Eldis Preview 2016

22nd March 2016
With 2016 finally here it is time to look at what events might be worth attending or at least following in the coming year. This is by no means a definitive list but we wanted to make a few suggestions…
Now with us all still basking in the glow of the Paris climate change conference (COP21) the follow-up, COP22, is due to be held in Morocco in November. After the historic agreements made in Paris it will be crucial to see how the international community has enforced/enacted upon any of the pronouncements made. Before then Rotterdam in Holland, will host a major climate change adaptation conference – Adaptation and Futures 2016: Practices and Solutions (10-13 May). This biennial event seeks to foster ‘an exchange of innovative and practical ideas, experiences and insights among governments, businesses, researchers and civil society from around the world.’ With climate change right at the top of the development agenda must also mention the 10th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA10) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 22-28 April. As it says this conference looks at how to best support communities to tackle climate change.
On the health agenda the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research will be held in Vancouver from November 14 -18. This biannual event looking at health systems is an important date on the health calendar – with over 2000 participants – and for 2016 the theme is “Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world”. The Consortium of Universities for Global Health also hold their annual conference in San Francisco from April 9-11 and will cover a wide range of health issues from ‘Improving Health in Failed States’; ‘Key skills gaps in the global health workforce’ to ‘SDGs: Implications for academic global health’. Could be worth a look if you are in town… Education hits the ground running in January 2016 (17-20) with, apparently, the world’s largest gathering of education and skills ministers for the Education World Forum in London to debate future education policy. The event is by official invitation only – which means you can’t find out what will be in the programme! – but it will be interesting to see what pledges/ new policy emerges.   For a more academic/practitioner focused event consider The Comparative and International Education Society’s annual conference. Running from March 6-10 it is in their words ‘devoted to scholarly and practical exchange, debate and networking’. Again this is a large conference, 2500 or so, with participants from over 100 countries. Must also mention that UNESCO’s 2016 Education for All Global Monitoring Report will be out later in the year. This flagship publication monitors progress toward a set of targets (TBC) to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000. Another publication worth also noting is the HEART Topic Guide on education for refugees and IDPs – very topical and due for release in May/June.
On the gender front two events loom large. The first takes place in New York at UN HQ from March 14 – 24 – the 60th session, no less, of the Commission on the Status of Women. Its priority theme in 2016 will be ‘Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development’. The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) will be holding their major event in 2016 from 5 to 8 May in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. It only takes place every three to four years so promises to be an important and very well-attended forum. The theme will be 'Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice'.
Switzerland is once again staging the biannual International Security Forum in Geneva from 13-15 June. I previously attended this event and found it an interesting mix of academics, policy makers, UN personnel and practitioners. The focus was very much on the harder end of security, but this year’s event seems much broader. 
2016 is also a World Development Report year – slated for November 1. These are released biannually by the World Bank and are real policy shapers and influencers for international development process. The title of the 2017 edition (confusing I know) is ‘Governance and Law’ and will look, for example, how to harness the best evidence from around the world to craft more effective systems of governance and delivery mechanisms. Last, but very much not least, is UN Habitat III, which is taking place from 17 – 20 October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. This is a huge event which looks at a whole range of issues on housing and sustainable urban development. It is only the third such event in forty years and as the first post-SDGs has added significance.  Please also feel free to highlight any other events, conferences or significant publication dates which you feel are important in the comments section!