Debate

Ten differences between the Social Democrats' and the government's aid policy

While Minister for Development Aid Gunilla Carlsson (M) is preparing for the abolition of development aid policy, the Social Democrats want to pursue an active development policy that goes beyond the goal of absolute poverty reduction. This is one of ten differences between the Social Democrats' and the government's policy, according to the party's development policy spokesman Kenneth G Forslund.

1) Distrust or trust
Development aid policy seems to be under constant scrutiny by the moderates and Minister for Development Aid Gunilla Carlsson. Above all, Carlsson's statements are characterized by constant distrust of development aid as such, its ability to deliver results and various actors in development cooperation.

The Social Democrats believe that development cooperation has an important role to play in the work for global development. We believe that the gigantic differences that exist in the world will not be evened out by themselves. There is a need for a broad PGU agenda where development cooperation together with initiatives in other areas contribute to development…

2) Discontinue or develop
In two terms, ie eight years, Gunilla Carlsson says that development aid policy can begin to be phased out. Then absolute poverty is eradicated and aid is no longer needed. If it is the government's policy, we can state that their solidarity stays at US $ 1,25 a day. Then everyone has to fend for themselves.

Unfortunately, it is not realistic that absolute poverty would be eradicated as early as the beginning of the 2020s. When Gunilla Carlsson prepares to abolish development aid policy, we Social Democrats instead want to pursue an active development policy that takes the world further than just just above the absolute poverty line.

3) Assistance to countries or people
The government's strategy is to direct Sweden's aid to the poorest countries in the world. Of course, these are a priority, but the Social Democrats do not want to exclude development cooperation to the majority of the world's poorest people living in middle-income countries.

The Social Democrats want Swedish development cooperation to be directed both at the poorest countries and include poor people in middle-income countries. However, the methods naturally need to look different in different environments.

4) Equal development assistance
Research shows that aid to women is more effective than aid to men. The government claims that half of Swedish aid goes to women. But it can not prove it. Despite Gunilla Carlsson's mantra of control and follow-up, we do not know for sure what the distribution looks like between women and men. However, we can see how the investments in SRHR have varied over the years.

The Social Democrats want a stable course for development cooperation, both in terms of long-term development effects for women and the level of SRHR work.

5) Development cooperation or old-age aid
Of course, development cooperation must yield results. But Gunilla Carlsson's pursuit of results regularly turns into a relapse into an old-fashioned development aid policy. In his most elated moments, the Minister for Development Aid has talked about distributing stoves to women in Africa.

The Social Democrats want a future-oriented development cooperation that can both be evaluated and that yields results. But we do not intend to frustrate ourselves and shape development cooperation only on the basis of what is easy to measure. It is about long-term development, which requires patience, knowledge and perseverance.

6) No inflated depreciation
The moderate-led government has almost made it an art form to inflate the settlements from the aid framework for debt write-offs. The debt write-offs that have been made have deducted more than SEK XNUMX billion from poverty reduction. Appropriations for Swedish embassies that do not handle development assistance have been criticized by the DAC.

The Social Democrats want the settlements that are made to take place in accordance with the existing international regulations, but we say no to inflated debt write-offs even if they fall within the regulations. We also want the government to report to the Riksdag on how settled funds meet the goals for development cooperation.

7) Activate the work with a coherent policy for global development
The policy for global development, PGU, was decided by the Swedish Parliament in 2003 after a long and extensive investigative work. The purpose of PGU is for policies in all areas to be coherent and contribute to fair and sustainable global development. If this is to be possible, there must be structured work around PGU, not least in the Government Offices. Unfortunately, the government has pressed the pause button in this work.

For several years, the Social Democrats have demanded that the government activate the PGU work and that a coordination function for it be established in the Government Offices. It is possible that the government will finally set up such a function this year.

8) Good job
The Government's development policy is placing increasing emphasis on business development.

The Social Democrats are in favor of new jobs but look beyond that. Human rights in working life, organization and decent conditions are important to meet the challenges of globalization and to be able to use it as a positive force for people to be able to lift themselves out of poverty and influence their situation. In this area, Sweden can do much more.
The Social Democrats want to see more jobs - and good jobs. The government does not seem to be interested in this.

9) Real results
Reporting and results have been Gunilla Carlsson's theme. Results are of course central, but the methods have unfortunately led to a strong bureaucratization of development assistance and short-term action. The Government's problems with governance have meant, among other things, that the long-term nature of its operations has suffered as a number of strategies and governance documents have been delayed due to these difficulties.

The Social Democrats believe that there should be high demands on order and results as well as results in international development activities. The same high requirements and goals must apply to all actors. At the same time, the bureaucratization of development cooperation must not grow so that it hampers operations.

10) Open change processes
When Gunilla Carlsson now changes development aid policy, it takes place in closed processes without transparency. We fear that the government will soon in practice decide on a new development assistance policy without parliamentary consideration.

When PGU was decided in 2003, it was done after an extensive and open process. In addition to the Social Democrats being critical of the lack of transparency today, we are convinced that the quality of decisions will improve when more people participate. We want to renew development policy in open processes.

Kenneth G Forslund
Development Policy Spokesman (S)

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

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