The corona crisis has started the debate about how big Sweden's aid should really be. The goal that one percent of Sweden's GNI should go to development assistance has met with both defense and criticism on debate and leadership pages this week. The Corona pandemic further highlights the need for international cooperation, according to several debaters.
The corona pandemic strikes extra hard against countries with already small margins of error. This means that the need for international assistance is greater than ever, says the Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson together with Isabella Lövin and Janine Alm Ericsson (MP). Sweden's goal is for one percent of GNI to go to international development cooperation. The Green Party wants to keep that goal.
As development assistance is regulated by gross national income (GNI), Sweden's development assistance decreases when growth declines. The editorial staff at Expressen are critical of the one percent target, which they believe leads to "jerkiness and uncertainty, when the assistance that would be needed is stability." They hope that the corona crisis can lead to a change in aid policy. When growth has increased, Sida has had a hard time getting rid of its funds, writes Expressen, who also believes that "the problems with corruption, poor control and lack of efficiency in the projects are recurring".
Regardless of whether Sweden's development assistance continues according to the XNUMX% target, it will probably mean cuts. Martin Ängeby at the liberal aid foundation Silc writes in the newspaper Omvärlden that it requires priorities about who should be reached by Swedish aid. "Those who have taken advantage of the pandemic to abolish freedoms should not have more Swedish aid. Those who fight against oppression must have our support ", he writes.
Another issue discussed this week is the availability of medicines and vaccines. Drug research against covid-19 is in full swing worldwide. "How quickly medical products can be researched is a key factor in saving lives and alleviating distress - but just as important is that they are really made available to people in all countries of the world," say Oliver Schulz from MSF and Johan Pettersson from Oxfam.
They demand strong leadership, both from the World Health Organization WHO and from Sweden to ensure that access to medicine is based on need and not ability to pay. "Now is the time to show that you can go from word to deed and guarantee that everyone who needs it gets access to vaccines and treatment, no matter what country you live in or how much money you have in your wallet," write Oliver Schulz and Johan Pettersson in Aftonbladet.
The debaters Fadia Restom and Patrik Paulov call on Sweden to lift the EU's economic sanctions against Syria. An already war-torn Syria is having a hard time dealing with the progress of the corona pandemic, with major consequences for the civilian population. "The lifting of sanctions is in line with UN Secretary-General António Guterre's message when he presented the global humanitarian plan against covid-25 on March 19," they write.
A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles about Sweden's role in the world:
One% target for development assistance must be removed
The editorial staff, Expressen
We need to give more - not less - help to the poorest
Isabella Lövin, Peter Eriksson and Janine Alm Ericsson, Göteborgs-Posten
The corona pandemic must not affect Sweden's democracy aid
Martin Ängeby, The outside world
Relations with Syria and Yemen
Stop the sanctions against Syria, Ann Linde
Fadia Restom and Patrik Paulov, Aftonbladet
Take a stand for democracy, Sweden!
Alva Hedlund and Felicia Hermann, ETC.
Corona vaccine must not only be for the richest
Oliver Schulz and Johan Pettersson, Aftonbladet
Sweden in the stingy four
Mats Sederholm, ETC.
The solution for the climate is not stifled growth
Fredrick Federley and Rickard Nordin, Aftonbladet
That is why we can cope with the virus - but not the climate
Billy Larsson, Svenska Dagbladet
The Hungarian government is a threat to the EU
Ingvar Persson, Aftonbladet