Monday, July 20, 2009

Tory plans for foreign aid: bureaucratic, regressive and humiliating

The Bickerstaffe Record absolutely demolishes the Tory green paper on International Development:

"This is just real world-free nonsense, set out to appease those on the right like Dale and his trolls and to make the Conservatives sound tough.

The problem is that it’s a nonsense which requires an additional highly paid member of every national DfID team to implement it (whatever that means), at the expense of local knowledge and decision-making. It’s a nonsense which, if enacted, would actually militate against effective aid by adding a new layer of that much-reviled ‘bureacracy’.

And overall, the problem with the proposals are that they confuse rhetoric with substance. Looked at closely, there is nothing in the ‘green paper’ about the actual substance of the aid and development programming; it’s all about tinkering round the edges to keep Daily Mail readers happy.

But keeping the Daily Mail readership happy will come at a cost.

Nothing substantial will change in the way DfId goes about its business, because there’s a tacit acknowledgment that DfID actually does a pretty good job overall (this is reflected in what is actually quite a mature new White Paper from DfID itself), not least in its focus on basic services and livelihoods.

But DfID staff will, if the Conservatives get into power, have to pay lip service to these new bureaucratic checklists and rules, and that will damage the laudable moves towards within DfID towards enhanced local decision making and respectful engagement with host countries and their governments.

Despite the rhetoric about empowerment, this Conservative ‘green paper’ is about a withdrawal from the progressive stance taken by DfID over the last decade, and a return of aid as a means of international institutional domination and humiliation."


At 3:04 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

The biggest concern has to be that the Tories would go back to tied aid, which would allow them to reach the magical 0.7% of GDP figure whilst at the same time rendering the figure entirely meaningless.


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