Friday, November 21, 2008

What to cut? Emergency aid or development aid?

With the threat of cutting aid to underdeveloped nations the debate has sprung up about which type of aid will be cut. The kind of aid for natural disasters or for long term development projects for infrastructure and agriculture.

The United Nations says it need seven billion dollars for crisis aid, but will rich nations into the middle of the credit crisis only fund this instead of giving money for development, which will help more in the long term.

The IRIN looks this question in an article today.

The issue was addressed at the 15 November G20 meeting in Washington. The summit recognised “the impact of the current crisis on developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable” and reaffirmed the importance of the Millennium Development Goals, urging both developed and emerging economies “to undertake commitments consistent with their capacities and roles in the global economy”.

But, as Lurma Rackley, public relations director of CARE, told IRIN: “Meeting emergency needs often means taking money, time and staff away from long-term sustainable development programmes.

“Yet such programmes, related to agriculture, economic development, civil society, gender empowerment, healthcare and other areas have the potential for lifting communities out of poverty,” she told IRIN. “These are the very programmes that could help avoid the vicious cycle of dependence.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is primarily concerned with complex emergencies and natural disasters, and immediate-response funding is a major concern.

“I would only hope that they [donors] would be able to differentiate the urgent life-saving aid and make sure that that was protected,” OCHA spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker told IRIN.

However, “We are concerned that if there’s a global economic downturn it could dampen the prospects for development assistance, which would be really bad, and for agricultural investment which, given the nature of the global food crisis, is part of the solution.”

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. Just before Thanksgiving is my busiest time of the year, and the blog usually takes a back seat. Also, my home computer was in repair yesterday, on top of a winter storm in Michigan. We will try to catch up between now and the weekend.

1 comment:

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