The Council for International Development (CID) is the umbrella body for New Zealand organisations working in aid and development. A recent press release predicts that 2019 will be a challenging year for New Zealand aid organisations. Conflicts, natural disasters, refugees, climate change and growing inequality will all be contributing issues.
Humanitarian crises are on the rise. The number of crises receiving an internationally led response has doubled since 2005, while the average length of a crisis also increased, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that nearly 132 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2019 at a cost of about $21.9 billion.
Refugee issues will be ongoing. Nearly 70 million people across the world are currently displaced, most of them within their own borders. It is estimated that one in five women refugees has experienced sexual violence – actual numbers are probably much higher. The Rohingya refugee crisis will not have any quick solution. Roughly 720,000 refugees fled to Bangladesh after the violent military crackdown against them in Myanmar in 2017. Refugee agencies are concerned that any deal for their return to Myanmar should include guarantees of their safety.
Issues of inequality are a continuing concern. Oxfam’s latest report calculated that 82% of the world’s wealth went to the richest 1% in 2017.
Technology will change development. Drones will increasingly be used in emergencies, as well as providing valuable imagery to identify things like crop growth and leaf blight. 3D printing will help get much needed equipment to vulnerable communities.
Digital identity will grow in importance. The World Bank estimates that over 1 billion people worldwide are unable to provide identification proving who they are. Privacy issues will continue to be important as governments extend the use of digital identity documentation. This essentially becomes a person’s electronic fingerprint—their birth registration, vaccinations, certifications, and refugee status will all be digitally recorded, and tied to their ability to interact with government.