Photo: Hamid Ershad Sarabi, WikiMediaCommons


The individual's freedom must be a matter of course, everywhere

Individuals' freedom to decide over their own lives forms the basis of the world the Center Party wants to see. That is why we stand up for the XNUMX% target in development aid, prioritize the poorest countries and want more money to go to local actors who know their communities. Local and equal participation is crucial for development, writes the Center Party's foreign policy spokesperson Kerstin Lundgren.

The Center Party is based on green, social-liberal values ​​and, of course, the basic human rights and freedoms. They are global and also the basis for our development policy. The freedom of individuals to decide over their own lives and realize their inherent power forms the basis of a liberal world. All people must be treated with the same respect and be equal before the law. In secure, open and democratic societies, diversity and tolerance around dissent, gender, life choices, the right to love who one wants and religion are a matter of course. But unfortunately, we see how liberal values ​​are being challenged as more and more countries choose secrecy and intolerance. It is in safe societies and in secure individuals that space is given for dissent and the individual's freedoms and rights. We will work for more countries to develop into safe and open societies where human rights and freedoms apply to all people. To succeed, we must build alliances and work smart, not least to support the democrats of civil society. At the same time, we must be able to act and talk to those who are far away from us, but we must always be clear about our values ​​and what we believe in.

The Center Party stands up for the XNUMX% target in development aid, and prioritises the poorest countries and the organizations that have shown that they achieve results and efficiency. We want more money to go to civil society, to local actors who know their local communities and work for the rights of the individual such as LGBTQ rights and SRHR [sexual and reproductive health and rights, ed. Note]. Of course, we take our responsibility for the world's humanitarian disasters and for contributing to reconstruction after wars, conflicts and natural disasters. With a view to prevention going forward.

Local ownership and gender equality are crucial

The Center Party has three overarching priorities in development aid policy to eradicate poverty and achieve a sustainable world. Gender equality, education and the environment and climate. We start from global challenges, with green solutions where the power and will of the local actors affect the future community building. Local ownership, local and private ownership and participation in society for women and men are crucial to bring about change and development. By allowing both women and men to be involved in the problem and solution formulation, the results become more sustainable in the long term. That women's rights are human rights is unfortunately far from obvious in large parts of the world. Therefore, we must highlight women's perspectives and assert gender equality as a path to real development.

Education is important in societies that strive for democratic development, development and equality. But it is also a gender equality issue. Investments in education for girls and boys are central to a sustainable, equal and inclusive society. Education also has positive effects on important development areas such as health, sanitation and water issues. And it contributes to greater autonomy for people and increased individual freedom. These are important liberal principles.

Invest in increased climate assistance

The consequences of a changing climate are one of our greatest threats in modern times. Climate change affects men, women, the poor and the rich differently. It also affects different parts of the world differently. There is a great need for measures for environmental and climate adaptation in the poorest countries and among the most vulnerable people, as well as for investments in renewable energy to contribute to sustainable change. Of the poorest people, women are hardest hit by climate change, as it is mainly women who are responsible for food, water and energy supply. These people often live in rural areas where they depend on their agriculture and local natural resources for their survival and are more vulnerable to droughts, floods and other weather-related natural disasters. Water scarcity is a major and growing problem directly linked to the effects of climate change. We therefore need to invest in increased climate assistance. The Center Party wants the UN's green climate fund to achieve set goals and is prepared to add increased resources. It will become increasingly important when the Paris Agreement is implemented. Through the fund, developing countries receive support to implement initiatives for climate adaptation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to local involvement, and the equal participation of women and men in the development of society, there must also be functioning institutions such as a judiciary, a functioning public sector and a functioning market economy. But also well-functioning multi-party systems, well-functioning democratic parties and free media. Therefore, support is also needed for state-building and the actors of democracy. In the long run, it provides the political stability, democracy and security necessary to avoid conflicts. The assistance must contribute to this.

The goal is that assistance should not be needed

But aid must be used more strategically than today. It must focus and prioritize. We want to develop a coherent policy for sustainable global development and upgrade the Swedish framework so that it is in line with Agenda 2030, so that we have a policy for global development in a new era. That is why we also want to see a parliamentary Agenda 2030 committee. And aid must be followed up and evaluated so that we know whether it makes a difference or not. Transparency is an important key word in what we do.

The long-term goal of development aid policy must be to phase out development aid in the long term. That it should no longer be needed. Aid must never contribute to making countries dependent on aid. Instead, we need to discuss how local ownership and responsibility should increase. And how countries' own development power can be strengthened. The long-term goal must be that liberal values, human rights, democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression and free trade are a matter of course in all parts of the world. A world where the individual's freedom and rights are not seen as an exception without a norm. A world where hunger and harmful emissions belong to history. A world where aid is no longer needed.

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

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