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New technology can help humanitarian aid, but can’t replace it.

A new report from the Red Cross has shown how mobile phones and internet technology has transformed the delivery of humanitarian aid. According to the World Disaster Report 2013, natural disasters caused fewer deaths and illnesses than in the previous decade.

The focus of this year’s report was on the rapid growth of technologies that have changed how humanitarian aid has been delivered, such as digital information exchange, the web, big data, and mobile communication tools.

The report uses the example of a project called the Voice of Kivus, a project organized in the DRC by the University of Columbia to trial new methods of data collection on the conflict. Community leaders in 18 randomly selected villages were given mobile phones, and sent regular texts reporting on the progress of the conflict.

The report highlights the success of this project in allowing humanitarian aid to be effectively coordinated and distributed to where it was most significantly required, in accordance to developments on the ground.

The report also highlights the ability of technology to help prevent drought in sub-Saharan Africa, due to the ability to follow weather patterns and track rainfall levels.

It also highlights problems of relying on technology to plan aid delivery, such as intermittent coverage for internet and reception for phones, as well as the general inequality in access to such technology, with wide disparities between men and women, rich and poor, and urban and rural.

Read more.

Global Climate Investment Falls

The latest Climate Policy Initiative report has shown that the world investment towards preventing climate change totaled $359 billion last year, a slight fall from 2011, and less than half of the $700 billion an year that the World Economic Forum says is necessary to tackle climate change. 

The total amount of funding fell by $5bn, and the overall pot is far short of the $5 trillion that the International Energy Agency estimates will be necessary by 2020 just to fund clean energy projects if the 2 degree target is to be met.

“Investment to combat and adapt to climate change is happening around the world, but it’s short of where it needs to be and efforts to grow it have not been successful enough,” said Thomas Heller, the executive director of Climate Policy Initiative, the group which compiled the report.

The report, entitled Landscape 2013, highlights the size of the gap between climate change funds, and the amount that is spent on subsidizing fossil fuel production, which was $523 billion last year, according to the OECD.

Read More.

2013 ATI: More is not enough when it comes to aid info.

Information about aid spending is steadily becoming more available, but it also needs to become more useful, concludes a report released today by Publish What You Fund.

The results show there is a leading group of organisations that publish large amounts of useful information on their current aid activities. For the first time, a U.S. agency – the Millennium Challenge Corporation – ranks top, scoring 89%, more than double the average score.

The Aid Transparency Index (ATI) report is the industry standard for assessing foreign assistance transparency among the world’s major donors. For the first time, it not only assesses what information is published, but also the usefulness of that information.
David Hall-Matthews, Director of Publish What You Fund, said:

“Open data and transparency are becoming fashionable watch words, but we’re checking if donors are really delivering, looking beyond high-level commitments and long-held reputations. The ATI ranking shows that no matter how many international promises are made, no matter how many speeches there are around openness, a startling amount of organisations are still not delivering on their aid transparency goals. We will continue to encourage organisations to release more data – but more is not enough. We also want to make sure that the information is useful.”

Read more.

Final countdown for European Development Days!

With just one month to go before European Development Days 2013 (EDD13) kicks off at the 'Tour & Taxis' venue in Brussels on 26-27 November, organisers are ramping up efforts to ensure maximum awareness of the forum and its main thread, poverty eradication and the development of a post-2015 agenda.

With the objective of making the forum as inclusive as possible, EDD13 launched a video contest for children and young people aged 13-24, 'Young Voices Against Poverty', asking them to relay in 120 seconds or less how they would fight poverty. The result is a whole host of creative submissions from Portugal to Paraguay, all of which are all visible on the EDD Facebook page. The deadline for both submissions and votes is 1 November, so take a look and vote for your favourites! 

Registration to attend the forum in person also closes on 1 November, but you will be able to follow the 20 auditorium sessions via live web-streaming from wherever you are in the world. More details can be found on the EDD website, which also contains background on the themes and topics of this year's edition, as well as analysis and opinion from the media and our stakeholders, speaker profiles and confirmations and an official programme.

In advance of the forum, the EDD Facebook page and Twitter handle will bring you all the latest up-to-date news and practical information. We encourage you to join us!
So whether in person or online, join the debate and make your voice heard.

Read more.

EU Lawmakers vote to block biofuel bill

The proposal to limit the EU’s use of food- based fuel crops took a blow last week, after a vote on 17 October in the European Parliament’s environment committee failed by two votes, possibly delaying the progress of the bill until 2015.

The French liberal MEP Corinne Lepage, Parliaments rapporteur on the legislation, was due to begin fast-tracked negotiations with EU states over the bill, which will now head for a second hearing instead.

The vote would have limited the amount of EU biofuel that could be sourced from food crops to 6% by 2020, whereas now the European Council of Ministers must agree a joint position to be submitted to the Parliament, which observers feel will be unlikely to happen before the next elections in May 2014.

Nusa Urbancic, the clean fuels manager of Transport and Environment, a green think tank, described the committee vote as “a victory for the current biofuels industry over the future one. There is no certainty for the advanced biofuels sector and a lot of them will probably move out of Europe now as they have threatened to before,” she told EurActiv. “But the bad ones – the biodiesel sector – can continue to produce for a bit longer.”

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Global calls

No new calls

In country calls

134995 - Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development - Actions in Swaziland 2013
 Open » 9/12/2013  Action Grants   Swaziland   Non-State Actors and Local Authorities
135170 - Audit Quality Control in the State Audit Institution of Montenegro
 Open » 13/12/2013  Action Grants   Montenegro   PreAccession Countries / New Member States
134837 - Promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights – Universal Access to Reproductive Health
 Open » 10/12/2013  Action Grants   All Countries   Investing in People
135131 - Support to Social Enterprises and Business Advisory Services
 Open » 29/01/2014  Action Grants   Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244/99)   PreAccession Countries / New Member States
135131 - Support to Social Enterprises and Business Advisory Services
 Open » 29/01/2014  Action Grants   Kosovo  PreAccession Countries / New Member States
135163 - Efficiency in anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (TR 12 IB JH 02)
 Open » 13/12/2013  Action Grants   Turkey   PreAccession Countries / New Member States
135103 - Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (Mozambique)
 Open » 25/11/2013  Action Grants   Mozambique   Non-State Actors and Local Authorities
135149 - Renforcement de la capacité de contrôle des services vétérinaires en vue de les rapprocher des standards européens et internationaux
 Open » 3/12/2013  Action Grants   Algeria   Neighbourhood
135151 - Mise à niveau des laboratoires de l’Institut national de la médecine vétérinaire aux standards européens et internationaux
 Open » 3/12/2013  Action Grants   Algeria   Neighbourhood
135143 - The Sarajevo 2014 Programme
 Open » 15/01/2014  Action Grants   Bosnia and Herzegovina   PreAccession Countries / New Member States
 Open » 1/11/2013  Action Grants   Brazil   Non-State Actors and Local Authorities

Public consultations

The EU's list of public consultations can be found here.

No new public consultations

CONCORD is the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development.  Its 27 national associations, 18 international networks and 2 associate members represent 1,800 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe. CONCORD leads reflection and political actions and regularly engages in dialogue with the European institutions and other civil society organisations.
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