Reply: Swedish aid is needed more than ever

MUF Uppsala County's second vice chairman Andreas Celan argues that the Swedish development assistance budget needs to be reduced with reference to the fact that the money is not used efficiently and goes to corruption. We at SSU are of a different opinion: the development assistance budget should not be reduced and the 1% target should be defended, writes Pavlos Cavelier Bizas, chairman of SSU Uppland.

Swedish aid is needed more than ever given the increased poverty we see in the wake of the corona pandemic and the large number of refugees around the world. For the first time in over two decades, extreme poverty in the world is increasing. Even though we have our own challenges, Sweden is still a relatively rich country and we must of course be involved and contribute to improving the living conditions of the very poorest in the world. The goal that 1% of Sweden's GNI should go to development assistance is also automatically adapted to Sweden's economic situation.

There are like Andreas Celan points out Unfortunately, there are individual examples where aid funds are not used effectively or go to corruption and this is of course unacceptable and must be counteracted. The government has increased resources for Sida to combat corruption and tightened the requirements for follow-up to ensure the greatest possible benefit per krona. But it is still important to point out that a vanishingly small part of the total sum ends up in the wrong hands. The absolute majority of aid money goes to reducing poverty, providing emergency assistance in humanitarian crises, strengthening world democracy and increasing gender equality. It is resources that make a difference to create a more equal and stable world, which leads to fewer conflicts and fewer people on the run. Climate assistance is also crucial for giving developing countries tools to be part of climate change.

Sweden has long been a role model in the world for its generous aid. The UN recommends that all rich countries give at least 0,7% of their GDP in aid to the least developed countries. Sweden is one of the few countries that today meets the target. We should be proud of that. There should be more, not fewer countries, working to achieve that goal. Reducing Sweden's development aid budget would undermine Sweden's position in the world as a model in international development cooperation and contribute to a “race to the bottom”. We at SSU think it is the wrong way to go. We regret that MUF and the Moderates have departed from the consensus that has long existed in Swedish development aid policy that Sweden should have generous development assistance and achieve the 1% target. We continue to stand up for international solidarity.

The article is a reply to: Reduce the development assistance budget and follow up on taxpayers' money

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

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