Wednesday, October 22, 2008

European researchers’ analysis on the MDGs misses domestic resources for development

Source: Cidse Advocacy Newsletter, nr. 40, October 2008

The European analysis on the MDGs commissioned from academics by the European Commission together with the UK government was presented at the September UN General Assembly in New York by its main author, former World Bank Chief Economist, François Bourguignon. ‘Millennium Development Goals at Midpoint: Where do we stand’ forms the first contribution to the new European Report on Development, which aims to provide leading analysis on development issues, on a par with the World Bank’s Global Development Report and the UNDP’s World Development Report.

The Bourguignon report covers aid, domestic policy choices of developing countries, and the global economic environment including Northern government policies impacting development. On the global environment, the report rapidly addresses a range of policy coherence issues (trade, international finance, migration, climate change), without articulating clear priorities for achieving change. On aid, the report contains an interesting analysis of the “aid fatigue” spiral: heavy conditions for aid delivery limit its results, and the lack of evidence of results leads donors to conclude they must keep control over aid to make it work. The authors argue in favor of budget support and results-based conditionality, in line with the European Commission’s current policy direction, but which has not yet convinced other major donors such as the United States.

However, the report’s strong focus on aid comes at the expense of consideration of the obstacles to mobilizing other means to finance development, including debt payments, corruption, tax evasion and capital flight. This is a missed opportunity, given the timing of the release of the paper ahead of the Doha UN conference on Financing for Development. CIDSE has conveyed this view to the authors and European Commission, as they determine priority issues for further research for the European Report on Development, due to be finalized for summer 2009.

For more information contact Denise Auclair and Jean L. Saldanha

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