Safeguarding The Sanctity Of Developmental Aid

Feb 22nd, 2013 | By | Category: Advocacy, Experts Speak, Financing, Governance, Government Policies, Information and Communication, International Agencies, Lessons, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Opinion, Population, Vulnerability

052512_0220_FundingGapS1.pngDr. Sudhirendar Sharma’s opinion piece on an an ongoing discourse on ‘Flaw of Big Aid‘ at Climate Himalaya’s discussion platform .

There are reasons why James Rinaldi article ‘Flaw of Big Aid’ did not provoke strong emotions from either those who provide ‘aid’ or those who are its recipients. Most of those to whom the article was targeted fall into ‘either’ of the two categories, directly or indirectly. And those who don’t fall into the two camps are those on whose behalf ‘aid’ exchanges hands. The process of ‘aid’ has been highly institutionalized and there are vested interests at each level to safeguard the so-called ‘sanctity’ of aid. No wonder, any number of experts will paint pictures of doom had ‘aid’ not reached the vulnerable.Since, there isn’t any alternate scenario on offer one tends to swing the way dominant opinion sways. That aid is akin to ‘aids’ is rarely if ever discussed in ‘public’.

Having come thusfar with the help of aid, governments have sustained on ‘aid’; institutions have been built and sustained on ‘aid’; and a class of experts have been nurtured on ‘aid’, why would anyone bother to think twice on going back. Isn’t it easy money that keeps ‘vested’ interests advocate the virtues of aid when the ‘apparent’ picture is otherwise? Does it not help aid-giver rise over its ‘guilt’ of having contributed to ‘recipients’ impoverishment in the first place? Is ‘aid’ not a political tool to arm-twist weaker states on the global arena? Reams of material on ‘aid’ and its politics has been published in recent years, questioning ‘aid impact’ and ‘aid effectiveness’ to death. That the poor remain poor is rarely addressed.

With poverty being a good business ‘aid’ does have a bright future. It already has! When one of the bilateral donor questioned India’s abrupt decision in 2003 that withdrawal bilateral development cooperation with several countries, a bureaucrat gave a candid response: ‘ seventy per cent of all that you give us is taken back to your country in one form or the other’. And we all know that to keep the development machinery well-oiled how equipment. machinery and consultants are imported as a package. From a donor perspective, there is nothing wrong in keeping its people and businesses busy back home in its unending quest to fight ‘global poverty’. After all, where do you get free lunch?

Having said all this, the interesting contribution Rinaldi makes relates to distinguishing ‘big aid’ from ‘small aid’ and the ‘effectiveness’ therein. While Rinaldi has made his position (about his work in Nepal) clear, it is for those who receive ‘big aid’ (in Nepal) to come clean on his assertions. And there are reasons this must be done because public accountability alone can clear (mis)conceptions on ‘big aid’. “

Readers can read full discussion thread and  can add their point of view at the discussion thread by clicking on following link: 

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Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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