Portfolio plan Global Development and International Relations

Thematic priorities

The Portfolio for Global Development and International Relations has been developed on the understanding that Security and Governance, Poverty, Development and Equality, and Global Health are interrelated.

Several prominent issues are of relevance and have an impact across the thematic priority areas, especially socioeconomic inequality, inequity, migration, peace, violence and conflict. In addition, two thematic dimensions have a particularly strong impact on this portfolio's thematic priorities, the SDGs (cf. Appendix 2) and climate change, climate adaptation and just transition.

Climate change and just transition
Issues related to climate and the green transition are covered by designated portfolios, but they impact strongly on this portfolio's thematic dimensions. The consequences of flooding, drought and disease – resulting in migration on an unprecedented scale in areas where tension is already high, e.g. due to drought and crop-failure – lead to intensified competition for food, water and energy in regions where resources are already stretched to the limit. This has implications for conflict and development.

In many areas, ecosystem services are threatened by the degradation of habitats, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and climate change. Sustainable natural resource management practices have the potential to secure vital ecosystem services and prevent natural hazards from becoming crises. As detailed in the Government’s Strategy on climate adaptation, prevention of climate-related disasters and the fight against hunger, key priority areas include climate-adapted agriculture, warning systems and climate services, risk financing, and disaster risk management.

The threats facing the oceans are multifaceted, including rising temperatures and sea levels, acidification, the bleaching of corals, degradation of mangroves, and marine pollution and littering. Marine plastic waste is mainly caused by lack of waste collection and waste management on land, and most of the plastic enters the oceans via rivers. Many LMICs foresee increased economic growth within the blue sectors. Diversification and new economic activities are needed but may compete with existing activities, such as those of small-scale fishing communities. It is thus important that the consequences for those who live by and off the sea are considered both in connection with facilitating new economic activity and when implementing conservation measures.

Access to energy is fundamental to improving the quality of life and is a key imperative for economic and social development. However, in LMICs, energy poverty is still rife. Understanding the energy needs of societies, energy use, energy sources, technological solutions for energy supply and distribution, their implementation, financing, effects on societies and long-term sustainability is a priority. Knowledge is needed about the effects of renewable energy sources on poverty alleviation, climate, and job creation, as well as on the role of the private sector. Africa is emerging as a driver for growth in demand for oil, gas and renewables. However, the production of energy can create and increase inequality, and it is crucial to understand both how the energy sector affects local inequalities and how green transitions in affluent countries in many ways rely on precarious and dangerous work in low-income countries. It is crucial to ensure a just transition for all stakeholders and the inclusion of local communities.

Messages at time of print 15 June 2024, 12:49 CEST

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