2119459__International_humanitarian_assistance_

2119459__International_humanitarian_assistance_ -...

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International Humanitarian Assistance 1 Running head: INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE International Humanitarian Assistance [Author’s Name] [Institution’s Name]
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International Humanitarian Assistance 2 International Humanitarian Assistance We are not interested in a legacy of cars and laws, nor are we interested in a legacy of development plans for the future designed by [people] other than East Timorese. We are not interested in inheriting an economic rationale which leaves out the social and political complexity of East Timorese reality. Nor do we wish to inherit the heavy decision-making and project implementation mechanisms in which the role of the East Timorese is to give their consent as observers rather than the active players we should start to be. Xanana Gusmão 1 East Timor presents two contradictory stories in the history of UN peace operations. On the one hand, it is presented as an outstanding success. In two and a half years, a territory that had been reduced to ashes after the 1999 referendum on independence held peaceful elections and celebrated independence. On the other hand, however, East Timor can be seen as a series of missed opportunities and wastage. Of the UN Transitional Administration's annual budget of over $500 million, around one-tenth actually reached the East Timorese. (Brown, Mark Malloch 2004) At one point, $27 million was spent annually on bottled water for the international staff— approximately half the budget of the embryonic Timorese 1 Xanana Gusmão, quoted in Mark Dodd, ‘Give Us a Say, Urges Gusmao’, The Age (Melbourne), 10 October 2000
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International Humanitarian Assistance 3 government, and money that might have paid for water purification plants to serve both international staff and locals well beyond the life of the mission. More could have been done, or done earlier, to reconstruct public facilities. This did not happen in part because of budgetary restrictions on UN peacekeeping operations that, to the Timorese, were not simply absurd but insulting. Such problems were compounded by coordination failures, the displacement of local initiatives by bilateral donor activities, and the lack of any significant private sector investment. When East Timor (now Timor-Leste) became independent, it did so with the dubious honour of becoming the poorest country in Asia. The political economy of armed humanitarian assistance in post-conflict territories is the subject of an entire literature in its own right. Here, the focus is on the immediate needs of a territory under United Nations or other international administration. Assistance is notoriously supply- rather than demand-driven, with the result that it is more influenced by donor politics than those of the recipient communities. The second section then examines claims to ownership in the delivery of assistance. (Randel, Judith, Tony German 2002) This claim is often made disingenuously; nevertheless, the assistance mission to Afghanistan from 2002 suggests a different model whereby ‘ownership’ on the part of local actors may begin to mean
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2119459__International_humanitarian_assistance_ -...

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