.

Despite awareness of these growing pressures, these issues are often peripheral to how development agencies work. True, most members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have adopted environmental safeguards and are refocusing some of their actions on tackling the climate crisis. Too often, however, development agencies overlook other pressing environmental problems, such as sustainable management of forests, land and water, and related health issues such as sanitation, indoor air pollution and urban slum improvements.  In short, agencies have yet to fully integrate environmental concerns ― including climate change ― in their policies, plans, budgets and actions.

But how? The DAC examined the practices of its members — focusing on the European Union, Sweden and Canada — with support from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and identified five steps that agencies should adopt if they want to effectively tackle critical environmental challenges and threats: Continue reading

Fit for purpose means continuous change

by Susanna Moorehead, Chair, OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC)

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As I arrived in Paris last week to take up office as Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), the 30 DAC Members gathered for a Senior Level Meeting. It was a great opportunity for me to meet people and understand the DAC’s role in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The DAC needs to be fit for its purpose of ending extreme poverty, which is increasingly concentrated in conflict-affected and fragile places. By 2030, 80% of poor people will be living in these conditions. In addition, 100 million more people will have fallen back into poverty if nothing is done to mitigate the effects of climate change and to make their livelihoods more resilient.  At the Senior Level Meeting,  Members endorsed the new DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. This will drive coherence when working in conflict and fragile zones and demonstrate how the DAC is responding to changing development challenges.

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