New Internationalist Issue 285


[image, unknown] New Internationalist Issue 285

The great escape
Illustration by POLYP.
'Official development assistance' has been tied to private enterprise.
It's in need of liberation - and the keys that could
set it free are within our grasp.

DEMOCRACY Aid is only truly effective where there is democracy. This means real democracy in both donor and recipient country. It also means a democratic relationship between donor and recipient - so that power does not always stick with the donor. EMPATHY Compassion is the well-spring of aid. It should not be disparaged. But it must also be responsible. What at first appear as obvious causes for compassion, like 'natural' disasters, often turn out to have their roots in political, social or economic malpractice.
TRANSPARENCY Donors must make frankness and openness the rule rather than the exception. This also means proper evaluation of projects as the basis for the informed debate on which the future of aid depends.
ACCOUNTABILITY Aid is public money for use in the public interest and must be publicly accountable. If free markets eradicated poverty then there would be no need for aid at all.

Disparities of power, wealth, class, gender and race offend against fundamental human rights, without which there can be no worthwhile purpose to aid at all. Popular movements have grown up to reclaim these rights. Foreign aid (usually from NGOs) has a small but crucial part to play in supporting them.

EQUITY First and foremost, aid must address poverty. It cannot eradicate it on its own. But, properly used, it can help poor people to fight back against the causes of their poverty. EMERGENCY Responding to natural disasters, the need for peacekeeping and the aftermath of war - when requested - are a legitimate and inescapable humanitarian responsibility.

©Copyright: New Internationalist 1996 [image, unknown] NI Home Page[image, unknown] Issue 285 Contents

New Internationalist issue 285 magazine cover This article is from the November 1996 issue of New Internationalist.
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