IRIN’s Top Picks: Aid flows, education and North Korea

Welcome to IRIN's weekly assortment of journalism and research about the humanitarian world that piqued our interest.

Five to read:

Development aid stable in 2014 but flows to poorest countries still falling

New data published this week by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reveals development aid funding remained almost on par with 2013 values, but support for the world’s poorest countries fell by 16 percent. The largest donor countries by volume were the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France and Japan, while Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK continued to exceed the United Nations’ ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. The United Arab Emirates, which has recently joined DAC as member, had an ODA/GNI ratio of 1.17%, making it the largest donor in the world for the second year running.

W(h)ither the Humanitarian Code of Conduct?

When was the last time you read the Humanitarian Code of Conduct? Alyoscia D'Onofrio, International Rescue Committee (IRC) senior director for governance & rights programming, admits he hadn’t read it since the start of his career, but found himself revisiting its content and application ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit. This blog explores a range of questions: Is the code too Western? What scope is there for military/private sector engagement in the humanitarian sector? And how can the code become a “more globally acceptable reference point?”

Humanitarians should stop neglecting end-of-life care

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  nurse Emma Pedley makes an impassioned plea for humanitarians to do more to support the dying. “The fundamental humanitarian belief that every life matters and is worthy of care surely should not end when that life is no longer deemed savable – something that I have seen too often in my two overseas missions,” she says. Humanitarians, she observes, are all too often chasing after the next big drama, but issues like palliative care and mental health are still important too.

Girls' education: 'Policymakers are hardwired to look for low-hanging fruit'

Xanthe Ackerman, founder of Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa, argues that donors and NGOs need to start looking beyond low-hanging fruit and put their money where the impact will be greatest. Secondary education, she argues, is often overlooked by development actors because it’s easier to boost enrollment for younger children than help older kids whose lives are more complicated by puberty and related societal pressures. Ackerman also urges charities to do more to help girls in conflict zones gain an education.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  - 2015: Humanitarian Needs and Priorities

Most of what we hear about North Korea concerns its eccentric young leader Kim Jong-un, but behind this peculiar façade lies a country in the grip of crisis. This United Nations report describes North Korea as “a silent and underfunded chronic humanitarian situation” where 18 million people are food insecure and lack nutritional diversity and the chronic malnutrition (stunting) rate among under-five children is 27.9 per cent. Funding, it says, has declined from US$300 million in 2004 to less than $50 million in 2014, leading to programme cutbacks and rising vulnerabilities.

One to listen to:

The Why Factor – Refugee Journey

A sensitive look at why refugees take the risks they do to leave home and cross the world, and how they do it. The BBC programme hears from a range of refugees: Howram, a Kurd who escaped Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; Hatem, a Syrian who crossed through 14 countries – including Indonesia - before he reached Britain; and Palestinian-Syrian musician Abo Gabi who fled the horrors of Yarmouk refugee camp in war-torn Syria, first for Beirut then for Paris. It also shines a light on the exploitative smuggling rackets that turn other people’s misery into money.

Coming up: 

LSE Africa Summit 2015

Friday 17 & Saturday 18 April, London

Register ASAP to attend this second annual two-day summit that brings together a diverse range of speakers list from African politics, business and academia. We all know Africa is rising, but there are also many important challenges to be tackled: from youth unemployment and security to healthcare and education.  Organised by LSE’s Department for International Development, the theme is “Innovative Governance”.

From IRIN:

Four reasons the crisis in Yemen is so dire

Warnings about the scale of the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen are becoming graver with each passing day. We round up some of the key challenges facing the country. Other recent reports from IRIN on the current Yemen crisis include: Is the Saudi-led war legal? Who’s Who; Photos and accounts from the ground of the impact of the bombing and violence; Details about the strike on the Mazraq displacement camp; the plight of trapped refugees and migrants; and how live-saving aid is being blocked

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