This is the fourth post of a new series on the Development Channel, "This Week in Markets and Democracy." Each Friday, CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program, will highlight the week’s noteworthy events and articles.
Gap in climate finance
The six big multilateral development banks (MDBs) released a new report on climate financing this week. In 2014, multilaterals spent $28 billion to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to help countries adapt to climate change. South Asia and Latin America received the largest share of this record outlay, up over $4 billion from last year.
Still to meet the 2020 goal of mobilizing $100 billion to help developing nations cope with climate change, the MDBs are being asked to stretch their “balance sheets and crowd in more capital.” The World Bank and others are pushing to bolster low-emission investment, particularly from the private sector. And at next month’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development, public, private, and NGO sectors will focus on clean energy financing and climate resilience among other development priorities.
Technology versus corruption
European researchers from Cambridge and several other universities are developing a tech platform to make Europe’s public spending more transparent and easier for citizens to scrutinize. To identify corruption in public spending, the Digital Whisleblower project (DigiWhist) will collect public spending information from across thirty-four European countries, link this data to corporate information and political officeholder records, and using sophisticated algorithms, sniff out corrupt behavior. Ultimately, the DigiWhist platform will not only map risk of corrupt behavior and contracts on the national and regional scale, but also track suspicious suppliers and pinpoint individual contracts. China too is using technology, releasing an app through which citizens can anonymously submit proof of government corruption, specifically officials abusing public funds for personal consumption.
Improving humanitarian aid
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) annual Global Humanitarian Overview Status Report revealed a huge gap in resources for humanitarian crises. With only 26 percent of the necessary $18.8 billion committed, nearly 80 million people across thirty-seven countries remain vulnerable. In the July/August edition of Foreign Affairs, David Miliband and Ravi Gurumrthy of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Michael Barnett and Peter Walker of George Washington University and Chatham University, respectively, discuss this and other challenges facing humanitarian aid.
In addition to resources, the IRC’s Miliband and Gurumrthy argue for focusing on outcomes rather then inputs—for instance measuring functional literacy not number of new schools. They also argue for reducing bureaucratic red tape, consolidating response efforts, encouraging competition among humanitarian organizations to improve delivery, and shifting the focus from international goals like the Millennium Development Goals to country-specific targets. Barnett and Walker emphasize local partnerships as the means to improve accountability and design effective programs.
South Africa Ignores the ICC
This week, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s again evaded arrest for the genocide and war crime charges brought against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC). South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration ignored the ICC’s request to arrest al-Bashir when he attended the African Union Johannesburg summit. This incident raises questions about the ICC’s credibility in Africa more broadly, as South Africa’s action follows Kenya’s refusal to cooperate with investigations into senior officials’ roles in inciting electoral violence in 2007 and Ugandan call for African nations to withdraw from the ICC altogether. Zuma’s choice also flouted South Africa’s High Court, which had ordered al-Bashir to remain in the country pending a judicial decision over whether to hand him over to the ICC. CFR Senior Fellow John Campbell sees Zuma’s decision as a threat to South Africa’s rule of law. Read his analysis here.