European Aid: aspiring to the gold medal
This article has just been published in the GIZ Magazine. The final three paras read as follows:
‘Put these new challenges together, and the skills our development athletes need are ever-changing and ever more difficult to acquire. In days gone past, it might have been enough to master an aid programme whose primary function was to transfer resources and implement projects in classically poor developing countries. Those skills are still required, of course, in Tanzania, Rwanda or Malawi. For that task, a deep knowledge of aid effectiveness is the primary requirement. Familiarity with the Principles of the Paris Declaration – ownership, alignment, harmonisation, accountability – is the main qualification, updated by the Accra Agenda for Action, and honed for the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that will take place in Buzan, South Korea, later in 2012.
Elsewhere, different capabilities are required. Development ministers – and the civil service administrations that support them – need to understand the global economy and global politics, and be able to help broker the global deals that will keep our planet safe and our communities prosperous. They need to be able to understand and engage in the complex politics of war-torn territories far from home. They need to mobilise resources and alliances in partner ministries, to make sure that the international environment favours poverty reduction rather than restrains it. And in fulfilling these tasks, they need to lead their public opinion on a journey of understanding, bridging compassion and self-interest, making the case not just for ‘development’, but for global citizenship.
Europe, and European leaders, have a special responsibility with regard to global citizenship. As the largest trading bloc, our own welfare depends on peace and prosperity abroad, on a world characterised by respect for the rule of law. As home to 500 million people, we need global warming to be arrested, and the environment to be protected. Most of all, as a Union based on freedom and respect for human rights, our values require active citizenship and responsibility on the global stage. That is why we must continue to aspire to the gold medal in international development.’