Getting Development Aid Equipped for the Post-2015 Development Agenda
The United Nations has recently begun developing its Post-2015 Development Agenda, grounded in respect for universal human rights, reflecting the widespread understanding that poverty-reduction objectives need a higher profile and a commitment and willingness befitting the global challenge of sustainable development. Achieving the effective implementation of this will require major changes and a thorough disentangling of the development assistance nexus. This article discusses the main implementation challenges and provides a framework, counter to the routine terms of reference with which the development industry has been operating within its TINA (there is no alternative) worldview. A strong case is made about the importance of a development industry breakout from the prevailing, engrained path of normal ‘professionalism’ with its quest for ‘status quo. It is asserted, and deplored, that within the development industry, the ideal of sustainable development has become a moth-eaten banner, an emblem in its final misery and a simple catchword. The paper tries to explore what we can actually know (as researchers or practitioners) about what kinds of aid work and discusses needed changes in order to make aid work better. Clearly, today’s global challenges cannot be approached in silos: progress in all of them is required at the same time. There is a need for holistic learning approaches that take into account the issue of sustainability in all its dimensions. The paper underlines the importance of credible means to implement the future agenda so that development truly benefits the people. Therefore, it presents a longitudinal, descriptive analysis which can serve as a basis for an informed analysis of the routines and mainstream frameworks within which the development industry operates. It points to a number of historical examples that show how learning has been stymied, and valid criticism and good ideas have been washed away by a flood of “buzzwords and fuzzwords”, and represents an effort to offer fresh perspectives and alternatives for development assistance, in order to prevent it from continuing in the same old track. Fragmented and uncoordinated projects based on donors’ own policy priorities, according to engrained systems, must not be allowed to continue. Finally, it is concluded that the new development agenda requires the development industry to adopt a learning attitude, institute changes, and find new practices that can stand up to, and ultimately meet, the challenges of a development agenda for sustainability.
Development Assistance, Sustainable Development, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Learning, Change, Catchwords, World Bank, Development Industry, Rhetoric, Status Quo, Poverty
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