Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-48)|
TUESDAY 23 APRIL 2002
40. Just so there is no ambiguity, earlier you
said that conditionality did not work, but we have heard constantly
this morning about transparency, about accountability, about partnership
and I cannot believe you mean that, that you just give the aid
and do not look at what has happened to it.
(Mr German) The plethora of conditions does not work.
Nobody gives aid without having a view about where it should go
and how it should be spent. It is a question of striking a balance
between ownership and conditionality. You have to have a view
and as a donor you have a right, even an obligation to have a
view about what the money is spent on. In that sense it depends
whether you call it conditions or ... It is a question of definitions.
What is not apparently helpful is where you have in many cases
literally hundreds of conditions, many of which cancel each other
out. It is a question of striking a balance. I do not think anybody
would be arguing totally unconditional aid is realistic.
(Ms Ross) Donor harmonisation, coupled with donor
and recipient countries setting those criteria and conditions
together rather than them being imposed, that is the conditions
being negotiated, is what the discussion between Andrew Natsios,
the Director of USAID and the Development Minister from Sierra
Leone were about. What she was proposing was not that she was
advocating no conditions but that any conditions should be agreed
and negotiated between governments and that they can be met and
that they are reasonable rather than this one-size-fits-all approach
to conditionality which is that you must hit this, this, this
and this for us to be able to give you money.
41. So it is not that conditionality does not
work but you must have the right conditions.
(Ms Randel) The process for setting the conditions
has to be right. There will always be conditions because the ultimate
condition is that you cease to transfer any funds and that is
a sort of conditionality. It is the way they are set, whether
they are owned by the developing country government, whether the
developing country government is setting the plan, all those sorts
of things. It is a bit of a shorthand to say that conditionality
does not work, the old form of imposed conditionality on the whole
seems not to work.
42. If you were measuring aid would you rather
have 0.7 per cent or good progress towards the Millennium Development
(Ms Ross) They are not mutually exclusive. You need
one to achieve the other.
43. The point is that I find the 0.7 per cent
a bit depressing. I am all in favour of it, but it is a lame-brain
thing. It is a mantra and it is an input thing and not an outcome
thing. Would you not prefer to be measuring success of aid by
outcomes rather than inputs?
(Ms Randel) That is a really interesting point. What
changed when Shaping the Twenty-First Century document came out
in the mid-1990s, which was the basic thing that started the Millennium
Development Goal process, was that it was saying measure the results,
look at what is happening; most of the money is not coming from
aid it is coming from developing countries so look at where poverty
is being reduced. I do not think many people would disagree with
that. What then completely disappeared was the whole responsibility
for the input side and for the development assistance side. You
do need to see where the development assistance is contributing
towards those goals but clearly the goals are what matter and
if there were a way of achieving them without 0.7 per cent we
would not be arguing for it.
Mr Battle: I was rather intrigued by
the comments about language and the Americans understandably refusing
to refer to 0.7 per cent, but what kind of language did you use
as a surrogate to refer to the Millennium Development Goals? It
seems to me that what one person referred to as the deep grammar
of all this is quite significant in terms of the politics. May
I support the Chairman's request to give us much more on your
view of where that policy is going? Is it sheer pragmatism? Is
there an ideology behind it? Is it day to day? We have to get
to grips with the language; without that there is no consensus
and we go no further forward. Could you perhaps say a quick word
about the proposed UK Council for International Co-operation,
that would be helpful as well?
44. How do the Americans describe the Millennium
Development Goals? Please tell us more about the UK Council for
(Mr German) It is just an idea. I have a paper which
I can let you have copies of with an outline idea.
Essentially the idea is that development co-operation in the UK
is extremely widespread. Within your constituencies there will
be a few people whom you will know of as being the usual suspects
who write to you occasionally about aid and so on, who may speak
to you, but on the doorstep it does not come up when you talk
to people. However, that is because it may not be right at the
top of people's political consciousness. However, if you look
at people's individual actions, there is extremely widespread
support for international co-operation at a personal giving level
and I do not suppose there are very many churches or schools in
your constituency which in some way or other are not involved
in international co-operation. It is atomised and therefore it
is very invisible. The idea would be to have a high level political
body which would make visible this very, very strong and consistent
support for international co-operation, which would provide a
means for people to exchange information and reinforce the overall
political commitment to international co-operation. The ideas
are in detail in the paper.
(Ms Ross) "Internationally agreed
goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium
Declaration". There are various reformulations of that wording.
It was a tactic to wear people out basically.
45. What we should like to understand is: why
this wordplay? What one needs is a sheet of paper with on the
one hand what the United States is doing and on the other hand
your understanding of why they are doing that. All of us are used
to wordplay, but there is usually some very real reason for it.
Why is there this wordplay? We should like to have an understanding
(Ms Ross) What we can do for you is put you in touch
with our counterpart in the US, so you have an opportunity to
talk to US NGOs as well.
46. We should find that very helpful, because
a number of us individually and the Committee collectively are
going to go to the United States this year and it would be very
helpful to meet American NGOs who could explain American thinking
(Ms Vazquez) What the UN negotiator explained in the
prepcom is that the US and all governments signed the Millennium
Declaration at the Millennium Summit, but the document that outlines
the Millennium Development Goals with the number of indicators
and deadlines was a document which was produced after the summit
by the UN called A Road Map Towards the Millennium Development
Goals. The US negotiator argued that the US had not properly endorsed
that document and that was a document post the summit so they
could not accept
47. So they do not object to the destination,
they are just objecting to the road map of how you get to that
(Ms Vazquez) At the end it was a negotiating tactic
to add pressure.
48. What intrigues me is the percentage given
for humanitarian aid which is a very large percentage of what
the world gives. How much of that is US wheat, which has already
been bought by the US Government to support US farmers? It would
be that kind of information which would be very, very helpful
so we can say, "You are counting that as aid, but in fact
what you have done is you have bought it up already".
(Ms Randel) One area where Britain is particularly
virtuous is on not counting as aid the cost of supporting refugees
in Britain for their first year of residence, which is a legitimate
ODA expense under DAC rules. About $1 billion of US aid is for
supporting refugees in the US.
Mr Colman: In addition to the situation
in terms of support for the Mid-West farmers in the United States,
the other side is the dumping of pharmaceuticals which are no
longer seen as being of any use within the United States or within
Europe and are dumped abroad. What percentage of that is in fact
coming into these figures?
Chairman: Thank you very much for having
come today. We have given you rather a lot of homework. Thank
you very, very much. You have been involved in the process very
closely and we are very grateful to you for giving us help on
17 Not printed. Copy placed in the Library. Back