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Annual review 2022

Three minute insights:

International development

Thailand, Kenya and Nigeria joined a global community of countries that have used the Calculator to assess decarbonisation options, paving the way for the development of local or national strategies, plans and policy.”

Marc van der Stouwe, global sector leader, international development

Marc van der Stouwe

What are the emerging hot issues?

Climate change compounds all other challenges to international development. More frequent heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods due to climate change are affecting billions of people around the globe and causing potentially irreversible damage to the Earth’s ecosystems.

It is one of the key factors driving displacement, migration and food insecurity, increasing ill health, and posing risk to lives and livelihoods, infrastructure, cities and communities. Climate change is disproportionately affecting the poor and the global south. Some places have already become unliveable.

Unsurprisingly, funders and investors are more wary of projects at risk from climate change. Moreover, the global economic outlook is poor, with low growth and rising prices leading to anticipated lower levels of investment in international aid – at least from some bilateral agencies.

Why will these issues be keeping clients awake at night?

For national and city governments, project proponents, investors and donors alike, the challenge is to develop social and economic infrastructure projects that will deliver the outcomes people aspire to and need – better education, health, and nutrition; improved water and sanitation; and sustainable energy and transport.

In 2022 we launched a climate finance service that consolidates Group experience and expertise in aligning investors and recipients’ needs. It specialises in building the skills and capacity required to define and design projects, assess and mitigate risks, build robust business cases, procure transparently, manage projects and report on performance.

How are clients affected?

There is considerable scope for international sharing of innovation and best practice.

In 2022 we completed a pilot project in Bangkok, Thailand, to predict and manage flooding with the aid of digital solutions that enable predictive modelling of rainfall and its impact on local flash flooding. The technology and methodology developed are applicable globally.

We’ve worked in Bangladesh and are currently working in several countries across Africa to adapt farming to long-term changes in the climate, with findings and successes being shared through papers and presentations.

In Indonesia, we provided technical assistance and project management to initiate the Sumatra Merang peatland restoration project and have an ongoing supervisory role. It is restoring native habitat to capture atmospheric carbon and slow rainwater run-off, which reduces flood risk to downstream communities; a key part of the project is to work with local farmers to develop practices that are aligned with the restoration and provide improved livelihoods.

And in 2022 Thailand, Kenya and Nigeria developed carbon reduction routemaps as part of the 2050 Calculator programme we’re managing for the UK government. The three countries are part of a global community of countries that have used the Calculator to assess decarbonisation options, paving the way for the development of local or national strategies, plans and policy.

How can we help?

We support clients and stakeholders by blending our international expertise with our local presence and capabilities. This combines deep technical knowledge spanning infrastructure, social development, economic advisory and climate change. We link the right skills from across our worldwide company with local leadership, resources and supply chains so that initiatives and programmes are owned and led by people in their own context. Programme management is key. We work with recipients to account for the money they spend and provide reassurance to donors and investors; address unforeseen challenges and keep delivery on budget and on time; engage communities in project preparation and delivery, so as to minimise negative impacts and maximise the positive; and set projects up for effective operation and maintenance, so that they perform well once delivery is complete.

For example, the UK government-funded Business Partnerships for Global Goals programme (BP4GG) has been set up to equip workers in the food, textiles and clothing industries with the skills to adapt to climate change. It has so far reached 1.42M workers, farmers and their communities – a third living in acute poverty and over half of them women. BP4GG has forged partnerships between international businesses and local communities. Participation includes 20 multinational food chains, clothing brands and retailers, five not-for-profit organisations and 296 suppliers across Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Myanmar, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the UK.


Annual review 2022

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