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Climate funds and social protection: What is the progress to date?

January 28, 2024

The 21st century has witnessed a profound transformation in our understanding of the climate crisis and its far-reaching impacts. As the world grapples with the consequences of global warming, it has become increasingly clear that addressing climate change is not merely an environmental challenge but a complex socio-economic issue that requires innovative solutions. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2023), there have been changes in the atmosphere, cryosphere, biosphere and ocean leading to loss and damage to people and nature. Historically, vulnerable communities who have contributed the least to climate change are facing the brunt of its negative impacts (ibid). One of the critical aspects of this challenge is the need for social protection measures that can safeguard vulnerable populations from the adverse effects of climate change.Climate finance for social protection has emerged as an area of crucial consideration, to bridge the gap between climate action and social well-being. Climate funds, which are primarily designed to support mitigation and adaptation efforts, could be reimagined to simultaneously strengthen social safety nets, enhance resilience and promote sustainable development. Initiating this paradigm shift reflects the growing recognition that climate change disproportionately affects marginalized and economically disadvantaged communities, exacerbating existing inequalities.This paper delves into the evolving landscape of climate finance for social protection. It gives an overview of current social protection spending, financing and coverage gaps across the world, and explores how climate finance can strengthen social protection systems, build resilience and improve socio-economic outcomes. The brief then zooms into adaptation funds (climate funds focused on enhancing the adaptive capacities of communities) to understand what kinds of social protection-related projects are being funded. An analysis following this was conducted to identify to what extent adaptation funds have been used for social protection or social protection type projects.

Climate change and women’s health and rights: women voices from MENA

December 11, 2023

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faces severe climate change impacts, with rising temperatures, water scarcity, desertification and extreme weather events. It is projected to experience high rates of warming, with a potential 4°C increase by 2071–2100 (UNICEF, 2022). Rising heat and humidity levels may exceed the limits of human tolerance. The region also grapples with social inequities, conflicts, poverty, water scarcity and gender inequality. Climate change exacerbates these challenges, acting as a 'threat multiplier' that reinforces existing inequalities. Gendered impacts of climate change are evident, especially in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). SRHR, including family planning and reproductive choices, are crucial for overall wellbeing, but climate change is affecting bodily autonomy and reproductive decisions, particularly for women and girls.Despite the evident effects of climate change in the region, which disproportionately affect women and girls, there is a significant lack of evidence on how climate change impacts their SRHR and access to sexual and reproductive health services. The primary objective of this research is therefore to thoroughly examine and understand the relationship and interconnection between SRHR and climate change in the MENA region, drawing insights from the lived experiences of women, including young women, across the region. Building upon these real-life experiences and a comprehensive literature review, the research proposes essential recommendations for the stronger integration of gender-sensitive policies and financing mechanisms to enhance women's resilience and adaptive capacity in addressing the impacts of climate change. Simultaneously, they aim to improve women's access to SRHR services while addressing systemic gender inequalities, discrimination and exclusion.

From Pollution to Solution in Six African Cities

November 23, 2023

Air pollution is Africa's silent killer. Each year, air pollution kills more Africans than HIV / AIDS and malaria combined. In addition to the 1 million Africans who die from diseases caused by indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution annually, millions more have to live with its devastating consequences. This problem is worse in cities, where highly polluting activities stunt the health of both their residents and economies. Analysis undertaken for the Clean Air Fund by Dalberg Advisors finds that left unchecked, air pollution will collectively cost Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé an estimated US$138bn in premature deaths and worker absenteeism by 2040, equivalent to 8% of their current combined GDPs.The continent's rapid urban growth should not come at the expense of the health of its citizens. African cities can choose to put themselves on the path of green growth, in which investments to tackle the major sources of air pollution bring about benefits to worker productivity, national health budgets and help create healthy, equitable and prosperous places to live. African governments are increasingly aware of this challenge. The Africa Integrated Assessment outlines the steps needed to reach green growth, but realising this blueprint for Africa requires more comprehensive, coordinated and scaled action. This analysis shows that across the six case study cities, actions taken today could prevent 109,000 premature deaths and prevent the loss of US$19bn by 2040.Drawing on best-practice case studies from across the African continent, this policy brief lays out recommendations that can help governments unleash green urban economic growth. Investments in good governance and legislation, better air quality monitoring, evidence-based emission reduction policies, effective partnership models and training, and improved access to climate financing are essential to meeting this challenge. These recommendations represent the first step for governments to consider as they design and deliver locally-tailored action.

From Pollution to Solution in Six African Cities (French Version)

November 23, 2023

La pollution de l'air est un véritable fléau silencieux pour l'Afrique. Chaque année, l'air pollué tue plus d'Africains que l'eau insalubre, l'assainissement et le lavage des mains combinés. En plus du million d'Africains qui meurent chaque année de la pollution de l'air provenant de sources intérieures et extérieures, des millions d'autres vies doivent vivre avec ses conséquences dévastatrices. La situation est bien pire dans les villes, où les activités hautement polluantes nuisent à la santé des habitants et à l'économie. Une étude réalisée par Dalberg Advisors pour le Clean Air Fund révèle que si rien n'est fait, la pollution de l'air coûtera collectivement à Accra, au Caire, à Johannesburg, à Lagos, à Nairobi et à Yaoundé environ 138 milliards de dollars US en décès prématurés et en absentéisme des travailleurs d'ici à 2040, ce qui représente 8 % de leurs PIB actuels combinés.L'urbanisation rapide du continent ne devrait pas se faire au détriment de la santé de ses citoyens. Les villes africaines peuvent opter pour une croissance verte, dans laquelle les investissements visant à lutter contre les principales sources de pollution atmosphérique contribuent à améliorer la productivité des travailleurs et les budgets nationaux de santé, et à créer des lieux de vie sains, équitables et prospères. Les gouvernements africains prennent de plus en plus conscience de l'importance cruciale de ce défi. L'Évaluation environnementale intégrée en Afrique présente les mesures nécessaires pour parvenir à une croissance verte, mais la mise en œuvre de ce projet pour l'Afrique nécessite une action plus globale, coordonnée et à plus grande échelle. Cette analyse indique que dans les six villes étudiées, des mesures prises aujourd'hui pourraient permettre d'éviter 109 000 décès prématurés et la perte de 19 milliards de dollars US d'ici à 2040.Se fondant sur des études de cas de meilleures pratiques à travers le continent africain, cette note stratégique formule des recommandations susceptibles d'aider les gouvernements à favoriser une croissance économique verte en milieu urbain. Pour relever ce défi, il est essentiel d'investir dans la bonne gouvernance et la législation, d'améliorer le suivi de la qualité de l'air, de mener des politiques de réduction des émissions scientifiquement fondées, de mettre en place des modèles de partenariat et des formations efficaces, et d'améliorer l'accès au financement de la lutte contre le changement climatique. Ces recommandations représentent la première étape de conception et de mise en œuvre d'actions adaptées au niveau local que les gouvernements doivent prendre en compte.Air pollution is Africa's silent killer. Each year, air pollution kills more Africans than HIV / AIDS and malaria combined. In addition to the 1 million Africans who die from diseases caused by indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution annually, millions more have to live with its devastating consequences. This problem is worse in cities, where highly polluting activities stunt the health of both their residents and economies. Analysis undertaken for the Clean Air Fund by Dalberg Advisors finds that left unchecked, air pollution will collectively cost Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé an estimated US$138bn in premature deaths and worker absenteeism by 2040, equivalent to 8% of their current combined GDPs.The continent's rapid urban growth should not come at the expense of the health of its citizens. African cities can choose to put themselves on the path of green growth, in which investments to tackle the major sources of air pollution bring about benefits to worker productivity, national health budgets and help create healthy, equitable and prosperous places to live. African governments are increasingly aware of this challenge. The Africa Integrated Assessment outlines the steps needed to reach green growth, but realising this blueprint for Africa requires more comprehensive, coordinated and scaled action. This analysis shows that across the six case study cities, actions taken today could prevent 109,000 premature deaths and prevent the loss of US$19bn by 2040.Drawing on best-practice case studies from across the African continent, this policy brief lays out recommendations that can help governments unleash green urban economic growth. Investments in good governance and legislation, better air quality monitoring, evidence-based emission reduction policies, effective partnership models and training, and improved access to climate financing are essential to meeting this challenge. These recommendations represent the first step for governments to consider as they design and deliver locally-tailored action.

Trapped: How Male Guardianship Policies Restrict Women’s Travel and Mobility in the Middle East and North Africa

July 18, 2023

Women across the Middle East and North Africa region face varying restrictions preventing them from moving freely in their own country and from traveling abroad without the permission of their male guardians—typically their fathers or brothers, and when married, their husbands. The following report examines 20 countries in the Middle East and North African region and describes the different country requirements imposed on women to get their male guardians' permission for their mobility within their country, to obtain a passport, and to travel abroad. It also examines whether women can travel abroad with their children as guardians on an equal basis with men.This report provides governments, policymakers, and civil society including women's rights activists and organizations a resource outlining the current status 0f women's freedom of movement including male guardianship requirements in each state.

Gender and Migration in Egypt: Searching for the Independent Migrant Woman’s Voice

March 22, 2023

This policy brief draws attention to the limited representation of independent Egyptian migrant women and discusses the likely factors behind the absence of women's voices in the field. It also highlights the positive impacts that can stem from Egyptian women's migration, including higher remittance flows and the empowerment of women in Egyptian society. Finally, the brief concludes with a number of recommendations for both researchers and Egyptian policymakers.

Sudanese Women on the Move in Cairo Defy Stereotypes

March 21, 2023

Against the perception of people on the move as helpless and passive, this brief draws on the stories of 12 Sudanese females residing in Ard El-Lewa, a densely populated informal urban area in Cairo with a substantial presence of Sudanese. This ethnographic fieldwork was conducted between January and June 2021. Admittedly, these stories do not represent whole communities of people on the move. But they are a glimpse into the lives of the Sudanese women I collaborated with, interviewed, and observed through fieldwork. More importantly, these stories showcase how people on the move are not mute victims. This brief demonstrates that the stories and voices of people on the move should be noticed and reflected, and that people on the move should have a leading say regarding the contexts and conditions that affect them, as well as how they are represented.

Migrant Women in Morocco: Improving Sexual Health and Tackling Gender-based Violence

March 20, 2023

In this policy brief, we summarize our research on the sexual and reproductive health of women migrants in Morocco, as well as their history of violence and utilization of support services. Our findings show a high prevalence of SGBV among women migrants in Morocco, poor utilization of support services, as well as significant SRH issues. We recommend improving access to adequate information about existing protection and support services, establishing and strengthening support networks, improving research and data collection on SGBV and the barriers to access services, improving coordination mechanisms between actors in migrant health and protection, and promoting transparency and accountability.

Marriage as a Durable Solution? How Syrian Refugee Women Use Marriage for Self-resettlement

March 16, 2023

It is estimated that Egypt has hosted about 500,000 Syrian refugees since 2011. However, most of these refugees are not included in official UNHCR statistics, which only count 119,665 registered Syrian refugees. Limited awareness of registration opportunities, concerns over potential social stigmatization, and fear of being recorded in government databases are among the reasons why there is a discrepancy in the numbers of Syrians in Egypt. Syrians who came to Egypt arrived in an economically troubled country and a politically polarized atmosphere, where they faced a lack of opportunities and a high cost of living.This brief is based on fieldwork conducted in Egypt during the summer of 2017 investigating Syrian refugee women's strategies of self-resettlement, mainly through such marriages, a practice I call "marriage for refuge." In contrast to existing narratives that view this type of marriage as exploitative, I demonstrate how the concept of "marriage for refuge" offers a better lens through which to analyze the relationship between forced migration and marriage.

“This Is Why We Became Activists”: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

February 14, 2023

According to interviews Human Rights Watch conducted with 66 lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ+) activists, researchers, lawyers, and movement leaders in 26 countries between March and September 2022, forced marriage is one of ten key areas of human rights abuses most affecting LBQ+ women's lives. Human Rights Watch identified the following areas of LBQ+ rights as those in need of immediate investigation, advocacy, and policy reform. This report explores how the denial of LBQ+ people's rights in these ten areas impacts their lives and harms their ability to exercise and enjoy the advancement of more traditionally recognized LGBT rights and women's rights:the right to free and full consent to marriage;land, housing, and property rights;freedom from violence based on gender expression;freedom from violence and discrimination at work;freedom of movement and the right to appear in public without fear of violence;parental rights and the right to create a family;the right to asylum;the right to health, including services for sexual, reproductive, and mental health;protection and recognition as human rights defenders; andaccess to justice.This investigation sought to analyze how and in what circumstances the rights of LBQ+ people are violated, centering LBQ+ identity as the primary modality for inclusion in the report. Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, and transgender people who identify as LBQ+ were naturally included. At the same time, a key finding of the report is that the fixed categories "cisgender" and "transgender" are ill-suited for documenting LBQ+ rights violations, movements, and struggles for justice. As will be seen in this report, people assigned female at birth bear the weight of highly gendered expectations which include marrying and having children with cisgender men, and are punished in a wide range of ways for failing or refusing to meet these expectations. Many LBQ+ people intentionally decenter cisgender men from their personal, romantic, sexual, and economic lives. In this way, the identity LBQ+ itself is a transgression of gendered norms. Whether or not an LBQ+ person identifies as transgender as it is popularly conceptualized, the rigidly binary (and often violently enforced) gender boundaries outside of which LBQ+ people already live, regardless of their gender identity, may help to explain why the allegedly clear division between "cisgender" and "transgender" categories simply does not work for many LBQ+ communities. This report aims to explore and uplift, rather than deny, that reality.

انفلونزا الطيور والدعم الغذائي معالجة قضايا الدواجن الصناعية في مصر Avian flu and food subsidies Egypt poultry industry

January 30, 2023

ارتفع إنتاج واستهلاك الدواجن الصناعية بشكل كبير في مصر حيث نما نظام الأغذية الزراعية للشركات في البلاد منذ ثمانينيات القرن المنصرم. يتناول هذا التقرير قضيتين رئيسيتين تتعلقان بصناعة الدواجن.القضية الاولى: فيروس إنفلونزا الطيور المتوطن والذي يتكرر في البلاد مع كل موسم إنفلونزا ويقتل الملايين والملايين من الطيور وبعض البشر أيضا. وقد كانت أحد تدابير الاحتواء الرئيسية التي اتخذتها السلطات هو عمليات الإعدام الجماعي للدجاج "المنزلي" الذي يشيع الافتراض أنه ينشر الفيروس. لكن هذه الافتراض خاطئ لان الفيروس قد انتقل بالفعل من المنشآت الصناعية إلى المنازل. القضية الثانية: الدعم الحكومي للغذاء. استفادت صناعة الدواجن ومنتجو ومستوردو اللحوم الحمراء من نظام دعم الأغذية (غير الخبز).للتعامل مع هذه القضايا: 1. يجب اتخاذ إجراءات لإضعاف صناعة الدواجن الصناعية وقدرتها على نقل الطيور المصابة (والفيروس) إلى مشغلي الدواجن الآخرين من خلال سلسلة القيمة الخاصة بها. كما يجب فرض قيود حكومية على بيع الطيور من مرافق التربية الكبرى. 2. عدم إنهاء دعم المواد الغذائية (على الرغم من الدعوات للقيام بذلك). ولكن بدلا من ذلك، يجب استبدل الدعم المقدم لقطاع صناعة الدواجن بدعم المنتج والمستهلك للفول - وهو غذاء نباتي أصيل غني بالبروتين. وهذا من شأنه تنويع مصادر البروتين في الوجبات الغذائية المصرية.

Eek! What the chick: Addressing the issues of industrial poultry in Egypt

January 6, 2023

With the rise of a corporate agri-food system in Egypt since the 1980s, the country's industrial poultry production has increased dramatically. This report focuses on two main concerns with Egypt's corporate poultry industry.First issue: Endemic avian flu virus. It recurs in the country every flu season, killing millions upon millions of birds and some humans too. One of the authorities' key containment measures had been mass cullings of "household"/"cottage" chickens which were assumed to have spread the virus. But the assumption is false. The virus had actually moved from industrial facilities to households. Industrial firms not only were saved, they further consolidated as smaller farms were decimated by the mass cullings.Second issue: Government food subsidies. The poultry industry and red meat producers/importers have benefited from the food (non-bread) subsidy system. And a growing percentage of imported grains and other foods are used to feed animals and for food processing (i.e. industrial uses) rather than for direct human consumption only.To deal with these issues: 1. Take action to weaken the corporate poultry industry and its ability to pass on infected birds (and the virus) to other poultry operators through its value chain. Advocate for government restrictions on sale of birds from large-scale breeding facilities. 2. Do not end food subsidies (in spite of calls to do so). But instead replace the subsidy on poultry with a producer and consumer subsidy on fava beans - an indigenous, protein-rich plant food. This would diversify protein sources in Egyptian diets.