International development: big questions, small answers

From Global development | The Guardian Sun Jan 20 2013, 15:42:08

In place of the searching global conversation we need, we have an anaesthetised debate

Something is lacking in the efforts to design a new global development framework. The aim - to set goals for all mankind and the planet - ought to involve all the great questions of the age. Instead, the discussion feels small and technocratic. Despite great efforts, it has attracted derisory attention from beyond the professional development world.

The high-level panel is becoming an overused, or at least a misused, instrument. The latest on this theme, chaired by David Cameron together with the presidents of Indonesia and Liberia, has been given too many members and too little time. NGOs, when asked how to replace the millennium development goals, simply listed all the issues that kept them in business. Then there are the online forums for public engagement. Under the alluring question "what kind of world do you want?", the discussion is immediately splintered into scores of technical questions and papers. Another site simply offers a vote between such apples and oranges as "better job opportunities" or "an honest and responsive government". In place of the searching global conversation we need, we have an anaesthetised debate.

Peculiarly unable to criticise itself, the development community is proving unable to lead a debate about changing the world. Profound work has been done with aid, like slashing child mortality in Africa, and without aid, such as the UN Development Programme's reporting on the Arab world. But reduced poverty rates owe more to Deng Xiaoping than any development agency. Skewed incentives, a [view whole blog post ]

 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Africa:   Are Players Finding the Net Often Enough at Afcon 2017? (news)
allAfrica.com
17 January 2017

Much has been made of the low number of goals after the opening round of group phase matches at the 2017 African Nations Cup, with teams accused of being too cautious and too scared to lose. But is ... [read more]

Africa:   European Football Transfer Window Damages Afcon (news)
allAfrica.com
17 January 2017

Two coaches at the African Nations Cup finals have broken ranks and called for a review of the timing of the tournament just as the Confederation of African Football repeated their determination not ... [read more]

Africa:   UN Women and Partners Seek Ways to Close Gender Data Gaps (news)
UN News Service
17 January 2017

With only 41 per cent of countries regularly producing data on violence against women and only 13 per cent of countries having a dedicated gender statistics budget, the first-ever United Nations World ... [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!