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Defending aid is vital to development

If you know me, or have read any of my posts, you’ll know that I never think that aid – including that which Save the Children is able to use – is simple.

In fact, I am usually discussing its limitations. However, in March next year, I will be debating at the Royal Society of Medicine conference on the motion “This House believes that aid is not working”. I will be opposing the motion.

Certainly, the way that aid is given, the conditions that apply to it and the topics it is used for must be constantly examined.

Global tax

The recent Busan meeting on Aid Effectiveness heard about all the commitments that donor governments have made and the poor progress that has happened.

However, having worked for a long time to encourage more aid from rich countries to poor countries, I have to believe that it can be used well. There is evidence of it making a difference, at local level but also at national level such as Sierra Leone.

I don’t think aid should be a charitable donation; it should be a global tax that rich countries owe to poor countries (acknowledging of course the source of rich countries’ wealth ).

Aid is vital

I will argue that, if NGOs support social movements, if aid effectiveness principles are genuinely followed, if legal systems (and trade unions) are strengthened, development using aid is not only possible but vital.

I will also make the case that, before rubbishing the effect of aid, it would be good if rich countries tried giving enough of it for a while to see if it makes a difference.

If you are interested in the conference you can register for it here and if you are interested in aid effectiveness, the Save the Children report for Busan looked at how improving aid would make a difference to health and child survival.

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