Prepared by Sal Audia
|We share the same world, and we
same challenge, the fight for peace,
security and growth for us all.
|James D. Wolfensoh|
Prescribed Learning Outcomes: Social Studies 11 IRP
The first chapter in this unit introduced a theme found in each subsequent topic - that we are connected to, and dependent on, other parts of the world, whether through improvements in transportation and communication or because we all coexist in particular systems. We cannot ignore the fact that actions in one part of the world may have consequences in another.
For example, we cannot assume that increased demand for a product in North America will not be felt in places such as South America or Asia. Nor can we believe that population growth in Africa or developmental trends in the Middle East are matters that should not concern us. We have seen the connections increase between more and more people and have noted increased demand for food, land, jobs and energy. The increase in a country's population creates difficulties in managing resources on a sustainable basis. Deforestation
occurs as trees are cut down to provide fuel, building materials or to create land for grazing. Desertification occurs, as farmland is intensively cultivated, depleting the soil of its nutrients. Growing populations also lead to increase air pollution, energy consumption and further industrialization. It is also estimated that by the year 2030, 8,000,000,000 people will inhabit the earth, resulting in a need for 60% more food than is currently being produced.
It is vital to understand these connections in order to find solutions to the many problems faced worldwide. Several organizations have been formed over the decades to deal with global problems.
Just Give Them Our Extra Food.
Helping people in need is noble, worthwhile, and many would argue that it is our duty as members of the human race to do so. The list of organizations devoted to helping end poverty and the problems created by it is extensive and impressive. They initiate a variety of programs, ranging from providing food aid, to giving needed supplies, to improving technology, to providing money and expertise. They have made reasonable progress in alleviating suffering and problems in developing countries. However, the general public is a little unclear about the nature of aid, confusing long-term aid programs with food aid.
When we witness scenes of hunger on television, our initial reaction and response is to want to send food. This view makes sense, particularly in light of the surpluses in North America and Europe. The simple solution is to match our surplus to their needs -- problem solved. However, giving food to developing countries may have devastating long term impacts on the local economy and people. While no one argues the need for emergency food aid in times of natural disasters or military conflicts, the continued use of food aid when the initial disaster has passed has serious adverse effects.
The most serious impact of non-emergency food aid is the dependence created in local populations for western grain rather than locally produced foods. This in turn creates two problems: the need to generate money to import western food, and a reduction in demand for local crops. As a result, much of the country's GNP goes to buying food, rather than on improving the standards of living of the country's population.
Perhaps the most severe impact of non-emergency food aid is on local farmers. If food is given to the population of a country, this seriously reduces the demand for locally grown food. As the demand for local food declines, the price of this food also drops. As a result, farmers cannot compete with this free or cheap food and stop producing, thereby eliminating their only source of income. With their income gone, there is less money in the local economy and the vicious cycle of poverty continues.
Food aid alone will not prevent famine from occurring again, nor will it eliminate the cause of starvation. This is why long term food self-sufficiency and development programs are being pursued by various organizations as a means to end poverty and all its related problems. Whether it involves immunization, education, reforestation, improved sanitation, and agricultural programs, the goal is a healthy and self-sufficient world that has no need of aid programs.
|1.||Why shouldn't we simply donate our food surpluses to the world's poorest countries? What harm would result from such a policy?|
Food is Not Enough
Aid is the giving or selling of resources from one country or group to another country or group, either as gifts or below commercial prices. Development aid is given to countries to help develop their economies, to raise the quality of life for people, and to help end the problems poverty creates. Aid may be given at any time and is given in various forms. Following a disaster, it may be in the form of emergency aid, or it may arrive as military assistance, food, money, technology, or expertise.
Countries receive aid in a number of forms and from a variety of sources When it is offered directly From one country to another, this is referred to as bilateral aid. n Canada, the government organization responsible for the administration of aid is the Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA . When various governments contribute to international organizations, such as the World Health Organizations , which administers aid programs in several countries, this is termed multi-lateral aid. Other providers of international aid are referred to as Non-Governmental Organizations. These organizations, such as Medecines Sans Frontiers and CARE, operate independently of governments and may distribute aid directly to areas they have targeted.
|1.||What is the difference between development aid and emergency aid?|
|2.||What is bilateral aid? Give an example of this.|
|3.||What is multilateral aid? How is it administered?|
|4.||What are NGO's? Suggest why they might be more effective than government agencies in helping improve the position of the poor in developing countries.|
Most governments in developed countries have organizations to develop and distribute international aid. Australia has AusAID, England has its Department for International Development , and America's program is the US Agency for International Development . The purpose of these organizations is to promote sustainable development, peace and stability, reduce poverty, and sometimes to promote the economic and political interests of the donating countries. Canada's organization is CIDA, and its goal is to "support sustainable development activities in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world." CIDA's objective is to help developing countries reach economic and social stability, and provide resources directly to countries, to international organizations, and to foreign aid projects.
Recent examples of CIDA's involvement in humanitarian assistance were during the earthquake in Taiwan and in postwar Kosovo. The conflict in Kosovo resulted in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes. CIDA was able to help supply food, water, medicine, shelter, clothing, and psychological counseling. In September, 1999, Taiwan was struck by the largest earthquake to hit the island in over a hundred years (7.9 on the Richter scale), injuring over 4,000 and killing over 1,800. CIDA contributed $500,000 to provide emergency supplies.
|1.||What is Canada's government agency for promoting international development? Why do we choose to spend our tax dollars on foreign aid?|
|2.||What countries donate the largest sums of money to international aid? Why do you believe they do so?|
|3.||Which countries donate the most in terms of percentages of their GNPs? Where does Canada rate in this regard? Do you believe we should give more or less? Explain.|
This is Aid?
Much of what passes for aid is often military assistance. This is particularly so of government-to-government aid. Developed countries tend to offload aging, but still serviceable equipment, to make room for new, state-of-the-art materiel. International sales of military hardware also increase the production runs of armament manufacturers, thus reducing unit costs. Rifles, helicopters, tanks, planes and warships are transferred to developing countries at low or no cost.The advantage to the donor is clear. Often the transfer occurs only if the recipient guarantees something in return - buying merchandise from the donor or voting appropriately at international conferences -- this sort of thing is known as tied aid. The recipient is tied to using the donor's ammunition and spare parts. Furthermore, they need friendly relations with the donor so as to avoid being cut off from re-supply. If loans are involved, interest payments will flow in. The donor writes off the value of the gift or the amount of the loan and claims great generosity in its help for less fortunate countries.
Unfortunately the injection of new weaponry tends to spark escalating arms races in unstable areas of the world. In the fiscal year 1997, nearly 50% of all US aid was in military and security goods and services according to the Council for a Livable World Education Fund. They also noted that in 1998 the US sold $8.2 billion, approved licenses for the sale of US$26.4 billion of weapons, and paid for the training of the military of 168 countries. The US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency reported that between 1985 and 1995, the US sold more than US$157 billion in conventional weapons.
Source: Thomas A. Cardamone, Jr. Editor, Sellers, Buyers and Producers. Arms Trade News. February, 1999 (<http://www.clw.org/cat/atn0299.html>). Data originally published in the SIPRI Yearbook, 1998, produced by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Since the end of the Cold War, with the USSR and the United States finding that they no longer needed the huge stockpiles of weapons that they had on-hand, more and more weaponry has found its way into the developing world. Indeed cash-strapped Russia has been selling off equipment at fire-sale prices. Even new, high-tech equipment, is on the auction block as the Russian military struggles to even meet its salary commitments to officers and men. Cheap armaments fuel troubles around the world.
Admittedly, countries have legitimate security needs. Unfortunately military establishments around the world seek more than minimum levels of weaponry and leaders see powerful military establishments as symbols of their own might. Dictators rely on their military establishments to hold onto power. Democratically elected leaders often feel compelled to meet the demands of generals, fearing that they could be toppled in coups - it is a far from uncommon occurrence. Even legitimate concerns, such as the mutual fears of India and Pakistan, can lead to illegitimate military developments. Do these countries' expensive nuclear arsenals really improve the security of either state?
|1.||Why do developed countries transfer weapons to the developing world?|
|2.||List the top 10 countries that supply conventional weapons? How many of these are developed nations and how many are from the developing world?|
|3.||Which countries are the top 10 recipients of military equipment? Which, if any, overlap with the list of the 10 top suppliers?|
|4.||Why has Russia begun to sell even its most sophisticated, modern, equipment over the last decade?|
|5.||Why do many developing countries spend an enormous amount on weapons, even though they have many other needs?|
Should Canada donate large amounts of money to other countries, despite the need for funding of Canadian projects?
Maria Minna Announces $175,000 to Help Flood Victims in
(99ᇦ). News Release. December 20, 1999. Ottawa
Maria Minna, Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, today announced $175,000 in humanitarian aid to assist victims of the floods in Venezuela. The funding will be channeled through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
"The massive mudslides and flooding in northern Venezuela were devastating, killing thousands of people and leaving many more homeless or injured," said Minister Minna. "We are helping the victims of this disaster by providing much-needed supplies and shelter."
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $100,000to PAHO and IFRC supplies such as water purification tablets, medicine, sanitation equipment, and emergency shelter materials. Another $75,000 will go to CIDA's Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. This fund is managed by the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela to support small, locally initiated projects.
Torrential rains began falling in Venezuela last week, triggering massive mudslides from Mount Avila which separates the capital, Caracas, from the Caribbean sea. The mudslides swept away part of the northern coast. Early reports indicate that as many as 2,000 people have been killed as a result of the flooding and mudslides and this number is expected to rise. Thousands more are still missing. The number of people affected by the flooding is estimated to be 150,000. Many of the people killed or wounded were living in substandard housing at the foot of Mount Avila. Funding for today's humanitarian assistance was provided for in the February 1999 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
There are several international organizations that provide aid to the world. These multi-lateral groups include the World Health Organizations (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) UNICEF , UNESCO , the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The World Bank provides loans, advice and technical assistance to reduce poverty and improve living standards in the developing world. Much of the World Bank's assistance is directed towards social services, such as reproductive and maternal health care, nutrition, early childhood development programs, and primary education. To date, the Bank has provided loans totaling over $40 billion for more than 500 projects in over a 100 countries. In its Kampong Project, in Indonesia, the goals of the project include making clean water accessible and giving everyone close access to all-weather roads and paths. These would significantly improve the lives of Indonesia's poor. The Bank also provides long term strategies for growth in developing countries by helping governments restructure and organize economic reforms. The IMF is an international organization, established in 1945, that now consists of 182 member countries. It was established to promote international monetary cooperation, international trade, and to help countries in financial difficulties.
The objectives of the WHO, on the other hand, are less financial in nature. The goal of WHO is the attainment by all people of the highest possible health standard. The WHO's definition of health does not merely include the absence of disease, but also complete physical, mental and social well being. The fight against infectious diseases is one of the WHO's priorities. Global immunization programs have helped save millions of children annually from death and disability. As stated by WHO in their list of achievements, they have been able to successfully immunize 80% of the world's children against disease such as diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, tuberculosis and polio. As a result, infant mortality has been reduced, globally, to 80 per 1000 live births in 1995 From 134 in 1970.
One of the most significant successes to date has been the elimination of smallpox as a result of a global vaccination campaign. The last reported case of the disease was in 1977.
The Food and Agricultural Organization was also founded in 1945, as an organ of the United Nations, to improve nutrition, standards of living, and agricultural productivity. The FAO is active in land and water development, plant and animal production, forestry, fisheries, social policies and food standards. A specific priority is encouraging sustainable agriculture, rural development, and a long-term strategy for conserving and managing resources.
Why is it important to eradicate agricultural diseases?
What would the impact be on the economy and standard of living if nothing is done?
Way Clear for Global Rinderpest Eradication
Global eradication of Rinderpest - one of the world's most devastating livestock diseases - is now feasible by 2010.
After eight years of work, an expert consultation on the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, held at FAO Headquarters in May began mapping out the final steps towards consigning the disease to the history books. The meeting was held by FAO's Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES). "Remarkable progress has been made in the last year," said FAO's Dr Peter Roeder, the Programme's Secretary. "We can now see that eradication by our 2010 deadline is feasible."
The Programme's immediate task is to clean out Rinderpest From the few remaining, suspect reservoirs of infection by the end of 2001 These reservoirs are: southeastern Sudan, where the virus was last seen in 1998; southern Somalia, where the current situation makes effective surveillance impossible, but Rinderpest experts in Africa believe it might still harbour Rinderpest; Yemen, where the virus was last confirmed in 1995 andthere is no compelling reason to believe that Rinderpest is present; Pakistan, where the virus has been steadily decreasing and if it is still occurring, it is only at a very low level; and northern Iraq, where investigations suggest that it was eliminated in 1996.
One more area of concern exists outside these areas. There are suspicions that the disease is still present somewhere between northern China, eastern Russia and Mongolia, but there is no definite evidence of this. The work in all the areas defined as reservoirs of the virus involves intensive surveillance to prove freedom from Rinderpest, and elimination of infection should it be found.
The expert consultation has recommended that all countries, with the possible exceptions of southeastern Sudan and southern Somalia, should plan immediate cessation of routine Rinderpest vaccination and concentrate on surveillance, searching for evidence of disease or infection. Should such surveillance reveal a pocket of Rinderpest, immediate steps should be taken to eliminate it using intensive vaccination of all cattle and domestic buffaloes within infected and adjacent high-risk zones. Following this cleaning up of the remaining pockets of infection, the next major milestone is complete cessation of vaccination against Rinderpest bythe end of 2002. "The success of next year's surveillance work will be crucial in persuading countries to cease vaccination," said Dr Roeder. "At the same time, we will also be fleshing out a detailed action plan based on the milestones agreed at the meeting."
Following cessation of vaccination, the steps mapped out by the expert consultation, were as follows:
- end of 2003 - declaration of worldwide provisional freedom from Rinderpest
- end of 2006 - freedom from disease for whole world
- end of 2008 - freedom from sub-clinical infection established
- end of 2010 - Global Declaration of complete freedom from Rinderpest
The expert consultation noted that the 68th General Session of the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) had established a baseline list of 86 countries as free from Rinderpest infection. In addition to these, 27 countries have already declared provisional freedom from the disease. The meeting also developed an innovative approach to regionalize activities during the final push towards freedom from Rinderpest. Until now, countries have been obliged to individually follow the OIE pathway marking the steps towards verified freedom from disease. Regionalization aims to accelerate progress and take the burden off individual countries. It also allows for coordinated surveillance of epidemiological eco-systems, even across international borders. Rinderpest has always been the most dreaded bovine plague - a highly infectious viral disease that can destroy entire populations of cattle and buffalo. In regions that depend on cattle for meat, milk products and draft power, Rinderpest has caused widespread famine and inflicted serious economic and political damage. An epidemic in the 1890s wiped out 80ᇮ percent of all the cattle in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, another Rinderpest outbreak that raged across much of Africa In 1982-84; is estimated to have cost at least US$500 million.
20 June 2000
Non Government Organizations
NGO's are often involved in working directly with those who need aid the most. These independent agencies are often best placed to assess and ensure delivery of assistance. Currently there are over 240 NGO's in Canada. These include OXFAM , World Vision , CARE , and Amnesty International . In 1996 NGO's in Canada raised over $300 million, mostly through private donations. In addition to these donations, CIDA often matches the amount they raise on their own.
Operation Eyesight Universal , founded by Dr. Ben Gullison in 1947, sends volunteers to developing countries to perform vision-restoring procedures.
Action Against Hunger is an international NGO that delivers emergency aid and longer term assistance to people suffering from disasters and conflicts. Its focus is in the areas of famine and malnutrition, attempting to secure food, sanitation, and health programs.
OXFAM is another NGO that, through direct intervention, provides technical assistance to people in need by providing such things as cheap and effective water buckets.
CARE is one of the world's largest private international relief and development organizations. CARE's involvement in emergency aid and sustainable development reaches millions of people in over 60 countries.
What are some of the concerns regarding the spread of AIDS?
Why is this of interest to the international community ?
HIV/AIDS in the Developing World
Since its outbreak, AIDS has caused the deaths of 16 million people. It has shattered families and left them destitute. It has orphaned millions of children. And in the developing world, it has done all this as well as decimating prospects for development in countries where the work force is dying and societal and family structures are coming undone.
Today, more than 95 percent of the 33 million people infected with the HIV virus live in the developing world. In poor countries where resources for health care are scarce, and even clean water can be hard to come by, the means to battle the virus through prevention and awareness programs are often unavailable. Consequently, the impact of AIDS and the potential for future damage to societies and economies in the developing world is particularly devastating.
Since the late 1980's, CARE has fought against the spread of AIDS. Today, CARE has AIDS prevention programs in 15 high-risk countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. Because prevention is the most effective method of slowing the AIDS pandemic, CARE provides men and women with accurate information about transmission. CARE uses educational television and radio messages, offers community education programs and informal discussion groups and trains community promoters to educate others about ways to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission. CARE's educational activities help to dispel common misperceptions about the disease. CARE also works within communities to help people living with AIDS in partnership with local health centers, ministries of health and in the private sector to train staff and volunteers about AIDS.
Medecins Sans Frontieres , which is also known as "Doctors Without Borders," is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 80 countries. MSF works with authorities to build or rehabilitate hospitals, provide vaccination programs, water and sanitation projects, and train local personnel. Another important objective of MSF is to raise public awareness of people and places in need. It does so by putting international pressure on, and generating publicity against, those responsible for causing the problems. In an attempt to guarantee equal access to its assistance, MSF maintains neutrality and independence from individual governments by generating most funds from private donations.
Should MSF go into countries where the governments have been largely responsible for the problems faced by its people?
MSF Starts Malaria Programme in the Niger Delta
Information dated: October 27, 1999
Lagos, Nigeria - The international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started a malaria and fever program in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the most conflict-ridden region in Nigeria. Malaria is the number one cause of mortality and morbidity in the area. The population of Bayelsa state has limited access to health care. Ethnic clashes and civil unrest are all too present.
MSF is concerned about the situation in the Niger Delta since there are no international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Bayelsa nor are existing health infrastructures meeting the needs of the population. Two small medical assessment missions have lead to the decision for a malaria intervention; malaria being the main cause of mortality and morbidity for the 100,000 people in this watery and conflict-prone environment. Child mortality for this region is 200 per 1000 per year. (Source: Unicef/Federal Government of Nigeria) One quarter of all deaths of children under one year is caused by malaria.
MSF has a long history in Nigeria. In 1987, MSF vaccinated 2.5 million Nigerians in the region around Ibadan and in Anambra State. MSF has been permanently present in the country since 1996, after intervening in a large-scale meningitis epidemic in the north. A cholera epidemic came on the heels of the meningitis. After these two epidemics, MSF continued working in the epidemic-prone north with several cholera interventions in 1999 in Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, and Borno States.
Next to the new malaria and fever program, the current MSF programs are: an emergency preparedness program in Kano State that will respond to meningitis, yellow fever, measles and cholera prevention and treatment program in Borno State, a health and water surveillance program in a slum area of Lagos. An aerial assessment of the recent flood damage to the Niger River valley in Niger State was just completed and determined that no medical emergency exists but the potential for epidemics as the water recedes is strong in the coming months.
A new and innovative approach to combat poverty at its source was established in the late 1970's by Professor Muhammad Yunus. He established a private, non-profit NGO called the Grameen Bank. The Grameen Bank reversed conventional banking practices by removing the need for collateral, and creating a system based on trust, accountability, and participation. The GB has been acknowledged as effective in reducing poverty and improving conditions of the poor by providing loans directly to those who would never have access to conventional banking.
What are some advantages and disadvantages of the Grameen Bank system?
Micro Loans for the Very Poor
Anyone who scoffs at the value of 62 cents should talk to Muhammad Yunus. In 1976, the Bangladeshi economics professor tried an experiment. From his pocket, he lent the equivalent of $26 to a group of 42 workers. With that 62 cents per person, they bought the materials for a day's work weaving chairs or making pots. At the end of their first day as independent business owners, they sold their work and soon paid back loan.
Thus began the microcredit movement, which has become the world's hot idea for reducing poverty. This month, microcredit's backers met in Washington to begin to broaden the program's reach and raise money from developed nations and institutions such as the World Bank. Eight million people are now getting microcredit, half of them in Bangladesh. Microcredit proponents want to expand that to 100 million people by 2005. It is a worthy goal that the United States should supports.
The first microcredit program was the Grameen Bank, founded by Mr. Yunus. Now almost all its borrowers are women, who tend to be poorer than men, have fewer opportunities and are much more likely to spend new earnings on their children, Grameen requires its borrowers to organize themselves into groups of five. Are all
cut off if one borrower defaults. They meet every week to make loan payments at commercial interest rates and critique one another's business plans. They also pledge to boil their water, keep their families small and carry out other good health practices. People who repay loans on time can take new ones. Grameen, which now makes a profit, claims a higher repayment rate than traditional banks. One-third of its two million borrowers have crossed the poverty line and another third are close.
Microcredit is now at work in 43 countries. A version has even reached 150,000 Americans in inner-cities like Chicago and Washington. Borrowers here can begin with a $500 or $1,000 loan, enough for gardening or hair styling tools. President Clinton said he will ask Congress for $ 1 billion moreover the next five years to develop microenterprise in the United States.
A no-handout, inexpensive program that builds business sounds so politically appealing in today's climate that it is worth recalling microcredit's limits. It cannot take the place of clean water, family planning efforts and child immunization programs. It can do little for the most desperate, those too sick or unskilled to work. It is also not free , as some of its political backers suggest. The most successful microcredit program can fund their loans through interest and all are most helpful when they are backed by technical and marketing assistance programs, which cost money.
Still, microcredit has brought a much-needed revolution in anti-poverty programs. It deserves more than its current 2 percent share of the world's $60 billion development budget. Microcredit goes directly to poor people. It creates jobs in villages. It helps women develop confidence and independence. Microcredit can win new political backing for anti-poverty programs abroad that the poor still desperately need.
|1.||What advantages are there in forming multilateral organizations to dispense aid? Look at the issue from the viewpoint of both donor and recipient nations.|
|2.||Identify at least two multilateral organizations and describe at least one project that each has been associated with. How valuable have these projects been?|
|3.||How is the Grameen Bank different from more traditional banks? Why does it have a better repayment record on its loans than other banks?|
Small is Beautiful
The concept of working to improve the lot of the poor did not begin with Professor Yunus' innovations. In 1973, E.F. Schumacher published a monumentally important book Small is Beautiful; A Study of Economics as if People Mattered. In it he noted that development projects at that time tended to be large scale and reliant on expensive technology and foreign expertise. Those profiting from such ventures tended to be the donors themselves and rich elites in the developing countries. The needy were left out, marginalized, or even driven into more desperate poverty as they were shunted aside in the interests of such mega-projects. Schumacher suggested another approach.
Schumacher suggested small projects to improve the lot of the poor. Small scale, low technology, locally owned and operated, his projects would help the poor and increase the wealth of developing nations from below. Wealth would percolate up, not dribble down. For Schumacher, hundreds of bicycle-powered pumps, which could be locally built and maintained, were infinitely preferable to a handful of
gas-powered pumps which required expensive fuel, needed imported parts, and had to be serviced outside the country or in remote urban centers. Both cost the same amount, after all. Recycling old tires into gate and door hinges, harnesses, straps and water barriers is cheap, easy and effective; the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network now popularizes such simple, but effective ideas on a medium that most people in the developing world can access.
NGO's began to champion this approach in the late 70's and 80's and even huge organizations, like the United Nations and the World Bank, came on board in the 1990's. Reliance on intermediate technology and grassroots aid are now mainstream concepts in development planning. Large-scale development projects, like dam construction and road building still have a place, but the biggest improvements are clearly made when money flows into the hands of the poor and is not siphoned off by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.
|1.||How did E.F. Schumacher, and others like him, revolutionize development aid?|
|2.||What is meant by the term grassroots aid? Why is this kind of development assistance preferable to the most needy people in developing countries?|
|3.||Provide an example of a low-technology solution to a common developing world problem. Why is this solution better than employing a high-technology option?|
Funding development, small or large scale, is an ongoing problem. People in the developed world are constantly bombarded with requests for donations for many worthy causes - and some not so worthy. Should we contribute or shouldn't we? The business of doing good is, after all, a business, and organizations cannot continue without funding. Office space is needed, as are: phone lines, faxes, computers, office supplies, staff and transportation. This all costs money, so aid organizations, like all other special interest groups, must find money from somewhere, directly from us, or indirectly from us by way of government grants. Citizens are hard-pressed to know what to do. Should we contribute to the United Way? To OXFAM? To Greenpeace? To Medicines sans Frontieres? Should we encourage our politicians to pay down the national debt? To increase transfer payments to the provinces for health care? To increase funding to CIDA? It is all quite perplexing.
In times of crisis, such as the Ethiopian famine of the 1980's, people across the developed world were swayed mightily by images of famine. How could we stand by and allow children to die by the thousands for lack of food and water? How could we not listen to the appeals of Bob Geldoff, Mick Jagger and Sting? Giving was easy, when we saw others doing so all around us. However, emergency and non-emergency needs continue, even when the television cameras are turned off. Organizations need funds just to continue to exist and hunger and privation exist around the globe,
even though news programmers ignore it. Donors, like television programmers, turn their attention elsewhere. This is particularly so after an orgy of giving like the time of the Ethiopian famine, when donor fatigue sets in. Aid organizations find such times particularly hard.
|1.||What is donor fatigue? Why does it occur?|
|2.||Why were large numbers of people willing to donate money to alleviate the problems of famine in Ethiopia in the mid 1980's, yet they completely ignored the equally horrific conditions in Mozambique at the same time?|
It is an unfortunate fact of life in the developing world that much government spending is committed to interest payments on foreign debt. This may be for imported foods, military equipment or loan repayment. Where loans have brought significant improvement in the lives of citizens, this is not an issue. South Korea, for instance, borrowed heavily in its drive to industrialize and join the developed world. Though the Asian financial crash of the late 1990's brought pain to many South Koreans, few would disagree that most citizens of that country are still better off today than they were in the 1970's. Other countries have not been so fortunate.
Part of the problem relates to the nature of the global trade system. Manufactured goods tend to bring better rates of return than do natural resources. Indeed developing countries find themselves undercutting each other in the drive to secure customers for their goods. Low prices mean that more land has to be devoted to cash crops or more money spent on road, rail and dock facilities to ship out goods and earn foreign exchange to pay off debts. It is often a vicious circle as investments increase exports, but falling commodity prices mean that even more must be shipped to earn the same return.
During the 1980's a number of countries faced financial catastrophes as loans granted in the generous days of the 1970's had to be repaid in the 1980's, but falling commodity prices left developing countries unable to do so. A number of countries faced bankruptcy. Mexico had staked its future on rising oil prices when it borrowed to increase production, yet prices fell. Brazil and Argentina also defaulted on loan payments. On a number of occasions lenders, nations and financial institutions, had to renegotiate repayment conditions in order to prevent the international financial system from collapsing. Financial institutions began trading in discounted developing world debts, as investors gambled on whether or not debts would be repaid in part or in full. At one point Peruvian debt was trading at around 30 cents on the dollar.
As we enter the 21st century, there are signs that inflation, which remained at quite low levels in the 1990's, seems to be increasing again. As this happens, the cost of borrowing rises. Loans made at rates below 5% during the 1990's could be repaid comfortably by many borrowers at that time. However, unpaid balances now have to be repaid at higher rates, and, perhaps, even higher rates tomorrow. New international debt crises will certainly occur at some point in the future.
One thing is certain, the burden of debt repayment tends to fall most heavily on the poor. The rich and powerful are best able to protect themselves by investing their money outside the country or in foreign currencies, which are not affected by domestic financial problems. Indeed their wealth makes them mobile. The corrupt leader of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), may have lost the presidency of his country, but his family fled to a comfortable exile in Europe where they accessed millions, or perhaps billions, of dollars in overseas investments.
Some defenders of developing world interests call for a writing off of Third World debts. Christian churches have been quite vocal in supporting this in the Jubilee Proposal. Others argue that this is foolish. They say that it simply encourages borrowers to act irresponsibly since they do not have to face up to their responsibilities.Ultimately, the citizens of the developed world would have to pay the price of any restructuring of debt, as they did in the 1980's when customers of Canadian banks paid increasing service charges as institutions like the Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal wrote off bad debts.
|1.||Why do developing countries accumulate large amounts of foreign debt? Is this always a bad thing?|
|2.||Why is it that a developing country may find it impossible to repay debts that it could afford at the time that loans were first taken out?|
|3.||Why does developing nation debt repayment particularly affect the poor?|
|4.||Should lenders in the developed world simply write-off and forgive developing world debt? Why or why not?|
Aid is often viewed as necessary to promote equality and fairness. All nations have something to gain by improving the quality of life in developing countries. Whether it creates a situation of global security and peace, providing the poor with spending power to buy the foods and goods they need, or the protection of their basic human rights, the impacts and benefits are felt globally. Our choices are not always easy, but they must be faced.
|1.||Why is foreign aid sometimes harmful to the receiving nation? Provide specific examples to prove that this is so.|
|2.||Should Canada increase its contribution to foreign aid? Why or why not?|
|3.||Where should aid projects to developing countries be targeted? What kinds of projects will get the best return for our investments?|
|4.||Should we send development aid to the world's poorest countries or should we concentrate our efforts to help countries that have a greater chance of success?|
|5.||How is modern technology part of the world's problems, yet also a part of the solution to them?|
|6.||Do you, as a citizen of the world, have a responsibility to help other, less fortunate, world citizens?|
1. Giving Aid: An Idea Diagram Activity
Many organizations exist to help people and countries in need. However, these organizations have different motives and approaches for providing aid. The following diagram will enable you to organize what you have learned in this chapter, and put it into a logical format.
Extension Activity: Use the information from your idea diagram to create an essay. Your essay will have an introduction, a body of three separate paragraphs (one for each category), and a conclusion.
1. Jigsaw Activity
There are three types of aid organizations - multilateral, non-government and government organizations.
Each of you will have an opportunity to become an expert on one of these categories of organizations. In groups of three (known as you expert group) you are to research one category. The following is a list of questions you must be able to answer after your research.
Expert Group Questions:
|1.||What is this category of aid organization called?|
|2.||What are the goals and objectives of organizations in this category?|
|3.||Give three examples of organizations that fit into this category.|
|4.||Give two examples of when this category of organization provided aid in the last five years. (Be sure to include the name of the particular organizations, the countries in which it provided help, why the country required this assistance, and the type of aid provided.)|
|5.||What are the positives about this category of organization?|
|6.||What are the disadvantages associated with this category?|
Once you have collected this information, you lwill be meeting with two other classmates who were each in a different expert group from you. All three of you will have looked at different categories of aid organization and therefore are dependent on each other for information.
This new group is called your home group and each group member will have a chance to tell the others about what he or she has learned. While this information is being shared, you will complete the chart found on the next page. When all of you have finished, you should have a completed matrix on all three categories.
Extension Activity: Paragraph Response
Based on your learning, write a paragraph explaining which category of aid organization you think is the most effective and why.
|Multilateral Organizations||Government Organizations||Non-Government Organizations|
|Objectives and Goals|
|Examles of Organizations Found Within This Category|
|Example #1 of Aid|
|Example #2 of Aid|
|Positives (Advantages) of This Category|
|Negatives (Disadvantages) of This Category|
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