From the global effort to contain the Coronavirus to growing concerns about the UK’s strategy for COP26

Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan a public health emergency of international concern, Experts say more must be done to coordinate responses internationally and strengthen China’s public health response.

Related: US$675 million needed for new coronavirus preparedness and response global plan


Climate activists and developing countries are increasingly concerned the UK lacks a clear strategy for the COP26 talks in Glasgow later this year. COP26 is widely seen as the last realistic chance for countries to pledge the stiff cuts needed in greenhouse gases to stave off climate breakdown, but the abrupt sacking of former energy minister Claire O’Neill as leader of the talks combined with concerns UK efforts to negotiate post-Brexit trade deals will override climate concerns at the conference have raised fears the talks will go nowhere.

Related: Johnson urged to set out firm plans for UK’s net-zero carbon target


The European Commission has released a new vision for the European development finance system, promising a “new comprehensive coordination mechanism” to improve coherence with EU member states and the international finance institutions they hold shares in. One thing missing from the Commission’s release was a decision on an institution to serve as the bloc’s sustainable development bank, a position the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have been vying for over the past few months.

Related: EU urged to adopt meat tax to tackle climate emergency


World Bank President David Malpass has announced the Bank will split its regional department for Africa in two, effective later this year. The split, which will come into effect from July 1st of this year, will see the Africa department divided into ‘Western & Central Africa’ and ‘Eastern & Southern Africa’.

Related: First test for World Bank board’s new accountability powers


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has launched its 2020 funding appeal. UNWRA is seeking USD $1.4 billion to fund the Agency’s essential services and assistance, including ‘life-saving humanitarian aid and priority projects’, for 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees across the Middle East.

Related: For many human rights NGOs, UN access remains out of reach


GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance will help vaccinate up to 45 million children in seven developing countries over the next six months in a series of major vaccination campaigns to help halt a recent surge in global measles cases. The campaign will target Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Related: Q&A: WHO’s global strategy to tackle health misinformation


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has ended a vaccine trial against HIV in South Africa after the vaccine proved ineffective.

Related: PEPFAR seeks coordination with other aid donors, says US AIDS chief


Former UK Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt says the UK’s  Department for International Development (DFID) should take its ‘strategic lead’ from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Related: Brexit day: UK aid community grapples with life outside Europe


USAID Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Robert Jenkins says U.S. foreign assistance agencies must learn how to be more agile in executing and then evaluating the effectiveness of programming in conflict environments.

Related: Potential budget bump for DFC raises concerns about aid funding


Rachel Firth is the founder of Women in Dev, and Traci Baird, president and CEO EngenderHealth, are calling for global health organisations to take action to increase the number of women in leadership positions noting that despite women making up roughly 70% of the global health workforce only 25% of senior roles are held by women.

Related: Which globaldev employers are hiring gender experts?


Employees at nonprofits and think tanks are increasingly looking to unionise as they become frustrated by what they see as an incongruity between their organisation’s advocacy and the way they treat employees. These unionisation efforts have not always been welcomed by employers with one group accusing the National Center for Transgender Equality of firing all of the employees in the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU)’s bargaining unit in retaliation for their organizing work.

Related: How Mercy Corps’ safeguarding policies failed a survivor


Devex looks ahead at what the main issues set to drive the development finance agenda in the coming year.