Washington, DC – PITAPOLICY, a new member to the Society for International Development, attended SID’s annual conference on Thursday, June 6th, 2013. We were pleased to see how the conference covered politics, institutions, economics, and technology (our key themes in looking at development in the ‘pita-consuming’ region) and we have grouped the highlights across the PITAPOLICY themes for pita-consumers to comment further! The big question was: what do mean by “fragile” countries–what qualifies? As Joseph Hewitt of USAID explained, “Not absence of
#governance or #economy, but absence of legitimacy & effectiveness.”
Our analysis: Policy, Institutions, Development, & Economic points, or PIDE POINTS, are identified! Our favorite theme revisited the age old question asked by childhood story character, Lorax, from Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax”. The Lorax asks how will societies respond to social conscience…
**Note: Our points are italicized. Direct quotes will be shared in quotes, unless otherwise stated.
Politics in Development:
- We tend to correlate democrtization processes as described in “How Development
#Aid Confronts Politics?”
- It’s a given that aid from political institutions IS political.
Interests in Development:
As companies expand into emerging markets, they c that they need to assume development actor role.~Dan Rundy
Mismatch problem: A fragile state problem must consider how local leaders focus on humanitarian assistance to maintain political career survival, while many donors focus on
Technology in Development:
- U.S. Department of State is supporting
#Syria opposition via 1) a database of over 500 Syrians on ground to connect 2) mass media dissemination- Ast Secrty #Conflict, Department of State
Analysis in Development:
- In 1991
@USAID identified a gamechanger: found that political #develoment is central to socio-economic #development, according to Carothers @CarnegieEndow
- Since 2011, what we’ve seen from the
#arabspring is the impact of growing urbanization.
- Perhaps, investments in education AND urban environments are needed two create resilience. Think slum areas concentrated near huge hubs of unemployment.
Society for International Development
Welcome and Introduction: Rodney Bent, SID-Washington 2013 Conference Chair
- “Progress towards Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not evenly achieved”
- “Our report to
#UN for next set of #MDGs recognized global move away from North-South dichotomy.”
- Many MDGs implemented in “silos”
- “Face of Poverty has changed since 2003, when MDGs first drafted”
- More than 40 percent of global population lives in post-conflict, “fragile” states.
- There may be a tension between the aspirations of not leaving people behind versus the practicality of achieving new MDGs for 2013.
- PIDE POINT: Podesta recognizes that the MDGs must move away from ‘North-South’ dichotomy –esepecially within regions (eg. MENA). For example, partnerships would need to develop from within countries, like Egypt, that are reviewing its economic and social programs.
- World Bank Spring Meetings released a specific report on the growing urban-rural dynamic.
- PIDE POINT: Given the growth of urbanization, note how the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt emerged in the more urbanized parts of the country.
Panel 2: A Productive New Direction for the US Food Assistance Program–or a Proposal that is (Again) “Dead on Arrival”?
- This panel reviewed issues from several perspectives given the largely controversial book “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo as well as in the debate “dead on arrival.”
- PITAPOLICY Founder, Mehrunisa Qayyum, commented on the controversy in a March article: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/world/canada-reworking-dead-aid-model-foreign-policy
- “Linear solutions can make the problem worse in
- Fragility is not the “absence of democracy or economic systems”. RATHER it is “absence of legitimacy and effectiveness” in interactions between state and society — whereas legitimacy is the fairness of the system, and effectiveness in outcomes.
- Make investments in ‘learning agenda’
- “Partnerships are incumbent for civil society to organize”~Hewitt
- Tift highlighted 10 World Vision lessons learned on fragile countries, such as “1) Fragile states are not helpless, 2) Fragile states are not passive, just disempowered; 3) Do not limit American staff from participating in field programs, among a few others.
- PIDE POINT: Sometimes we aggregate data so much that we miss local area developments.
- PIDE POINT: Disagree somewhat with Tift’s recommendation “Must blend security with counter-terrorism goals with the humanitarian goals” because private sector and NGOs will become even more dependent on outside assistance for security, which creates more tension.
Panel 4: Contracting Procurement Reform
- PIDE POINT: Outsourcing security to private sector security was not discussed.
- More discussion of the procurements challenges in latter keynote speeches.
- Awarded to two from the Middle East & North Africa region working in Washington, DC: Morocco and Syria
- Amazing how Abdallah’s work collaborated with civil society organizations on the ground in Syria to obtain over 200,000 documents to illustrate human rights violations, which we argue in our Huff Post Blog is the key driver for holding war criminals accountable in fragile countries, like Syria. Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mehrunisa-qayyum/development-diplomacy_b_2878685.html
- Dual contradiction of USAID versus the private sector dollars.
- PIDE POINT: “In “de-risking environments” we need to incentivize foreign direct investment, decrease “rent-seeking” and balance state and private donorship.”
- Development aid confronts politics–there’s no such thing as “nonpoliticized aid” because we are taking into accounts how our actions and aid giving will be perceived politically. “We are thinking and acting political”.
- “Almost” inserted into the title of book and talk because there is a potential of bringing in socio-economic reasons to engage.
- We’ve shifted from the 60s and 70s model of “apolitical roots in providing only technical assistance” and towards the 90s trend where every significant US donor follows USAID in reviewing political development indicators. These include governance, corruption, and rule of law.
- Two impulses are driving the “Lorax” in Development: 1) End of the Cold War, less suspicious about donor activism; and 2) historic shift towards democritization with the language of human rights appealing to societies that are not as attracted political ideology discussions.
- But at least they converge on four words: accountability, participation, transparency, and INCLUSION. World Bank, DFID, and others refer to these as “Demand-Side Reforms” as they realized that resistance to change comes from those power-holders in fragile countries.
- INCLUSION received, and is receiving more attention, in the Social Safety Networks (SSN) discussions and recent World Bank Report for the MENA region.
- “How to give government an ear when international development community is busy giving everyone a voice!”
- “Securities laws are fine, but problem is with enforcement” ~Barger
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) climate needs 1) laws, 2) enforcement, and 3) feedback loops to ensure accountability. ~Garber
- “Rural communities have a remarkable capacity for self-governance regarding natural resources.” Benjamin
- PIDE POINT: Rural communities need a sapce for self-governance, so consider different ways of codifying customary law when it comes to water rights. Note Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s current water disputes.
- “Private sector has to be involved with taking things to scale”
- Inclusivity means groups need to be reflected in improved housing, employment, etc…in other words “where all the groups are included as planners”. There’s not “About them without them”.
- PIDE POINT: Inclusivity and donor assistance was linked towards US strategic interests when Steinberg commented that our fastest growing trade countries are those that received U.S. aid. This has implications for other types of budgetary discussions as U.S. assistance funding has decreased in the last decade.
- For questions on points above, feel free to tweet us @PITAPOLICY or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!