No-Nonsense+Chapter+2

No-Nonsense+Chapter+2 - About the author Maggie Black is an...

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Unformatted text preview: About the author Maggie Black is an independent writer and editor on social issues relating to‘ international development. particularly in the fields of children‘s and women's rights. and water and sanitation. Among her books are: Water: A matter oflife and health (0UP lndia, 2005). Water; Life Force [N1 2004). The Ala-Nonsense Guide to Water (Verso and N1. zoos). Children first: The story of UNiCEF (0UP and UNlCEF. 1996), and A cause for our times: OXFAM, the first5o years (0UP and OXFAM, 1992). Maggie Black is widely traveled in the developing world. especially in East Africa and Southeast Asia, working as a consultant for organi- zations such as UNICEF, WaterAid. Anti~Slavery International, IPECilLU. SCF and Oxfam, and as a consultant editor forvarious UN studies and reports. She has also been a co-editor of the New internationalist magazine, and has written for The Guardian, the Economist and the BBC World Service. Other titles in the series The hid-Nonsense Guide to Animal Rights The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change “"The‘No‘fNfin'senseGuide'to Conflict and Peace The lilo-Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade The lilo-Nonsense Guide to Globalization The lilo-Nonsense Guide to Human Rights The lilo-Nonsense Guide to lslom The No-Nonsense Guide to Science The hie-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity The No-Nonserlse Guide to Tourism The No-Nonsense Guide to World Health The Nan-Nonsense Guide to World History The Ala-Nonsense Guide to World Poverty About the New internationalist The New lnternationalisl: is an independent not»for-profit publishing co- operative. Our mission is to report on issues of global iustice. We publish informative current affairs and popular reference titles, complemented by world food. photography and gilt books as well as calendars, diaries, maps and posters — all with a global justice World view. If you like this lilo-Nonsense Guide you'll also love the New internationalist magazine. Each month it takes a different subject such as Trade justice, NuclearPower or iraq. exploring and explainingthe issues in a concise way; the magazine is full of photos. charts and graphs as well as music, film and book reviews, country profiles. interviews and news. ' To find out more about the New intemationalist, visit our website at www.newlnt.org Maggie Black ‘ commr 9 2Aid: the internationalcontribution Aid is the international countries have always bee 16 people J? they give, but the ke arm of development. Rich n niggardly with the amount it is _ imposSible to take a definitive view about its value. 613 a_vari- Throughout its history, aid has been driven by the ' = ' donor agenda and relatively little has been used to address poverty, but without it poor countries would " ' - ' i be' even worse off. Non-governmental aid also has its ary zboé. '3' Michael critics, but it is more likely to address poverty and at Oxfolidmlfléversitér; support alternative development models . 199 . ‘ development b.. m . - d 3113’ Version of l n . l 0 r ‘ “Y of dreams 1:) sad Wthh “ Quid k6 1. Jeevan Vasagar, ‘Campa‘ wilage', The ‘G ' ‘ _ elopmenr. Zed B In The Development Dictionary, ed m Development? Report of the . ger, 1969.10 Le AT THE TIME when ‘aid’ was invented, the central role envisaged for itin development meant that instru- ment and purpose were seen as indistinguishable. Aid on a massive scale, furnished by the industrial— ized world led by the US and the err-colonial powers, would fuel a ‘big push’, enabling development in poor countries to take off.1 In the great majority of nations, this never took place. One problem was that the scale envisaged for aid or official development assistance (ODA) never materialized. Even the targets set — one per cent of industrialized countries’ GNP in the 19605:, and 0.7 per cent in the 1970s — were unambitious and arm”. .7 could never have accomplished the goal. rsity ;:_ Governments signed up to t he 0.7 per cent target, but this has never been met except by a few northern European countries. The miserly quantity of ODA ‘ ' remains an issue, and there was a big and success- __ i' I 1 ‘ .ful push to increase it during 2005. But actually aid ' 'qua-ntity is far less significant than issues to do with _ finality and-pUrPOSB-- - - ' ' I ) I , '. ' . 7- = ' " ‘f i” " ' The existence of aid created a new sub-set of inter- " - ' national affairs, casting developed and developing 30 ‘ , . v Michael Joseph 19 ' . 94. 90- 15 UNJCEF Office 23 June 1995. :6 ' UNlCEF. 1996. :7 31 Aid: the international contribution in“ countries respectively as ‘donors’ and ‘recipients’. This i i - relationship, in which the d I onors are in. the drivin s l c H no matter how much this is glossed over with words l i g such as ‘partnership’, has helped to perpetuate an I axrs of superiority and inferiority. The implication is l r I: that ‘development’ ' n exclusive to poor 5 ng qualitatively different from eco— Who gives what? Only four countries me rent ofGNl (Gross Nati " "' Overseas Development A55 _ . “er-95’ Gm. 2904 istance (Obit) as a percentage Ii i Norway Denmark Luxembourg Sweden The Netherlands Portugal Belgium France Switzerland Ireland Italy E United States Human Development Report zoos. UNDP vance in theindustrialized world, donor populations that Southern poverty is so glaring that, unlike poverty in their own societies, it will be easy to sort out by Spending money on it- ‘ The justification for aid, from the outset, has been poverty statistics in developing countries. today a huge array of comparative data, much of it collected and synthesized courtesy of — well, aid. This There is - is most easily accessed in the World Bank’s annual world Development Report and the UN Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Report. re expressed in economic terms — GNI per capita, for example; some in social terms — rates of infant mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy; yet others are indicators associated with access to ' services: family'pla'nning take—up} _ ‘ access to health care, safe water and so on. Thus a ‘world’ picture of needs is conveyed. But whether aid budgets and programs respond to these needs is another matter. Aid as compensation? The connections between aid and poverty eraditation have always been tenuous. Much aid has been used to help countries compensate for their underdeveloped status in Ways unconnected to poverty, titling them over with advice, specialized expertise and subsidized contracts for high-tech investments, until the notional day when they become developed and can do these things for themselves. The primary purpose of ODA has been to assist the growth of national economies and increase the global total of ‘modern’ consumers. It was clear from the start that aid would be used by donor countries for strategic and political purposes and to promote trading ties. But a set of international bodies existed — the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UN 4-. through which aid could be channeled. The transfer of resources and know—how to promote economic-and. sociali - female education, ‘ Aid: the international contribution advance through these took place within the broader framework of international effortsto secure peace; multilateral aid would be free of national self—interest, althouglr‘ governing bodies reflected prevailing struc— tures of power, wealth and orthodoxy in financial and economic affairs. This was the climate in which aid was born. With the successful experiente of the Marshall Plan for European recovery fresh in every mind, no—one worried that aid would not achieve its purpose. Aid and development were immutany har— nessed. One followed the other as night followa day. This idea of aid as instr ntal ' Idevelo ment has been extraordinaril Lienacdoiis. This is- because and an the institutions associated with it, from the " mighty international funds and Vbanks to the smallest charitable endeavor, are the principal international expression of humanity’s commitment to the develop- ment mission. Without these bodies and the many types of transfers they provide, development would be entirely a local affair, controlled by a recipient coun- try’s administrative policies and budgetary investments and bolstered by voluntary and philanthropic activity in the society concerned. The ‘international commu— nity’ in the form of donor agglomerations would have no say over a country’s financial, economic, agricul— tural, health, water resources, education, or any other policy. Because aid has given development an interna- tional dimension and the character of a global crusade, and because ODA packages have been used as a lever for all kinds of policy impositions, the concepts of aid and development are difficult to disentangle. However, it is important to recognize that much international aid has a remote relationship with any- thing recognizable as development, Much of it never goes n,‘ear the South at all. Some is spent on. debt ' 'Irelief; some on international bureaucracies based in ' donor 'countries, some on vast displays of interna— tional discussion or ‘glohal studies’. Even a significant i i i l i l component of ‘program aid’ — that spent directly on - activities in developing countries — goes on personnel and machinery set up to administer it, much of which belongs to donors. - Aid ma e international, but in the end whet r it is e .ectivel r connected to cut is c d _ what ha ens on the rouan W Developing country bureaucra-' cies typically suffer from many shortcomings: lack of capacity, lack of democracy, lack of eff1c1ency and .lack of outreach to the poor. Thus even program aid! - may berelatively'impotent in controlling its results. " Development is subject to many influences, not all of'which aid can or should control. Chang e and. pro ress can ha en without the intrusion dam, and much ODA has failed to make a useful contribution. Great expectations . ' Since a lot was expected of it and it has funded many failures, aid has had a checkered history. Early assumptions about the ease With which underdevel— opment would give way to the application of aid-011 a Marshall Plan model 50011 collapsed. The Situation in Africa, Asia and Latin America was quite dif- ferent from that in post—War Europe, where there had been huge destruction and human distress, but there was an educated population and knowwhow of all kinds. Once countries had reconstructed, they could put their human capital instantly to work. But in the South, it was a question of building. modern infrastructure for the first time. Most African and Asian countries had no'educated cadre waiting to run it — except for the'handful of people trained ‘ up by the ex-colonizer's for purposes of their own. > ‘sDevelopment- could. not- s'irnply- he slapped down. upon pre—industrial societies courtesy of aid. Except for the business of commodity extraction Via mines 35 Aid: the international contribution and plantations that the colonizers had come for, an autonomous modern economy and the institutions to run it had to be created, mostly from scratch. This is a task requiring generations, and using investment to speed it up has been a puzzle ever since. _ The naivety of early aid policy meant that many ventures failed in spectacular fashion. One of the most notorious was an attempt to mechanize agriw culture in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia that left a trail of abandoned tractors littering the landscape. There were rapid breakdowns, no spare parts, misuse for private purposes, a failure to recover cultivation ' costs and endless other problems.2 Many attempts at modernization and industrialization ran into similar disaster. Sophisticated industrial plant and showpiece constructions — which were what most developing countries _wanted, not-some second~class, bargain basement 'version of derrelopinent —~ quickly fell into disrepair. -It--became clear that aid—"would have to be better targeted to help those living in poverty. Unfortunately there were very few structures to man- age the use of aid for this/ The criticisms leveled at aid‘s poor results provided a cast—iron excuse to keep ODA budgets 10w. But the assumption remained that aid could and would pro- duce development if project quality and performance improved. Within the aid industry itself, the crisis of confidence stemming from early disasters led to a process of re-appraisal. In order to be able to apply aid better to its purpose, development in all its aspects — objectives, strategies, policies — as well as the assoe ciated practical arts and sciences — data collection, planning, project design and performance monitoring — were increasingly put under scrutiny. Whatever else it has or has not done since the early fiascos, aid has since paid for a thorough debate about itself. ODA has also achieved some striking successes. It facilitated the transfer of agricultural technology H that brought about the expansion of food production known as the Green Revolution (although this is seen as a mixed blessing in terms of its effects on small and marginal farmers). Aid has also helped to effect maJor advances in public health, including smallpox eradi- cation, the control of many infectious'diseases and reductions in mortality and illiteracy; aid is essential in the contemporary international fight against AIDS. Assistance provided by non-governmental organiza— tions (NGOs) has helped bolster the growth of civd society, and enabled organized expressions of Citizen need. to make improvements in their lives, albeit on a mini—sealer A variety of critiques _ ' Nevertheless, aid has not been the engine of. develop- ment originally anticipated. Nor has it brought an end to poverty. And because it appears not to have achieved very much, aid has come in for devastat— ing critique. One school of thought derides all aid as damaging, because it creates dependency, fat— tens bureaucracies and inhibits political dynamics in receiving countries. ODA is also accused of promoting an agenda that exclusively serves donors and the bet— ter off, helping elites feather their OWn nests in league with international business interests, taking money from poor people in rich countries to help rich people in poor countries. . . a ' Another school of thought pomts to aids poor results in economic terms and the way it has frequently been filched or squandered. Analysts may look at the correlation between provision of aid to developing countries and their rates of economic growth, and finding no discernible connection, dismiss aid as point— less — or since they are usually themselves part of the aid industry, call for ‘reform‘.3 One influential treatise from an economist who spent 16 years at the World Bank suggested that there was nothing to show for 37 Aid: the international contribution the $1,000 billion aid disbursed since 1950 as living standards in many parts of Africa and South Asia are lower than 30 years ago“ This ignOres the good things aid has done, and the fact that there have been many faulty assumption that everything done with aid is Similar, pursued for identical‘purposes. A question mg existence as a budgetary umbrella, aid has little generic character. f a ferent t r es of ‘ i ’ vastrange of_act1vities es eci r' l , con— tributions are inc u ed. One woul - ‘ in); m§n"“_wo?lE?—’__fl Unhelpful messages Whetheraid contributes to socio—e‘conomic improve— ment for disadW pends 5013‘ Who R‘ s136_n____ ME;_£§_QQ§X and on what. Anyone Who has . . M. spent time on aid—financed prolects knows that the process of intervening usefully in how people conduct their lives is fraught with difficulty. It is hard enough , . in ones own‘community; how much harder in socie- and failure — which aid organizations dependent on support in donor countries are guilty of perpetrating 7— rarely apply. PrOJects that can, be fiercely criticized on one set of grounds — wrong technology, over—optimistic 38 _ repeatedly asked is: ‘Does aid work?” The ques- " 'x"tio‘n ma (es 110%. ' ’ is altransfer‘of reso “W " ' " “1‘7: Mfi‘vm—H‘r—fl C S i on concessronarr terms r a it to ii to time-scales and wasteful extravagance — may also have excellent attributes. Others that are impressive — dynamic leadership, local commitment and visible improvements -— may collapse later because of- a tech—- nical problem no—one could have envisaged. A classic: example is the adoption of handpump~tubewells as the universal device for village drinking water in ' Bangladesh, supported by UNICEF, the UN Children’s ' Fund. When the water table dropped because sources were over—pumped for irrigatiOn, arsenic contaminat- ed the groundwater. A program heralded a success for 20 years was now roundly criticized. Yet no-one could‘ have reasonably anticipated. the arsenic problem, nor did the extraction "of water-for drinking-cause'itl‘ie-n problem. 130 'ud ment about ‘success’ or ‘fail re’ can be uaranteed over time nor extra 01 mm local- —_...___..»—J constantly Chan in circumstances. To make a defini— mm is im ossible. ‘ ' Tliere are many other examples of messages that convey oversimplified ideas about ODA, both to talk up its humanitarian credentials and gather political support, and to talk it down as a waste of taxpayers’ money. Just as it is invidious to seize on examples of bad aid investments to dismiss the w ole enterprise, it does not help to inflate the case for it on spurious grounds. Aid’s supporters continue to evoke the inap— propriate model of the Marshall Plan, as with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative actively promoted since 2002. Exaggerated claims were made during the 2005 ‘Malce Poverty History’ campaign about what could be accomplished when official aid flows are dramatically increased, to $130 billion a year (the 2010 target agreed at the G8 Summit at Glen'eagles). There is no reason to assume that larger aid flows would in themselves perform alchemy on poverty in the- South-.---. Welliinformed: .. ;. observers estimate that, at best, one—quarter of official 39. Aid: the international contribution development assistance reaches people who are poor.‘5 Even this estimate seems generous. The ‘aid industry’ is an intrinsic part of the machin- ery of development since it supports and influences it, but it is not the same thing. Yet such is the abiding power of the ‘aid : development = poverty reduction” idea, and the hope for humankind that it contains, that simplified equations about the causal relationship between these three phenomena are repeated without serious chiallenge. They do not help an understanding of What aid is or how it works. ' The machinery of aid The lien-iii I: AM anon. Earthstan .The machiner of official aid is net desi ned‘ to a dress the overty of people, but the state of nation 'T" e*internationa'l'institutions "—'"banlcs,'"UN’ agencies, funds and commissions - and the country-to—country bodies Such as USAID and the UK’s Department for .What is aid spent on? About 25_per cent is spent on tranSport and industry: over 15 per cent on education and health; and around 6 percent on debt servicing. Despite all the recent talk about ‘governance and civil society" this receiires less than 3 per cent. Education. health and population Basic '— {15.5%) Other Education a (1.3%) (24-3 16) K [._..._...c_ Water suppiy and sanitation (6.6%) Government and 'civil society (2.9%) /J Emergency aid {5.1%} Debt relief (517%.) l- Program , assistance (4.7%] . __ . Transport and industry (24.5%) . .Agritulture [9.5%] International Development (DfID), are a constella— tion of bureaucracies whose only common feature is that they spend money collected from taxpayers in richer countries in countries that are poorer. Whatever the diverse members of this. ‘international donor community” are most akin to — research institutes, consultancy firms,- sub—departments of foreign affairs 7 or boards of trade — they are in no sense charitable bodies writ large. The only part-exceptions are those With a humanitarian mission. Unlike international NGOs, Whose recipients” selec- i tion is determined on the basis of their disadvantage, official aid bolsters activities conducted by govern— 'ments. Some is nonvadaysj also. spent throughNGQs, I'W'but this is a' small P'fOPdftiofi‘ The projects or programs supported by ODA- fall under sectoral headings — finance, planning, agricul— ture, health— and are intended to bring about economic growth or fill in technical gaps. The assumption 13 that successful schemes will create jobs, improve crop yields, harness power and improve local capacities of spending and official funding (Sm, 1969-97) 18.00:: Gross expenditure 16.000 I from NGDs on aid 14.000 - ----- -- Financial resources 12,000 received from official aid budgets 10,000 8,000 6,000 4.0m: . _ _ _ _ a - . - - ' - - . . . . . . . - ‘ ‘ ~ e . - r' o in N cu”;- I\ ssssssssssaasas Northern non-governmental organizations (REDS): patterns Debating Dewiopmeni, Uxiam. 1am ._. . . . . c, r... u ,u-..._.._..__,,.._,.__ WWW—W..,________._...._. ._. .__.___.,_. Aid: the international contribution in a varietycf fields, including health and education. 3 program impact. That is done later by ‘evaluation’ dflflflfliflfilfild 991.133.9335? form 0f ‘fCCllLli' ' and has little to do with making a project work bet— 9%1...§;,0P,¢r§flnfi_w2h__Ttmfi-M)LEEMMJ%J‘ Hexerts ter — that is usually completed by this stage. It may wigsejlgllfwregpient countries ack. The con ition 5f i help the donor decide whether to extend or reduce a people in povertst rarely tackled by these forms of aid, _ particular aid line — watershed management, say, or although they may help draft policies that are meant to condom distribution. There is no democratic check on address such needs, and some projects are located in . i a rogram‘s local im é'ét'lj‘éaise the constituenc to POOH-'1‘ Parts Of th‘? COUHUY- * _whic1 it is answerable is not its eneficiaries but its The large salar1es and benefits enjoyed by expatri-_ ‘, mm ' - are internationals paid out of official aid attract much - There are all sorts of other obvious ways in which ‘ I adverse comment. But specialists employed by the - i dglglgpmenLassistance machinery serves the agenda ' in donor community, including those from the South, : and muirements of donors. In the case of country- are part of the economy of the donor world and are ;‘ tHIE'ountE—aid, spending policies are biased in favor -e.H-1P1°yed at,lt5 rates: Th? “Suki-11g inequity-is a IQf.lCC*. _ ._ ‘-' ,- of strategic and commercial interests. The list of pen of'th-e imbalance between 'the economies of the ' - i5 ' recipient countries to which any dtmor country has .. a Industrialiaed world andrtheeconomies .in which the -‘. given most of its ODA over the years has, with some 7 V3“ [UFJDUFY Of people in the South live. These experts exceptions, almost invariably reflected these consid— 3fe WTflflfimfllflQflfil—BMWS: erations. To take an example, between 1982 and 1987 not to the societies in which the serve. the UK annually provided from its aid budget the : equivalent of $1,075 for everyone in Gibraltar, $7,705 ‘3 per head to the Fallclands/Malvinas, 20 cents per head to India and 0.0037 cents to Cambodia? Israel has been a disproportionate receiver of US aid. France The donor agenda The idea that newly created wealth automatically trickles down from immediate beneficiaries to the rest of socrety has long been discredited. Nonetheless, % focuses heavily on Francophone Africa, Portugal and many donor programs still Operate according to the . Y Netherlands on their err-colonies and so on. Old lflCOIOgY, as If It was axiomatic that ‘every transfer Donor countries have been reluctant to :1 1y helps. This has fostered an accountancy version of p065}: r aria and s and flame aid, in which the donorg= role is to help plan state- L. Wrovgd, Of'thfi'art Programs, and then see that the sums of There are a so many examples of notorious ODA money allocated are properly accounted for to their -' _ expenditures: in the early 19905 the UK Government PrOVIClEIS' ' spent $351 million on a hydroelectric dam in relatively WWW : Wealthy Malaysia as part of a major arms contract, Wags. which was subsequently found to be an illegal aid A Specm “13113.86 9 reportese does little more than 5‘ . expenditure in the British courts.8 This kind of aid rlelpeat stated 0b]ect1yes and plans, as if ‘rolling out” 51' ' "— and there is still a lot of it —‘ is all about building 415MB.- program has of Itself achmvecl the desrred result. - ', political alliances and'opening up, lucrative contracts __ I theanY IBPOItSd‘FildODQIS are emollient in the extreme; '7 ‘ ' for home-based companies. Even where the principle y are nee e for audit purposes, not to assess . :1" of Poverty—related spending: is establishedlfor, arch“; a: i; '"lllwilrflw" The Ream}! anifl' zonz. Earlhscan How much aid to the poorest countries? Less than a quarter of aid goes to the poorest countries. High income countries (3.5%) ——| Upper middle income countries (6.9%) Least developed - countries - (24.698 Lower middle income countries ' (35.7%) Low income I I countries (29.2%) '. aciaslrwith trading interests, including? the sale of armaments, will usually find the donor’spolicyflplayj ihg’séébn'd fiddle. m" Eaten when normed paws, aluch of any country’s ODA is spent on its own cadre of technical experts, and through its own aca- dth‘iE; researchEde—consfltanc institutions. A 2006 Actionflld report found that 25% of aid budgets worldwide were spent this way. Even such enlightened donors as Sweden and Denmark still insist that a proportion of their aid budgets be spent on their own products; theHUS spends ngenceut? The UK’s record has recently improved, trying since 1997 to target aid to poorer countries and spend it on things that cor— respond to what voters think aid is spent on. But the reality of much aid is still a far cry from the image it \carries in the taxpayer’s mind. In receiving countries, many representatives of civil society express outrage t the way aid may be used to shore up policies and 'nstitutions that entrench poverty, despite its pretence - If doingthe opposite. Neutral channels Much official assistance is spent through multilateral agencies answering to governing bodies made up of representatives from a number of governments, North and South. This is supposed to place them above the squalid considerations of national self—interest dominating bilateral, or government, aid. The most important of multilateral organizations is the World Bank, in terms both of funds and influence; there are diverse UN organizations and many regional bodies. But even though poverty criteria may be applied in- their spending policies, their agenda _is still largely donor-driven. '_ - ' - For much of its existence, the Werld' Bank has not even pretended to be addressing poverty, mostly supporting a wide range of infrastructural projects: dams, power generation, roads, communications sys— tems. After a brief flirtationiwith poverty. reduction. . __ during the 19705, its main activity became the provi— sion of funds to promote the ‘structural adjustment’ of developing country economies along tee market lines. The social distress these reforms created became so gW gthatintms‘f 1e or. anc re lSCOVel‘e‘ . pover as an ai tar et and introduce _ggui~i_*r;y— based ‘poverty—reduction strategies’. But whatever the rhetoric, its support has always been used as an instru- ment for binding countries into economic policies it approves. World Bank reports deeply lament the scale of extreme poverty in the world, but are reluctant to admit that the policies it has espoused bear some share of responsibility. . @gngflonal - overnmental organizations (NGOs als ion to the ideolo and cul of the donor world, but they do n91.1me from the one the, ' r vealhethauewgener; ally_b§__n much better ha - mm spending money so as to enable d sadvanta ed people _ to improve t eir live . This is the reason that most 7 45 —~——m~———Wms~mwmmw-W .—‘----v----'—-n—_-wr Aid: the internationalcontribution official aid bodies sometimes spend through them and ' During all this, the socially oriented aid organiza— local affiliates, thereby supporting ‘c:_iyil_snciety’ -— a 5 tions battled on. UNICEF ran a successful campaign. term which exerts a mantra—like charm. Not all local for universal childhood immunization and the promo- or international NGOs are an unqualified good thing. af tion of child rights. NGOs’ status and coffers were i The availability of funds has brought many spuriOus t .enhanced in the 19805 and 1990s. Disasters in Africa ‘ organizations into existence, and the plethora of aged- i helped generate a lot more public sympathy in donor cies has had the unfortunate effect of promoting a j countries for people in need than was echoed by the begging—bowl mentality. , ' .; official establishment, which was forced to recognize ,' NGOs make mistakes and some may be unscru- ' that its policies had failed to bring about recovery in pulous. But at .their best they are in touch with the _ debt-ridden and economically depressed countries. myriad realities of people’s lives in a way undreamt of E Africa in particular was 'disasterihit, and the most among the authors of the macro-policy and the mas— , marginal members of society — landless people, aban- ter plan. Some have helped find alternative models of j doned women, children, peoplewith HIV — suffered development that better serve the poor. This is not a r . ‘ disproportionately. ‘ ; path along which government and multilateral .donors - ‘2 .- ' 1 _When the Cold War ended,.greathopeswere attached have generally been willing to follow. . f - to ‘the peace dividend’ it would unleash, and images of ' 7 ' ' ' ' .' " ' major transfers of aid to tackle world pOVerty dangled After the Cold War before the international imagination. In fact, after a The 1980s can be seen as the nadir of international 1 peak in 1992, aid budgets were cut: in 1997 and 2002 development co~operation. Recession in the industri- they reached an allvtime low at an average of 0.22 per alized world, high interest rates, debt and balance of cent of GNP.10 This was mainly to do with the end payments crises rained down on poor countries with _‘ of ODA’s use as a component of Cold War strategy. disastrous consequences. Social expenditures were .- Until other global political dynamics began to oper— dumped, and instead came stabilization and painful '3 ate in the post 9/11 era, impetus to raiSB aid budgets structural adjustment. The use of aid was subjugated - was limited. Instead, the selection of recipient coun— unashamedly to donor agendas, to expanding the tries was based on the pursuit of the global econOrnic global economy, and protecting it from financial risk. : liberalization agenda and willing accommodation to The World Bank and IMF pushed a macroeconomic that, with democracy and human rights following iagenda known as the ‘Washington consensus’, which -' - - behind. Another major change was the disappearance was all about prudent fiscal and monetary policies, ‘ of former Eastern bloc countries as donors, and. their control of inflation, and leaving things to the market. : re—emergence as recipients, reducing the proportion of Their loan packages required countries to cut services, _ aid available for the ‘old’ developing world. depress wages and as a consequence throw millions of people out of'work. There was a new emphasis on Targets for 2015 private flows of capital and on opening up private- _, There was also a re—awakening of donor concern that public partnerships — often a recipe for private profit _ aid should not only be justified in the name of poor" by corporations and their allies, and public‘theft o _' people, but shOuld actually be spent. in ways‘conducive people’s resource base and livelihoods. ' , _ I - to poverty eradication. As poverty tieduction‘gained ' 46 3. 47 . , ‘_r..."—-r-w«tr—.mmw-uw—hT-Ww—m-M—rw— .48 Aid: the international contribution ground on the international agenda, 3 series of pov- erty reduction targets were articulated, and these were affirmed at a UN Summit in 2000, for achievement in 2015. The goals include halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, reducing child mortality by two-thirds, reducing hunger and malnutrition by 50 per cent, reVersing the spread of HIV/AIDS, universal primary education, and many others. Ills _‘l_l__e_nnium Develo merit Goals have subse— quently generated tleil' own su -industry of 'MDG aafivE—‘T—TJJF gplannjng, m Quit grii 1g,measuring and reporting, and the have been widely taken up BEE—dove opment campaigners in donor countries. ‘ -~Meeting.th_e goals is now Cited as the purposeof, I, ‘ increased donor aid. But despite all the rhetoric around ‘the Goa’lsi‘there'is little *to'suggest'that the services that could deliver these improvements would spring into existence when larger aid flows material— , ize. Most MDG five-year reviews found progress well below target. Although much lip service is paid to the need for social investments, in fact very few donors commit more than a Win health and education ex enditures. Even when they do, all the inhibitions on reaching the really poor ‘ — lack of outreach, lack of motivation, bureaucratic inertia — cannot suddenly be overcome because this is what enlightened donors say they want their aid to do. In many settings government personnel still rarely go near poor communities. When they do, few demonstrate understanding or motivation to make services work.11 Failures at th e' ‘ d com to- misefid rpsults. This “asst not mean additional aid could not be spent well ~— on writing off debt, building up govern— ' ment Capacity, re—creating security systems where these have broken down, funds for cheap drugs, ‘ better data collection and regulatory mechanisms to stop ‘development’ scams which exploit people and _ violate their rights. These are current directions in Some donors” policies, but the opportunities for doing them effectively are hard to find, given the shortcom— ings of existing administrative and service structures. In most poor countries these desperately need to be improved, but instead their reduction may be sought 7 as a condition of donor-driven ‘economic reform”. And well under half of ODA is spent in the parts of the world where most of its poorest peeple are to be found — South Asia and Africa. The climate improves , _1n the wake of the attacks on the US on 11 September I Wigged. Suddenly, the” consequences 0 extreme alienation associated with poverty have become sufficiently threatening to impinge on donor minds. Recipient countries have been quick to adopt the new rhetoric: ‘To 513er development; said Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru, at the 2002 UN Summit on Global Poverty in Monterrey, Mexico, ‘is to speak also of a strong and dW.“ The Summit, from which little was originally expected, produced new commitments to aid, especially from the US and European Union. The trend was strengly reinforced at the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles in Scotland, when the rise of aid to $130 billion annually by 2010, cou— pled with debt cancellation packages, was agreed. HOWEVBEZJEIlBSfillEEIXQiCELl ways of spending _a_id — 6n m...i_dd1e;ai§s_n_ls_¢erelenmg_mmrifis—Jw~m join the global econom , and On donors’ own ~ imminetspnn—‘éLWL—Jadjeaunnhangem DEW....anBEEEPEFLflQYJimleumW aEeadyTull offlaws and not geared towar the oor. Then—USS—‘Ed‘ministration has n extremely _reluc-‘ ‘ tant to get outboard, bothfor ,aid inereases and aid machinery reform, and there is a real risk that‘the 'j Aid: the international contribution current atmosphere of fear and crisis could divert the whole industry towards narrow, short-term security concerns and support for the ‘war on terror’. This would have the same effect of hijacking aid efforts as the Cold War did in its day. ' There are signs — as in the UK Government 2006. White Paper on aid -— that better aid targeting towards the poor is being addressed. But it remains unlikely that much of the new aid will reach those who are deeply frustrated, extremely poor, and antagonized by the relentless pursuit of a form of development from which they are excluded. Aid, even in larger quantity, will do little to repair the damage caused by ' the policies recipient countries are forced to accept. J These demand that their markets be‘ope'ned, while the donors keep theirow—n markets—locked-and their borders shut to people fleeing destitution. The frag- ile modern economies of some countries are near collapse. Millions of the ‘very poor’ live in failed or non-«per ormin ’ states. t 1W3 thratmagl‘ienatign an exc usmn flourish but whic donors such as the US do not want to touch because iiithe'iiiiaidmvvil e ‘wasted’. Accordin to th' ' 1 monthly use 11 i it helps bring countries mto_.a' ' gldbal—ieconomy, on terms that the dis oss waffle perceive as r en Armageddon. Mlfifl'fliglfi—mciall-tli—athas be'E'fi'aBne to their socie— ties by aid and the policy conditions surrounding it, some critics in developing countries would prefer that it ended,- it is seen as a humiliating feature of Northern ascendancy. Nepalese commentator Pitamber Sharma accuses aid of systematically corrupting the minds of his country's bureaucrats, planners and politicians.13 Naila Kabeer, an academic from Bangladesh, propos— es that aid be limited to humanitarian relief.'Ionwever,' vested aid industry interests would strenuously resist such amove, and it is difficult to believe that declaring amoratorium 0n aid would really improve matters for poor people. With all its contradictions, the bus will .roll on. It would be nice to think that aid could be applied more imaginatively to reducing poverty, but hopes ‘ cannot .be high. When it comes to the crunch, the donors have been unwilling to recognize that, to deliver on their'new- rhetoric about poverty reduc» tion, they need to promote much more radical, long—term, and disinterested agendas. The economy in which the donors operate, and the economy in which the poorest people on the planet live, are so far removed from one another that they barely intercon— nect. Bridges are needed to crossthegap, as the next, - Chapter will explore.- - - 1 WW Roslow, ‘The evolution oithe development doctrine andthe role afforeign aid 1950-20002 quoted in Eric Thorbeeke, Foreign Aid and Development, ed Finn Tarp. Routledge, 2000. 2 Mwea: an integrated rice settlement in Kenya. ed Robert Chambers and ion Maris, Weltforum Verlag, 1973. 3 John Cassidy, ‘Helping Hands'. New Yorlrer, 18 March 20oz. 1. William Easterly, The Erasing destaLGLauztbfllT Press, 2001. 5 See, for example. Robert Casson and associates, Does Aid Work? Clarendon Press, 1985, revised 1994. 6 David Ransom, quoting Hans Singer, in 'The Poverty of Aid”, New lnternaiianalist 235, November 1996. 7 Bilateral Aid.- Coantry Programmes, HMSD 1987; quoted in Graham Hancock. Lords ofPovei-ry, New Atlantic Press, 1989. 8 ‘Aid for arms scandal' in New internationalisr 264. February 1995. 9 The Reality ofAia‘ 1997-98, Earthscan. an The Reality ofnid zooz, Earthscan. 1: Deepa Narayan. Robert Chambers. Meera KShah, Patti Petesch. ‘Vaices ofthe Poor: Crying out for Change‘, World Development Report 2000-2001. :2 Charlotte Denny, ‘Worid Welcomes Poverty Pledges’, The Guardian, 22 March 2002. :3 Pitamber Sharma, ‘No pain, no gain', Nepali Times. February zooz. ...
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