From the fight for cleaner oceans to improving sanitation

The Fifth Annual Our Ocean conference has seen countries, business, and organisations pledging a total of USD $10 Billion and 300 actionable commitments to improve the state of the ocean globally. One of the main announcements at the conference was the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment with the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging globally can be either reused, recycled, or composted by 2025. Over 250 organisations have reportedly joined the commitment.


Donors have agreed to put an additional USD $1 Billion into the Global Financing Facility, half of the USD $2 Billion target. While contributions were made by major players, including the Gates Foundation, Norway, Germany, the UK, and the European Commission, observers noted several major absences, including Sweden, a major donor to maternal and child health. Sweden has long been concerned the GFF will increase fragmentation in the international health system.


The African Development Bank has announced a African Urban Sanitation Investment Fund at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, pledging to raise at least USD $500 Million for ‘new, city-wide inclusive sanitation investments for the AUSIF from public and private sources.’


An interview with the BHP Foundation’s CEO James Ensor and education lead Brodie Vansleve as the philanthropic wing of BHP Billiton pledges USD $52 Billion over five years to ‘help improve access and learning outcomes for the poorest.’


The Global Development Community is bracing for the release of the Trump Administration’s foreign assistance review which will form the basis of development spending plans in the White House’s next budget proposal. The review has been tightly controlled by the White House, reportedly to the point that even members of the Congressional committees supervising the US Foreign Aid have received little information about the review.


An interview with Preety Bhandari, ADB director on climate change and disaster risk management, to discuss the banks plans to deal with the threat of climate change in the wake of the IPCC’s report.


As scientists and climate advocates campaign for a dramatic increase in global efforts to fight climate change, some communications researchers are arguing they should take a comedic approach to messaging, citing studies conducted in the past few years which found university students were more receptive to scientific messages presented in a satirical style. Multiple studies have found students expressed greater confidence and certainty about the effects of Climate Change after viewing clips from popular American Satire programs The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Last Week Tonight on the subject.


The UNEP, Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership (APCAP) and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) have published a new report identifying 25 measures to be taken on air pollution in the Asia-Pacific to improve ‘human health, crop yields, climate change and socioeconomic development.’


Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Phil Karsting has been named the new Vice President of Policy at World Food Program USA.