Debate

Aid saves lives

Every fifth aid krona is used today to handle refugee reception in Sweden. The fact that the government is now investigating whether it is possible to take additional funds from Swedish development assistance, as much as 60 percent, risks increasing the number of people who are forced to flee. It writes representatives of twelve aid organizations.

In addition to the increased costs that the government wants to deduct from the development assistance grant, there are already other settlements. If these remain, there can be up to 60 percent deduction from the development assistance grant. Only every third development assistance krona would then be used for development assistance activities.

We want Sweden to continue to have a generous and humane refugee reception. Right now, receiving refugees is a big cost for Sweden, but in the long run, refugees will be a great asset for our country. But increasing the settlements from development assistance to the extent that the government is considering is a short-term solution.

Dealing with development assistance in this way is a departure from the broad support that exists in the Riksdag for the one percent target. It is also a violation of the Swedish self-image of being a pioneering country when it comes to sustainable development assistance. However, there has been echoing silence from government representatives and other decision-makers on an issue that requires debate. That's why we're launching the call for 'aid rescue's, to make the public aware of what's about to happen.

If the reduction were to be implemented, it shows a lack of understanding on the part of the government of what Swedish development assistance is and what results the money contributes to in terms of poverty reduction, conflict prevention work and democratic development. Aid is, in fact, a key to reducing the number of people forced to flee.

Aid contributes to support for democracy development, education, health care, humanitarian efforts and much more. These are support for the peace process in Colombia, the democracy movement in Burkina Faso and LGBTQ people in Russia. In Afghanistan, girls have the opportunity to go to school and schools have access to teaching materials. In South Sudan, thousands of children, pregnant and breastfeeding women are receiving treatment for malnutrition. In Afghanistan, women have access to maternal health care and contraception and support after abuse. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, aid provides support for women and girls who have been sexually abused, and in Palestine, women and girls are supported in changing patriarchal structures, such as honor killings.

All this is at stake if aid is sharply reduced.

The cuts also have major consequences for the opportunity to live up to the new sustainable development agenda (Agenda 2030), which the Swedish government has said it wants to take the lead in. The commitments Sweden has made will be difficult to implement, and it will be difficult to credibly assert the Swedish priorities in the forthcoming climate summit in Paris.

If the government wants to continue to stand for sustainable global development, the settlements must be limited. The important reception of refugees must be financed without Sweden eroding aid.

Maria Andersson, Secretary General of RFSU

Gunnel Axelsson Nycander, head of policy at the Church of Sweden

Magnus Falklöf, Chancellor, CONCORD Sweden

Bo Forsberg, Secretary General of Diakonia

Daniel Grahn, Secretary General of Erikshjälpen

Anna Hägg-Sjöquist, Secretary General of Plan International Sweden

Niclas Lindgren, Director PMU

Johanna Sandahl, chairman of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

Eva Christina Nilsson, Secretary General of the Swedish Mission Council

Annica Sohlström, Secretary General of Forum Syd

Ann Svensén, Secretary General Individual Humanitarian Aid

Sofia Walan, Secretary General of the Christian Peace Movement

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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